No, the first amendment does not say church and state must be separated. No where in the first amendment does it say that God can not be recognized and worshipped in our state institutions.
This is what the 1st amendment states about religion: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
I am not sure why this is so difficult to understand. We must remember that many of the 13 colonies had a state sponsored religion. The state sponsored churches were the Anglican Church and the Congregationalists. The different colonies declared these as official religions. Other religions were practiced but many times with restrictions or persecution. The 1st amendment clearly states that this was no longer permissible; that is the government could not declare a religion was the state sponsored religion and could not restrict the practice of a religion or persecute those who practiced a different religion. The 1st amendment was to protect the freedom of religion and not the prohibition of religion.
The Suprme Court will be hearing another case under the false premise that the 1st amendment calls for separation of church and state. That is a total misrepresentation of the 1st amendment. Again, the first amendment calls to protect the freedom and practice of religion free from government limitations and persecutions. The right to place the cross is what is protected by the 1st amendment.
Separation of church-state
The court is again tasked with taking up a case over the separation of church and state, this time over a state commission’s care-taking of a large cross as part of a memorial for veterans.
The American Legion had built 40-foot tall cross in a memorial park for World War I veterans in Maryland, and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission eventually took over responsibility for the park, including caring for the cross.
But non-Christian residents took up issues with the cross over its Christian symbolism, and argued that the government’s care of the cross is in violation of the Constitution’s separation of church and state.
During oral arguments in the case in February, the justices suggested they would allow the cross to stay.
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