Please read the Constitution | Cap Gazette

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In Nov.-Dec. 2 Edition of The Cape Gazette, I have read the letter submitted by Mr. Ron Nicholls and am appalled at his undereducated opinion regarding the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

First, he makes blatantly damaging statements about Catholics and Christians. I’m going to assume he doesn’t have a Coexist bumper sticker on his car! But my real point is his ill-informed statement that allowing people to set up what is commonly referred to as a nursery is a violation of the First Amendment. Has he read the full text of the First Amendment yet? It’s obvious from his misinterpretation that he probably didn’t, or doesn’t understand it.

For the edification of the reader, let me provide the entire text: “Congress shall not make any law respecting the establishment of a religion, or prohibiting the free exercise of it; or restrict freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people to assemble peacefully and ask the government to redress their grievances.

There are a lot of things in there, but what concerns me in particular is the first clause concerning religion. There are two things stated in this first clause: 1. “Congress shall not make any law concerning the establishment of a religion. What does it mean? It is generally believed that the founders did not want Congress to establish a “state religion” like the Church of England. Immigrants came to the colonies (at the time) in search of a place to practice the religion of their choice. The founders were aware of this fact and therefore wanted this nation to be a place where there was no “state required” religion. If you go online and search for this article in the First Amendment, this is what you will find.

2. The second part of the clause states: “or by prohibiting free exercise. ” What does it mean? It meant that you were free to practice any religious belief, even if it is not a religious belief. The government was not allowed to tell you what to believe.

So let me ask you, where do you find a statement, even in the vaguest sense, that there had to be a separation of church and state? Go through the Constitution and the amendments, and you won’t find any such statement or wording.

Several of our presidents have even called for National Days of Prayer over the years. They believed in God, but they didn’t care that you didn’t !! I have to wonder why people keep perpetuating this distortion of the text. The text can clearly be considered as providing for freedom of religion when it says that the government does not prohibit the free exercise of it, and does not in any way provide for freedom of religion. It is clearly the opposite! It’s time to put an end to this misinterpretation of the language of the First Amendment! Read the Constitution for yourself. Look for the reasons behind the things that were intentionally included. Learn about American history and stop repeating the clichés. It makes you look uneducated!

Ralph E. DeFazio
Milton

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