The Left Hopes to Destroy Christianity by Changing It


The Left (often deceptively described as Progressives) will destroy Christianity – using Obama’s 2008 election victory wording – by fundamentally transforming the Christian Faith. This fundamental transformation means redefining what it means to be a Christian. Bill Thomas at American Thinker illustrates how the Left has been transforming Christianity. YOU MUST DECIDE whether to stand with God’s Word or Man’s Edenic Lie.

 

JRH 9/15/19

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The Left Hopes to Destroy Christianity by Changing It


By Bill Thomas

September 15, 2019

American Thinker

 

The United States “is a Christian nation.” These words seem shocking today, but they were part of the 1892 Supreme Court decision in Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States.  They were penned by Justice    David J. Brewer as he wrote for the majority.

 

President Harry Truman once said, “We must never forget that this country was founded by men who came to these shores to worship God as they pleased.  Catholics, Jews, and Protestants, all came here for this great purpose.  They did not come here to do as they pleased — but to worship God as they pleased, and that is an important distinction.”

 

Historically, worshiping God has not been a partisan issue in the United States.  It was generally taught across this land that our nation was founded by those who sought freedom to worship as they chose and who built what we now call a Judeo-Christian heritage.

 

Mark David Hall of the Heritage Foundation wrote in 2011, “My contention is merely that orthodox Christianity had a very significant influence on America’s Founders and that this influence is often overlooked by students of the American Founding.”

 

Now, though, a simple search of the phrase “Judeo-Christian” will elicit multiple articles declaring that the phrase is meaningless and outdated.  As frustrating as that is, what’s more appalling is the Left’s desire to erode our country’s Judeo-Christian foundation and to minimize the influence of the Christian faith.

 

The Left’s assault of the Christian faith is three-pronged.  First, leftists seek to redefine what it means to be a Christian.  Next, they seek to silence Christian voices in the arena of public discussion.  Third, they want to elevate the ideas of non-Christians to change traditional thinking.  Hard to believe, but let’s look.

 

The Left wants to change the way culture sees Christianity.  We see it on several fronts.  The Left wants to divide the church about what is right and wrong.  The United Methodists are ready to split on the issue of same-sex “marriage.”  There’s a push among a small but loud faction of liberal voices that declare themselves “exvangelicals,” who resist the church’s stance of LGBT issues and abortion but want to retain and redefine what it means to be a Christian in 2019.

 

In redefining Christianity, they want to shift the emphasis from a changed life to doing what they define as societal good.  Presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) of South Bend, Ind. is attempting to put a new spin on the “old time religion.”  Kirsten Powers writes, “Does the country need an awakening of the Christian left? Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg thinks so.”  In Buttigieg’s understanding of the Christian faith, since Jesus never specifically mentioned abortion, we shouldn’t spend so much time on it.  In his view, most of Scripture points to “defending the poor, and the immigrant, and the stranger, and the prisoner, and the outcast, and those who are left behind by the way society works.”  Buttigieg, as a gay man, is a staunch supporter of LGBT rights and thinks the church’s view on them should change.  For Mayor Pete and those who think as he does, Christianity is about not transformed lives, but rather a social gospel and agenda.

 

As the left redefines what Christianity is, it also wants to shame and silence those who are Christians.  Curtis Wong, in a Huffington Post column, wrote, “New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees faced a barrage of criticism this week after appearing in a video promoting an event organized by an evangelical Christian group known for its anti-LGBTQ stance.”  Wong continued, “Brees partnered with Focus on the Family to promote ‘Bring Your Bible to School Day,’ now in its sixth year and slated for Oct. 3.  The athlete encouraged students to ‘share God’s love with friends’ in a 22-second video.”

 

The “barrage of criticism” Wong mentions was more like a hate-storm.  Newspaper columns, tweets, and blog posts blasted the Saints quarterback for speaking out for a Focus on the Family event that encouraged students to bring their Bibles to school.  That was it.  There was no hidden agenda, nothing about any other social issue.  Just bring your Bible to school.  The Left, though, has no tolerance for Focus on the Family, whom leftists describe, as Wong did, as “anti-LGBTQ.”  So anything Focus on the Family does is inherently evil, and those who work with or for it must be shamed and silenced.

 

When Focus on the Family’s president, Jim Daly, defended Brees, he rightly spoke of how the Left views any disagreement as hate.  Patheos, an atheist website, responded, “Daly treats his critics as people unable to handle a different opinion.  That’s a complete lie.  That’s a Christian lie.  A difference of opinions might accurately describe which baseball team will win the World Series or whether a movie is really as good as people say.  Whether or not LGBTQ people deserve civil rights is not about a difference of opinions.  Rejecting their humanity isn’t showing respect.”  It’s hard to see how opposing the attempted redefinition of marriage is denying anyone’s humanity, but that’s not the issue.  It’s about shaming and silencing those who think differently.

 

As they seek to redefine the Christian faith and silence those who hold to a traditional or historic view, they seek to minimize Christianity’s voice in the public arena.

 

On August 24, 2019, the Democratic National Committee passed a resolution that celebrates the role of non-Christians in the Democratic Party while attacking those who adhere to what the Bible teaches.

 

The Democrats and those on the Left believe that the number of those who classify themselves as having no faith is growing, and they seem to like it.  They also acknowledge that this is a group that overwhelmingly agrees with the Democrats’ beliefs on same-sex “marriage” and open borders.  The Democrats seem proud that their plan for America cannot be connected with traditional Christianity.

 

The resolution also asserts, without supporting evidence, that the non-Christians have been subject to bias and exclusion in American society, especially in policymaking.  The intent of this part is not to address acts of bias against people.  There aren’t any.  It’s an attempt to unwind the Judeo-Christian heritage upon which this nation was built.  The Democrats of 2019 believe that America has had too much God, Christianity, and faith in her history.  The Democrats want to unravel that by emphasizing worldviews that do not put God at the center.

 

Remaking Christianity seems to be part of the Left’s plan to remake America.  Kind of sheds a new light on 2020.

_____________________

© American Thinker 2019

 

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There is no limit to the topics appearing on American Thinker. National security in all its dimensions — strategic, economic, diplomatic, and military — is emphasized. The right to exist and the survival of the State of Israel are of great importance to us. Business, science, technology, medicine, management, and economics in their practical and ethical dimensions are also emphasized, as is the state of American culture.

 

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The Cross Does Not Offend the Constitution


SCOTUS undoubtedly chapped the hide of Leftist Transformists everywhere with its 7-2 to keep the Bladensburg Peace Cross standing on taxpayer supported public land. Read Justin Smith’s thoughts.

JRH 6/23/19

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The Cross Does Not Offend the Constitution

A Landmark Victory for Religious Freedom 

 

By Justin O. Smith

Sent 6/22/2019 11:22 PM

 

The Constitution as written, not the personal views of judges, should guide how the American people express their religious faith in the public square.” ~ Emilie Kao, Director of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society

 

A fine blow was struck for religious freedom, when the United States Supreme Court handed down a 7 to 2 landmark victory in the case of the American Legion v. the American Humanist Organization, on June 20th 2019, as the majority opinion determined that the Peace Cross on public land in Bladensburg, Maryland, just outside of D.C., does not violate the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The forty foot tall Peace Cross commemorating forty-nine of Prince George’s County men who died fighting in WWI can now remain on public land, property of the State of Maryland.

 

The American Humanist Organization originally filed suit in 2012, and modified the suit in 2014; they forged ahead to force the removal of the Peace Cross, suing the Park and Planning Commission and the American Legion, that originally paid for its erection, in part. The AHO alleged that the presence of the memorial on public land amounted to a government establishment of religion.

 

In the beautiful shape of the Cross, the Bladensburg World War I Veterans Memorial was erected between 1919 and 1925, by Gold Star Mothers and a local American Legion post. The Cross design was provided by the Gold Star Mothers in 1919 to recall the cross-shaped grave markers standing over the thousands of American graves on the Western Front of WWI, with one mother actually referring to this memorial as her son’s “grave stone”.

 

This surely had to be at the front of the majority’s mind, in making their decision, since particularly troubled by opposition’s Taliban-style proposal of chopping off the arms of the Cross, Justice Samuel Alito offered the following in the decision: “Many memorials for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. make reference to his faith. These monuments honor men and women who have played an important role in the history of our country, and where religious symbols are included in monuments, their presence acknowledges the centrality of faith to those whose lives are commemorated.”

 

John Seaburn is the name of one of the soldier’s whose name is memorialized on the plaque at the base of the Peace Cross, having bravely marched off to join the Army in an all African American unit. His great-niece, Alvergia Guyton is one of the few people left with a personal connection to the Cross, stating “It’s been there all my life; it’s history”, and on June 20th seven Justices in America’s Supreme Court agreed with her, leaving John Seaburn’s sacrifice and those sacrifices of Prince George’s Native Sons intact and unsullied.

 

This case did little to untangle the confusion created by past Establishment Clause decisions, since two dissenters, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Sonia Sotomayor, saw it as a clear violation, and those seven who did not, Justices John Roberts, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, Clarence Thomas, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch and Alito all offered opinions that didn’t offer a fix to the underlying problem and the many different past interpretations regarding the intent of the Constitution. So, these sort of issues will continue to manifest themselves, and if anything, this case reveals the importance of Justices who view the Constitution through the prism of Original Intent.

