Thanksgiving Whine, Followed by some Historical Cheese


John R. Houk

© November 19, 2018

This year in 2018 Thanksgiving falls on November 22. If you are a Baby Boomer I am confident you are aware of the cursory history of whence Thanksgiving in relation to American history. Even though a large chunk of that history learned in school is largely legend more than actual history.

 

I have a suspicion the Thanksgiving story as it relates to our American heritage is largely ignored at least Public School today. Why? The centrality of the story of that Thanksgiving story was Religious Liberty and thankfulness to God Almighty. Today, Leftist propaganda and the impact of a Leftist activist Judiciary turned Freedom OF Religion into Freedom FROM Religion. Which first showed up when the Courts made it illegal to pray in school (irony – no more giving thanks to God for your school lunch in class unity). AGAIN, thanks to the activist Judiciary re-writing Constitutional interpretation accepted for nearly 200 years, prayer at Public School football games has been stripped before and/or after the game.

 

This Leftist forced reinterpretation of separating religious faith (in reality – separating Christianity) from anything that receives taxpayer support (mythical Church/State Separation revised interpretation) is contrary to everything representative of the credited first American Thanksgiving. This is the reason I have doubts the true nature of Thanksgiving is taught in Public School.

 

Now that you have consumed a little of my personal whine in reading thus far, I have a little historical cheese that you may find of interest – especially for anyone born after the Baby Boomer generation.

 

I found some history about the Christian Pilgrims (Separatist Puritans) of the Mayflower that landed on Plymouth Rock (in present day Massachusetts) that led to America’s beloved Thanksgiving. The article is by Bradley Birzer found at Intellectual Takeout. Even some Baby Boomers might find history that they had no awareness.

 

JRH 11/19/18

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My America, 1620

 

By Bradley Birzer

November 16, 2018

Intellection Takeout

 

Mayflower, 1620

 

In 1620, an extraordinary thing happened.

 

At a small landing on the extreme western edge of the Atlantic Ocean, a boat named “Mayflower” rested just off shore of a rock, soon to be named Plymouth. Lost, but not mortally or dreadfully so, roughly 100 “sojourners” and 30 “strangers” arrived on November 11. With Autumn full blown and winter approaching quickly, the 130 had to figure out how to live with one another, how to survive a New England winter, and, most importantly, how to create a permanent community.

 

We all know the story. It’s been told repeatedly in every grade school in America for the last 155 years, and, in New England, since 1620 itself.  Every school child dresses up as either a pilgrim or an Indian, and we celebrate the harmony of it all. Those of us well beyond the age of school children remember the days of our dressing up as a moment of just and happy innocence, when America really was about peoples coming together, worshiping together, and loving one another without hesitation. We hunted and cooked the turkey, picked the sweet potatoes and cranberries, sat around a table together, and we broke bread with one another.

 

In November of the year of our Lord, 2018, we would do well to remember all of this not with mere nostalgia, but with moral intent. Gender confusions, LGBTQ questions, racial hatreds, social media rages, protesting dissensions, mass shootings, and authoritarian bullyings plague every aspect of our current American society. Some—on the so-called Left and so-called Right—even claim a second Civil War is coming. While this latter seems too extreme and horrific to contemplate, it is worth noting that we as a people have not been this violent or divided since 1968. Maybe it’s time to remember something that we all have in common.

 

Of the 130 members of the Mayflower, roughly 100 were “sojourners”—that is, those who considered themselves Puritan. Even among the Puritans, though, they were an odd sect. To be exact, they were “Separating Puritans.” That is, they believed that England and the English Church had become so corrupt (read: Catholic) that, at any moment, God might declare His mighty and just wrath by wiping the English isles off the face of the globe. As “Separating Puritans,” the Pilgrims could create a new society, one based on a proper understanding of the Gospels, as they interpreted them, as well as based on the early Church as described in St. Luke’s Acts of the Apostles.

 

Mainstream “Non-Separating Puritans”—who were numerically far superior to the “Separating” variety—considered the latter to be not just wrong but downright dangerous. With love as the highest virtue, the vast majority of English Puritans believed themselves a part of a larger Church, no matter how corrupt or Catholic that Church might be. To separate was to divide the body of Christ unnecessarily. Thus, they feared and despised their separating brethren. In what became Massachusetts, the non-separating variety would so out-populate and demographically surround the separating variety as to make the separating variety rather meaningless within a generation or two of initial settlement. All Puritans became one large New England family, more or less.

 

Whatever one thinks of the theology of the “sojourners,” their very attempt and survival in 1620 is nothing short of astounding. Imagine landing in a world completely unlike your own and with winter quickly approaching. There is no “escape.” To return to England would mean a cold death on the high seas. To move into the wilderness would mean settlement with even less knowledge of the land and much greater danger than life on the coast. Further, imagine landing hundreds of miles north of any known European settlement. There is no law, no authority, and no established way of life.

 

Yet, then consider what the Pilgrims really accomplished. Armed with scripture, the English Common Law, some weapons, families (for social stability), and an audacity rarely witnessed in the history of human kind, the Pilgrims made a go of it. To establish the import of the moment of community creation and to solidify their fragile community itself, the Pilgrims wrote a covenant, now incorrectly labeled the “Mayflower Compact.” While the re-naming of this document demands its own essay, suffice it to note here: New England historians and archivists employed the name “Mayflower Compact” for the first time ever in the early 1790s. Attempting to define American history from Plymouth Rock, not from Charleston or some other southern port of entry, the New Englanders of the 1790s renamed the document so as not to put off non-religious Americans. Compact, after all, was more acceptable for a secular, liberal, and Lockean people. Its original name—the Plymouth Combination—made its authors too much into exactly what they were—a radically religious sect of people. When the Pilgrims used “Combination,” they meant it quite literally. Combination was the English term for “covenant.”

 

It’s worth reproducing here:

 

IN THE NAME OF GOD, AMEN. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great BritainFrance, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the first Colony in the northern Parts of Virginia; Do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually, in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid: And by Virtue hereof do enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions, and Officers, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general Good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due Submission and Obedience. IN WITNESS whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape-Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of EnglandFrance, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth, Anno Domini; 1620.

 

Once again, just imagine the audacity. With no king, no judges, no lawyers, no bureaucrats, and no bishops, a small group of people asserted the right to govern themselves as they saw fit. Though only half of the sojourners and half of the strangers made it through the winter of 1620-1621, it would be impossible to call the experiment a failure. After all, half did survive, rule themselves, and established the pattern for almost all settlement of what would become the United States.

 

This glorious November as the election cycle brings even more bitterness, more anger, and more division, it’s well worth remembering a time that we all share in common—the real founding of America by a group of ordered, well-armed, and determined Christian families. Though I’m a Kansan Roman Catholic born in the Summer of Love, I can state with certainty, as I remember the audacity of the “sojourners” and “strangers,” this is my America.

 

This article has been reprinted with the permission [to Intellectual Takeout] of the Imaginative Conservative.

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Thanksgiving Whine, Followed by some Historical Cheese

John R. Houk

© November 19, 2018

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My America, 1620

 

Copyright © 2017 Intellectual Takeout. All rights reserved. | 8011 34th Avenue South, Suite C-11 – Bloomington, MN 55425 

 

About Intellectual Takeout

 

Like you, we are deeply troubled by the growing divisions within America. Discussions today quickly become heated, emotional yelling matches that drive people further apart. Many of us even fear making our opinions known, lest we be ostracized, threatened, fired, or even physically assaulted.

  

How did the land of the free and home of the brave come to this? Frankly, we see a couple of significant contributors: Breakdown of the education system and the collapse of family and community.

 

Decades ago, parents could count on the local schools to train students in logic and ensure that they would be historically and culturally literate. No more. Meanwhile, the ongoing collapse of community, family, and faith leaves a large and growing number of Americans feeling lost, lonely, and adrift.

 

These changes, combined with smart phones and social media, have created a perfect environment for propagandists preying upon emotions to drive their agendas that threaten our very way of life.

 

While the times are indeed grave, there is hope. Every day the staff of Intellectual Takeout come to work eager to help restore and improve our great nation. We interact with millions of Americans each week, publishing numerous articles each day and then promoting them through vast social media and e-mail networks. Additionally, we host events, publish a monthly newsletter, provide commentary for traditional media shows, and give speeches to groups of all size.

