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First Amendment’s intent is to avoid ‘official’ religion

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I read the Journal’s Your Views letters of Sunday, May 11, with interest. Mr. Jim Beall, Sr. has little knowledge or understanding of the Constitution. The First Amendment does not specify “separation of church and state.” That phrase was taken “out of context” from a letter to the Danbury Baptists from Jefferson. The letter has frequently been falsely cited as “original intent.” The First Amendment prohibits “Congress” from establishing a religion. The intent was to avoid an “official” state religion that many European countries had and many immigrants came here to avoid. The First Amendment also states regarding religion, “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” followed by the phrase; “or abridging the freedom of speech.” The separatists in this country would have you believe that the First Amendment contradicts itself and allows the intolerant anti-religion folks to censor what Christians, or any other faith, wish to say. The intent of the Constitution has been debated since before the Constitution was adopted. The Federalist Papers, which are to a great degree the “personal views” of the Founders, have been the basis of many arguments concerning “original intent.” Willard F. Schmehl Cool