 

And even though “separation of Church and State” is a fallacy and a gross misinterpretation of a passage written to the Danbury Baptist Church by Thomas Jefferson, the AHO vowed to fight on to “bolster the First Amendment” and to “(redouble their) works to strengthen the wall of separation between church and state, brick by brick.”

 

In her dissent, Justice Ginsberg stated: “Soldiers of all faiths ‘are united by their love of country, but they are not united by the cross … ‘ By maintaining the Peace Cross on a public highway, the Commission elevates Christianity over other faiths, and religion over nonreligion.”

 

America was founded as a Christian nation, and that’s just a historical fact and a matter of record, but it was founded to also be tolerant of all other religious beliefs. The Founding Fathers’ vision was a country that facilitated all Americans’ free expression of faith even if in the public square, and all across the span of our nation’s history, Americans have used religious symbols to commemorate a variety of meaningful events, whether one speaks of holidays, the Courts and sworn oaths or prayer in State legislatures.

 

[Blog Editor: Many Leftists, Secular Humanists, Separation of Church-State Ideologues and probably other Anti-Christian groups would strongly disagree with Justin’s belief, “America was founded as a Christian nation”. To justify their misguided Anti-Christian attitude you will read the Left-version of cherry picking that actually twist facts. The Left will accuse Christians of cherry picking as well, but the difference Leftist cherry picking often are quoting out of context or using a historical person who represented an absolute minority opinion as in the rare atheist or French-influenced Deist (AND there is quite a difference between a French Deist and an American Christian Deist). Here are some posts demonstrating America’s Christian heritage which trust is not exhaustive:

 

 

 

 

 

President Trump’s appointment to the Court, Justice Neil Gorsuch rightfully suggested that the Court shouldn’t have heard the case, because the plaintiffs could show no concrete injury other than they were “offended” by seeing it as they pass it. Gorsuch wrote: “This ‘offended observer’ theory of standing has no basis in law … What matters … to assessing a monument, symbol, or practice isn’t its age but its compliance with ageless principles. The Constitution’s meaning is fixed, not some good-for-this-day-only coupon, and a practice consistent with our nation’s traditions is permissible whether undertaken today or 94 years ago.”

 

Justice Samuel Alito, writing the Majority Opinion for the Court, noted: “(The Peace Cross) has become a prominent community landmark, and its removal or radical alteration at this date would be seen by many not as a neutral act but as the manifestation of ‘a hostility toward religion that has no place in our Establishment Clause traditions …  The Religion Clauses of the Constitution aim to foster a society in which people of all beliefs can live together harmoniously, and the presence of the Bladensburg Cross on the land where it has stood for so many years is fully consistent with that aim. The Cross is undoubtedly a Christian symbol, but that fact should not blind us to everything else that the Bladensburg Cross has come to represent … For all these reasons, the Cross does not offend the Constitution.”

 

Kelly Shackelford, president of  First Liberty law firm and a defender of religious freedom, who defended the case, exclaimed: “This is a landmark victory for religious freedom. The days of illegitimately weaponizing the Establishment Clause and attacking religious symbols in public are over.”

 

Forever memorialized, these men were regular, ordinary Americans, doctors, farmers and laborers, educators, some in their prime and one in his fifties — already wounded — who probably shouldn’t have been on the front lines. They all had one thing in common. They never came home and they were much loved and sorely missed by those who waited for their return. And one-hundred years after WWI, Americans are still fighting for the concrete ideas these fine American patriots died to give us, the foundation of the First Amendment and its manifested inherent Freedom.

 

Many descendants of these fine men have lived with the Peace Cross all their lives, as it has stood gracing the skyline one mile from D.C. for nearly a century, and they are shocked to their very core that any American would challenge its right to exist, regardless of its placement on public land. Their memories include the story of the mothers who slowly pulled the American Flag from the base of the Cross ninety-four years ago to reveal the names of forty-nine soldiers, American heroes, who made the final sacrifice of their lives in World War I. It’s survived all this time, through WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm and 9/11 and Enduring Freedom, and now, Thanks to God and the Supreme Court, it has survived its most dire threat and a terrible battle with radical, extreme atheists intent and determined to destroy this much respected and greatly loved memorial simply because it was in the shape of the Cross.

 

By Justin O. Smith

________________________________

Edited by John R. Houk

Source links and text enclosed by brackets are by the /editor.

 

Justin O. Smith

 

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

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*** 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

Gov. Sarah Palin Writes To The Elijah List Family!


Intro to Gov. Sarah Palin Writes To The Elijah List Family!

Edited by John R. Houk

December 21, 2015

Below is an email from the Elijah List of which I am a subscriber. Theologically I may not agree with everything the Elijah List stands for, yet I do agree with much. The Elijah List is a for profit Christian organization that is of the charismatic persuasion emphasizing the Prophetic Movement.

I realize a lot of Christians may have a problem with the Prophetic Movement but you really need to get over it if you are one those problematic Christians. The Elijah List believes in the basics of the Christian faith and that is good enough for me. Ergo, try and hold up on the ‘heresy’ comments that many will wish to share.

Publisher Steve Shultz has a little marketing intro to a Sarah Palin email for the Elijah List subscribers and that is what I am sharing with my blog readers.

JRH 12/21/15

Please Support NCCR

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Gov. Sarah Palin Writes To The Elijah List Family!

By Gov. Sarah Palin

Dec 18, 2015

Elijah List

I’ll be honest! I was super jazzed two years ago to learn that Governor Sarah Palin reads “The Elijah List” every day!

Back in 2013, we shared how she wrote:

“The Elijah List has been a blessing to my family in many ways…Often God gives encouragement through an article that seems to be written just for situations we face at a specific time…The Elijah List team is working so hard to provide a modern forum that strives to ‘strengthen, encourage, and comfort, the Body of Christ!” -Gov. Sarah Palin

Today, I’m happy to provide a “new article” that Gov. Palin has just sent me, written specifically for our Elijah List readers!

You’re going to be super encouraged by it. I hope you’ll check out her new Devotional book, “SWEET FREEDOM” which we carry…this is just hot off the press! Here’s the link: www.elijahshopper.com/sweet-freedom-a-devotional-by-sarah-palin.

Also, one of Sarah Palin’s favorite pieces of art (pictured below on her mantle) is a picture of Jesus, “cracking up” laughing, that she ordered from THE ELIJAH LIST by artist Jennifer Page. She took a photo of it so Elijah List readers could see it.

We’ve made sure there are plenty of these available for you when you order today…so you can get one for yourself and a friend!

I LOVE THAT PICTURE OF JESUS LAUGHING!!

Please keep Sarah Palin in your prayers and be sure to forward this article to your family and friends!

Enjoy!

Steve Shultz, Founder and Publisher
The Elijah List & Breaking Christian News
http://www.elijahlist.com

P.S. – Oh, and a Quick Note to our readers: To have daily, encouraging prophetic emails from The Elijah List sent to your inbox, just CLICK HERE or go to: http://elijahlist.com/subscribe. PLUS: HEY! Please EXPLORE our more than 4,000 Christian Prophetic books, CDs, and gifts at: elijahshopper.com.

+++

 

Gov. Sarah Palin Writes To The Elijah List Family!”

Sarah Palin, Wasilla, Alaska

Dear Elijah List Family,

I don’t necessarily like to be known as a “politician.” When the descriptive noun is applied to me in national interviews I jokingly plea that the reporter not use the “p-word” around me. However, it comes with the territory when one has held office and remains involved with a passion for political and cultural reform. Having been there, and willingly remaining in the lion’s den of politics, this politician can see clearly our nation is in a critical season of transition. For many, these are the most frightening days of their lives. Now more than ever our hope must be in the One True God. He is our only hope. He is our security. Not knowing what tomorrow holds, we must know who holds tomorrow.

Many in government and media try to convince us that God should not be in the political arena with us, invoking the concept of “separation of church and state.” Don’t be deceived into believing we can survive, much less thrive, without Him! Do you know where the phrase “separation of church and state” actually comes from? If you guessed the U.S. Constitution or our Declaration of Independence, you’d be wrong.

Thomas Jefferson referred to it in a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, which had written him seeking help. Connecticut had established a state church – the Congregational Church, which meant the Baptists’ religious freedom was not an inherent right, but a favor granted by the state. Jefferson wrote to the Baptists that he shared their belief in religious freedom and that under the First Amendment was enshrined “a wall of separation” between the federal government and the churches; the government was not allowed to interfere with religion, guidance he expected the states would follow in perpetuity.

Today, it’s hip to invoke “separation of church and state” to insinuate or even demand that the Church have no influence on government and no role in politics. That is exactly wrong. In fact, Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists closes with an invocation of God and prayer. (Photo Sweet Freedom: A Devotional – by Sarah Palin via elijahshopper.com)

Another great American founder, General George Washington, commanded the Continental Army under a flag featuring an evergreen tree and the words “An Appeal to Heaven.” Today, it is imperative that we continue in the tradition of our founders in appealing to Heaven for the survival of our country; not only our leaders, but as voters.

