Jerry Newcombe, whose website that I link to over on the right and who authored the book The Book That Made America: How the Bible Formed our Nation (review here) recently sat down to the keyboard and offered up his thoughts on the contraversy...
"A law professor—-Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the University of California at Irvine School of Law—-said the governor was violating the establishment clause: “The governor of the state of Texas should not be using his state email or his office to advance [the prayer event] because that’s advancing religion.”
Chemerinsky went on to highlight the idea that the event was not inclusive: “This is not only about prayer and involving God, but it’s Christian. So, for those of us who are not Christian, we are truly made to feel as outsiders relative to our own government, which is exactly what the establishment clause was meant to prevent.”
No, in the establishment clause, the founders intended to avoid creating a state church at the federal level. The Anglican Church, for example, was not to be the national church “by law established.” Nor the Presbyterian, nor the Quaker, and so on.
Meanwhile, several states had state churches, at the time of the adoption of the first amendment. These were never declared unconstitutional. They eventually withered away of their own accord—-the last to go being the Congregational Church, which was the established church of Massachusetts until 1833.
Declaring a day of prayer or thanksgiving (to God) has never been viewed—-until recently—-as constituting an “establishment of religion.”
During the American War for Independence, on at least fifteen separate occasions, Congress called for national days of prayer, humiliation, and fasting.
Furthermore, observe what an expert’s expert notes about this. David Barton, a walking encyclopedia on the spiritual heritage of America once told me, “Between 1633 and 1812, there were over 1700 prayer proclamations issued in the colonies, where the governor would call the state to an annual day of prayer and fasting, annual day of prayer of and thanksgiving.”
When the country first began under the Constitution, the Congress (many of the same men who would soon adopt the first amendment) called on President Washington to declare a day of Thanksgiving (to God—-these days, you have to clarify these things) for the ability to peaceably meet and fashion our own government.
So, on October 3, 1789, President Washington made a Thanksgiving Proclamation, in which he declared: “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.”
It would seem to me that according to the law professor, the father of our country—-the very man who presided over the Constitutional convention—-was making an assault of the establishment clause."
It's understandable that one would not know any of these things because in our nation's public schools, these types of things are not being taught at all. We have a generation of largely ignorant people who simply accept revisionist history as gospel truth because they really don't know any better.
Critical thinking would seem to have gone to the wayside as Rick Perry is a state office holder and not elected to national office and that he couldn't establish a national religion if he even wanted to. Additionally, what kind religion was Perry trying to establish? Pentacostalism? Anabaptist? Church of Reason?
What Rick Perry did was entirely consistant with governors before him and in no way violated the Establishment Clause of the constitution.