Disputing Separation Church/State Part 7


No Nation Survives without Law

John R. Houk

© April 5, 2014

 

Dougindeap left a comment on the post “The Truth about Separation of Church and State” at NCCR which is a cross post of an Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) brochure that provides reasons for the concept of Separation of Church and State as SCOTUS has set in stone today is and was not a correct interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.

 

It is my habit to usually post my perspective on a comment then place the comment below my thoughts. Since Dougindeap divided his comment into eight parts to refute the ADF points. So as I initially began to respond to Dougindeap’s original comment which resulted in various parts with the title “Disputing Separation Church/State” (which as of this writing is up to six parts). You can read an edited version of that comment at the end of my thoughts at SlantRight 2.0 or the NCCR blog. You can read Dougindeap’s unedited comment version at NCCR HERE. I am bucking my typical course and take a valiant effort to briefly take each of Dougindeap’s points to put in my two-cents. I say briefly because I can tell that the six parts of “Disputing Separation Church/State” could go on much longer than I desire to devote to the subject. I have to say something though because I disagree with Dougindeap as much as he disagrees with me. Sadly the slant of the reader’s politics will line the reader with Doug or myself.

 

So here we go.

 

dougindeap commented on The Truth about Separation of Church and State

April 2, 2014 at 8:12 PM

 

[Blog Editor: Dougindeap uses the abbreviation “ALF” when I suspect he was thinking Alliance Defending Freedom which would “ADF”. I mention this for clarity’s sake because we all post comments hurriedly in which typos or missing words occur and not as a criticism of Dougindeap.]

 

Dougindeap:

 

You have succeeded in gathering quite a collection of arguments about separation of church and state, nearly all of which I’ve seen and seen debunked many times. I won’t attempt to touch on every one of the many points, but will take the ALF items one by one.

 

1. While Jefferson’s first use of the term “separation of church and state” may have been in his letter to the Danbury Baptists, he hardly was the first to use the term.

 

Certainly Jefferson’s letter had nothing to say about limiting public religious expression. ALF contends against a strawman. No one contends that Jefferson said any such thing.

 

It is important to distinguish between “individual” and “government” speech about religion. The constitutional principle of separation of church and state does not purge religion from the public square–far from it. Indeed, the First Amendment’s “free exercise” clause assures that each individual is free to exercise and express his or her religious views–publicly as well as privately. The Amendment constrains only the government not to promote or otherwise take steps toward establishment of religion. As government can only act through the individuals comprising its ranks, when those individuals are performing their official duties (e.g., public school teachers instructing students in class), they effectively are the government and thus should conduct themselves in accordance with the First Amendment’s constraints on government. When acting in their individual capacities, they are free to exercise their religions as they please. (Students also are free to exercise and express their religious views–in a time, manner, and place that does not interfere with school programs and activities.) If their right to free exercise of religion extended even to their discharge of their official responsibilities, however, the First Amendment constraints on government establishment of religion would be eviscerated. While figuring out whether someone is speaking for the government in any particular circumstance may sometimes be difficult, making the distinction is critical.

 

JRH:

 

I believe Dougindeap has correctly expressed the meaning of the First Amendment until he gets to the part I took the liberty to highlight with bold print.

 

When Doug says the government can only act through the individuals comprising its ranks, he is correct to the extent those individuals are under the direct mandate of the government. The problem is the Left Wing assumption that all instruments of the government are representative of the Federal government. THIS WAS NOT THE ORIGINAL INTENT of the First Amendment.

 

The Bill of Rights which are actually the first ten Amendments of the U.S. Constitution provides an intent that must apply to the First Amendment as enumerated in the Tenth Amendment:

 

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.

 

Just as Doug points out the First Amendment prevents the U.S. Congress to establish a State Church or to make any laws that prohibits the free exercise of religion. The Tenth Amendment brings specificity in that the State government or “the people” (implying local government such as Counties or cities) can define how individuals working as instruments of government are defined on the State and Local level. Hence the Federal government did not end Established Churches on the State level. The States individually disestablished State Churches as it became obvious the State Established Churches were slipping into the minority among Christian denominations in the various States. Ironically Massachusetts one of the most Liberal States in the American Union today was the last State to disestablish their State Church in the 1833. States’ Rights ended the Established Church in the USA and not the enforcement of the Federal government. In the same manner of Original Intent each State has the power of the law to limit or encourage government instruments such as employees from sharing their individual faith.