Every campaign season, voters face decisions based on many reports. It can be easy to feel fearful of the doom and gloom you hear from big dog media and popular pundits, but as Believers we can take comfort in knowing our God is bigger, stronger, wiser, and so much more merciful towards us than anything we hear in the news.

Use Caleb and Joshua as our example. They were men of faith, not fear. God directed Moses to send twelve spies to Canaan. Ten spies saw giants in the land and relayed fearful reports. They felt as small as grasshoppers and wanted to just hop away into oblivion. But Caleb and Joshua ignored the giants. With unrelenting trust, they went up at once and took possession, “for we are well able to overcome.” They knew they were more than conquerors through our mighty God!

Friends, Caleb and Joshua ‘r us! And it’s time to take possession! Our examples didn’t hesitate – we’ve hesitated long enough, America – we must “go up at once!” and stake claim of this land of the free. Ignore the media giants and consider how to help and whom God would have you support.

When I was chosen to run for Vice President of the United States, I prayed voters would see through the media haze to see who we, as candidates, really were. Maybe I didn’t pray hard enough! Today, many Goliaths are in our nation’s path. Just as He led Moses’ men to see clearly, He’ll give you the same confidence as you seek His direction, personally and politically. It’s imperative we support godly, competent leaders.

(Photo by Jennifer Page “His Joy” via elijahshopper.com)

Between 1933 and 1981, there was only one major presidential address that included the words “God bless America.” But when Ronald Reagan kicked off his presidency by invoking God’s blessing on our nation, he set a new standard. From his inauguration through President George W. Bush’s final term, the phrase was used forty-nine times, and President Obama continued the practice. Our Presidents call out to God. Great! But we need some reciprocity. Our purpose is not just to be blessed by God, but to bless Him.

Our Founders sought the Lord when embarking on this grand experiment called America, knowing they needed Him if they were to break away from tyranny and to secure freedom.

For God’s favor to remain, we must turn back to Him and not squander America’s blessings of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Today, thank God for blessing us. Remember Psalm 33:12: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He chose for His inheritance.” Pray every heart turns to Him. Take action! Invite God back into this nation – His nation. Rededicate America back to Him.

And have fun doing it. Really! Do not fear and don’t let your children fear. Remind them our Warrior King has the whole world in His hands and He wants us to be bold and joyful despite less than ideal circumstances.

His JoyPhoto of Sarah Palin’s mantle via Sarah Palin for The Elijah List

Upon my fireplace hearth is a beautiful picture I ordered from the Elijah List. Artist Jennifer Page depicts the smiling Son of God as our happy Savior full of the vibrant life He freely offers us. In my living room, Jesus is cracking up! I want my family to look up and see He is the cup of overflowing laughter, carefree sweet freedom, and miraculous blessings we can drink from to nourish our homes and our nation if we’ll all look up and believe Nehemiah 8:10, “The joy of the Lord is your strength!”

Merry, merry Christmas brothers and sisters!

Sarah Palin
Former Governor of Alaska and GOP Vice Presidential Nominee

Website: sarahpac.com

_________________________

Sarah Palin first made history on December 4, 2006, when she was sworn in as the first female and youngest governor of Alaska. In August 2008, Senator John McCain tapped Palin to serve as his vice-presidential running mate in his presidential campaign, making her the first woman to run on the Republican Party’s presidential ticket.

Palin is the author of The New York Times best-selling books Going Rogue: An American Life (November 2009), America by Heart (November 2010), and Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas (November 2013). She was named to TIME magazine’s 2010 “100 Most Influential People in the World” list, the Smithsonian Institute’s “100 Most Significant Americans of All Time” and Barbara Walter’s “Ten Most Fascinating People” list two years in a row. She was the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute’s 2012 “Woman of the Year”. She was also the host of the 8-week documentary series Sarah Palin’s Alaska on TLC and the show Amazing America on the Sportsman Channel.

An internationally sought speaker and conservative leader, Palin is an influential force in the national debate. Her endorsement and support from her political action committee, SarahPAC, remain the gold standard for conservative candidates every election cycle. She is married to Todd Palin, a lifelong Alaskan, who worked as a production operator on the North Slope and is a four-time champion of the Iron Dog, the world’s longest snow machine race. They have five children and two grandchildren. The Palins are commercial fishermen in Alaska’s Bristol Bay. They enjoy hunting, fishing, camping, road trips, running, kids’ sports, and everything in the Great Outdoors. (For a full bio click here.)

To subscribe to The Elijah List go to:
http://elijahlist.com/subscribe

Sarah Palin’s Endorsement of The Elijah List: “The Elijah List has been a blessing to my family in many ways, including providing us opportunities to share encouragement through the words, articles and even breaking news that’s found on the website. Often, God gives encouragement through an article that seems to be written just for situations we face at a specific time… I am thankful for bold faith-filled individuals and teams – like the Elijah List team – working so hard to provide a modern forum that strives to “strengthen, encourage and comfort” the Body of Christ…”

Disputing Separation Church/State Part 6


1st Continental Congress Prayer

By John R. Houk

© March 30, 2014

 

I began this post as a short introduction to Dougindeap’s comment on the post “Disputing Separation Church/State Part 2” left on my NCCR blog. However as I kept going and going (sorry about the length) I realized I just had to simply add this to the already part’s I had begun which prior to this post had reached Part Five. The way I handled this current post is by responding to Dougindeap’s Part Two comment in stages. If you wish to read Dougindeap’s Part Two comment before commencing my thoughts simply scroll down to the end of these thoughts where it is in entirety.

 

Dougindeap there is a context to the quotes. I sense that you cannot accept the context; which is the Founding Fathers’ belief in Christian Morality. There is only a controversy to the Founding Fathers’ stand on Christian Morality in Left Wing historical revisionism in the lack of understanding to the Christian gravitation toward American Deism. Many if not most of the Founding Fathers embraced a Christian Deism in varying degrees, but those degrees for the majority was the nearly universal context of Nature’s God – the Creator of Nature – being the Judeo-Context of God pertaining to a moral society. The few Deists that embraced the extreme deism from the evolution of the French Revolution was very low in rejecting morality as derived by Christianity. The great American Pamphleteer in Thomas Paine is an example of this small minority of American Deists that placed more stock in the goodness of man over the Biblical Truth of humanity’s Fallen Nature.

 

Dougindeap says,

 

In assessing the nature of our government, though, care should be taken to distinguish between society and government and not to make too much of various founders’ individual religious beliefs. Their individual beliefs, while informative, are largely beside the point. (Thus, whether you offer one or one hundred quotations of the sort you have presented, matters not one wit.) Whatever their religions, they drafted a Constitution that establishes a secular government and separates it from religion as noted in earlier comments.

 

The Founding Fathers’ religious beliefs in Christian Morality were viewed as necessary to prevent those in government from morally degenerating. Thus preventing the government from corrupting was and is the point for Christian people to step into positions to keep government good. Without goodness in government society becomes morally bankrupt which lends to worse government and eventually the very elitist despotism that led the American Founders to rebel against British Crown rule. Indeed the Constitution kept the government out of religion with a secular government, BUT the Founders expected Christian Morality to be the measuring stick that kept government good.

 

Dougindeap your comment implies the word “blessing” had many meanings beyond what a Christian would consider a blessing derived from the 1828 edition of Noah Webster’s Diction. So I looked it up:

 

BLESS’ING, ppr. Making happy; wishing happiness to; praising or extolling; consecrating by prayer.

BLESS’ING,n. Benediction; a wish of happiness pronounced; a prayer imploring happiness upon another.

1. A solemn prophetic benediction, in which happiness is desired, invoked or foretold.
This is the blessing wherewith Moses–blessed the children of Israel. Deu 33.

2. Any means of happiness; a gift, benefit or advantage; that which promotes temporal prosperity and welfare, or secures immortal felicity. A just and pious magistrate is a public blessing. The divine favor is the greatest blessing.

3. Among the Jews, a present; a gift; either because it was attended with kind wishes for the welfare of the giver, or because it was the means of increasing happiness.

Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee. Gen 33. (Webster’s 1828 English DictionaryBlessings; http://sorabji.com/1828/. [Noah Webster’s1828 American Dictionary of the English Language is regarded by many as the finest English dictionary ever published. The dictionary is available in many forms.])

 

Dougindeap you have to explain to me what in this definition is weighted to a non-religious meaning.

 

Dougindeap says,

 

The Constitution’s establishment of a secular government is entirely consistent with the fact that some founders professed their religiosity and even their desire that Christianity remain the dominant religious influence in American society. Why? Because religious people who would like to see their religion flourish in society may well believe that separating religion and government will serve that end and, thus, in founding a government they may well intend to keep it separate from religion. (Bold Emphasis Blog Editor)

 

As I pointed out the bold print above is or at least was true in one direction; i.e. keeping government out of religion, but not the other direction of keeping religion out of government. This is a truer statement: Secular in government and religious in moral foundation of government. And when the Founding Fathers would say “religious” or “religion” they were speaking of Christianity and NOT Secular Humanism. AGAIN, this is the context of the Founding Father quotes AND this makes those quotes extremely relevant.

