Henry Nicolle
California state Citizen for Congress
Revised 28 August

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Religion and Government
Henry Nicolle Policy Quick-Takes

During our first revolution, most of the leaders and founders of our states and the creators of our federal government were Christians or monotheists of many sects and religions. Often, they were from families who had fled their homes in the Old Countries because of persecution by more powerful religious sects, and some fled prosecution for the illegal aspects of their beliefs. Prior to the Constitution, in many states, religious preference, religious taxes or religious conduct were required by law and enforced by fines, imprisonment and forfeitures.

Each of the founders had their own personal religious preferences and each knew from first-hand experience that the more powerful churches would tend to destroy the lesser and weaker churches and their followers. In order for each to preserve his own theological existence among predatory competitors, they agreed that church and state were by necessity, separate authorities.

Therefore, in the construction of our new government, our founders took great precautions to create governing principles which assured unfettered practice of religious belief by deliberately refraining from incorporating elements of religion or specific moral dogma in the institutional framework and by afterthought, reinforced a secular governing structure by prohibiting the Congress from making any law in this regard.

Our Congress is prohibited from making any law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. No corresponding constitutional provision exists regarding religious practice in or among the states.

In the years immediately following the adoption of the constitution, the states which had instituted religious laws and taxes prior to the constitution, modified their constitutions and statutes to conform with the concept separating ecclesiastical powers from the general governing powers.

By this simple, yet controversial decision to remove the powers of government from the powers of religion, we have a country that welcomes and tolerates all believers, whether Christian or not. For some believers, this tolerance is a great burden, but for most, it is a great liberty from oppression. Religious powers in our country are private, as are religious beliefs and practices.

Congress is also prohibited from making any law impairing the obligation of contracts. Marriage, including religious marriage, is a contract.

Although the United States does not comprise a "Christian" or "religious" nation, we were cautioned that we should maintain a high sense of common morality so that we should select leaders who demonstrate high moral sense and good character in addition to competence and good judgment, else our liberties fall to the schemes of the venal, criminal or ambitious.

I support the separate conduct of government and religion. I also support moral and ethical conduct by the individuals who comprise the leadership of government and religion. We have too many leaders who practice the failed philosophy of "the ends justify the means" in private as well as governing sectors.

I also support self-determination of morality, declaring the powers of government limited from enforcement of perceived virtue upon common non-criminal conduct. The powers we lend for governing should not be used against us to enforce transient opinions for the pubic good, public welfare and etc. of reformers and social belligerents. One man's sins and vices cannot be defined by his fellow man, because each is free to define sin and sinful, just as each man's private conduct is inevitably self-regulating. 

Liberty is not easy, nor is it free. One cannot expect to be free if he also expects to regulate the freedom of his neighbors. Society cannot be self-determining if its members are not free to determine their own fate. Societies which are not free and self-determining are also addicted to inexorable self-extinguishment.


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Contact Henry Nicolle:
Mail: c/o POB 5633 Ventura, California (93005) - -  Tel: 805-758-4446 - - e-Mail: henry@henrynicolle.org

Last Revision: 28 August, 2004