 

Dougindeap:

 

2. Justice Hugo Black was not the first to “insert” separation of church and state into American jurisprudence. Not by a long shot. A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court first used that term in 1878 in Reynolds v. United States, where it quoted Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists while interpreting the First Amendment.

 

JRH:

 

In Reynolds v. United States Dougindeap fails to mention the reason for the unanimity of SCOTUS in the 1878 religious Liberty case before them. George Reynolds a citizen of the then Territory of Utah was a Mormon that married more than one wife. Reynolds was convicted of bigamy. Reynolds demanded his First Amendment rights of Religious Liberty. The 1878 SCOTUS officially was more concerned about social norms than Religious Freedom. In Christian America in 1878 bigamy was not only illegal it was also a heinous sin. The reality of the 1878 SCOTUS decision was upholding traditional Christian values over the cult of Mormonism (Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints). Mormons then and now believe in the supremacy of the Book of Mormon and certain so-called Mormon prophetic pronouncements (Book of Mormon; Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price) over the traditional Christian values of the Holy Bible. SCOTUS upheld the conviction of George Reynolds in 1878 unanimously. I have no doubts Mormons consider themselves Christians however their theology is so divergent from the orthodox practices of Christianity an intelligent evaluation even today would come to the conclusion Mormonism at best is its own religion and at worst a cult spin-off Christianity. It should be noted the powers that be in Mormonism had the remarkable revelation that marriage is between one man and one woman in order for the Utah Territory could become the sovereign State of Utah in 1890.

 

As to the 1878 SCOTUS unanimous opinion referencing the Jefferson to Danbury Baptists letter WallBuilders provides the actual intent of that Court opinion:

 

Earlier courts long understood Jefferson’s intent. In fact, when Jefferson’s letter was invoked by the Supreme Court (only twice prior to the 1947Everson case – the Reynolds v. United States case in 1878), unlike today’s Courts which publish only his eight-word separation phrase, that earlier Court published Jefferson’s entire letter and then concluded:

 

Coming as this does from an acknowledged leader of the advocates of the measure, it [Jefferson’s letter] may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the Amendment thus secured. Congress was deprived of all legislative power over mere [religious] opinion, but was left free to reach actions which were in violation of social duties or subversive of good order. (emphasis added)[12]

 

That Court then succinctly summarized Jefferson’s intent for “separation of church and state”:

 

[T]he rightful purposes of civil government are for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order. In th[is] . . . is found the true distinction between what properly belongs to the church and what to the State. [13]

 

With this even the Baptists had agreed; for while wanting to see the government prohibited from interfering with or limiting religious activities, they also had declared it a legitimate function of government “to punish the man who works ill to his neighbor.”

 

That Court, therefore, and others (for example, Commonwealth v. Nesbit and Lindenmuller v. The People), identified actions into which – if perpetrated in the name of religion – the government did have legitimate reason to intrude. Those activities included human sacrifice, polygamy, bigamy, concubinage, incest, infanticide, parricide, advocation and promotion of immorality, etc. (Excerpted from – The Separation of Church and State; By David Barton; WallBuilders.com; January 2001)

 

Dougindeap:

 

3. First, ALF tries to pass off the Supreme Court’s decision in Everson v. Board of Education as simply a misreading of Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists–as if that were the only basis of the Court’s decision. Instructive as that letter is, it played but a small part in the Court’s decision. Rather, the Court discussed the historical context in which the Constitution and First Amendment were drafted, noting the expressed understanding of Madison perhaps even more than Jefferson, and only after concluding its analysis and stating its conclusion did the Court refer–once–to Jefferson’s letter, largely to borrow his famous metaphor as a clever label or summary of its conclusion. The notion, often heard, that the Court rested its decision solely or largely on that letter is a red herring.

 

Second, it is ALF that has confused its history. Contrary to its assertion, Justice Black did not write that the Danbury letter may be accepted “almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect” of the First Amendment.” Rather Chief Justice Waite wrote that in Reynolds v. United States. Black, moreover, did not repeat that statement in Everson.

