Video: The (mostly) unknown history of the "separation of church and state"

Actually, I’d guess that most Hot Air readers know most of John Eastman’s lesson for Prager University on the history of religion and liberty in the US.  For those of you looking for extra credit, here’s a course to audit — and there may be a few new details to learn for our grad students, too.  Eastman, a regular on the Hugh Hewitt show, covers the relatively recent development of this remark from Thomas Jefferson into a legal precedent, and explains why it actually defies the entire system of natural rights defended by Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence:

On another front in this fight, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops announced their second annual Fortnight for Freedom, their pushback against the HHS contraception/sterilization mandate that would infringe on the rights of private and religious organizations:

The second annual Fortnight for Freedom will take place from June 21 to July 4, and will consist of national and local efforts to educate Americans on challenges to religious liberty both at home and abroad. As with last year’s Fortnight, the event will begin and end with a special Mass.

Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, will open the 2013 Fortnight for Freedom by celebrating Mass at Baltimore’s historic Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, scheduled for June 21 at 7 p.m. EDT. Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington will celebrate the closing Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington on July 4 at 12 p.m. EDT.

“The need for prayer, education, and action in defense of religious liberty has never been greater,” explained Archbishop Lori. “The Fortnight for Freedom exists to meet that need. This year’s Fortnight occurs just weeks before August 1, when the administration’s mandate coercing us to violate our deeply-held beliefs will be enforced against most religious non-profits. During the Fortnight the Supreme Court’s decisions on the definition of marriage will likely be handed down as well. Those decisions could have a profound impact on religious freedom for generations to come.”

Further details about the Fortnight can be found at . . . The site hosts resources such as one-page fact sheets outlining current threats to religious freedom both in the United States and abroad; frequently asked questions about religious liberty, including quotes from the Founding Fathers, the Second Vatican Council and Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI; and a study guide on Dignitatis Humanae, Vatican II’s document on religious liberty. The website also lists sample activities already planned in several dioceses, an image gallery of photos from last year’s Fortnight celebrations, as well as resources and recommendations for other local efforts, such as prayers for use in special liturgies.

The fight goes on for liberty.