 

Through it all, we have seen a great thirst for the work we do. As Eleanor W. wrote and told us:

 

“Reading the posts from you all every day is as refreshing as water to a desert traveler.”

 

It’s why we exist: To serve as a refuge for those who want to pursue truth, rediscover the wisdom and traditions of the past, discuss ideas calmly, and apply what’s been learned to their own lives and networks.

 

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In the Chain of Human Events


Save The Peace Cross

 

Intro to ‘In the Chain of Human Events

John R. Houk

Intro date: 11/20/17

By Justin O. Smith

 

Justin Smith writes about Secular Humanist atheists winning a 4th Circuit Appellate Court case against Veterans that demanded the Peace Cross in Bladensburg, MD be removed from public property because it is just too Christian for those subscribing to what is essentially a Humanist religion that denies the existence of God Almighty the Creator.

 

Here are a couple of Secular Humanist quotes that the 4th Circuit essentially embraced:

 

“There is no place in the Humanist worldview for either immortality or God in the valid meanings of those terms. Humanism contends that instead of the gods creating the cosmos, the cosmos, in the individualized form of human beings giving rein to their imagination, created the gods.” (Corliss Lamont, The Philosophy of Humanism, (New York: Frederick Ungar, 1982) p. 145.)

 

“The classroom must and will become an area of conflict between the old and the new— the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with its adjacent evils and misery and the new faith of Humanism, resplendent in its promise of a world in which the never-realized Christian idea of ‘Love thy Neighbor’ will finally be achieved.” (John J. Dunphy, “A Religion for a New Age,” The Humanist, January/February 1983, 26.)

 

Both of these quotes are found on the PDF: WORLDVIEW-SECULAR HUMANISM FACT SHEET; Summit Ministries; © 2016 – 2 pgs.)

 

SEE ALSO:

 

Conservapedia: Humanism

 

Conservapedia: Secular humanism

 

JRH 11/20/17

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In the Chain of Human Events

 

By Justin O. Smith

Sent 11/18/2017 7:36 PM

 

To you from failing hands we throw the torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die we shall not sleep, though poppies grow in Flanders fields” — Lt Colonel John McCrae / Second Battle of Ypres

 

The forty foot tall Peace Cross in Bladensburg, Maryland, at the intersection of Maryland Route 450 and US Alternative Route 1 and just five miles from the U.S. Supreme Court, in the Court’s cross-hairs, is the object of the American Civil Liberties Union’s and atheists’ hatred, along with their hatred for many other inherently Christian Latin crosses in America, and it is also the source of incoherent confusion for too many federal judges. If the American people do not battle most fiercely to reverse the 4th Circuit Court’s recent ruling on October 18th, that found the Peace Cross presence on public land to be unconstitutional, these anti-American groups will boldly continue their purge of anything in the public square that remotely resembles religion; and, liberty and freedom cannot long survive, unless Americans once and for all definitively crush these advocates of a public arena free from God.

 

Started in 1918 and completed in 1925 using contributions from private donors and the American Legion, the Peace Cross honors 49 men from Prince George’s County, who died in WWI. It was erected on July 13th, 1925, and it has stood as a memorial and a gathering place for the community for 92 years, inscribed with the words VALOR, ENDURANCE, COURAGE and DEVOTION.

 

A two-to-one vote by a three judge panel overturned the Maryland District Court’s previous 2015 decision, that the use of a cross as a military symbol of courage, sacrifice and remembrance, does not mean the state sponsors a particular religion. The plaintiffs, American Humanist Association (AHA), alleged that the cross unconstitutionally endorsed Christianity, and the Court determined the memorial “excessively entangles the government in religion”, as they justified their decision through the fallacious notion of “separation of church and state”.

 

Chief Justice Roger Gregory wrote the dissent [***Blog Editor: Entire Dissent Below] and noted that the Establishment Clause does not require “purging” religion from the public square, but requires only governmental “neutrality” on religion. He added, “In my view, the court’s ruling confuses maintenance of a highway median and a monument in a state park with excessive religious entanglement.”

 

The First Amendment [Faith-Freedom.com & Wallbuilders] compels government not to eradicate religion from the public arena, and although it forbids the establishment of a state religion, it doesn’t forbid the sponsorship of religion. If the expression of religious beliefs is an inherent God-designed part of human nature, as the Declaration of Independence proclaims, then government acting to remove religion from the public square would have seemed to our Founding Fathers to be acting in a manner antithetical to our founding principles.

 

Even should the Peace Cross be solely a Christian symbol and not also a war memorial, the argument offered by the AHA is quite a stretch. Establishing a state religion is a deliberate act by the government, as in the manner the world witnessed the USSR implement militant atheism. It doesn’t happen through scattered memorials, that were erected by private groups long ago to remember the fallen.

 

However, the courts have not been consistent on this issue. In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that the five foot cross erected in 1934 on Sunrise Rock, in the Mojave National Reserve, and also honoring Veterans, did not violate the Constitution; but in 2012, the Supreme Court let stand a lower court’s notion that the 43 foot tall Mount Soledad Memorial Cross, in La Jolla, California, was a violation of the First Amendment.

 

The Bladensburg Peace Cross, listed in the National Registry of Historical Places, is one of the few WWI monuments in the United States. It was erected during a time when the Cross was a commonly understood symbol of suffering, sacrifice and hope.

 

When exactly did the Peace Cross begin to violate the Constitution? Never.

 

In 92 years, the Cross remained unchanged, but America’s judges became intolerant activists after the 1947 Everson case. Leftist activist judges at all levels of the judiciary, who wallow in a sewer of anti-Americanism, have advanced the flawed premises of the anti-Christian bigots from groups like the AHA, and they have violated the Constitution in impermissible fashion, by interfering with the free exercise rights of people, who simply sought to acknowledge their Christian heritage and honor their war dead.

 

The First Liberty Institute and other defenders of the Peace Cross fear, that if the 4th Circuit refuses their request for the full court to reconsider the case, a dangerous precedent will be set. This will endanger other national treasures, such as the 24 foot Cross of Sacrifice, which was a gift from Canada that has stood in Arlington Cemetery for 90 years. The Argonne Cross, also at Arlington, marks the graves of more than two thousand Americans, whose remains were interred in 1920 from battlefield cemeteries in Europe.

 

The American Humanist Association has also sued the city of Pensacola, Florida over a cross that has stood in Bayview Park for 75 years, built on the eve of WWII. Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward describes the cross as “an integral part of my town’s fabric, a symbol to our local citizens — religious and nonreligious — of our proud history of coming together during hard times.” This case is on its way to the 11th Circuit Court.

 

Immediately after the October 18th ruling against the Peace Cross, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan wrote a letter to his attorney general directing him to support a legal challenge against the ruling. In part it read: “The conclusion that this memorial honoring Veterans violates the (Constitution’s) Establishment Clause offends common sense, is an affront to all Veterans, and should not be allowed to stand. I believe very strongly, that this cherished community memorial does not violate the Constitution. Your office will be Maryland’s legal voice in this important litigation.

 

While it may seem like a win each time a legal team saves one of these crosses, by illustrating its importance as a war memorial and settling for a land transfer, as performed by Congressman Duncan Hunter in the Mount Soledad Cross case, rejecting the distinct religious value the Cross has traditionally held in Christianity is not the proper direction. Our soldiers died protecting the rights that are defining characteristics of our democratic Republic and, specifically, our First Amendment. And with our religious liberties central to this issue, Congress must provide clarity to an establishment jurisprudence in shambles.

 

The idea that the public display of a Christian cross on public land should be forbidden is deeply anti-American. Our country’s topography is indelibly marked by crosses, so where does this all end for the AHA and militant atheists in their unhinged agenda to remove any semblance of religious symbolism from the public sphere?

 

Where will the atheists ever draw the line?

 

Regardless of who likes it or not, America was founded by a people, who were 98 percent Christian well into the 19th Century, and they intended America to be a Christian nation tolerant of all other religions. The first calls for America’s independence, in 1769, were issued by a group of young writers from Yale College, who were fiercely Christian, led by John Trumbull and Timothy Dwight.

