July 29, 2003
SPRINGFIELD – Dee Wampler, an active member of Second Baptist Church, Springfield, has developed into a pretty good lie detector.
The southwest Missouri attorney has served as both a prosecutor and defense lawyer in Greene County during his legal career, handling several major felony cases. He says he has looked into the eyes of many a liar the last in 35 years.
Three of the biggest lies he’s ever heard, however, have nothing to do with the legal profession, Wampler says.
The lies are:
- The check is in the mail;
- I’m from the government and I’m here to help you; and
- Our Constitution requires a total wall of separation between church and state.
"Most everyone thinks there is a separation of church and state in this country. They are wrong," Wampler told The Pathway. "There never has been separation of church and state, and there isn’t now. Most think it is in the Constitution. It isn’t."
Wampler discusses the issue in detail in his book "The Myth of Separation Between Church & State." The book contains a collection of thoughts of some of the Founding Fathers.
"Over the past century, much of our religious heritage has been taken out of our history books …," Wampler writes in the book’s foreword. "We are in danger of losing our true heritage because the whole story is no longer being told."
If church/state separation were intended, Wampler says the Declaration of Independence would be politically incorrect.
"It contains direct references to God, and there is no indication that any delegate objected to such references," Wampler writes. "Today, many Americans would protest the use of the word ‘Creator.’ It would be bemoaned by liberals as the endorsement of religion by government."
Christianity’s strong influence on society continued into the 1800s, Wampler said, with William Holmes McGuffy publishing McGuffey’s Reader in 1836. The textbook continued to be used into the 20th Century, with 125 million copies sold as of 1963. Wampler said it is the most widely used and influential textbook of all times.
The foreword to McGuffey’s Reader said:
"The Christian religion is the religion of our country. From it are derived our prevalent notions of the character of God, the great moral governor of the universe. On its doctrines are founded the peculiarities of our free institutions."
"The Ten Commandments are the teachings of Jesus are not only basic but plenary."
"At the close of the day, before you go to sleep, you should not fail to pray to God to keep you from sin and from harm. You ask your friends for food, and drink, and books, and clothes; and when they give you these things, you thank them, and love them for the good they do you. You should ask your God for these things which he can give you, and which no one else can give you.
"You should ask him for life, and health, and strength; and you should pray to him to keep your feet from the ways of sin and shame…"
Wampler offers proof in his book that church/state separation is a lie.
If the U.S. Constitution requires a separation of church and state, the attorney asks separation proponents to explain:
- Why when the federal legislature met in 1789, one of its first actions was to appoint chaplains in both Houses of Congress?
- Why all currency bears our national motto, "In God We Trust?"
- Why the Declaration of Independence emphatically refers to God?
- Why President Abraham Lincoln designated April 30, 1863, as a "national day of prayer and humiliation?"
- Why President George Washington proclaimed thanksgiving, with religious overtones, a day of national celebration and Congress made it a national holiday more than a century ago?
- Why the chamber of the U.S. Supreme Court is decorated with a notable and permanent symbol of religion, Moses with the Ten Commandments?
- Why legislative prayers have been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court?
- Why Sunday closing laws have been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court?
But, if Christianity was so ingrained in the fabric of this country’s society as recently as the mid-1900s, what produced such a cry today for separation of church and state?
"It was a case called Everson vs. Board of Education in 1947," Wampler said. "Up until that time, students prayed in schools and the Bible was used in classrooms. It was in that case that Justice (Hugo) Black coined the phrase ‘separation of church and state.’
"It took a while for another case to be decided, but there were a series of cases that continued the next 35 or 40 years that removed God from the classroom and public life."
Wampler said the tide has turned.
"It wasn’t until 1983 that the (Supreme) Court began to reverse itself," he said. "That’s when the court ruled in the plastic reindeer case and said that it was okay to have a manger scene on the courthouse square. The swing back has been moderate, but has stopped the gutting of Christianity out of public life."
What about the future?
"Some separation of church and state is a valuable tool for preserving the religious liberty of people," Wampler said. "We have separated the church from the state to protect private religious faith from government interference. We do not want our government explicitly embracing a particular religion that will coerce religious practice.
"However, to confuse the desire of the framers to prohibit the establishment of a national church as opposed to discrimination against religious sects by building an impenetrable wall between religious faith and political action is wrong."
Wampler said people of faith have been lured into a state of mind where we’re content to sit back and leave it to someone else.
"Today, we have grown complacent. If we let the flame of freedom that our forefathers carried die out, then this country as we know it will come to and end," Wampler concludes.
""Some conclude that Americas no longer care about right and wrong and that believers should throw up their hands and surrender. Should we continue to defend the unborn child, oppose the homosexual agenda, fight for lower taxes, promote pro-family initiatives in Congress and continue to defend the family and Judeo-Christian values?" he asks.
"What’s at stake in our history is profoundly more significant that the shims of politics. Hanging in the balance is the essence of Christian faith: purity, reverence for life, family, stability, love for God and reception to the Gospel itself."