 

Dougindeap uses selective Left Wing historical revisionism in using the most Christian of the Founding Fathers in John Adams and the ratification of the Treaty of Tripoli between the USA and the Barbary Pirates. You can find a concise evaluation of the Treaty of Tripoli at Ministers-Best-Friend.com. You should read that entire evaluation; however after the Dougindeap quote from his comment I am offering an excerpt to get the truth out there about Left Wing revision history.

 

Dougindeap says,

 

Lest there be any doubt on this score, note that shortly after the founding, President John Adams (a founder) signed, with the unanimous consent of the Senate (comprised in large measure of founders), the Treaty of Tripoli declaring, in pertinent part, “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” No need to resort to reading tea leaves to understand that. This is not an informal comment by an individual founder, but rather an official declaration of the most solemn sort by the United States government itself. Note that the Constitution provides that treaties, apart from the Constitution itself, are the highest law of the land.

 

Ministers-Best-Friend.com’s excerpt:

 

 

INTRO: In this Law Commentary we seek set the record straight about the paragraph quoted from Article 11 – assumeded (sic) – of the Treaty of Tripoli ratified by Congress on June 10, 1797during President John Adams’ administration. If there is one thing about the Treaty of Tripoli which anti-Christians cannot escape, it is the fact that no matter how you cut it, the supposed “non Christian section” (Article 11) of that treaty cannot be validated.

 

Wanting to disprove America’s Christian heritage, the Treaty of Tripoli cannot logically or historically be referenced as any “evidence” against the USA as a Christian nation whatsoever. The current modern Treaty of Tripoli so prevalent on the internet and many books and booklets, is totally fraud, a deliberate document of deceit, absolutely false, a complete forgery, and …

 

 

Furthermore, that one of only few presidents to ever be accused of atheism in a Presidential campaign – President Thomas Jefferson (holding “unusual Christian beliefs by any account”) that he led this effort to correct the forged document that made it “seem” the USA was not founded upon Christianity, is all the more compelling when carefully considered.

 

 

Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, John Quincy Adams, and James Monroe, all worked to correct the “forged and fraudulent” Treaty of Tripoli floating in the Arabic world at that time.

 

Nevertheless, because this topic arises so often among people who have never actually studied the subject matter in the first place, an expose’ of the facts surrounding that treaty is long overdue. Let the record speak for itself.

 

The section in question, Article 11 of that treaty reads as follows:

 

“As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.” [Note: “Musselmen” means Muslim]

 

(source): Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America , Hunter Miller, Documents 1-40 :1776-1818 Washington : Government Printing Office, 1931. – Treaty of Tripoli

 

 

Short version of explaining the misunderstanding about the “Treaty of Tripoli”

1) There is no original Treaty of Tripoli in existence anywhere and there hasn’t been for well over 200 years.

 

2) The U.S. ratified Treaty of Tripoli cited today as “the original” was an English version copy of an Arabic version copy of the Arabic original (now missing).

 

3) There is NO Article 11 in the Arabic version of that treaty, experts now agree that Article 11 was spuriously inserted into the English copy, and most probably by the America diplomat Joel Barlow, who helped negotiate the treaty and who was himself a skeptic of Christianity.

 

4) When the tampered English translation version was presented to Congress for ratification in 1797, in spite of Article 11 inserted and included, they had to pass the treaty anyway out of political expedience and immediate urgency to quickly stop the carnage of militant pirate attacks upon American merchant ships in the Mediterranean Sea. Because of the situation at hand, there would be no time tore-draft such a treaty and run it through the diplomatic channels again.

 

5) Eight years later when America gained a military upper hand on the situation, this Treaty was renegotiated in 1805-6, and the “non-Christian” Article 11 phrase was conspicuously removed and absent!

 

6) Those who attempt to use the Treaty of Tripoli as so called evidence proposing that this nation was not founded on the Christian religion, typically ignore the Treaty of Paris of 1783, which formally ended the Revolutionary War.

 

This Treaty, negotiated by Benjamin Franklin and John Adams among others, is truly a foundational document for America, because by this treaty Britain recognized the independence of the United States as a nation. The Treaty of Paris of 1783 begins with the words, “In the Name of the most holy and undivided Trinity… It having pleased the Divine Providence” *

 

No qualified historian or explanatory references of any Congressional records have ever questioned, in the least, the validity of those revealing words of that treaty, as they do concerning the falsified Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli. *(Treaty of Paris, 1783; International Treaties and Related Records, 1778-1974; General records of the United States Government, Record group 11; National Archives)

 

7) The Treaty of Tripoli argument used against Christian America on the part of secular humanists (their “strongest” isolated claim that America was not established upon Christianity) is one based on a shallow examination of a the document. Its claimed “non-Christian part” is readily admitted by non-biased experts to have either been fraudulent or some entry that is unaccounted for. By any standard, the argument lacks credibility due to its obviously spurious nature.

 

 

Joel Barlow was a known Christian critic, and it was Barlow who translated the original treaty from Arabic into English, which is the version that President John Adams and the US Congress ratified.

 

It is no surprise then, from the definitive study on the Treaty of Tripoli in the Hunter Miller Notes, Government Printing Office 1931 under “NOTE REGARDING THE BARLOW TRANSLATION”, that we read:

 

“As even a casual examination of the annotated translation of 1930 shows, the Barlow translation is at best a poor attempt at a paraphrase or summary of the sense of the Arabic; and even as such its defects throughout are obvious and glaring. Most extraordinary (and wholly unexplained) is the fact that Article 11 of the Barlow translation, with its famous phrase, “the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,” does not exist at all.

 

There is no Article 11. The Arabic text which is between Articles 10 and 12 is in form a letter, crude and flamboyant and withal quite unimportant, from the Dey of Algiers to the Pasha of Tripoli.

 

How that script came to be written and to be regarded, as in the Barlow translation, as Article 11 of the treaty as there written, is a mystery and seemingly must remain so. Nothing in the diplomatic correspondence of the time throws any light whatever on the point.”

 

4

 

It’s interesting to see that the controversial “Article 11” was in some form of ascribbled (sic) letter.

 

If Barlow didn’t outright insert it himself, a likely explanation is that the Dey of Algiers wrote this note on the Treaty face to alleviate any worry of the Pasha of Tripoli about entering into a Treaty with an “infidel” (non-Islamic) nation like the United States.

 

The translator assumed this was part of the Treaty and translated it along with the rest of the document. More than likely the clauses of the original document (missing forever) were not numbered, so the translator would have numbered this as Clause 11 between Clauses 10 and 12, as he progressed in trying to organize it.

 

Concerning the true original text of the Treaty, it is documented that none now exists: “— (T)he first source of the texts of those collections was clearly a now missing copy, as is shown by the fact that they include a certification of the text as a copy – “The 1930 Annotation in 2ND Part Treaty with Tripoli 1796: Hunter Miller’s Notes, U.S. Govt .Printing Office

 

So the truth is that the original treaty was written in Arabic and presented to the Barbary Muslim nations in that manner, yet the Arabic treaty has no strange Article 11 in READ ENTIRETY (Blog Editor: Yes this is an excerpt and still there is much more. Read the entire post for the full benefit.)

 

The excerpt is lengthy but is very important for my fellow Conservatives to know that the Left Wing history revisionists are either misinformed or deliberately misleading people on John Adams claiming the USA is in no way founded on Christianity.

 

Dougindeap says,

 

It is instructive to recall that the Constitution’s separation of church and state reflected, at the federal level, a “disestablishment” political movement then sweeping the country. That political movement succeeded in disestablishing all state religions by the 1830s. (Side note: A political reaction to that movement gave us the term “antidisestablishmentarianism,” which amused some of us as kids.) It is worth noting, as well, that this disestablishment movement was linked to another movement, the Great Awakening. The people of the time saw separation of church and state as a boon, not a burden, to religion.

 

When the U.S. Constitution became the Law of the Land in 1789, the First Amendment (1791) and Church-State Establishment was interpreted to be reserved for each individual State which the Federal government would stay aloof but by NO MEANS mandated disestablishment of any of the State Constitutions that specified a State Church.

 

Nor did disestablishment come about as a consequence of the 1787 Constitution 217 or because of the ratification of the First Amendment in 1791. Nor was disestablishment spurred forward as a downstream consequence of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Rather, disestablishment was a state-law affair that had already been percolating in some states when they first adopted constitutions in 1776 and which continued on until completed in 1833. Each state that once had an established church has a unique story to tell on its path to the adoption of religious voluntaryism.

 

… As to the First Amendment, it was well understood at the time of its ratification that the religion clauses (indeed the entire Bill of Rights) were adopted out of a felt need to restrain the new national government. 219 Thus the Establishment Clause, by its terms and its design, was to preserve—as a matter of residual state sovereignty—full authority in the states concerning how the law was to deal in any frontal way with the thorny matter of religion. 220 Indeed, it is not too strong to say that during the early republic, the First Amendment was of little use as a standard around which to rally the forces in support of disestablishment. 221 Rather, disestablishment was a state-by-state affair, and hard work at that. It was a veritable slog with the path forward marked by local concerns and local personalities, as opposed to an issue that some continental-spanning crisis had elevated to a matter of national importance. 222 (Dissent and Disestablishment: The Church-State Settlement in the Early American Republic; By Carl H. Esbeck; BYU Law Review; 11/1/04; Pg. 1449, 1450)

 

This historical fact pointed out by Esbeck further demonstrates that Christian Morality was the measuring stick for government. The First Amendment simply delegated the specifics to the several sovereign States of the early American Republic. The only guarantee was that the Federal government would make no law interfering or establishing a Christian Church on the Federal level.