 

John Quincy Adams, the sixth U.S. president, wrote: “In the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked to the birthday of the Savior. The Declaration of Independence laid the cornerstone of human governance upon the first precepts of Christianity.”

 

George Washington declared: “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”

 

This attack on the Peace Cross is also an attack on America and an attempt to undermine the idea of America, predicated on each individual’s inherent right that lies deep within our heart and soul to have individual recourse to a power greater than the state. This is a war against our Christian faith and our shared memories that we must win, if we wish to prevent America’s descent toward the darkest days of antiquity and preserve for America’s Children the Heritage of Liberty our Founding Fathers left for us.

 

By Justin O. Smith

______________________

*** Chief Judge Roger Gregory dissent begin page 34 of PDF

 

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT

No. 15-2597

 

AMERICAN HUMANIST ASSOCIATION; STEVEN LOWE; FRED EDWORDS; BISHOP MCNEILL, — Plaintiffs – Appellants,

 

v.

 

MARYLAND-NATIONAL CAPITAL PARK AND PLANNING COMMISSION, — Defendant – Appellee,

 

THE AMERICAN LEGION; THE AMERICAN LEGION DEPARTMENT OF MARYLAND; THE AMERICAN LEGION COLMAR MANOR POST 131, — Intervenors/Defendants – Appellees,

 

=================

 

[Blog Editor: Chief Judge Roger Gregory dissent begin page 34 of PDF]

 

GREGORY, Chief Judge, concurring in part and dissenting in part:

 

I agree with the majority’s holding that Appellants have standing under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 to bring this action for a violation of the Establishment Clause. But I disagree with the majority’s ultimate conclusion that the display and maintenance of the war memorial in this case violates the Establishment Clause. I therefore respectfully dissent in part.

 

I.

 

The Establishment Clause provides that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” U.S. Const. amend. I. To properly understand and apply the Establishment Clause, it must be viewed “in the light of its history and the evils it was designed forever to suppress.” Everson v. Bd. of Educ., 330 U.S. 1, 14–15 (1947). The early colonization of America was a time marked with religious persecution. Immigrating settlers fled religious suppression in Europe only to be met with similar treatment in America. “[M]en and women of varied faiths who happened to be in a minority in a particular locality were persecuted because they steadfastly persisted in worshipping God only as their own consciences dictated.” Id. at 10. Those regarded as nonconformists were required “to support government-sponsored churches whose ministers preached inflammatory sermons designed to strengthen and consolidate the established faith by generating a burning hatred against dissenters.” Id.

 

The Establishment Clause was intended to combat the practice of “compel[ling individuals] to support and attend government favored churches.” Id. at 8; accord Myers v. Loudoun Cty. Pub. Sch., 418 F.3d 395, 402 (4th Cir. 2005). The Clause’s historical setting reveals that “[i]ts first and most immediate purpose rested on the belief that a union of government and religion tends to destroy government and to degrade religion.” Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421, 431 (1962). The realization of its goal meant that the government must “‘neither engage in nor compel religious practices,’ that it must ‘effect no favoritism among sects or between religion and nonreligion,’ and that it must ‘work deterrence of no religious belief.’” Van Orden v. Perry, 545 U.S. 677, 698 (2005) (Breyer, J., concurring) (plurality opinion) (quoting Abington School Dist. v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203, 305 (1963) (Goldberg, J., concurring)).

 

But the Clause does not require the government “to purge from the public sphere” any reference to religion. Id. at 699. “Such absolutism is not only inconsistent with our national traditions, but would also tend to promote the kind of social conflict the Establishment Clause seeks to avoid.” Id. (citations omitted). While neutrality may be the “touchstone” of the Establishment Clause, it more so serves as a “sense of direction” than a determinative test. McCreary Cty. v. Am. Civil Liberties Union, 454 U.S. 844 (2005). We cannot view neutrality as some sort of “brooding and pervasive devotion to the secular and a passive, or even active, hostility to the religious.” Schempp, 374 U.S. at 306 (Goldberg, J., concurring). Thus, in reviewing the challenged war memorial, this Court must seek general rather than absolute neutrality. We do so by engaging in the three-factor analysis delineated in Lemon v. Kurtzman (the “Lemon test”), which requires that the memorial have a secular purpose; have a principal or primary effect that neither advances, inhibits, nor endorses religion; and not foster “an excessive government entanglement with religion.” 403 U.S. 602, 612–13 (1971). The memorial “must satisfy each of the Lemon test’s three criteria” to pass constitutional muster. Lambeth v. Bd. of Comm’rs of Davidson Cty., 407 F.3d 266, 269 (4th Cir. 2005) (citing Mellen v. Bunting, 327 F.3d 355, 367 (4th Cir. 2003)).

 

A.

 

I will briefly reiterate the operative facts. In Bladensburg, Maryland, in a median at the intersection of Maryland Route 450 and U.S. Route 1, stands a war memorial consisting of a forty-foot-tall concrete Latin cross (the “Memorial”). The Memorial and the median are currently owned by Appellee Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (the “Commission”). Intervenor-Appellee American Legion’s symbol is displayed in the middle of the cross on both faces. The cross sits on a base and includes a plaque that lists the names of the forty-nine Prince George’s County residents who died in World War I. J.A. 1891. The plaque also states, “THIS MEMORIAL CROSS DEDICATED TO THE HEROES OF PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY MARYLAND WHO LOST THEIR LIVES IN THE GREAT WAR FOR THE LIBERTY OF THE WORLD,” and includes a quotation from President Woodrow Wilson. Id. Also, each face of the base is inscribed with one of four words: “VALOR,” “ENDURANCE,” “COURAGE,” and “DEVOTION.” J.A. 1963.

 

In 1918, a group of private citizens led the charge to construct and finance the Memorial. The donors signed a pledge stating that they, “trusting in God, the Supreme Ruler of the universe,” pledged their faith in the forty-nine war dead, whose spirits guided them “through life in the way of godliness, justice, and liberty.” J.A. 1168. The group also circulated a fundraising flyer stating,

 

Here, those who come to the Nation’s Capital to view the wonders of its architecture and the sacred places where their laws are made and administered may, before this Cross, rededicate[] themselves to the principles of their fathers and renew the fires of patriotism and loyalty to the nation which prompted these young men to rally to the defense of the right. And here the friends and loved ones of those who were in the great conflict will pass daily over a highway memorializing their boys who made the supreme sacrifice.

 

J.A. 2303.

 

A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the Memorial and for Maryland Route 450 (then known as the National Defense Highway) in late 1919. Several local officials spoke about the fallen soldiers and how both the Memorial and highway would commemorate their bravery and sacrifice. But the private group ultimately failed to raise enough money to construct the Memorial and abandoned the project. The local post of the American Legion, a congressionally chartered veterans service organization, then took up the task and completed the Memorial on July 25, 1925. That day, the post held a ceremony which included multiple speeches regarding the Memorial’s representation of the men who died fighting for this country and an invocation and benediction delivered by local clergymen.

 

Over time, additional monuments honoring veterans were built near the Memorial (known as the “Veterans Memorial Park”). Because the Memorial sits in the middle of a median and is separated by a busy highway intersection, the closest additional monument is about 200 feet away. Since the Memorial’s completion, numerous events have been hosted there to celebrate Memorial Day, Veterans Day, the Fourth of July, and the remembrance of September 11th. These ceremonies usually include an invocation and benediction, but the record demonstrates that only three Sunday religious services were held at the Memorial—all of which occurred in August 1931. J.A. 347.

 

Due to increasing traffic on the highway surrounding it, the Commission acquired the Memorial and the median where it is located from the American Legion in March 1961. Since that time, the Commission has spent approximately $117,000 to maintain and repair the Memorial. In 2008, it set aside an additional $100,000 for renovations, of which only $5,000 has been spent as of 2015. J.A. 562–65. On February 25, 2014, more than fifty years after the Memorial passed into state ownership, Appellants initiated this suit against the Commission under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging a violation of the Establishment Clause.

 

B.

