It’s not my purpose here to question the patriotism of the vast majority of America’s Muslims. Or to deny the excruciating predicament in which they’ve been put by our common enemies operating in the name of Islam.
What dimension, though, are these judges living in? Their orders are totally detached from what the framers of the Constitution meant when they prohibited Congress from making any law “respecting an establishment of religion.”
Why did the Founders word it that way? History suggests their aim was not to separate religion and state. It was, rather, to prevent Congress from enacting a national religion while also protecting already enacted religious establishments — official religions — at the state level.
At least six states had established religions in our early years, according to the Heritage Foundation. This finally came to an end in 1819, when Massachusetts disestablished the Congregationalist church.
Our judges have long since plunged past original intent on religious establishment. But the Founders would have been aghast at the idea that the Establishment Clause prohibited, say, a president from vetting refugees to intercept terrorists.
We can suppose this because of what happened in 1785, when a group of Algerians hailing from the Barbary Coast, with whose pirates America was in effect at war, entered Virginia. The Commonwealth’s legal sticklers passed a law authorizing the governor to hold, question and expel them.
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