In a conference call with fellow evangelicals earlier this week, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) shared his thoughts on the origins of the constitutionally mandated separation of church and state. Rather than tracing the idea to the nation’s founders, Perry warned of a more nefarious source: Satan.
“Satan runs across the world with his doubt and with his untruths and what have you and one of the untruths out there that is driven is that people of faith should not be involved in the public arena,” Perry said during the call on Tuesday, organized by the Rev. Rick Scarborough.
Perry said the separation of religious and civic institutions in the U.S. began with a “narrative” that first took root in the 1960s.
“Somehow or another there’s this, ya know, steel wall, this iron curtain or whatever you want to call it between the church and people of faith and this separation of church and state is just false on its face,” the governor said. “We have a biblical responsibility to be involved in the public arena proclaiming God’s truth.”
Perry’s not quite right about the time frame there. It wasn’t the ’60s, it was in ‘01 — specifically, 1801. In that year, Satan wrote this to the Danbury Baptist association in Connecticut:
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, 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. 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.
Except it wasn’t exactly Satan, but Thomas Jefferson, and Rick Perry — one time frontrunner for the Republican nomination to the office of President of the United States — is a ridiculous boob.
Gotta love these “patriots” who don’t actually know jack shit about the founding of the nation, huh?