 

By concluding that the Memorial violates the Establishment Clause, the majority employed the Lemon test “with due consideration given to the factors outlined in Van Orden.” Maj. Op. at 16. In Van Orden, a plurality of the Supreme Court determined that the Lemon test was not useful when evaluating a “passive monument.” 545 U.S. at 686. Instead, the Court’s analysis was “driven both by the nature of the monument and by our Nation’s history.” Id. As the majority recognizes, Justice Breyer’s concurrence is the controlling opinion in Van Orden. Maj. Op. at 14. Justice Breyer states that the Court’s Establishment Clause tests, such as Lemon, cannot readily explain the Clause’s tolerance of religious activities in “borderline cases,” as there is “no single mechanical formula that can accurately draw the constitutional line in every case.” Van Orden, 454 U.S. at 699– 700 (Breyer, J., concurring). “If the relation between government and religion is one of separation, but not of mutual hostility and suspicion, one will inevitably find difficult borderline cases.” Id. at 700. Instead of applying Lemon to the challenged Ten Commandments display, Justice Breyer exercised his “legal judgment” and evaluated the context of the display and how the undeniably religious text of the Commandments was used. Id. at 700–04. His concurrence, however, also noted that Lemon provides a “useful guidepost[]—and might well lead to the same result”—for “no exact formula can dictate a resolution to such fact-intensive cases.” Id. at 700.

 

Relying on Lemon, and drawing guidance from Van Orden, the majority determined that the Commission articulated a legitimate secular purpose for displaying the Memorial. Nevertheless, the majority concluded that the Memorial failed Lemon’s second and third factors, finding that a reasonable observer would conclude that the Memorial has the primary effect of endorsing religion and the Commission’s maintenance of the Memorial constitutes excessive entanglement with religion. In my view, the majority misapplies Lemon and Van Orden to the extent that it subordinates the Memorial’s secular history and elements while focusing on the obvious religious nature of Latin crosses themselves; constructs a reasonable observer who ignores certain elements of the Memorial and reaches unreasonable conclusions; and confuses maintenance of a highway median and monument in a state park with excessive religious entanglement.

 

III.

 

Because Appellants do not challenge the district court’s finding that the Commission has demonstrated a secular purpose for displaying and maintaining the Memorial (the first Lemon factor), I will discuss in turn the majority’s evaluation of the second and third Lemon factors—whether the Memorial has the primary effect of advancing or inhibiting religion and whether the government is excessively entangled with religion.

 

A.

 

Under Lemon’s second factor, we must determine “whether a particular display, with religious content, would cause a reasonable observer to fairly understand it in its particular setting as impermissibly advancing or endorsing religion.” Lambeth, 407 F.3d at 271. This reasonable observer inquiry “requires the hypothetical construct of an objective observer who knows all of the pertinent facts and circumstances surrounding the [display] and its placement.” Salazar v. Buono, 559 U.S. 700, 721 (2010) (plurality opinion). We should not ask “whether there is any person who could find an endorsement of religion, whether some people may be offended by the display, or whether some reasonable person might think the State endorses religion.” Capitol Square Review & Advisory Bd. v. Pinette, 515 U.S. 753, 780 (1995) (O’Connor, J., concurring) (internal quotation marks omitted). Instead, we must determine “whether . . . the display’s principal or primary effect is to advance or inhibit religion; or, put differently, whether an informed, reasonable observer would view the display as an endorsement of religion.” Lambeth, 407 F.3d at 272.

 

It is undeniable that the Latin cross is the “preeminent symbol of Christianity.” Maj. Op. at 18. But we must be careful not to “focus exclusively on the religious component” of a display, as that “would inevitably lead to its invalidation under the Establishment Clause.” Lambeth, 407 F.3d at 271 (quoting Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U.S. 668, 680 (1984)). Indeed, the Supreme Court “has consistently concluded that displays with religious content—but also with a legitimate secular use—may be permissible under the Establishment Clause.” Id. (citing Cty. of Allegheny v. Am. Civil Liberties Union, 492 U.S. 573, 579 (1989)). A reasonable observer would be aware that the cross is “not merely a reaffirmation of Christian beliefs,” for it is “often used to honor and respect those whose heroic acts, noble contributions, and patient striving help secure an honored place in history for this Nation and its people.” Buono, 559 U.S. at 721.

 

Despite the religious nature of the Latin cross, a reasonable observer must also adequately consider the Memorial’s physical setting, history, and usage. The Memorial was created to commemorate the forty-nine soldiers who lost their lives in World War I, as explicitly stated on the plaque attached to its base. See J.A. 1891 (“THIS MEMORIAL CROSS DEDICATED TO THE HEROES OF PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY MARYLAND WHO LOST THEIR LIVES IN THE GREAT WAR FOR THE LIBERTY OF THE WORLD.”). The plaque also includes a quotation from President Woodrow Wilson stating, “The right is more precious than peace. We shall fight for the things we have always carried nearest our hearts. To such a task we dedicate our lives.” Id. Each face of the cross includes the American Legion seal and each face of the base is inscribed with one of four words: “VALOR,” “ENDURANCE,” “COURAGE,” and “DEVOTION.” J.A. 1963. The Memorial has functioned as a war memorial for its entire history, and it sits among other secular monuments in Veterans Memorial Park, though it is separated from the other monuments by intersecting highways.

 

The majority concludes that the size of the Latin cross making up the Memorial overwhelms these secular elements. In the majority’s view, the Memorial is unconstitutional based predominantly on the size of the cross, and neither its secular features nor history could overcome the presumption. But such a conclusion is contrary to our constitutional directive. We must fairly weigh the appearance, context, and factual background of the challenged display when deciding the constitutional question. See Lynch, 465 U.S. at 679–80; Cty. of Allegheny, 492 U.S. at 598–600. Although a reasonable observer would properly notice the Memorial’s large size, she would also take into account the plaque, the American Legion symbol, the four-word inscription, its ninety-year history as a war memorial, and its presence within a vast state park dedicated to veterans of other wars. Would the majority’s version of a reasonable observer be satisfied and better equipped to evaluate the Memorial’s history and context if the cross were smaller? Perhaps if it were the same size as the other monuments in the park? Though Establishment Clause cases require a fact-intensive analysis, we must bear in mind our responsibility to provide the government and public with notice of actions that violate the Constitution. What guiding principle can be gleaned from the majority’s focus on the cross’s size? Understandably, the majority’s decision would lead to per se findings that all large crosses are unconstitutional despite any amount of secular history and context, in contravention of Establishment Clause jurisprudence.

 

The majority also makes much of the Memorial’s isolation from the other monuments in Veterans Memorial Park, as it sits in the median of a now busy highway, making it difficult to access. But a reasonable observer would note that the Memorial was placed there as part of the concurrent creation of the National Defense Highway to commemorate the soldiers of World War I, not as a means of endorsing religion. And, though Veterans Memorial Park does not include any other religious symbols as memorials, there is no evidence that the state formally foreclosed the possibility of erecting any other religious symbol. Also, the reasonable observer would note that the Memorial’s physical setting does not lend itself to any religious worship. Van Orden, 545 U.S. at 702 (stating that religious display’s location in large park containing other monuments suggested “little or nothing sacred,” as it illustrated residents’ historical ideals and “did not readily lend itself to meditation or any other religious activity”).

 

Additionally, due to the Memorial’s location, the majority explains that a reasonable observer would not be able to easily examine the Memorial’s secular elements. Maj. Op. at 23. This is because the Memorial “is located in a high-traffic area and passers-by would likely be unable to read the plaque,” which is small and badly weathered. Id. at 23. However, the reasonable observer’s knowledge is not “limited to the information gleaned simply from viewing the challenged display.” Pinette, 515 U.S. at 780–81 (O’Connor, J., concurring). That the average person in the community may have difficulty viewing all of the secular elements of the Memorial while stuck in traffic or driving at high speeds is of no consequence, for the reasonable observer “is not to be identified with any ordinary individual, . . . but is rather a personification of a community ideal of reasonable behavior” who is “deemed aware of the history and context of the community and forum in which the religious display appears.” Id. at 779–80 (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). Thus, the reasonable observer’s ability to consider these secular elements is by no means diminished.

