The following is a letter to the Editor from the 7/28/93 Chicago Tribune: BARRINGTON--Geor

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The following is a letter to the Editor from the 7/28/93 Chicago Tribune: BARRINGTON--George Heinemann (Voice, July 12) argues that because the phrase "separation between church and state" is not in the Constitution, the principle which it embodies is likewise not part of that document. However, church-state separation is firmly embedded in the Constitution. Because of the length of the religion clauses in the 1st Amendment, it was inevitable that a convenient phrase would come into use to concisely state the meaning of those clauses. In 1802, President Thomas Jefferson coined such a phrase, "separation between church and state," in a letter written to some Baptists who had asked him to explain the clauses. In the Treaty of Tripoli, ratified unanimously by Congress in 1797, President George Washington wrote "...the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion." After ratification, the treaty was signed by Washington's successor, President John Adams. I don't think that there are any better sources on the question of the secular founding of our country than the Constitutional Convention of 1789, Washington, Adams, and Jefferson.

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