The United States Constitution in the first amendment refers to establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise of religion. That amendment states as follows:

Amendment I

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States became known as the Bill of Rights because they enumerate freedoms that Americans held to be their inalienable rights. So important were these rights that several states insisted on a promise of amendments guaranteeing individual rights before they would ratify the body of the Constitution.

The Bill of Rights, ratified in 1791, was the result of more than a century of experience with rights in America and many centuries before that in England. The major British precursors to our Bill of Rights are the Magna Carta (1215), Petition of Right (1628), and England’s Bill of Rights (1689). These documents have their roots and justification from Scripture.


An example of the need for the First Amend- ment was made clear by the Established Church of England. It was the Anglican Church. It was the only sanctioned Church in England un- til the Declaration of Breda, which allowed religious tolerance, in 1660.

Below is a portion of the King’s Declaration prefixed to the Articles of Religion, published in November 1628. It is clear from the language of the Declaration that a citizen must be an Anglican and must accept its government sanctioned interpretation of the faith. From it you can draw your own conclusion as to what was intended when the First Amendment was passed.

The King’s Declaration prefixed to the Articles of Religion

“That therefore in these both curious and unhappy differences, which have for so many hundred years, in different times and places, exercised the Church of Christ, we will, that all further curious search be laid aside, and these disputes shut up in God’s promises, as they be generally set forth to us in the Holy Scriptures, and the general meaning of the Articles of the Church of England according to them. And that no man hereafter shall either print, or preach, to draw the Article aside any way, but shall submit to it in the plain and full meaning thereof: and shall not put his own sense or comment to be the meaning of the Article, but shall take it in the literal and grammatical sense.

“That if any public reader in either our universities, or any head or master of a college, or any other person respectively in either of them, shall affix any new sense to any Article, or shall publicly read, determine, or hold any public disputation, or suffer any such to be held either way, in either the universities or colleges respectively; or if any divine in the universities shall preach or print anything either way, other than is already established in convocation with our royal assent; he, or they the offenders, shall be liable to our displeasure, and the Church’s censure in our commission ecclesiastical, as well as any other: and we will see there shall be due execution upon them.”

Quoting Scripture is not a violation of the separation of Church and State. It is the free flow of discourse about Christianity that the first amendment was created to protect. The government will always want to establish its church even if it is not a Christian church but a church of its own idol worship. Today the government wants to be a secular church worshiped by its citizenry. The government gravitates toward power and the Church has power. If it cannot establish its own church then it will attempt to shut it down. The Church limits the government’s power. There will be no limited government without the Church and the Bible upon which it is based.