There are many today who claim the US Constitution pushes religion out of the public arena. Indeed, decisions by the US Supreme Court would seem to reinforce that idea. Interpretations of the Founding Fathers intentions are a varied as religious expression. Atheists too have more recently found sympathetic allies in the ACLU and its arguemnts before various courts to stamp out religious expression in government - and by extension - almost all public venues. But I ask the question if the 1st Amendment is being applied as was originally intended. The cause has been the subject of much debate. Quote: 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. For the purposes of this thread, I wish to ignore the other aspects of the Amendment and focus on "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;". Various individuals and groups have been successful in having this simple statement applied to the American legal and political landscape in ways, that I believe, are counter to the Framers intentions, and at the loss of liberty for religious people. The over-riding theme of the Constitution is about rights. The rights of the various States, the Federal Government, but most importantly, the rights of the People. In historical context, there can be no question that the Framers saw the granting and denial of rights as a construct of "Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" and of "Divine Providence". They were attempting to create a Constitution that took the granting of individual rights away from man and make them "unalienable". So much so they felt the need, the urgency if you will, to include this idea in the Declaration of Independence - "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,.... There would appear to have been some paranoia in their minds about this idea being misconstrued, to the point where they deemed it necessary to enumerate the "history of repeated injuries and usurpations,.... What I think is clear is that the intention was that government can not grant or deny rights, and the idea that it could would ultimately lead to tyranny, a word they used in the Declaration. So if government, be it a Sovereign, a Congress or any institution comprised of men, can not be the ultimate source of rights, clearly they deemed those rights emanating from a God of some form. This being the case, the removal religion from the public forum would be justifiably considered counter to the sprit of the Constitution. Indeed, when proponents of removal employ the powerful quote from Jefferson thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties. I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves & your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem. When atheists claim that Jefferson too was an atheist, clearly he was not and considered a God (of some description) to be fundamental to the rights of man. Essentially my point in this thread is a simple one; attempts to take religion out of the public arena are counter to the intentions of the Founding Fathers, and more, they would have considered such an idea as detrimental to liberty, benefiting those who promote tyranny.