Benjamin Franklin once declared, "Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As a nation becomes more corrupt and vicious they have more need of masters." In nineteen sixty-two the Supreme Court of the United States pronounced that a prayer recited in the public school was abusing our freedoms . In the court's opinion this was an act in violation to the first amendment, which calls for "a separation of church and state.'' This ruling was later extended to include the use of the Bible as well. A Supreme Court Justice, Hugo Black, put it in this often quoted statement "Neither a state or the Federal government can set up a church. Nor can pass laws that aid one religion, all religions, or prefer one religion over
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In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that National morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."(588) From these quotes we see what the founders thought, but were their actions different from their intents? Let's take a closer look into the past.
In the summer of seventeen eighty-nine, the wording of the first Amendment was being pounded out. It finally passed the House of Representatives on the twenty-fourth of September. On the very next day, the very same House of Representatives called on George Washington to issue a Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving (the origin of our current legal holiday). This was Washington's response: "It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor...That great and glorious being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that ever will be, that we may then unite in offering unto him our sincere