Monday, August 29, 2011

Separation of Church and State.

Where or where is that famous phrase we all know by heart "Separation of Church and State" found in our founding documents? Surely it is in the Constitution, within the Bill of Rights, isn't it? We are told it is in the 1st Amendment, is it really there?

1st Amendment
"Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion or
prohibit the free exercise there of."

It never says anything about separation of church and state.

Just where did the "separation of church and state" begin? How did it become
part of our national vernacular?

In 1801 the Danbury Baptist Association of Danbury Connecticut heard a
rumor that the Congregational Denomination was about to be made the National
Denomination and it worried them greatly. It was only a rumor, but they
wrote to brand new President, Thomas Jefferson. He wrote them back on
January 1st 1802 and said:
"The First Amendment has erected a wall of separation between Church and
State. They need not fear a National Denomination."

We never hear Jefferson's words in context or intent anymore. Here is that letter, you can see it for yourself in the Jefferson room upstairs in the Library of Congress.

Jefferson's Letter to the Danbury Baptists
The Final Letter, as Sent
To messers. Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, & Stephen S. Nelson, a committee of the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut.


The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist association, give me the highest satisfaction. my duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, & in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.

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. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves & your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.

Th Jefferson
Jan. 1. 1802.

Then how did we come to believe it is in the Constitution?

In 1958 the Supreme Court discussed their interpretation of the Separation of Church and State.

1958 Baer v Kolmorger
"Continuing to talk about the separation of church and state will make
people think that it was part of the Constitution."

This constant refrain has caused us to add it to our National vernacular.

Consider the warning of Dr. William James;

"There is nothing so absurd but that you repeat it often enough people will
believe it true."

Today, if you ask most Americans if Separation of Church and State is in our Constitution, and I will bet you that 90% will say that it is. It is not now, nor has it ever been. The only place it was ever mentioned was in that private letter to the Danbury Baptists telling them that the State would never force them to follow a national prescribed religious sect.

The facts are there is no Constitutional mandate for a separation of church and state. There is a mandate to protect the church from being imposed on by the State. There is a mandate to protect people of faith from being oppressed in any forum private or public by the State.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Cost Of Leadership

In our world today we see so many so called leaders in business and politics who are all about themselves, their own benefits, their own rewards, their own egos. It makes it hard for people to understand that what they are showing is the antithesis of leadership. True leadership is built on sacrifice.

Sacrifice is a constant in leadership. It is an ongoing process, not a one-time payment. Many times the cost of moving forward in leadership is often financial, there is usually a temporary step back in income when you take on a new challenge of leadership. If you do your job right the finances will come, never hesitate to make a sacrifice when you know the step is right.

Leaders who want to rise have to do more than take an occasional cut in pay. They have to give up their rights. When you become a leader, you lose the right to think for yourself. Dexter Yager says "If you have a decision to make, you can never go wrong choosing the option that is best for your people over what is best for you personally." For every person, the nature of the sacrifice may be different. For example, Lee Iaccoca's sacrifice came late in his career to save Chrysler. Former South African president F. W. de Klerk, who worked to dismantle apartheid in his country sacrificing his own career. The circumstances change from person to person, but the principle doesn't. Leadership means sacrifice.

Leaders give up to go up. That is true of every leader regardless of profession. Talk to any leader, and you will find that he has made repeated sacrifices. Usually the higher that leader has climbed, the greater the sacrifices he or she has made. Effective leaders sacrifice much that is good to dedicate themselves to what is best. Robert Palmer said in and interview, "In my model of management, there is very little wiggle room. If you want a management job, they you have to accept the responsibility and accountability that goes with it." He is really talking not about management but the cost of leadership.

If leaders have to give up to go up, then they have to give up even more to stay up. Have you ever considered how infrequently teams have back-to-back champion seasons? The reason is simple: If a leader can take a team to the championship game and win it, he often assumes he can duplicate the results the next year without making changes. He becomes reluctant to make additional sacrifices in the off-season. But what gets a team to the top isn't what keeps it there. The only way to stay up is give up even more. Leadership success requires continual change, improvement, and sacrifice. "For everything you have missed, you have gained something else; and for everything you gain, you lose something." Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Sacrifice is the rule of leadership, yet nothing is more rewarding that leadership. Helping others follow a vision, helping them realize more than they ever could have dreamed of without your leadership is priceless. Of course leadership is rewarding financially in the end, it isn't what you get out of it, it is about who you become.

It's too bad so many of our leaders in name or title only have it all backwards.