Posted by bad_luck on 12/10/2012 11:07:00 PM (view original):
Government endorsement of a religion is specifically prohibited by the Constitution. So, while you may disagree, for example, with money spent on a war, it's within the government's authority to go to war.
Here's a quote from James Story (appointed by James Madison, "The Father of the Constitution"):
“The real object of the First Amendment was not to countenance, much less to advance Mohammedanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity, but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects and to prevent any national ecclesiastical patronage of the national government.” [J. Story, III, Commentaries on the Constitution [section] 1871 (1833)]
Another tidbit about a fellow named Benjamin Huntington:
"No religion shall be established by law, nor shall the equal rights of conscience be infringed." Congressman Benjamin Huntington stood to agree that such an amendment was valuable, but was concerned that "the words might be taken in such latitude as to be extremely hurtful to the cause of religion
". Whatever words were used, Huntington wanted the amendment to be clear enough "to secure the rights of conscience, and a free exercise of the rights of religion, but not to patronize those who professed no religion at all
". In other words, Huntington wanted the amendment to establish the secular religion
, but not the secular
lack of religion.
I can list many more if it would help, but I doubt it will.
Before the 20th century, the First Amendment's free speech provisions were only applied to acts by the US Congress "Congress shall make no law...". It was only in the early 20th century that the courts decided it would apply to all government actions (state and local governments) and was the second half of the 20th century before they started applying it to private suits, public schools, etc.
So the courts eventually expanded the scope to those things that were never the part of the original intent..