 

Further, quoting Trunk v. City of San Diego, 629 F.3d 1099, 1116 n.18 (9th Cir. 2011), the majority states that the large size and isolation of the Memorial “evokes a message of aggrandizement and universalization of religion, and not the message of individual memorialization and remembrance that is presented by a field of gravestones.” Maj. Op. at 22. In Trunk, the Ninth Circuit considered a forty-three-foot free-standing cross and veterans memorial erected in a state park. 629 F.3d at 1101. The court evaluated the history of the Latin cross generally, its use as a war memorial, the history of the particular war memorial at issue, and its physical setting. Id. at 1102–05, 1110–24. The cross in Trunk had no secular elements; instead, it was unadorned and without any physical indication that it was a war memorial until after litigation was initiated to remove it. Id. at 1101–02; see also Smith v. Cty. of Albemarle, 895 F.2d 953, 958 (4th Cir. 1990) (concluding that crèche, unassociated with any secular symbols, prominently displayed in front of government building, and unaccompanied by any other religious or nonreligious displays, conveyed message of governmental endorsement of religion). The court concluded that a reasonable observer would perceive the presence of the cross as the federal government’s endorsement of Christianity, due in part to its long history of serving as a site of religious observance, with no indication of any secular purpose for almost three decades. Id. at 1125.

 

But here, the Memorial has always served as a war memorial, has been adorned with secular elements for its entire history, and sits among other memorials in Veterans Memorial Park. The Memorial’s predominant use has been for Veterans Day and Memorial Day celebrations, although three religious services were conducted at the Memorial nearly ninety years ago. Also, the invocations and benedictions performed at the annual veterans celebrations are not enough to cause a reasonable observer to perceive the Memorial as an endorsement of Christianity in light of its overwhelmingly secular history and context. Further, guidance from Van Orden provides that the Memorial’s ninety-year existence and fifty-year government ownership without litigation is a strong indication that the reasonable observer perceived its secular message. See 545 U.S. at 702–03 (stating that challenged monument’s presence on government property for forty years provided determinative factor that it conveyed predominately secular message). The Memorial stands at a busy intersection, yet this case is the first time the Memorial has been challenged as unconstitutional. Those fifty years strongly suggest “that few individuals, whatever their system of beliefs, are likely to have understood the [Memorial] as amounting, in any significantly detrimental way, to a government effort . . . primarily to promote religion over nonreligion,” or to “engage in,” “compel,” or deter any religious practice or beliefs. Id. at 702 (quoting Schempp, 374 U.S. at 305 (Goldberg, J., concurring)); see also Buono, 559 U.S. at 716 (“Time also has played its role. [After] nearly seven decades[,] . . . the cross and the cause it commemorated had become entwined in the public consciousness.”). This significant passage of time must factor into the Court’s analysis and “help[] us understand that as a practical matter of degree [the Memorial] is unlikely to prove divisive.” Van Orden, 545 U.S. at 702.

 

With the foregoing facts, circumstances, and principles in mind, I conclude that a reasonable observer would understand that the Memorial, while displaying a religious symbol, is a war memorial built to celebrate the forty-nine Prince George’s County residents who gave their lives in battle. Such an observer would not understand the effect of the Commission’s display of the Memorial—with such a commemorative past and set among other memorials in a large state park—to be a divisive message promoting Christianity over any other religion or nonreligion. A cross near a busy intersection “need not be taken as a statement of governmental support for sectarian beliefs. The Constitution does not oblige government to avoid any public acknowledgment of religion’s role in society. Rather, it leaves room to accommodate divergent values within a constitutionally permissible framework.” Buono, 559 U.S. at 718–19 (citations omitted). We must be careful not to push the Establishment Clause beyond its purpose in search of complete neutrality. “[U]ntutored devotion to the concept of neutrality can lead to invocation or approval of results which partake not simply of that noninterference and noninvolvement with the religious which the Constitution commands,” but of extreme commitment to the secular, “or even active, hostility to the religious.” Van Orden, 545 U.S. at 699 (quoting Schempp, 374 U.S. at 306 (Goldberg, J., concurring)). Finding that a reasonable observer would perceive the Memorial as an endorsement of Christianity would require that we pursue a level of neutrality beyond our constitutional mandate. I therefore conclude that the Memorial does not violate the second factor of the Lemon test.

 

B.

 

The Lemon test’s final factor asks whether the challenged display has created an “excessive entanglement” between government and religion. Lambeth, 407 F.3d at 272– 73. “The kind of excessive entanglement of government and religion precluded by Lemon is characterized by ‘comprehensive, discriminating, and continuing state surveillance.’” Id. at 273 (quoting Lemon, 403 U.S. at 619). This inquiry is one of “kind and degree,” Lynch, 465 U.S. at 684, “and because some interaction between church and state is inevitable, the Supreme Court has reaffirmed that the ‘[e]ntanglement must be “excessive” before it runs afoul of the Establishment Clause,’” Koenick v. Felton, 190 F.3d 259, 268 (4th Cir. 1999) (quoting Agostini v. Felton, 521 U.S. 203, 233 (1997)).

 

The majority concludes that the Memorial fosters excessive entanglement because of the Commission’s ownership and maintenance of the Memorial. But the Commission’s maintenance of the Memorial and the land surrounding it could hardly be considered the sort of state surveillance that Lemon intends to prohibit. See Lemon, 403 U.S. at 615–20 (concluding that challenged action excessively entangled state with religion by requiring state to supplement salaries for teachers in parochial schools); see also Mellen, 327 F.3d at 375 (determining that public university’s supper prayer violated Lemon’s third prong because school officials “composed, mandated, and monitored a daily prayer”). Rather, the Commission is merely maintaining a monument within a state park and a median in between intersecting highways that must be well lit for public safety reasons. There is no evidence that the Commission consults with any churches or religious organizations to determine who may access the Memorial for events. Nor is there evidence that the Commission is required to be involved in any church-related activities to maintain the Memorial.

 

Further, the majority observes that “any use of public funds to promote religious doctrines violates the Establishment Clause.” Bowen v. Kendrick, 487 U.S. 589, 623 (1988) (O’Connor, J., concurring). But, in Agostini, the Supreme Court held that a federally funded program that paid public school teachers to teach disadvantaged children in parochial schools did not cause an excessive entanglement between church and state. 521 U.S. at 234–35. Likewise, the Commission’s use of $122,000 over the course of fifty-plus years for lighting and upkeep is not a promotion of any religious doctrine, as the Memorial is a historical monument honoring veterans.

 

I therefore conclude that the Memorial does not violate the third factor of the Lemon test.

 

*         *         *                              

 

This Memorial stands in witness to the VALOR, ENDURANCE, COURAGE, and DEVOTION of the forty-nine residents of Prince George’s County, Maryland “who lost their lives in the Great War for the liberty of the world.” I cannot agree that a monument so conceived and dedicated and that bears such witness violates the letter or spirit of the very Constitution these heroes died to defend. Accordingly, I would affirm the district court’s judgment.

______________

Edited by John R. Houk

Source links as well as text embraced by brackets are by the Editor.

 

© Justin O. Smith

The Fallacy of “Separation of Church and State”


The best intro to this essay submission from Justin Smith can be summed up from an excerpt:

 

Any attack against Christianity and Judaism in America using the fallacy of “separation of Church and State” is simply an attempt to further undermine, not only Our U.S. Constitution and Religious Liberty, but Our entire traditional American way of life. Do not accept the Fallacy.

 

JRH 8/6/17

Please Support NCCR

***************

The Fallacy of “Separation of Church and State”

 

By Justin O. Smith

Sent 8/5/2017 3:36 PM

 

The Founding Fathers believed that government’s role in religion should be limited. We cannot discount that the First Amendment begins “Congress shall make no law” either establishing a state religion or prohibiting the free exercise of religion. Rather than articulate an affirmative responsibility for government to protect religion, the Founding Fathers felt it was enough to keep the government out. If nothing else, the language of the First Amendment makes it clear the goal was to restrain government when it came to religion. There is no suggestion the Founders felt the establishment clause and the free exercise clause were in any way competing. Otherwise, why would the Founders include the two clauses together?

