It is unlikely the Constitution would have been initially ratified by the required nine states and adopted by the Continental Congress had it not been understood that the Bill of Rights would be added.

Kirk Larsen

Kirk Larsen

James Madison penned the Bill of Rights. He was experienced in crafting important documents and was mindful of the words he used and the way they were put together. He chose to place first on the list of fundamental human rights: the rights of freedom of religion, speech, the press, peaceable assembly and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Religion is being pushed out of the public square. It seems more and more we are to believe the only place religion and religious-based thought can be expressed is inside a church.

Those who make an effort to remove religious thought from the public discussion will sometimes cite the concept of separation of church and state. It is of value to read an excerpt from a letter by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury, Connecticut Baptist church.

“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.”

It seems Jefferson’s point was to keep government out of religion and allow for freedom of religion, including allowing people of religion a voice in public debate.

Each of us has unique values, priorities, standards and political/social views. Those are fundamental to who we are. The sources of these core values are varied and often include religion. When fighting for our rights, making laws or debating polices, a religious individual has every right to reference scriptures, religious leaders or other religious-based sources.

Many great political and public leaders have been individuals with core religious beliefs. To push people of religion and their thoughts to the sidelines is counter to the fundamentals of our constitution. The idea that any thought, standard or moral view that is religion-based has no place in the public square ignores the inalienable rights of all men.

John Adams, in a speech to the military in 1798, warned: “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. ... Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Kirk Larsen is the Legislative District 33 chairman and serves on the Bonneville County Republican Central Committee.