"It is of great importance in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part. If a majority be united by a common interest, the rights of the minority will be insecure." - James Madison. Federalist Paper 51
On Feb. 21, 1811, President James Madison vetoed "An act incorporating the Protestant Episcopal Church in the town of Alexandria, in the District of Columbia", which would have officially incorporated an Episcopal Church in the District of Columbia and charged it with caring for the poor.
Here is a message sent with his veto.
In it he stated:
Because the bill exceeds the rightful authority to which governments are limited by the essential distinction between civil and religious functions, and violates in particular the article of the Constitution of the United States which declares that "Congress shall make no law respecting a religious establishment."
Because the bill vests in the said incorporated church an authority to provide for the support of the poor and the education of poor children of the same, an authority which, being altogether superfluous if the provision is to be the result of pious charity, would be a precedent for giving to religious societies as such a legal agency in carrying into effect a public and civil duty.
As Rob Boston points out
Just to be clear: This bill didn’t give any tax money to the church, and Madison still vetoed it. Any kind of official charge from government to a church, he argued, violated the First Amendment.
Madison knew what he was talking about when it comes to the Bill of Rights. He was a key architect of the First Amendment, after all. Even today, there are those who argue that all Madison intended was for there to be no national church. This veto message makes hash of that argument.