 

The point was to keep government out of both realms. Both clauses were needed because it was not sufficient to restrain government from establishing a state religion; government also had to be restrained from any attempt to interfere with religious practices and beliefs. The negative language of the First Amendment does not prohibit Congress from passing a law that promotes religion, provided the judgement does not promote one religion over others.

Before the bad law and judicial activism that started with the abuse of the Constitution by Justice Hugo Black in Everson v Board of Education (1947), the states were not prohibited under the First Amendment from establishing religion, and nowhere in the debate on freedom of religion in the first Congress is there any mention of “separation of church and state.” Our Founders own writings clearly show that they never intended for public officials to check their convictions and beliefs at the door to their offices. They would have been shocked by the Court’s excessively broad interpretation of the First Amendment, given the language the Founders crafted with the belief it would protect open expression of religious beliefs in America.

 

The Founders most certainly would have rebelled against the idea of an absolute “separation of church and state” and the use of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to eradicate all Judeo-Christian references to God from the public square, because these ideas are incompatible with the Original Intent and unalienable rights granted to each of us by our Creator, thus making them erroneous and historically unsupportable.

 

[Blog Editor: Here’s an interesting thought on how the Left and Activist Judges misused the 14th Amendment to rob the Original Intent of the First Amendment:

 

When did things change?

 

Charles Darwin theory’s that species could evolve inspired a political theorist named Herbert Spencer to suggest that laws could evolve. This influenced Harvard Law Dean Christopher Columbus Langdell to develop the “case precedent” method of practicing law, which influenced his student, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

 

This occurred near the same time the 14th Amendment was passed in 1868, introduced by Republicans in Congress to guarantee rights to freed slaves in the Democrat South. The evolutionary “case-precedent” method provided a way to side-step the Constitutional means of changing the Constitution through the Amendment process.

 

Activist Justices began to creatively use the 14th Amendment to take jurisdiction away from the states over issues such as unions, strikes, railroads, farming, polygamy, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly.

 

Freedom of religion was still under each individual state’s jurisdiction until Franklin D. Roosevelt.

 

 

In 1937, FDR nominated Justice Hugo Black to the Supreme Court, who also concentrated power by writing decisions taking jurisdiction away from the states in the area of religion. He did this by simply inserting the phrase “Neither a state” in his 1947 Everson v Board of Education decision: “The ‘establishment of religion’ clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the federal government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions or prefer one religion over another.” READ ENTIRE ARTICLE (THIS IS HOW ATHEISM BECAME OUR OFFICIAL ‘RELIGION’; By BILL FEDERER; WND; 1/15/16 9:01 PM)

 

Now I can’t vouch for this being Justin Smith’s thought on the 14th Amendment, but using the effect of Darwinism in the development of Case Law to have more authority than Original Intent is enlightening to me.]

On New Year’s Day 1802, Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptists to assuage their fear that the federal government might one day attempt to condition religious freedom as a right granted by the state. Jefferson, an anti-Federalist [Blog Editor: Federalist/Anti-Federalist Perspectives – HERE, HERE & HERE], clearly stated his intention to keep government out of religious affairs rather than empower it to remove religion from the public arena: “Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in the behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural rights in opposition to his social duties.”

The First Amendment compels government not to eradicate religion from the public arena. If the expression of religious beliefs is an inherent God-designed part of human nature, as the Declaration of Independence proclaimed, then government acting to remove religion from the public sphere would have seemed to Our Founding Fathers to be acting in a manner antithetical to Our Founding Principles.

It is almost as if Justice Black decided the First Amendment was equivalent to the biblical admonition to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s, under the assumption that a discernible distinction could be made without conflict between what was Caesar’s and what was God’s. The whole point of the First Amendment’s attempt to protect freedom of religion is that over time Caesar tends to intrude upon God.

 

In 1948, the Supreme Court ruled in McCollom v Board of Education, 333 U.S. 203 (1948) that religious education provided by churches on public school grounds in Illinois during the school day was unconstitutional. Then in 1952, in Zorach v Clauson, 343 U.S. 306 (1952), the Supreme Court found that allowing New York students to leave school grounds for religious education was constitutional. Dissenting in Zorach, Justice Black wrote, “I see no significant difference between the invalid Illinois system and that of New York here sustained.” If Justice Black, the author of the court’s majority opinion in Everson, could not distinguish these cases, how could state, county, city or municipal school officials be expected to make the distinction reliably?

 

A Godless public square could not be more antithetical to what Our Founding Fathers thought they were achieving when drafting the First Amendment, and the Courts distort precedent whenever they use the Establishment Clause to crush all things religious Ironically, the very language crafted to protect religious freedom has now reached the point at which Americans can only be assured freedom from religion in all places within this nation, with the possible exceptions of prayer confined to church and free expression of religion confined to the privacy of one’s home.

Jefferson made a poignant remark in Notes on the State of Virginia, which clarifies his thinking: “And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure if we have lost the only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath?[Blog Editor’s Emphasis]

 

Why didn’t the Supreme Court choose this text for their ruling? [Blog Editor’s Emphasis] Or his use of “natural rights” in other documents? Justice Clarence Thomas once stated: “… this Court’s nebulous Establishment Clause analyses, turn on little more than “judicial predilections … It should be noted that the extent to which traditional Judeo-Christian religion is removed from the public square and the public schools, it is replaced by other religions, including Secular Humanism, which is specifically recognized as a religion by the Supreme Court.”
In order to combat this assault on religious freedom and religious liberty, to date, twenty-one states have enacted Religious Freedom Restoration Acts since 1993. Currently, ten states [5/4/17 – 9 States] are considering legislation on the topic this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Virginia amended their state RFRA, but otherwise no states have passed their legislation.
For eight decades, the ACLU has been America’s leading religious censor, waging a largely uncontested war, until recently, against America’s core values, utilizing every fallacy, piece of misinformation and outright LIE imaginable in its war against religious liberty, with the support of much of the current Marxist media; both are intent on destroying traditional America, including the nuclear family. We now live in a country where our traditional Christian and Jewish faith and religion — civilizing forces in any society — are openly mocked and increasingly pushed to the margins, and our weapon to stop them is the Founding Fathers’ own words and their Original Intent regarding the U.S. Constitution.
Ultimately, two very diverse thinkers, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams concluded, that without virtue based on a solid belief in God, Liberty was inevitably lost. In other words, if the Supreme Court, through the efforts of Communists, atheists and fools and ACLU prompting, succeeds in removing the Judeo-Christian God from American public life, a foundation pillar upon which American liberty has depended will have been removed, perhaps irretrievably. Without the open expression of religious freedom so fundamental to American liberty that it is written into the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights, American Liberty will not long persist.

 

Americans cannot and must not allow the Communists and atheists of this nation and the ACLU to secularize America to the point where our tolerance is turned into silencing and punishing religious speech. Life is valuable; marriage is a God-ordained institution between one man and one woman, and families are comprised of a male father and a female mother with any number of children. Any attack against Christianity and Judaism in America using the fallacy of “separation of Church and State” is simply an attempt to further undermine, not only Our U.S. Constitution and Religious Liberty, but Our entire traditional American way of life. Do not accept the Fallacy.

 

By Justin O. Smith

__________________

Edited by John R. Houk

All links and any text embraced by brackets are by the Editor.

 

© Justin O. Smith

 

Against the National Will


Justin Smith rightfully excoriates Leftist activist Judges ignoring the U.S. Constitution by unconstitutionally thwarting President Trump putting a lid on illegal aliens and Muslim terrorists from entering the USA.

 

JRH 4/2/17

Please Support NCCR

****************

Against the National Will

 

By Justin O. Smith

Sent 4/1/2017 11:17 PM

 

America is made less safe through Leftist immigration policy, as evidenced over the last eight years. Illegal aliens rob, rape and murder millions of Americans each year, because Leftist activist judges have said these illegals have “a right” to simply appear in our country, and Leftist mayors of U.S. cities refuse to enforce sound and logical U.S. immigration law already in existence, creating “sanctuary cities”. Their combined anti-American actions are directly responsible for so much misery, loss and heartache for American citizens they have sworn an oath to protect, and they have placed our U.S. national sovereignty in jeopardy.