 

Dougindeap’s point about a disestablishmentarian movement is correct but not because Americans were demanding secularism to overrule Christian Morality that was still considered the bedrock of good government. Rather the disestablishmentarianism movement proceeded because the Second Great Awakening (See Also HERE) spurred the growth of Protestant Denominations that essentially eclipsed and/or challenged the two most influential Denominations prior to the Second Great Awakening. The two mainstay Denominations were the Episcopal Church (formerly Anglican prior to the Revolutionary War) and Congregational Church. The Second Great Awakening spurred the Methodist Church and the Baptist Church to surpass the former majority Denominations in membership. AND THIS is what spurred disestablishmentarianism in the USA. Individual faith became more important than State institutionalized Established Churches which were typically either Episcopalian (the most preeminent) or Congregationalist. This was not a lack of interest of Christianity in government but rather a greater interest in individual Denomination members doing their part to promote good Christian men for Public Office. Of course this meant that prayer still occurred in schools supported by taxes. This meant the continued use of Public Institutions to give honor to God Almighty in the demonstration of Christian affirmation on Court Buildings, Public Buildings, City Buildings and so on to promote the general welfare of the blessings of the Christian God upon American citizens and government.

 

The American religious impulse had become popularistic, personalistic, and democratic. 241 The work of the faith was less focused on the institutional church and more on each individual; lesser attention was given to correct doctrine while greater emphasis was placed on practical living. 242

 

 

If a religious establishment is measured by the legal authority to assess taxes for church support, then disestablishment occurred in the remaining states in the following order: North Carolina (1776), New York (1777), Virginia (1776−1779), Maryland (1785), South Carolina (1790), Georgia (1798), Vermont (1807), Connecticut (1818), New Hampshire (1819), Maine (1820), and Massachusetts (1832−1833). Disestablishment in Virginia, 245 and to a lesser degree its occurrence in Connecticut and Massachusetts, has been written on extensively. (Ibid. pp. 1456, 1458)

 

Dougindeap finishes his comment on an Alex de Tocqueville quote observing that Americans had declared to him “…that they all attributed the peaceful dominion of religion in their country mainly to the separation of church and state.” The de Tocqueville quote continues: “…I did not meet a single individual, of the clergy or the laity, who was not of the same opinion on this point.”

 

Frankly I suspect Dougindeap was setting me up for an oft used quote attributed to de Tocqueville in the seminal work “Democracy in America,” but in which scholars have discovered is not actually in the de Tocqueville book:

 

America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” (Found on a webpage that has a series of de Tocqueville quotes melded together as if they were written as one thought promoting Christianity as America’s foundation – http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/cdf/onug/detocq.html)

 

The America is great because America is good quote has been used so much it has become a lexicon adage about America attributed to de Tocqueville. Prominent politicians and American leaders including a couple of U.S. Presidents have repeated the adage. Sadly the phrase is not found in “Democracy in America”.

 

John J. Pitney, Jr. wrote about the spurious quote:

 

… Nowhere do they appear in Democracy in America, or anywhere else in Tocqueville.

 

The authenticity of the passage came into question when first-year government students at Claremont McKenna College received an assignment: Find a contemporary speech quoting Tocqueville, and determine how accurately the speaker used the quotation. A student soon uncovered a recent Senate floor speech that cited the “America is great” line. He scoured Democracy in America, but could not find the passage. The professor looked, too – and it was not there.

 

Further research led to reference books that cautiously referred to the quotation as “unverified” and “attributed to de Tocqueville but not found in his works.” These references, in turn, pointed to the apparent source: a 1941 book on religion and the American dream. The book quoted the last two lines of the passage as coming from Democracy in America but supplied no documentation. (The author may have mistaken his own notes for a verbatim quotation, a common problem in the days before photocopiers.) The full version of the quotation appeared 11 years later, in an Eisenhower campaign speech. Ike, however, attributed it not directly to Tocqueville but to “a wise philosopher [who] came to this country ….”

 

 

It’s a shame that politicians are using a knockoff product when the real thing is so fine. Democracy in America offers profound analyses of the roles of religion, morality, and voluntary action, though its insights are subtler than the purple prose of the counterfeit.

 

 

Of course, after decades of repetition, it has in fact become an old adage. It just isn’t Tocqueville’s. (THE TOCQUEVILLE FRAUD; John J. Pitney, Jr.; The Weekly Standard; article found at Tocqueville.org; 11/13/1995)

 

So de Tocqueville’s legend did not actually pen, “America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” Nonetheless it does not make it any less true!

 

Here are some actual quotes that can be found in de Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America”. These quotes show the observation that Church/State separation only flows in one direction, viz. government separated from Christianity but not Christianity being separated from government (not necessarily in order):

 

“Religion in America takes no direct part in the government of society, but it must nevertheless be regarded as the foremost of the political institutions of that country; for if it does not impart a taste for freedom, it facilitates the use of free institutions. Indeed, it is in this same point of view that the inhabitants of the United States themselves look upon religious belief. I do not know whether all the Americans have a sincere faith in their religion, for who can search the human heart? but I am certain that they hold it to be indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions. This opinion is not peculiar to a class of citizens or to a party, but it belongs to the whole nation, and to every rank of society.”

 

***

 

“… Society has no future life to hope for or to fear; and provided the citizens profess a religion, the peculiar tenets of that religion are of very little importance to its interests. Moreover, almost all the sects of the United States are comprised within the great unity of Christianity, and Christian morality is everywhere the same.

 

It may be believed without unfairness that a certain number of Americans pursue a peculiar form of worship, from habit more than from conviction. In the United States the sovereign authority is religious, and consequently hypocrisy must be common; but there is no country in the whole world in which the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America; and there can be no greater proof of its utility, and of its conformity to human nature, than that its influence is most powerfully felt over the most enlightened and free nation of the earth.”

 

***

 

“… Religion perceives that civil liberty affords a noble exercise to the faculties of man, and that the political world is a field prepared by the Creator for the efforts of the intelligence. Contented with the freedom and the power which it enjoys in its own sphere, and with the place which it occupies, the empire of religion is never more surely established than when it reigns in the hearts of men unsupported by aught beside its native strength. Religion is no less the companion of liberty in all its battles and its triumphs; the cradle of its infancy, and the divine source of its claims. The safeguard of morality is religion, and morality is the best security of law and the surest pledge of freedom.”

 

***

 

The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other; and with them this conviction does not spring from that barren traditionary faith which seems to vegetate in the soul rather than to live.

 

I have known of societies formed by the Americans to send out ministers of the Gospel into the new Western States to found schools and churches there, lest religion should be suffered to die away in those remote settlements, and the rising States be less fitted to enjoy free institutions than the people from which they emanated. I met with wealthy New Englanders who abandoned the country in which they were born in order to lay the foundations of Christianity and of freedom on the banks of the Missouri, or in the prairies of Illinois. Thus religious zeal is perpetually stimulated in the United States by the duties of patriotism. These men do not act from an exclusive consideration of the promises of a future life; eternity is only one motive of their devotion to the cause; and if you converse with these missionaries of Christian civilization, you will be surprised to find how much value they set upon the goods of this world, and that you meet with a politician where you expected to find a priest. They will tell you that “all the American republics are collectively involved with each other; if the republics of the West were to fall into anarchy, or to be mastered by a despot, the republican institutions which now flourish upon the shores of the Atlantic Ocean would be in great peril. It is, therefore, our interest that the new States should be religious, in order to maintain our liberties.”

 

***

 

Contented with the freedom and the power which it enjoys in its own sphere, and with the place which it occupies, the empire of religion is never more surely established than when it reigns in the hearts of men unsupported by aught beside its native strength. Religion is no less the companion of liberty in all its battles and its triumphs; the cradle of its infancy, and the divine source of its claims. The safeguard of morality is religion, and morality is the best security of law and the surest pledge of freedom.

 

It is clear from these quotes that the Frenchman de Tocqueville admired that government did not interfere in the realm of religion/Christianity, but he also observed that Christianity so embedded in the American did indeed fortify America and that this indeed made America good. Even though did not say it would be a great analytical summation to say of de Tocqueville observations, “America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

 

JRH 3/30/14

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Dougindeap Comment to: Disputing Separation Church/State Part 2

(NCCR)

 

By Dougindeap

March 22, 2014 at 11:17 AM

 

You offer a string of contextless quotations with the evident aim of showing the religious views of various founders–as if that is the way history is understood or the Constitution is interpreted. Hardly.

 

While the religious views of various founders are subjects of some uncertainty and controversy, it is safe to say that many founders were Christian of one sort or another and held views such as you note regarding religion. In assessing the nature of our government, though, care should be taken to distinguish between society and government and not to make too much of various founders’ individual religious beliefs. Their individual beliefs, while informative, are largely beside the point. (Thus, whether you offer one or one hundred quotations of the sort you have presented, matters not one wit.) Whatever their religions, they drafted a Constitution that establishes a secular government and separates it from religion as noted in earlier comments. Indeed, that aspect of the Constitution was noticed and discussed in the debates about its ratification, since some were disappointed the Constitution did not acknowledge a deity. Imagine their surprise at all you would now make of the Constitution’s allusion to the “blessings of liberty.” Suffice it to say that the term “blessing” has religious and non-religious meanings and usages. See Webster’s Dictionary (1828).

