The One Thing You Won’t See on TV at the State of the Union

Thursday's Editorial - January 27, 2011


1. What is the main idea of Dennis Prager's commentary?

2. For each of the following assertions made by Mr. Prager, state whether you agree or disagree and explain your answer:

_______________________ "A generation of Americans has been raised to regard any mention of God outside the home or church as a violation of the deepest principles of our country. To the men and women of the left-leaning news media, in particular, 'In God We Trust' is an anachronism at best, an impediment to moral progress at worst. The existence of those giant chiseled words so disturbs the media that, consciously or not, they do not want Americans to see them." (from para. 9)

_______________________ "I do not for a moment believe that there is any conspiracy here. ...The words 'In God We Trust' emblazoned in giant letters behind the president of the United States just don't sit well with the secular media. So you won't see them." (from para. 10-11)

_______________________ "We have been led to believe that America is supposed to be a secular country. But that was never the case. We were founded to be a God-centered, God-based country with a nondenominational government. And that is what those chiseled words affirm." (from para. 12)

NOTE: The phrase "separation of church and state" is not in the U.S. Constitution (which reads in the 1st amendment "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religiou, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof").  The phrase actually comes from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson in 1802 to the Danbury Baptist Association. In that letter, referencing the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Jefferson wrote:  "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."  In his letter, Jefferson made clear that the "wall of separation" was erected not to limit public religious expressions but rather to provide security against governmental interference with those expressions, whether private or public.  (On numerous other occasions, Jefferson repeatedly affirmed that the sole purpose of the First Amendment was to ensure that the federal government could not interfere with public religious expressions.)  [from]

Read a detailed explanation of what the founders really meant by the "separation of church and state" at: