I was in public elementary school prior to the Supreme Court's ruling on daily devotionals, when Christian Prayer was read over the PA System for the benefit of all. The Christian Majority in the school district felt secure in the privileges they enjoyed as sanctioned by the state. Even as a tyke, I wondered how my Jewish classmates felt under this daily reminder that they were different and not included in these daily prayers.<quoted text>
The whole point of the First Amendment was that no one religion would be considered the STATE religion - as the Church of England was the state religion of England and enjoyed privileges above other religions. The letter from Jefferson from which the "wall of separation" quotation is lifted is to a group of Baptist ministers who feared a state religion would be established in the United States. His point was to assure them that people would be free to worship as they please. No where is there intent that the First Amendment requires that the public arena be "free from religion" - which is the tack so many of the Left try to take. In "Notes on the State of Virginia" he asks "Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?" As president he signed bills appropriating funds for chaplains in the military and in Congress. Freedom OF religion - absolutely. Freedom FROM religion - a complete twisting of intent.
"No where is there intent that the First Amendment requires that the public arena be "free from religion" - which is the tack so many of the Left try to take."
Now you've changed the argument, in the previous post you made reference to Freedom from Religion, which is not the same as making the public arena be "free from religion". Freedom from Religion is they very point that Jefferson is discussing in the quotes I supplied:
It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are 20 gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.
Religious institutions that use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights.
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Danbury Baptists
Which is the very condition that exists when schools promote prayer, or when public property is turned over to religious displays during religious holidays. Providing Chaplins in the Military or Congress to meet to the needs of adults is not quite the same thing.
In "Notes on the State of Virginia" he asks "Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?"
Putting this quote in context it appears that Jefferson was referring to that peculiar southern institution. Besides the personal religious convictions of any single person are not the issue, Freedom of Religion means one god, many gods, or no god, the state should not promote any position. Course the reality is that religion is a powerful tool and personal convictions that are so clear to each of us must surley be of equal benefit to others, if only they could see The Truth.
"For in a warm climate, no man will labour for himself who can make another labour for him. This is so true, that of the proprietors of slaves a very small proportion indeed are ever seen to labor. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever ...." - Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVIII