Independence Day [Message]


T Jefferson statue next to Decl of Independence

I subscribe to the online periodical The Patriot Post. It’s free and so far totally independent of advertisements and totally dependent on the gracious support of free will donations. Thus before I go further I highly encourage you to send some money to keep the fount of Patriotism operating as a source of Conservative Liberty and a promoter of the ideals of America’s Founding Fathers.

 

Since I am on The Patriot Post email list every year around Independence Day I get an email that links to an Independence Day message. I am fairly certain that oft times it is the same message because it is so well written and is quite timelessly relevant. I may have even cross posted it more than once. Guess what, I am doing it again – today.

 

JRH 7/4/14

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Independence Day

The Patriot Post

 

“God who gave us life gave us Liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.” –Thomas Jefferson (1774)

 

Amid all the contemporary political and cultural contests, too many conservatives fail to make the case for overarching eternal truths — whether in debate with adversaries across the aisles of Congress, or with neighbors across Main Street.

 

Lost in the din is the foundational endowment of Essential Liberty, and any debate that does not begin with this eternal truth will end with temporary deceits.

 

The most oft-cited words from our Declaration of Independence are these: “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.”

 

The eternal assertion that Liberty for all people is “endowed by their Creator” and is thus “unalienable” should require no defense, because “we hold these truths to be self-evident,” and because the rights of man are irrevocable from the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”

 

But the root of all debate between Liberty and tyranny — or, in political parlance, between Right and left — is the contest to assert who endows Liberty — God or man.

 

Contemporary Leftist protagonists seek to replace Rule of Law with the rule of men. This is because the former is predicated on the principle that Liberty is “endowed by our Creator,” while the latter asserts that government is the giver of Liberty.

 

The history of man, since its first record, has repeatedly and tragically documented that when the people settle for the assertion that government is the source of their rights, tyranny is the inevitable result. And tyrants always attempt to undermine Liberty by driving a wedge between it and its foundational endowment by our Creator.

 

For generations, American liberals have driven that wedge by asserting that our Constitution provides a “wall of separation” between church and state. But does it?

 

 

The short answer is “yes,” but it is most certainly not the faux wall constructed by judicial activists, who have grossly adulterated the plain language of our First Amendment especially during the last 50 years.

 

Contrary to what many liberals would have us believe, the words “wall of separation between church and state” do not appear in our Constitution — nor is this notion even implied. Thomas Jefferson penned those words in an obscure 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in response to concerns about Connecticut’s establishment of Congregationalism as their state church. Jefferson assuaged their concerns, telling the Baptists that the First Amendment prohibited the national government from establishing a “national church,” but he concluded rightly that the Constitution prohibited the national government from interfering with the matters of state governments — a “wall of separation,” if you will, between federal and state governments.

 

The “wall of separation” argument is thus a phony one. Indeed, it is a blueprint for tyranny.

 

We are created, from the beginning, in the Image of God, and that image is the essence of Liberty, the well of all rights for all people for all time.

 

Our enlightened Founders, in their revolutionary opposition to tyranny, looked far beyond kings and parliaments to the enduring source of the rights of man, and they enumerated in our Declaration of Independence that we are, indeed, created in God’s Image for His purpose, and that no man could strip that endowment from the soul of another. Thus, we have the equal capacity to be free, personal, rational, creative and moral beings, and we are entitled to be so through His endowment.

 

These rights and freedoms were further enshrined in our Constitution.

 

In 1776, John Hancock wrote of Jacob Duché, the first Chaplain appointed by the Continental Congress, “Congress … from a consideration of your … zealous attachment to the rights of America, appoint(s) you their Chaplain.” Duché, Pastor of Philadelphia’s Christ Church, captured the spirit of the American Revolution, saying, “Civil liberty is as much the gift of God in Christ Jesus … as our spiritual freedom… ‘Standing fast’ in that liberty, wherewith Christ, as the great providential Governor of the world, hath made us free.”

 

It is in that spirit that we at The Patriot Post adopted our motto, Veritas vos Liberabit — “The Truth Will Set You Free” (John 8:32). That is the essence of the assertion that we are “endowed by our Creator” with life and Liberty.

 

Ignorance of the true and eternal source of the rights of man is fertile ground for the Left’s assertion that government endows such rights. It is also perilous ground, soaked with the blood of generations of American Patriots. As Jefferson wrote, “The tree of Liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”

 

Indeed, the “Cycle of Democracy” demands this tonic. And despite the pervasive assault on Liberty by the current legions of Leftist NeoComs, to paraphrase the great Prussian military historian, theorist and tactician Carl von Clausewitz, “the best defense is a good offense.”

 

Our Founders closed their Declaration with this pledge to each other, and all who would follow: “With a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

 

In his 1800 letter to fellow Declaration signer Benjamin Rush, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

 

Like millions of our generation’s American Patriots, I have sworn likewise. We must never forsake our Sacred Honor.

 

No matter what setbacks we face, Liberty is an eternal endowment. Thus, we must hold the lines on defense, and regroup for relentless attack on offense.

 

Never lose faith, fellow Patriots!

 

In honor of this anniversary of our Declaration of Independence, contemplate these wise words of our Founders, and please consider supporting The Patriot Post’s mission in defense of Liberty.

 

Signing Decl. of Independence

 

“While we are zealously performing the duties of good Citizens and soldiers we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of Religion. To the distinguished Character of Patriot, it should be our highest Glory to add the more distinguished Character of Christian.” –George Washington

 

“The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.” –John Adams

 

“May every citizen … have a proper sense of the Deity upon his mind and an impression of the declaration recorded in the Bible, ‘Him that honoreth Me I will honor, but he that despiseth Me shall be lightly esteemed.'” –Samuel Adams

 

“This will be the best security for maintaining our liberties. A nation of well-informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins.” –Benjamin Franklin

 

“The belief in a God All Powerful wise and good, is so essential to the moral order of the world and to the happiness of man, that arguments which enforce it cannot be drawn from too many sources nor adapted with too much solicitude to the different characters and capacities impressed with it.” –James Madison

 

“The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among parchments and musty records. They are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the Hand of Divinity itself, and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.” –Alexander Hamilton

 

“But where says some is the king of America? I’ll tell you Friend, he reigns above, and doth not make havoc of mankind like the Royal Brute of Britain. … [L]et it be brought forth placed on the divine law, the word of God; let a crown be placed thereon, by which the world may know, that so far as we approve of monarchy, that in America THE LAW IS king. For as in absolute governments the king is law, so in free countries the law ought to be king; and there ought to be no other. But lest any ill use should afterwards arise, let the crown at the conclusion of the ceremony be demolished, and scattered among the people whose right it is.” –Thomas Paine in Common Sense

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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.”

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Disputing Separation Church/State Part 3

John R. Houk

© March 20, 2014

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