 

Too many Americans blindly accept the fallacies and outright lies from the Left, that illegal aliens have “a right” to self-immigrate and a “birthright” to U.S. citizenship for any of their children born in America. These are weapons that Leftist judges use in their rulings to undermine our U.S. Constitution and move closer to an open border policy intent on fundamentally transforming our culture and society and ending American traditions, based on equality under the law, that preserve freedom and liberty for all Americans.

 

Whenever anyone witnesses Leftist protests from Sacramento to Seattle and New York to Atlanta, or points in between, LARAZA [FrontPageMag, DTN & Human Events] and Red Communist flags, the Hammer and Sickle, are readily seen everywhere, along with the black flag of the Islamic State. These people — all of them — in one form or fashion seek the fall of America and the eradication of our current U.S. Constitution, and as such, they indicate that they are outside the jurisdiction of the U.S., that their allegiances lie elsewhere rather than with the United States of America.

 

The author of the 14th Amendment, Senator Jacob Howard, defined who fell within the jurisdiction of the United States: “Every person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to [the states’] jurisdiction, is by virtue of natural and national law, a citizen of the United States. This will not, of course, include persons born in the [U.S.] who are foreigners [and] aliens …”. Pointing to natural law indicates the republican basis for citizenship is consent of the country.

 

On May 30th, 1866, Senator Lyman Trumbull stated that the jurisdiction clause includes those “not owing allegiance to anybody else … It’s only those persons … that we think of making citizens; and there can be no objection to the proposition that such persons should be made citizens.

 

Read deeper in the Congressional Record of the day [NationalPublicLibrary.com & Justia.com (note 1268)], and one finds that most Congressmen intended “jurisdiction” to be viewed in the context of “in extent and quality as it applies to every citizen of the United States now” and “in every respect”. They also agreed that high crimes and treason could be used as grounds to revoke one’s citizenship.

 

Approximately 118 jurisdictions in the United States currently serve as sanctuaries for dangerous illegal aliens. Immigration and Customs Enforcement reported that 279 counties and cities refused to detain and deport illegal aliens last year, even though a high percentage of them were Unaccompanied Alien Children who were violent gang members of MS-13.

 

Recently, a 14 year old girl was raped and sodomized repeatedly by two Unaccompanied Alien “Children”, who pulled her into a bathroom at Rockville High School in Montgomery County, Maryland, a sanctuary area for illegal aliens. One of her attackers, Henry Sanchez, an 18 year old Guatemalan, has a pending deportation case against him; both he and 17 year old Jose Montano, from El Salvador, were charged with first degree rape.

 

Hesham Mohamed Hadayet came to America on a tourist visa and immediately applied for asylum due to persecution in Egypt. They were “persecuting” him, because he was a member of Gama’a Islamiyya, an Islamic terrorist group. But thanks to Barney Frank’s 1989 amendment to the Immigration and Naturalization Act, he couldn’t be blocked from coming to America.

 

In 2011, the Department of Homeland Security acknowledged they had lost track of millions of people overstaying their visas. Two years later, they lost track of 266 dangerous foreigners that posed “national security or public safety concerns”, according to the Director of Homeland Security.

 

Are these the type of people Americans really wish to give U.S. citizenship? Citizenship is a privilege, not a right as some Leftist judges assert.

 

In a statement on March 27th, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions warned sanctuary cities across America to enforce U.S. immigration law and cooperate with federal authorities or lose federal funding. He made it clear that any failure to correct violations of 8 U.S.C. Section 1373 could result in the termination of all future Office of Justice grants. Sessions added that Kate Steinle’s murder in San Francisco two years ago, by an illegal alien, was a direct result of San Francisco’s policy of refusing to honor federal detainer warrants.

 

Denying anyone entry into the country, especially for security concerns, is the sovereign right of our nation. The rulings from U.S. District judges such as James Robart, Leonie Brinkema and Dolly Gee, [GOPTheDailyDose.com & AFA.net] as well as upcoming ACLU lawsuits aimed at Jeff Sessions announcement, that suggest otherwise have absolutely no basis in the Constitution or the U.S. legal code; an affirmative legal right for any foreigner to immigrate to America does not exist, but the legal system is being manipulated to create a default “right” to immigrate, damaging our sovereignty and infringing upon our right to self-government, in the name of open borders.

 

Detailed in government statistics, twenty-five people are killed each day in America by illegal aliens. What is the affirmative case for such an insane policy? How does it make America better?

 

The current federal court systems have taken the very same laws used by every other president, and they have made them seem anomalous, unConstitutional, even illegal, when President Trump attempts to use them. These courts are overreaching their powers and abrogating the Constitution, when they allow illegal aliens and Muslims, outside the bounds of accurate security assessments, to remain in the country against the national will.

 

Illegal immigration is not a victimless crime, but Commie Progressive Democrats seem to be more concerned with protecting the rights of illegal aliens from Central America and the Middle East more than they care to protect the person, rights and life of any U.S. citizen. They would rather protect the privileges of well-connected elitists and LARAZA, ACLU commies and Muslim Brotherhood [CAIR] terrorists. But what about the right of a teenage girl to be protected from being raped by illegal aliens — the rights of millions of Americans to be protected from being maimed and murdered by the Sons of Mohammed?

 

No American who loves his country can allow this total disregard for our Constitution to stand. The President and Congress must forcefully and definitively squash the Courts’ power over this issue and remove their inordinate power. Otherwise, America will become unrecognizable, a mere shadow of Her former glory.

 

By Justin O. Smith

______________

Edited by John R. Houk

All source links and text enclosed by brackets are by the Editor.

 

© Justin O. Smith

 

Criticizing the Current Interpretation of Disestablishment Clause


Fisher Ames Framer 1st Amendment

Fisher Ames

 

John R. Houk

© June 16, 2012

 

On my AC2C blog I posted this title: “Keep Govt. OUT of Church – NOT Church out Govt.” The main focus of the post was a Youtube video of excerpts of President Ronald Reagan speeches with a definite portrayal of Christianity on the U.S. government.

 

I wrote this as a little introduction to the Ronald Reagan excerpts:

 

The disestablishment clause of the First Amendment is a one-way action as far as Separation of Church and State is concerned. That one-way is that government must be separate and out of the religion business AND NOT that the Church be separate from the government.

 

Here are the limited comments on my AC2C blog pertaining to my introduction to the Reagan video:

 

Comment by CJ on Wednesday:

 

If they want to keep their tax exemptions they can’t preach it at the pulpit.  So, what? … they [can] go out in the political world. the church can interfere, influence government but government can’t interfere with the church…???????

 

I do believe the Founders wanted “religion” out of politics and politics out of ‘religion”.

 

Let’s just agree to disagree John.

 

Comment by John on Wednesday

 

I respectfully disagree CJ. The Church in various denominations can and should be an influence on government and the government should never interfere with the Church in its various denominations. Both sides of that coin can work and did in America until the 1960s.

 

Comment by CJ on Monday

 

[N]ot sure about this….can’t have it both ways…if you want government out of the church then let the church stay out of the government….

 

Now just for clarity’s sake I am not criticizing CJ. We are friends on AC2C. Indeed, at AC2C CJ is a big fish and I am just a little mackerel. I am thrilled when CJ reads my posts and comments on them. We are both Conservatives. You should also know Conservatives do not agree on all issues. On the Church/State issue I am all about the government needs to mind its business relating to the Church and the Church needs to be a moral foundation for the rule of law in America and thus the U.S. government.

 

As the moral foundation, I am not advocating that Christianity itself be the law of the land. I am advocating that Christian morality and principles be the measuring stick for the rule of law in Congress enacting laws and the Executive Branch enforcing those laws or appending rules in conjunction to Congressional enacted laws to define enforcement. Neither the President nor the Judiciary Branch should enact laws according to the U.S. Constitution that are outside the scope of duly enacted Constitutional Congressional laws. The Executive enforces or manages the rule of law and the Judicial Branch merely interprets the enacted law or the enforcement of an enacted law according to the U.S. Constitution and the duly State ratified Amendments.