 

The Constitution’s establishment of a secular government is entirely consistent with the fact that some founders professed their religiosity and even their desire that Christianity remain the dominant religious influence in American society. Why? Because religious people who would like to see their religion flourish in society may well believe that separating religion and government will serve that end and, thus, in founding a government they may well intend to keep it separate from religion. It is entirely possible for thoroughly religious folk to found a secular government and keep it separate from religion. That, indeed, is just what the founders did.

 

Lest there be any doubt on this score, note that shortly after the founding, President John Adams (a founder) signed, with the unanimous consent of the Senate (comprised in large measure of founders), the Treaty of Tripoli declaring, in pertinent part, “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” No need to resort to reading tea leaves to understand that. This is not an informal comment by an individual founder, but rather an official declaration of the most solemn sort by the United States government itself. Note that the Constitution provides that treaties, apart from the Constitution itself, are the highest law of the land.

 

It is instructive to recall that the Constitution’s separation of church and state reflected, at the federal level, a “disestablishment” political movement then sweeping the country. That political movement succeeded in disestablishing all state religions by the 1830s. (Side note: A political reaction to that movement gave us the term “antidisestablishmentarianism,” which amused some of us as kids.) It is worth noting, as well, that this disestablishment movement was linked to another movement, the Great Awakening. The people of the time saw separation of church and state as a boon, not a burden, to religion.

 

This sentiment was recorded by a famous observer of the American experiment:

 

“On my arrival in the United States the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention. . . . I questioned the members of all the different sects. . . . I found that they differed upon matters of detail alone, and that they all attributed the peaceful dominion of religion in their country mainly to the separation of church and state. I do not hesitate to affirm that during my stay in America, I did not meet a single individual, of the clergy or the laity, who was not of the same opinion on this point.” Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (1835).

 

____________________________________

Disputing Separation Church/State Part 6

By John R. Houk

© March 30, 2014

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Dougindeap Comment to: Disputing Separation Church/State Part 2

 

Edited by John R. Houk

© Dougindeap

Disputing Separation Church/State Part 4


1st Adam - 2nd Adam in Jesus Christ. Hans Baldung Grien

1st Adam/2nd Adam – Jesus Christ

John R. Houk

© March 25, 2014

 

If you choose to read the preceding parts simply click the links:

 

o   Part One

 

o   Part Two

 

o   Part Three

 

… In the second place, the Court is right. In the Constitution, the founders did not simply say in so many words that there should be separation of powers and checks and balances; rather, they actually separated the powers of government among three branches and established checks and balances. Similarly, they did not merely say there should be separation of church and state; rather, they actually separated them by (1) establishing a secular government on the power of “We the people” (not a deity), (2) according that government limited, enumerated powers, (3) saying nothing to connect that government to god(s) or religion, (4) saying nothing to give that government power over matters of god(s) or religion, and (5), indeed, saying nothing substantive about god(s) or religion at all except in a provision precluding any religious test for public office. (Dougindeap from: The Commonality between Leftist Paradigms & Scientific Theories; SlantRight 2.0; 3/13/14)

 

Dougindeap is absolutely correct that the Founding Fathers separated the three branches of government as described in the U.S. Constitution: Executive, Legislative and Judicial. AND in separating those branches the Founders separated the powers thereof with checks and balances hoping to create a government in which the tyranny of despotism or the tyranny of democracy or judicial fiat could be avoided. The intention for the checks and balances was to give voting citizens the power to be a check and balance to the authority of the government vis-á-vis the Liberty of Civil and Individual Rights.

 

BUT Dougindeap presumes the enumeration of powers, checks and balances is also extended to the form of Church/State separate created by Judicial Fiat beginning with the Hugo Black majority opinion in 1947 Everson v. Board of Education:

 

The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state. The wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach.” (See Part 3)

 

I went over the reasons that this judicial fiat was and is bogus in Part Three. Let’s suffice it to say here that Dougindeap’s assertion that Hugo Black’s 1947 majority opinion was not in the mind of the Founders as a rule of law prescribed as part of powers of government in a Church/State separated with checks and balances way back in 1789. Dougindeap lists five points he believes the Founding Fathers established within the Constitution separating Church and State with checks and balances in the same way the three branches of government were enumerated.

 

1. Establishing a secular government on the power of “We the people” (not a deity).

 

I guess we need to examine briefly the Constitution’s Preamble from Part One:

 

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. (Bold emphasis mine)

 

In Part One I explained the reason I bold printed a portion of the Preamble:

 

The Free Dictionary listing for “general welfare” goes from the broad meaning found in the Preamble to a specific context carried on from Article 1 Section 8. …

 

THUS the Original Intent of the Founding Fathers understanding of the general welfare included morality. Since the Founding Fathers’ milieu was the 1760s through and a bit beyond the 1790s their concept of morality was not based on a Secular Humanism devoid of God and God the Creator’s morality established in the Bible. (Excerpted from “Disputing Separation Church/State Part 1”)

 

The Original Intent ergo, the Founding Fathers were empowering “We the people” in a secular order BUT under the moral guidance of the Christian God. That is strike one for Dougindeap’s point one.

 

The Signers of the U.S. Constitution that was then sent to the Thirteen Independent States under the Articles of Confederation establishes the importance the Founding Fathers tipped their hat to the Judeo-Christian God of the Holy Bible:

 

Done in convention by the unanimous consent of the states present the seventeenth day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven and of the independence of the United States of America the twelfth.

 

In witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names,

 

… (Followed by the signatures of the representative of the thirteen original states formally loosely aligned under the Articles of ConfederationBold emphasis mine) [Excerpted from the last paragraphs of “Disputing Separation Church/State Part 1”]

 

That is strike two for Dougindeap.

 

Hugo Black the writer of the majority of the opinion in Everson v. Board of Education stepped beyond the veil by using Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptist Association offering reassurance to their concerns of being a minority Protestant Denomination in Connecticut in which Congregationalism was the Established Church of the State:

 

The Danbury Baptist Association committee wrote to the President stating that, “Religion is at all times and places a Matter between God and Individuals — that no man ought to suffer in Name, person or affects on account of his religious Opinions.” (6) The Danbury Baptists believed that religion was an unalienable right and they hoped that Jefferson would raise the consciousness of the people to recognize religious freedom as unalienable. However, the Danbury Baptists acknowledged that the President of the United States was not a “national Legislator” and they also understood that the “national government cannot destroy the Laws of each State.” (7) In other words, they recognized Jefferson’s limited influence as the federal executive on the individual states. (The Myth Behind “Separation of Church and State”; By Mathew D. Staver; Liberty Counsel; © 2000)

 

Here is President Thomas Jefferson’s reassurance letter to the Danbury Baptist Association:

 

Messrs. Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, and Stephen s. Nelson
A Committee of the Danbury Baptist Association, in the State of Connecticut.

 

Washington, January 1, 1802

 

Gentlemen,–The affectionate sentiment of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist Association, give me the highest satisfaction. My duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, and in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.

 

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature would “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in 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 right in opposition to his social duties.

 

I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessing of the common Father and Creator of man, and tender you for yourselves and your religious association, assurances of my high respect and esteem.

 

Th Jefferson


Jan. 1. 1802 (Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Albert E. Bergh, ed. (Washington, D. C.: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association of the United States, 1904), Vol. XVI, pp. 281-282. On Wall Builders – “
Letters Between the Danbury Baptists and Thomas Jefferson”)

 

Hugo Black warped the intent of the Jefferson Letter pertaining to the Federal Government v. States’ Rights even though the Tenth Amendment specifically forbade the Federal Government to interfere in State legislation that did not usurp the prerogative of the U.S. Constitution:

 

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people. (Tenth Amendment)

 

Hugo Black excluded the Tenth Amendment and ignored the Founding Document the Declaration of Independence that was penned by Thomas Jefferson under the Continental Congress Committee drafting said declaration:

 

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

 

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

 

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

 

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

 

… (Bold Emphasis Mine – The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription; The Charters of Freedom; Archives.gov)

 

The Declaration drafters of which Thomas Jefferson was an integral part of, indeed espoused the ideology that the enfranchised people experiencing unjust tyranny from a despot or despotic government have the right to change that government. BUT who does the Committee empowered to draft a Declaration of Independence claim gives the enfranchised people the right to throw off the bonds of tyranny? The empowerment comes from God Almighty:

 

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them …”

 

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

 

Strike three Dougindeap. Just as specified by the First Amendment that proclaims government under the law-making power of Congress cannot get involved in religion (i.e. Christianity) but mankind under the moral guidance of the Creator must influence government to keep government from devolving into a tyranny that permits society to use the guidance of human individuals to establish that which moral and good. Why? Because humanity is inherently a fallen nature that gravitates towards ungodly principles when the guiding principles of God are excluded.

