Whereas, The Constitution of the United States of America is the founding document upon which our nation was conceived and is governed;
Whereas, The United States of America was first among nations to adopt a secular Constitution separating church from state;
Whereas, The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment prohibits government from preferring or supporting one particular religion over other religions, or religion over non-religion;
Whereas, The ideals of the First Amendment were embodied in Founder and President Thomas Jefferson;
Whereas, President Jefferson refused to issue Thanksgiving proclamations during the eight years he held office: ". . . civil powers alone have been given to the President of the U.S., and no authority to direct the religious exercises of his constituents" (Letter to Rev. Samuel Miller, Jan. 23, 1808).
Whereas, President Jefferson coined his immortal phrase explaining the Establishment Clause in a letter on January 1, 1802: "Believing . . . that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and 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 and State." (Letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, 1802)
Whereas, The Jeffersonian "wall of separation between Church and State" has served for nearly two centuries as a touchstone in courts of law, protecting personal liberties and preserving freedom of conscience in our republic;
Now, Therefore, I, _________________________________________________________,
Mayor of ________________________________________________________,
do hereby proclaim the month of January, 2000, as
"Celebrate State/Church Separation Month"
in ________________________________________________ and urge all citizens to participate in the observance of Celebrate State/Church Separation Month by reading the U.S. Constitution and discovering for themselves its unifying historic, legal and secular values.