“The almost general mediocrity of fortune that prevails in America obliging its people to follow some business for subsistence, those vices, that arise usually from idleness, are in a great measure prevented. Industry and constant employment are great preservatives of the morals and virtue of a nation. Hence bad examples to youth are more rare in America, which must be a comfortable consideration to parents. To this may be truly added, that serious religion, under its various denominations, is not only tolerated, but respected and practised. Atheism is unknown there; infidelity rare and secret; so that persons may live to a great age in that country, without having their piety shocked by meeting with either an atheist or an infidel. And the Divine Being seems to have manifested his approbation of the mutual forbearance and kindness with which the different sects treat each other, by the remarkable property with which He has been pleased to favor the whole country.”
From: Information To Those Who Would Remove To America, Benjamin Franklin, 1794
Note the date –1794, well after the 1st Am “Establishment Clause” was argued and ratified by the States along with the Constitution. Jefferson’s notion of a “Wall of Separation” between church and state came about almost a decade later, yet it is that expression to which revisionists refer to make the erroneous point that the Constitution contemplated the protection of beliefs repugnant to Christianity. The “different sects” Franklin refers to were all Christian, and that’s the context in which the Establishment Clause was ratified. The modern context of tolerance toward atheism and “infidel” non-Christian religions would have offended the Founding Fathers. Under an originalist constitutional interpretation, the Establishment Clause would not protect, for example, the practice of Islam. Protections the Court has found over the years in the cascade of constitutional interpretation, can, with the stroke of a pen, be taken away. In effect, what some claim as a fundamental right, is little more than a revocable license.