 

12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13 (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. 15 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. 16 And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. 17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)

 

18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

 

20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5: 12 – 21 NKJV)

 

End of Part Four

 

JRH 3/25/14

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Disputing Separation Church/State Part 3


Need SCOTUS Support Constitution

 

John R. Houk

© March 20, 2014

 

In Parts One and Two I examined Dougindeap’s first sentence in his assertion that the separation of Church/State is as embedded in the Constitution as is the paradigm of checks and balances. You can rehash those two parts on the reasons I do not agree with Dougindeap’s assertion.

 

For the sake of continuity here is Dougindeap’s first sentence followed by the second sentence in bold print:

 

Separation of church and state is a bedrock principle of our Constitution, much like the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances. In the first place, the Supreme Court has thoughtfully, authoritatively, and repeatedly decided as much; it is long since established law. (You can read Dougindeap’s full comment below the post “The Commonality between Leftist Paradigms & Scientific Theories”)

 

Really? Has the Supreme Court actually thoughtfully, authoritatively and repeatedly established as law that Separation of Church/State is a bedrock principle in the U.S. Constitution?

 

Evidently Dougindeap believes 1947 as a period of time to represent “thoughtfully, authoritatively and repeatedly”. The year 1947 is when Justice Hugo Black wrote the majority opinion in Everson v. Board of Education in which SCOTUS utilized the phrase,

 

The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state. The wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach.” (Quote found at “The Truth about Separation of Church and State;” AllianceDefendingFreedom.org)

 

Let’s do some simple math. The Continental Congress published the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The U.S. Constitution became implemented as the rule of law in 1789. My calculator tells me there is a 158 years between 1947 and 1789. That span of years is hardly SCOTUS establishing “thoughtfully, authoritatively and repeatedly” separation of Church/State as a “bedrock principle of our Constitution”.

 

You have to wonder if the issue of Separation of Church/State arose on the SCOTUS docket prior to 1947 in which Justice Hugo Black used as stare decisis (Latin for to stand by things decided) to build his majority opinion.

 

I am fairly certain that Justice Hugo Black ignored an immense amount of Judicial decisions and the words of Justices written or spoken outside the scope SCOTUS. AND YET Justice Black based the opinion decision Everson v. Board of Education in 1947 on a non-judicial letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Church that used the phraseology of the wall of separation between Church and State. The Danbury Baptist Church expressed concern that Connecticut was about to establish the Congregational Church as a State supported Church which would infer that even non-Congregationalists would be involved in paying some form of tax to a Denomination outside the scope of Baptist theology. President Jefferson sent out a letter in 1802 responding to the Danbury letter expressing their concerns. The Danbury Baptists were aware that as President Jefferson did not have the authority to arbitrarily change State Law but enlisted his help to the Office of POTUS to encourage various States that had an Established Church to steer away from such a law to concur with Federal Law. This is the time that Jefferson wrote the wall of separation between Church/State letter.

 

President Jefferson was not involved in the committee that drafted the Constitution and neither was he in the position of issuing a Judicial Decision. AND YET Justice Hugo Black in 1947 incorporated the Jefferson letter as an authority to change a 158 years of Constitutional jurisprudence.

 

Below is a long list of quotes that should have borne more weight judicially than the Jefferson opinion that Leftists have warped today to keep Christianity out of America’s public legal and electoral sphere.

 

JRH 3/20/14 (Some these quotes I will endeavor to provide source links not utilized by the web page author)

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Untitled Restore-Christian-America.org on USA as a Christian Nation

 

Justice Thomas McKean 
Served as governor in Delaware and Pennsylvania. During his tenure as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, he offered these words of advice to John Roberts — a man sentenced to death.

 

Respublica vs. John Roberts

“You will probably have but a short time to live. Before you launch into eternity it behooves you most seriously to reflect upon your past conduct; to repent of your evil deeds; to be incessant in prayers to the great and merciful God to forgive your manifold transgressions and sins; to rely upon the merit and passion of a dear Redeemer, and thereby to avoid those regions of sorrow….May you, reflecting upon these things, and pursuing the will of the great Father of light and life, be received into [the] company and society of angels and archangels and the spirits of just men made perfect; and may you be qualified to enter into the joys of Heavens — joys unspeakable and full of glory.”


John Jay, 1777 
The first Chief Justice of the United States

 

“Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and the interest, of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”


James Wilson, 
a signer of the Constitution and an original Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court

 

“Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority of that law which is divine….Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual assistants. Indeed, these two sciences run into each other.”


Justice Samuel Chase 
Runkel v. Winemiller, 1799

 

“Religion is of general and public concern, and on its support depend, in great measure, the peace and good order of government, the safety and happiness of the people. By our form of government, the Christian religion is the established religion; and all sects and denominations of Christians are placed upon the same equal footing, and are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty.”


Justice Joseph Story

 

“The real object of the First Amendment was not to countenance [approve of], much less to advance Mohammedanism, or Judaism, or infidelity [secularism], by prostrating [overcoming] Christianity, but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects [denominations]…”


Justice Joseph Story 
A Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United States 1840

 

“We are not to attribute this prohibition of the national religious establishment [in the First Amendment] to any indifference to religion in general, and especially to Christianity (which none could hold in more reverence than the framers of the Constitution)… at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, the general, if not the universal, sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the State so far as was not incompatible with the private rights of conscience and the freedom of religious worship.

 

… Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and the profligate [immoral] are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.”


Justice Joseph Story 
Vidal v. Girard’s Executors 1844

 

“Christianity… is not to be maliciously and openly reviled and blasphemed against, to the annoyance of believers or the injury of the public…”


Justice Joseph Story

 

“There is not a truth to be gathered from history more certain, or more momentous, than this: that civil liberty cannot long be separated from religious liberty without danger, and ultimately without destruction to both.

 

“Wherever religious liberty exists, it will, first or last, bring in and establish political liberty.”


Chief Justice John Marshall 
In a letter to Jasper Adams, May 9, 1833

 

“The American population is entirely Christian, and with us Christianity and Religion are identified. It would be strange indeed, if with such a people, our institutions did not presuppose Christianity, and did not often refer to it, and exhibit relations with it.”


Thomas Cooley 
In his General Principles of Constitutional Law 1890

 

“It was never intended by the Constitution that the government should be prohibited from recognizing religion, or that religious worship should never be provided for in cases where a proper recognition of Divine Providence in the working of government might seem to require it, and where it might be done without drawing an invidious distinction between religious beliefs, organizations, or sects. The Christian religion was always recognized in the administration of the common law of the land, the fundamental principles of that religion must continue to be recognized in the same cases and to the same extent as formerly.”


Judge Gallagher 
Baer v. Kolmorgen 
The Supreme Court of New York
1958

 

“Much has been written in recent years…to “a wall of separation between church and State.” …It has received so much attention that one would almost think at times that it is to be found somewhere in our Constitution.”


Justice Potter Stewart

[Dissenting Opinion: Engel v. Vitale (1962)]

 

“I think that the Court’s task, in this as in all areas of constitutional adjudication, is not responsibly aided by the uncritical invocation of metaphors like the “wall of separation,” a phrase nowhere to be found in the Constitution.”


Justice William Rehnquist 
Wallace v. Jafree 1985 [Dissenting Opinion]

 

“It is impossible to build sound consitutional doctrine upon a mistaken understanding of Constitutional history… The establishment clause had been expressly freighted with Jefferson’s misleading metaphor for nearly forty years… There is simply no historical foundation for the proposition that the framers intended to build a wall of separation [between church and state]… The recent court decisions are in no way based on either the language or intent of the framers.”


Justice William Rehnquist

[Ibid.]

 

“But the greatest injury of the “wall” notion is its mischievous diversion of judges from the actual intentions of the drafters of the Bill of Rights… The “wall of separation between church and State” is a metaphor based on bad history, a metaphor which has proved useless as a guide to judging. It should be frankly and explicitly abandoned.”


—U.S. Supreme Court, 1811— 
The People v. Ruggles 
Justice James Kent delivered the Court’s opinion:

 

“The defendant was indicted… in December, 1810, for that he did, on the 2nd day of September, 1810… wickedly, maliciously, and blasphemously, utter, and with a loud voice publish, in the presence of hearing of divers good and Christian people, of and concerning the Christian religion, and of and concerning Jesus Christ, the false, scandalous, malicious, wicked and blasphemous words following: “Jesus Christ is a bastard, and his mother must be a whore”, in contempt of the Christian religion… the defendant was tried and found guilty, and was sentenced by the court to be imprisoned for three months, and to pay a fine of $500.

 

Such words uttered with such a disposition were an offense at common law. In Taylor’s case the defendant was convicted upon information of speaking similar words, and the Court… said that Christianity was parcel of the law, and to cast contumelious reproaches upon it, tended to weaken the foundation of moral obligation, and the efficacy of oaths.

 

And in the case of Rex vs. Woolston’s, on a like conviction, the Court said… that whatever strikes at the root of Christianity tends manifestly to the dissolution of civil government… the authorities show that blasphemy against God and… profane ridicule of Christ or the Holy Scriptures (which are equally treated as blasphemy), are offenses punishable at common law, rather uttered by words or writings… because it tends to corrupt the morals of the people, and to destroy good order.

