A long letter (Oct. 29) deserves and answer. His is one argument, but it is not the only argument. In the first place, the religious beliefs of the Founding Fathers are irrelevant. The Founding Fathers were the intelligentsia of their day, but the whole point of Democracy is that the aristocracy, whether of money, land or education, doesn't get its way just because it thinks it has a right to. Democracy belongs to all the people.
The truth is that the nascent United States was virtually all Christian and overwhelmingly Protestant. The First Amendment was directed at not allowing any Protestant denomination special rights as an established church. The amendment said nothing about what the states could do, but only what Congress could or could not do. (It never occurred to the writers of the Constitution that the federal courts would ever be making laws.)
For 150 years, the federal government kept out of the practice of local religion entirely. Those states with established churches eventually disestablished them, but not immediately under federal compulsion. and for 150 years communities practiced civic religion as their citizens wished, having misters to give the invocation at school commencements and other civic ceremonies. And the communities were very good at shaping their civic rites to the composition of their constituencies. And minority sects went along with the majority consensus. As long as people were free to worship or not as they pleased, nobody thought that their sensibilities has to be catered to.
It was only after World War II that the courts - always creatures of the Establishment - began to discover and exercise their power to shape public policy to the will of the intelligentsia. As an exercise in court history, look up how recently it has become an unwritten rule that Supreme Court justices have to be graduates of the Ivy League and equivalent colleges and law schools. The present court may represent a physical diversity, but there is no diversity at all in who is shaping their world-view.
What are now considered religious issues are really class issues. Evangelicals were and are not opposed to Roe vs. Wade because their preachers told them they must be - Evangelical churches are the most democratic institutions in our society. They were and are pro-life because they know the intelligentsia can shape an argument in a way that suits them, and if they can shape an argument that renders the unborn non-persons, who else can they shape an argument to render un-human? (They come close in their hatred of the religious organizations of the lower middle class.) The same with same-sex marriage. Yes, the intelligentsia can fashion and argument that overturns the whole of human history up till this time, and blame the opposition on narrow religious prejudice. And find an argument for negating the expressed will of the people.
We shouldn't forget that the worst totalitarian movements of the recent era have been shaped and supported by whatever intelligentsia is in control. The only argument that is eternally valid is the expressed will of the people - all the people.