AP staff writer Greg Bluestein notes: "In the U.S., public expressions of faith are often discouraged as a breach of the separation of church and state."
What does this mean? I suppose it is true that in America today public expressions of faith are discouraged more than in the past. But don't Americans deserve a little more clarity from the world's largest news-gathering agency in the world with regard to the definition of "separation of church and state"?
Without ever pointing out it was Thomas Jefferson who coined this term in a letter to the Danbury Baptists, the AP story then suggests the third U.S. president was opposed to public prayer. That was hardly the case.
Jefferson could have no idea that his reassuring words to the Danbury Baptists, who feared persecution through the establishment of a state church, would someday be twisted to mean prayer and matters of faith would be excluded from the public square.
Let's examine the record of the atheists' favorite Founding Father:
- In 1774, Jefferson, as a member of the Virginia Assembly, personally introduced a resolution calling for a day of fasting and prayer.
- In 1779, as Virginia governor, he signed a decree for a day of "public and solemn thanksgiving and prayer to Almighty God."
- As president, Jefferson signed bills that appropriated federal funds for chaplains in Congress and the military.
- As president on March 4, 1805, he offered "A National Prayer for Peace," which would cause today's atheist activists to go into cardiac arrest:
"Almighty God, Who has given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech Thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of Thy favor and glad to do Thy will. Bless our land with honorable ministry, sound learning, and pure manners.
"Save us from violence, discord and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every evil. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitude brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues.
"Endow with Thy spirit of wisdom those to whom in Thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that through obedience to Thy law, we may show forth Thy praise among the nations of the earth.
"In time of prosperity fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in Thee to fail; all of which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen."
It's incredible that Jefferson could today be cited as the inspiration for this atheist jihad against prayer and expressions of faith in the public square.
If he were still around today, he would be perceived as some kind of fundamentalist zealot.
Ah, but was Jefferson a religious Christian? Doesn't seem like it. From what I've read, it sounds like Jefferson was his day's equivalent of a U.U. Something tells me Farah wouldn't consider them to be much in the way of "prayer allies."