 

Such offenses have always been considered independent of any religious establishment or the rights of the Church. They are treated as affecting the essential interest of civil society…

 

We stand equally in need, now as formerly, of all the moral discipline, and of those principles of virtue, which help to bind society together.

 

The people of this State, in common with the people of this country, profess the general doctrines of Christianity, as the rule of their faith and practice; and to scandalize the author of these doctrines is not only… impious, but… is a gross violation of decency and good order.

 

Nothing could be more injurious to the tender morals of the young, then to declare such profanity lawful…

 

The free, equal, and undisturbed enjoyment of religious opinion, whatever it may be, and free and descent discussions on any religious subject, is granted and secured; but to revile… the religion professed by almost the whole community, is an abuse of that right…

 

We are a Christian people, and the morality of the country is deeply engrafted upon Christianity, and not upon the doctrines of worship of those impostors [other religions]…

 

[We are] people whose manners are refined and whose morals has been elevated and inspired with a more enlarged benevolence, by means of the Christian religion. Though the Constitution has discarded religious establishments, it does not forbid judicial cognizance of those offenses against religion and morality which have no reference to any such establishment…

 

This [constitutional] declaration (noble and magnanimous as it is, when duly understood) never meant to withdraw religion in general, and with it the best sanctions of moral and social obligation from all consideration and notice of Law…

 

To construe it as breaking down the common law barriers against licentious, wanton, and impious attacks upon Christianity itself, would be an enormous perversion of its meaning…

 

Christianity in its enlarged sense, as a religion revealed and taught in the Bible, is part and parcel of the law of the land…

 

Nor are we bound by any expression of the Constitution, as some has strangely supposed, either not to punish at all, or to punish indiscriminately like attacks upon the religion of Mahomet and the Grand Lama; and for this plain reason, that we are a Christian people, and the morality of this country is deeply engrafted upon Christianity, and not upon the doctrines or worship of these impostors…

 

The Court is accordingly of the opinion that the judgment… must be affirmed.”


—U. S. Supreme Court, 1892— 
Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States

 

“No purpose of action against religion can be imputed to any legislation, state or national, because this is a religious people. This is historically true. From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation.

 

The commission to Christopher Columbus…. “that it is hoped that by God’s assistance some of the continents and islands in the ocean will be discovered…”

 

The first colonial grant made to Sir Walter Raleigh in 1584…. and the grant authorizing him to enact statutes for the government of the proposed colony provided that they “be not against the true Christian faith…”

 

The first charter of Virginia, granted by King James I in 1606…. commenced the grant in these words: “…in propagating of Christian Religion to such People as yet live in Darkness…”

 

Language of similar import may be found in the subsequent charters of that colony…. in 1609 and 1611; and the same is true of the various charters granted to the other colonies. In language more or less emphatic is the establishment of the Christian religion declared to be one of the purposes of the grant. The celebrated compact made by the Pilgrims in the Mayflower, 1620, recites; “Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith… a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia…”

 

The fundamental orders of Connecticut, under which a provisional government was instituted in 1638-1639, commence with this declaration: “…And well knowing where a people are gathered together the word of God requires that to maintain the peace and union… there should be an orderly and decent government established according to God…to maintain and preserve the liberty and purity of the gospel of our Lord Jesus which we now profess…of the said gospel [which] is now practiced amongst us.”

 

In the charter of privileges granted by William Penn to the province of Pennsylvania, in 1701 it is recited: “…no people can be truly happy, though under the greatest enjoyment of civil liberties, if abridged of… their religious profession and worship…”

 

Coming nearer to the present time, the Declaration of Independence recognizes the presence of Divine in human affairs in these words:

 

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights… appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions… And for the support of this Declaration, with firm reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

 

…We find everywhere a clear recognition of the same truth… because of a general recognition of this truth [that we are a Christian nation], the question has seldom been presented to the courts…

 

There is no dissonance in these declarations. There is a universal language pervading them all, having one meaning; they affirm and reaffirm that this is a religious nation. Those are not individual sayings, declarations of private persons; they are organic utterances; they speak the voice of the entire people.

 

While because of a general recognition of this truth the question has seldom been presented to the courts, yet we find that in Updegraph v. The Commonwealth, it was decided that, Christianity, general Christianity, is, and always has been, a part of the common law… not Christianity with an established church…. but Christianity with liberty of conscience to all men.

 

And in The People v. Ruggles, Chancellor Kent, the great commentator on American law, speaking as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New York, said:

 

“The people of this State, in common with the people of this country, profess the general doctrines of Christianity, as the rule of their faith and practice… We are a Christian people, and the morality of the country is deeply engrafted upon Christianity, and not upon the doctrines or worship of those impostors [other religions].”

 

And in the famous Case of Vidal v. Girard’s Executors, this Court… observed:

 

“It is also said, and truly, that the Christian religion is a part of the common law…”

 

If we pass beyond these matters to a view of American life as expressed by its laws, its business, its customs and its society, we find everywhere a clear recognition of the same truth. Among other matters note the following: The form of oath universally prevailing, concluding with an appeal to the Almighty; the custom of opening sessions of all deliberative bodies and most conventions with prayer; the prefatory words of all wills, ” In the name of God, amen”; the laws respecting the observance of the Sabbath, with the general cessation of all secular business, and the closing of courts, legislatures, and other similar public assemblies on that day; the churches and church organizations which abound in every city, town and hamlet; the multitude of charitable organizations existing everywhere under Christian auspices; the gigantic missionary associations, with general support, and aiming to establish Christian missions in every quarter of the globe.

 

These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation…We find everywhere a clear recognition of the same truth.

 

The happiness of a people and the good order and preservation of civil government essentially depend upon piety, religion and morality.

 

Religion, morality, and knowledge [are] necessary to government, the preservation of liberty, and the happiness of mankind.”


—U.S. Supreme Court, 1931— 
U.S. vs. Macintosh

 

“We are a Christian people… and acknowledge with reverence the duty of obedience to the will of God.”


—U. S. Supreme Court, 1952— 
Zorach v. Clauson

[William O. Douglas SCOTUS Opinion]

 

“The First Amendment, however, does not say that in every respect there shall be a separation of Church and State. Rather, it studiously defines the manner, the specific ways, in which there shall be no concert or union or dependency one on the other.

 

That is the common sense of the matter. Otherwise the state and religion would be aliens to each other—hostile, suspicious, and even unfriendly…

 

Municipalities would not be permitted to render police or fire protection to religious groups. Policemen who helped parishioners into places of worship would violate the Constitution. Prayers in our legislative halls; the appeals to the Almighty in the messages of the Chief Executive; the proclamation making Thanksgiving Day a holiday; “so help me God” in our courtroom oaths—these and all other references to the Almighty that run through our laws, or public rituals, our ceremonies, would be flouting the First Amendment. A fastidious atheist or agnostic could even object to the supplication with which the Court opens each session: God save the United States and this Honorable Court.

 

We are a religious people and our institutions presuppose a Supreme Being… When the state encourages religious instruction or cooperates with religious authorities by adjusting the schedule of public events to sectarian needs, it follows the best of our traditions.

 

For it then respects the religious nature of our people and accommodates the public service to their spiritual needs. To hold that it may not would be to find in the Constitution a requirement that the government show a callous indifference to religious groups. That would be preferring those who believe in no religion over those who do believe…

 

We find no constitutional requirement making it necessary for government to be hostile to religion and to throw its weighed against the efforts to widen the scope of religious influence. The government must remain neutral when it comes to competition between sects…

 

We cannot read into the Bill of Rights such a philosophy of hostility to religion.”

_____________________________

Disputing Separation Church/State Part 3

John R. Houk

© March 20, 2014

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Untitled Restore-Christian-America.org on USA as a Christian Nation

 

Restore Christian America Homepage

 

A Walk for the President


Atheists, Leftists, Secular Humanists and President Barack Hussein Obama love to tell you that America is not a Christian nation and there is no part of our heritage in America based on Christianity.

 

Well check out this video which contradicts the anti-Christian American thinking.

 

JRH 7/22/12 (Hat Tip: Vicki)

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VIDEO: A Walk for the President

 

A Leftist’s Lips Move Followed by Lying Revisionism


America's Christian Foundation

 

John R. Houk

© January 14, 2012

 

I received a comment from an obvious Left Wing – the Constitution is a living document – and perhaps an atheist Doug Indeep relating to this post at SlantRight 2.0: “The Homosexual Classrooms Act is an Assault on the Constitution and Christianity”. I am certain Mr. Indeep is a pseudonym relating to “Dug in deep”. His profile page on Blogger releases little information about him except that he is a lawyer and resides on the Left Coast; i.e. California. As of this writing Indeep’s blog is empty which indicates he created a profile to use the wisdom of the Left to annoy the Right.

 

Indeep’s line of thinking in refuting The Homosexual Classrooms Act post is to proclaim the Constitution is the bedrock of the existence of Separation of Church and State and that David Barton’s scholarship of the Founding Fathers is revisionist history according to Chris Rodda herself a Leftist ideologue that chose to attack the credibility of Barton’s sources.

 

So this is what I am going to do. I am going to post Indeep’s comment here in its entirety followed by some of my thoughts which will be followed by a refutation of Christ Rodda.

 

READ THE ENTIRE POST AT SlantRight 2.0