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GOP’s Gohmert: ‘Separation of Church and State Really Means Churches Should Play a Role in the State’

Texas Republican Louis Gohmert recently tried to rewrite American history when he declared that the separation of church and state really meant that the state could not interfere with churches, but not the other way around.

In an ad filmed for World Net Daily and aired on March 31, Gohmert demanded that since at one time legislators met in the same place they gathered on Sundays to pray then it must be concluded that church was always intended to play a role in the matters of state.

National Statuary Hall, he pointed out as proof of his claims, was once used both as a meeting place for lawmakers and a house of Christian worship.

“On Sundays this became the largest non-denominational Christian church in the Washington, D.C. area,” he explained. “People came in here and prayed, they sang hymns, they worshipped God. It was part of our history.”

He added that even Thomas Jefferson, the lawmaker that coined the phrase ‘separation of church and state,’ attended the church. Based on that fact, Gohmert concluded that Jefferson never meant that churches should stay out of the affairs of the state.

“It was to be a one-way wall, where the state would not dictate to the church,” Gohmert stressed. “But the church would certainly play a role in the state.”

He then bemoaned the fact that this ‘true’ story of separation of church and state is “little different idea than a lot of people have about separation of church and state now.”

Unfortunately, Gohmert’s version is also a little different from the interpretation of the US Supreme Court on the matter, which has repeatedly affirmed  through decisions of the highest court that the wall, is indeed, two-way and intended to prevent church interference in lawmaking.

Gohmert, of course, has a reason why the Supreme Court has been wrong all along. A lot of lawmakers simply are not aware of what Jefferson really meant, he said during the promo spot,  “including some of our esteemed Supreme Court, who are not quite as familiar with our history as they probably should be.”

About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.