This nation was founded on certain principles in which the founders and framers thought were necessary. The founders and framers of the Constitution spent years drafting and revising the very important document, which was to be the foundation of this free nation. The goal was to have future generations follow suit based on what the founders and framers had previously drafted and revised. As a result, using the “original intent” approach to constitutional interpretation is interpreting the Constitution to mean what the original founders and framers wanted it to “originally” mean.
The founders’ and framers’ intentions were to create a nation that was drastically different than that of oppressive Great Britain. The founders and framers wanted to provide the people of the United States religious freedom and civil liberties. As time progresses, so do values and culture. One can assume the founders and framers were short-sighted in that they did not anticipate the growth and diversity of the nation they were fighting to create. The intentions of the founders and framers were important as it created a free and thriving nation, but needs evolve as time moves forward. Therefore, in the grand scheme, much cannot be taken into what the founders’ and framers’ original intent was.
The founders and framers wanted to implement a clause in the Constitution which would make the establishment of religion by the state or federal government and prohibition of the free exercise of religion unconstitutional. The founders and framers placed the liberty of free exercise of religion as not only a good in itself, but also one of the few essential goods on which all the other goods of a free society depend. Furthermore, one can interpret that the founders’ and framers’ intentions were to allow individuals to practice any religion that he or she wanted. One could not have practiced any religion in Great Britain as individuals had to believe in the faith of the Church of England. This point reiterates the fact that the founders and framers wanted to provide freedoms that Great Britain did not.
As stated previously, the founders and framers wanted the nation they would soon create to be a free nation that provided liberties to the people. They stated that in order to be free, the people should be able to choose for him or herself who or what he or she wants to worship. As a result, the needs for society, in respect to the establishment of religion or the free exercise of religion, do not change as time progresses.
Religion in the Constitution can be viewed differently than that of other freedoms in the same document. If the founders and framers wanted their people to be free in a nation they created and fought for, religion should not be examined subjectively. However, as time elapses, needs for a society change. Therefore, judicial interpretation should only be allowed for things that change as time moves forward. That was the intent of the founders and framers.