Independence, Church and State
Today is Independence Day. This holiday commemorates the anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.
The Declaration of Independence is an amazing document. Luckily, it is of sufficient strength to be impervious to being waved about for crass short-term political nefariousness from the likes of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and others.
In honor of the occasion, I’d like to share a few thoughts, opinions and facts regarding the document that announced the thirteen American colonies had become independent states and how it came to be used (by some) as an instrument to denounce the concept of the separation between church and state.
The Declaration of Independence was primarily written by Thomas Jefferson, who was one member of a “Committee of Five” appointed by Congress to draft the declaration. That committee determine that Jefferson should write the first draft. That draft was written within 17 days between June 11 and June 28, 1776. After consulting with others, Jefferson produced another copy which was then presented to Congress on June 28, 1776.
The vote for independence took place on July 2, 1776. The resolution of independence was adopted with twelve affirmative votes and one abstention. (The delegates from New York were not authorized to vote for independence.) In a letter to his wife, John Adams predicted the date would become a great American holiday. Continue reading →