America never was a "Christian nation". The constitution everyone is referring to is from the 18th century.
Writes Thomas Jeffersion:
"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State."
Alas! first, let's be clear...Jefferson's metaphor, "wall of separation between Church and State" is nowhere found in the US Constitution.
Second, it's noteworthy that some of the Supreme Court justices fall back on this supposed "wall" when they decided these cases.
Taken from David Barton's Original Intent,
Justice William Rehnquist described this phrase as a "misleading metaphor, noting the greatest injury of the "wall" notion is its michievous diversion if judges from the actual intentions of the drefters of the Bill of Rights...."The Wall of separation of Church and State" is a metaphor based on bad history, a metaphor which has proved useless as a guide to judging. It should be frankly and explicitly abandoned."
The public's current understanding (it should be mis understanding) of its religious provisos of the First Amendment has been shoped by a phrase that doesn't even appear in the Constitution.
The imperative for understanding today the original purposes of the two religious clauses in the Constitution results from contemporary Courts often excusing their unpopular decisions with the specious claim that they are upholding the Constitution's original "intent" or "purpose". This claim is an historical absurdity.
Barton writes, Perhaps the most conclusive historical demonstration of the fact that the Founders nnever intended the Federal Constitution to establish today's religion-free public arena is seen in their creation and passage of the "Northwest Ordinance." That Ordinance is a federal law which legal texts consider as one of the four foundational or "organic" laws set forth the requirements of statehood for prospective territories.
It received Senate and House approval in 1789 and was signed into law by Pres. George Washington on August 7, 1789.
Article II is the only sestion to address either religion or public education and in in the Founders couple them, declaring:"Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools, and the means of education shall forever be encouraged."
It's worth repeating. The Framers of the Ordinance were the very same Framers of the US Constitution, beieved that schools and educational systems were a proper means to encourage the "religion, morality, and knowledge" which they deemed "necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind".
Now get this.....Subsequent to the passage of this Ordinance when a territory applied for admission as a State, Congress issued an "enabling act" establishing the provisions of the ORdinance as criteria for drafting a State constitution. For example, whe Ohio territory applied for statehood in 1802, its enabling act required that Ohio form its government in a manner "not repugnant to the Ordinance." Consequently, Ohio's constition read,
"Religion, morality, and knowledge being essentially necessary to the good government and the happiness of mankind, schools, and the means of instruction shall forever be encouraged by legislative provision."
While this requirement originally applied to all the territorial holdings of the US in 1789, as more territory was gradually ceded and then applied for Statehood, Congress applied the principle of that Ordinance to that State.
In compliance with the Ordinance, the State of Maine in 1820 adopted the following education law which is still "on the books"-----
Maine Education Law, Title 20, Section 1221
"Instructors of/in public or private institutions shall use their best endeavors to impress upon the minds of the children and youth committed to their care and instruction the principles of morality and justice and a sacred regard for truth; love of country, humanity and a universal benevolence; the great principles of humanity as illustrated by kindness to birds and animals and regard all factors which contribute to the well-being of man; industry and frugality; chastity, moderation and temperance; and all other virtues which ornament human society; and to lead those under their care, as their ages and capacities admit, into a particular understanding of the tendency of such virtues to preserve and perfect a republican constitution, secure the blessings of liberty and to promote their future happiness."
While some may disagree, I think it's clear that the Founders never intended to separate religion, religious instruction, or activities from the public or official life of the USA. Yet, the Courts in these decisions have misrepresented the First AMendment and Article VI to prohibit exactly what the Founders intended to protect.
Again, of this, Justice William Rehnquist Wallace v. Jaffree, "History must judge whether it was the Father of his country in 1789 or a majority of the Court today, which has strayed from the meaning of the First Amendment."
The historical straying from the Founders original meaning for the FIrst Amendment has been greatly facilitated by an overused, misused, and often even regularly abused historical phrase, "the separation of Chruch and State".