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With the shooting of Muslims at prayer in New Zealand and reports of violence towards Christians in foreign lands, there has been a great deal of talk lately about religious tolerance. Depending on the source, religious toleration is either getting better or worse in this nation. Those same sources also claim that America either has freedom of religion, separation of church and state, or is a Christian nation. When looking at the history of religion in America, what becomes clear is that there never really has been too much tolerance and this tradition has continued in many ways to the present. What is most surprising today is where this lack of tolerance comes from. 

Before we start any conversation on religion, we need to look at the different parts of the original Constitution that deal with religion or God. It will not take long because there are none. It is commonly believed that our Constitution maintains a separation of church and state, but in fact those words do not exist. After the Constitution was ratified, the First Amendment was added that states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” but that is all--no mention of religion, or God, or the separation thereof.

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