Separation of Church and State..."May God Bless"...the rest of us? In the wake of the 2004 election, last count was that the IRS was investigating 60 religious organizations for endorsing Bush from the pulpit. The mixing of religion in politics has become a much more serious problem then most Americans realize, because this number only represents organizations that were blatant enough to be caught (this time around). Other organizations advised congregations to support the candidate who represented what their religion stands for, though just as inappropriate, not to mention presumptuous. After all, one candidate may be against gay marriage and abortion, while the other is concerned about poverty, the elderly, health care, etc.--as if one can pick and choose "values." The reason why some Bush supporters were less willing to participate in exit polls was because many were block voting, which is illegal. With regard to separation of church and state: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." - the First Amendment, the courts have gone back and forth on the issue with the use of various tests (the Lemon Test, Endorsement Test, Coercion Test, and ceremonial deism or the History Test). The Coercion Test, which was advanced by Justice Anthony Kennedy in 1992: This immediately excludes the practice of prayer in school. The Endorsement Test, which emphasizes government neutrality is summarized by Justice Sandra Day O'Conner: Justice O'Connor continued that likewise "Disapproval sends the opposite message." If it wasn't for ceremonial deism (historical usage), the Endorsement Test would exclude everything else. Yes, the founding fathers were religious men (though some had illegitimate children, were ladies men, etc.). However the minting of all coins with "In God We Trust" was not approved until 1938, and it didn't appear on paper money until 1956. It was not until 1942 that Congress wrote the Pledge into law, with the words "under God" added later in 1954. Likewise the many and various public buildings in which the Ten Commandments are displayed were not built until more modern times, but the biggest problem with the Ten Commandments is which version to accept: Though legislative prayer dates back to 1774, it is conducted during Congressional sessions by a paid Chaplin, both of which are funded by tax dollars. While the use of tax dollars (e.g., also if applicable to holiday displays), and coercion are of most importance to me personally, one can see that the founding fathers were not responsible for establishing any of these things. Also, where is the compassionate sensitivity of Christians in this country? Some legal scholars like Steven Epstein question whether mere historical usage can truly continue to validate these practices: Epstein queries, "Would the average Christian or Jew seriously contend that this America of 2096 would not make them feel like outsiders in their own country?" Aside from prayer in school, and demands that creation be taught versus evolution (per tax-supported facilities/services), did you know churches checked with the IRS to see if they could pray for re-election of Bush? And then they boo-hooed because they weren't allowed to have crosses (crucifixes) at the presidential inauguration. Is the inauguration a "state" function? What part of separation of church and state don't they understand? Regarding recent debate about the Ten Commandments erected on the grounds of the Texas State Capital in 1961 (44 years ago) one argument is that of historical usage (laughable by standards of even our young country). Per the Americans United for Separation of Church and State web site: http://www.au.org/site/PageServer Other arguments being presented in the case per this article: Just to refresh your memory: 1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image. 3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. 4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. You can see how these commandments pertain to the American legal system. I know these people--they tell me their beliefs--they have signs on their office doors that read: God Bless America across the American flag. I drive a lot as a part of my job, but still, I challenge you to start looking around, and like me, you may notice the increasing amount of patriotic symbolism along with religious symbolism. There's a movement in our country to remove separation of church and state, and it has been growing stronger and stronger. If you don't want to believe it, don't believe it.