 

As far as the Church, the State and the Constitution are related I like this statement on a Jeremiah Project article:

 

While the concept of separation of church and state might be implied by the First Amendment which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….”, it says nothing about the “separation of church and state.” And, even if you accept the principle of the separation of church and state being implied by the First Amendment, it’s implication is not there to protect Americans from religion, it is there to protect religious Americans from the government.

In their desire to promote their secular humanist philosophy using the power of government, many liberals today want to alter America’s Christian heritage and replace it with the 10 Planks of Communism. They want to remove religion from our history and replace it with the Soviet doctrine of the separation of Church and State. They don’t want to safeguard denominational neutrality by the state as the Founders intended, rather they want to eradicate every vestige of religion from our public institutions. (The bold emphasis is mine. America’s Godly Heritage; Jeremiah Project)

 

For me the First Amendment in its Original Intent means that which I placed in bold print above: “it’s implication is not there to protect Americans from religion, it is there to protect religious Americans from the government.

 

This is what I meant by Church and State separation is a one-way street. This is why I disagree with CJ. In CJ’s reasoning there is no two-ways about it; i.e. if government cannot be involved Church then Church cannot be involved in government. There is one I can agree with CJ’s reasoning. That agreement is the Church cannot be a Branch of the government say like Islam is a part of the Iranian government making Iran a theocracy. In this line of thinking CJ is absolutely correct in keeping religion/Church separate from government.

 

The USA is a democratically representative Republic by the people and for the people. There is nothing theocratic about America. In promoting Christian principles in government Americans are doing that which keeps America great. The more God that is prohibited in American government the less America is great. So on government property whether it is Federal, State or local government the emblems of America’s heritage should remain to remind the government what the basis for the rule of law comes from. Part of that heritage is also Judeo-Greco-Roman influence. There is no shame for a secular government to emblemize reminders of our heritage following the Judeo-Christian-Greco-Roman line.

 

This is the one-way street: no government meddling in religion; however religious influence on government is needful for good government for the people and by the people.

 

The thing is most Democrats disagree with the one-way street paradigm I briefly stated because of the Living Constitution doctrine has allowed Left oriented activist Judges to begin slowly aligning the nation away from the Original Intent of the Founding Fathers to utilize Christian morality and love to be the foundation of the rule of law.

 

Here are some remarks that disfavor the Living Constitution doctrine from deceased Chief Justice William Rehnquist:

 

At least three serious difficulties flaw the brief writer’s version of the living Constitution. First, it misconceives the nature of the Constitution, which was designed to enable the popularly elected branches of government, not the judicial branch, to keep the country abreast of the times. Second, the brief writer’s version ignores the Supreme Court’s disastrous experiences when in the past it embraced contemporary, fashionable notions of what a living Constitution should contain. Third, however socially desirable the goals sought to be advanced by the brief writer’s version, advancing them through a freewheeling, nonelected judiciary is quite unacceptable in a democratic society.

 

 

The brief writer’s version of the living Constitution, in the last analysis, is a formula for an end run around popular government. To the extent that it makes possible an individual’s persuading one or more appointed federal judges to impose on other individuals a rule of conduct that the popularly elected branches of government would not have enacted and the voters have not and would not have embodied in the Constitution, the brief writer’s version of the living Constitution is genuinely corrosive of the fundamental values of our democratic society. (The Notion of a Living Constitution; by William H. Renquist – Read Entire PDF Document)

 

Here are some thoughts from Justice Antonin Scalia:

 

 

In a 35-minute speech Monday [2005], Scalia said unelected judges have no place deciding issues such as abortion and the death penalty. …

 

“If you think aficionados of a living Constitution want to bring you flexibility, think again,” Scalia told an audience at the Woodrow Wilson Center, a Washington think tank. “You think the death penalty is a good idea? Persuade your fellow citizens to adopt it. You want a right to abortion? Persuade your fellow citizens and enact it. That’s flexibility.”

 

“Why in the world would you have it interpreted by nine lawyers?” he said.

 

 

Citing the example of abortion, he said unelected justices too often choose to read new rights into the Constitution, at the expense of the democratic process.

 

“Abortion is off the democratic stage. Prohibiting it is unconstitutional, now and forever, coast to coast, until I guess we amend the Constitution,” said Scalia … (Scalia Slams ‘Living Constitution’ Theory; by AP on Fox News; 3/14/05 – Read Entirety)

 

Here is excerpted definition of Original Intent from The Free Dictionary:

 

The theory of interpretation by which judges attempt to ascertain the meaning of a particular provision of a state or federal constitution by determining how the provision was understood at the time it was drafted and ratified.

 

Sometimes called original understanding, originalism, or intentionalism, the theory of original intent is applied by judges when they are asked to exercise the power of Judicial Review during a legal proceeding. (The power of judicial review is the power of state and federal courts to review and invalidate laws that have been passed by the legislative and executive branches of government but violate a constitutional principle.)

 

… Judges who do attempt to apply this judicial philosophy generally agree that only through its application may courts be bound by the law and not their own views of what is desirable. They also generally agree that courts must apply original intent in order to preserve the representative democracy created by the federal Constitution.

 

 

… They argue that the interpretation of most written documents, legal or otherwise, involves a form of “communication” in which “the writer seeks to communicate with the reader”, Constitutional interpretation is no different, originalists say, because it involves the attempt of judges, as readers, to understand the meaning of a constitutional provision as conveyed by the Framers and ratifiers who authored it. Originalists believe that judges who fail to employ this method of interpretation transform courts into naked power organs.

 

Originalists contend that judges who deviate from the original understanding of a constitutional provision are forced to replace that understanding with their own subjective sympathies, social preferences, and notions of reasonableness. When judges substitute their own value choices for those actually written in the Constitution, federal courts become super-legislatures that make decisions based on the personal will of judges and not the law of the land (Day-Brite Lighting v. Missouri, 342 U.S. 421, 72 S. Ct. 405, 96 L. Ed. 469 [1952]).

 

Originalists assert that judges who legislate from the bench violate the separation of powers by making law rather than interpreting and applying it. These judges also violate the principles of federalism, the second essential feature of U.S. constitutional democracy identified by originalists. Under these principles, courts must strike an appropriate balance between the sovereignties of state and federal governments, not allowing the smaller state governments to be wholly consumed by the ubiquitous federal government. Originalists contend that this balance impermissibly tips in favor of the federal government when federal courts invent new constitutional rights that state governments are then required to enforce.

 

 

Respect for principles of federalism, then, is intimately connected with the third essential feature of U.S. Constitutional democracy identified by originalists, the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights protects certain freedoms from the popular will no matter how democratically the majority attempts to trample them. In all other areas, originalists assert, state and federal majorities are entitled to rule for no better reason than that they are majorities. Originalists explain that majority tyranny occurs if legislation invades areas properly left to individual freedom, and minority tyranny occurs if the majority is prevented from ruling where its power is legitimate.

 

Originalists argue that the judiciary facilitates minority tyranny by improperly interpreting the Bill of Rights to guarantee liberties not contemplated by the language and intent of the Framers. To avoid this pitfall, originalists believe, judges must safeguard only the liberties that can be clearly derived from the Constitution. Originalists cite a series of cases in which the Supreme Court recognized a right to privacy as the antithesis of proper constitutional interpretation.

 

… (Read Entire Definition)

 

That is stage I have attempted to refute on the so-called Separation of Church and State theory the courts have maintained since the mid-20th century to stop America’s Christian Heritage on or in anything that is supported by any kind of taxpayer money.

 

In 1947 a five to four decision in the Supreme Court ex nihilo added Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptist Church assuring them that the Federal Government would not establish a National Church thus that Church would not have worry about its parishioners paying taxes to a State Church as the British citizens had to do to support the Church of England (Anglican Church – Episcopalian in USA). In that letter Thomas Jefferson promised a “Wall of Separation” between the Church and the State.  Justice Hugo Black wrote the opinion for the five Justices that egregiously added to the Constitution via a misinterpretation of Jefferson’s intent in his letter to the Danbury Baptist Church. (Dissenting Opinions of Everson v. Board of Education: Jackson and Rutledge)

 

Here is a great rendition of Original Intent pertaining to the First Amendment and the Disestablishment Clause.

 

JRH 6/16/12 (Thanks to CJ for inspiring me to ponder)

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