Jeff Sessions Rejects Separation of Church and State

Senator Jeff Sessions, Trump’s pick for attorney general, claims the separation of church and state is “unconstitutional.”

Sessions, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general of the United States, is a moral monster with a terrible record on race, women, and the LGBT community.

However, perhaps most alarming, Sessions is a radical Christian extremist who rejects the separation of church and state.

Americans United, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and other sources all report that Sessions believes the separation of church and state is an “extra-constitutional doctrine” and “a recent thing that is unhistorical and unconstitutional.”

Supporting the separation of church and state should not be a controversial issue. However, the sad fact is many Republicans, and many conservative Christians, dispute the existence of the separation of church and state in the U.S. Constitution.

Technically, the words “separation of church and state” are not found in the U.S. Constitution. However, the sentiment and meaning behind the phrase is contained within the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…

The actual phrase “separation of church and state” is derived from a letter written by President Thomas Jefferson in 1802 to Baptists from Danbury, Connecticut, and published in a Massachusetts newspaper soon thereafter. The following is an excerpt from Jefferson’s famous Letter to the Danbury Baptist Association:

I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.

Thus, Jefferson makes clear that the separation of church and state is contained within the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Yet despite the irrefutable historical and constitutional evidence, Christian extremists like Sessions continue to deny the the separation of church and state.

Bottom line: Anyone who claims the separation of church and state is an “extra-constitutional doctrine” and “a recent thing that is unhistorical and unconstitutional” is simply unqualified to serve as the attorney general of the United States.

Senator Jeff Sessions (Image via Gage Skidmore)
Senator Jeff Sessions (Image via Gage Skidmore)
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