Writes Richard Salsman Over at Forbes:
The framers of the U.S. Constitution (1787) and Bill of Rights (1791) were correct to forbid Congress from enacting any laws establishing or promoting a religion or a church, or abridging free worship, just as they were right (in Article VI) to forbid religious tests of public officials. They endorsed both freedom of religion and freedom from religion. Atheists and champions of reason had the same equal rights before the law as did faith-based believers in supernaturalism. Thus the Supreme Law of our land makes no mention of a deity, a prophet, or a religion; it’s The Godless Constitution, as in the name of the 1997 book by Kramnick and Moore.
Unlike today’s religious activists, America’s framers and secularists acknowledged the vicious trail of warfare, torture, abuse and inhumanity that coincided with direct alliances or unifications of church and state. Religion and statism have a common cause against liberty, pleasure, reason, science, money-making, and capitalism. Such partnerships brought the millennium of the Dark Ages, when life spans averaged fewer than 30 years. In the centuries since then, the human toll from religious wars and terrorism has been enormous, yet largely ignored. Even today, the main source of conflict, terrorism and war in the world is religion. Yet most people still declare an allegiance to religion and to belief in unproven realms and beings.
Unlike the framers, who were fairly consistent in their conception of the necessary legal separation, today’s religionists – whether Republicans or Democrats – tend to endorse freedom of religion but not freedom from religion. Neither really wants to keep religion or church power outside of the “public square.” They merely quibble over what role religion plays on the political stage. Whereas the religious right wants government to promote religion, the religious left wants to use religion to sanctify and push its case for wealth redistribution and the welfare state. Recall how last year’s budget debate was infested with claims by the left that Jesus would oppose proposed budget cuts, while the right scrambled to deny they had a point. Where were the secularists in that debate? Nowhere to be found, as I explained in “Holy Scripture and the Welfare State.” Religion today remains not a bulwark against bigger government but a key instigator of its rapid growth. ["Conservatives Eager to Unify Religion and Politics Have an Ally in Obama"]