 

Finally, the further notion, suggested by ALF and advanced by some, that the Supreme Court’s recognition of the constitutional separation of church and state in Everson is all Justice Black’s doing is laughable. It bears noting that all nine justices in the Everson case read the Constitution to call for separation of church and state, and indeed all of the parties and all of the amici curiae (including the National Council of Catholic Men and National Council of Catholic Women) did as well; no one disputed the principle, they differed only in how it should be applied in the circumstances of the case.

 

JRH:

 

Actually Hugo Black equally emphasized Jefferson and Madison together. Doug fails to mention that Black’s Majority Opinion included both Jefferson and Madison’s efforts on a State level in Virginia to disestablish any Church to receive tax support because such taxation would be discriminatory toward non-established Christian denominations. Hence Jefferson and Madison were not arguing the removal of recognized Christian Morality but rather the removal of taxpayers’ paying the salary of a State established Clergy. AND so yes, Hugo Black misappropriated the work of Jefferson and Madison use of a States’ Rights issue to apply to Federal authority. Hugo Black attempts to solidify the Church/State separation by adopting Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists. How did Black connect a States’ Rights issue to Federal authority? Then Black used the presumption that the Fourteenth Amendment which officially ended Slavery in all the States by Federal rule of law, then by extension Black presumed the Fourteenth Amendment nullified the Tenth Amendment which in turn pertained to individual State sovereignty bowing to the will of the Judicial and Executive branches of government. This interpretation had the effect to keep the influence of Christianity outside the scope of State level and local level government parameters in the rule of law.

 

Dougindeap:

 

4. That the words “separation of church and state” do not appear in the text of the Constitution assumes much importance, it seems, to some who once mistakenly supposed they were there and, upon learning of their error, fancy they’ve solved a Constitutional mystery. To those familiar with the Constitution, the absence of the metaphorical phrase commonly used to name one of its principles is no more consequential than the absence of other phrases (e.g., Bill of Rights, separation of powers, checks and balances, fair trial, religious liberty) used to describe other undoubted Constitutional principles.

 

Contrary to ALF’s supposition, separation of church and state rests on much more than just the First Amendment. It is a bedrock principle of our Constitution, much like the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances. 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. Given the norms of the day (by which governments generally were grounded in some appeal to god(s)), the founders’ avoidance of any expression in the Constitution suggesting that the government is somehow based on any religious belief was quite a remarkable and plainly intentional choice. They later buttressed this separation of government and religion with the First Amendment, which affirmatively constrains the government from undertaking to establish religion or prohibit individuals from freely exercising their religions.

 

JRH:

 

Doug mistakenly equates the lack of the words “Wall of Separation of Church and State” in the Constitute is the same as other civics terms not being the Constitution such as “Bill of Rights, separation of powers (i.e. in branches of government), checks and balances, fair trial, religious liberty” and so on. The reason Doug is mistaken because all those other terms are specifically spelled out in the Constitution BUT the term “Wall of Separation of Church and State” is not spelled out AT ALL The First Amendment ONLY spells out that Congress cannot make a law to Establish a State Church and that Congress cannot prohibit the free exercise of religion.

 

Dougindeap:

 

5. While the First Amendment undoubtedly was intended to preclude the government from establishing a national religion as you note, that was hardly the limit of its intended scope. The first Congress debated and rejected just such a narrow provision (“no religion shall be established by law, nor shall the equal rights of conscience be infringed”) and ultimately chose the more broadly phrased prohibition now found in the Amendment. During his presidency, Madison vetoed two bills, neither of which would form a national religion or compel observance of any religion, on the ground that they were contrary to the establishment clause. While some in Congress expressed surprise that the Constitution prohibited Congress from incorporating a church in the town of Alexandria in the District of Columbia or granting land to a church in the Mississippi Territory, Congress upheld both vetoes. Separation of church and state is hardly a new invention of modern courts. In keeping with the Amendment’s terms and legislative history and other evidence, the courts have wisely interpreted it to restrict the government from taking steps that could establish religion de facto as well as de jure. Were the Amendment interpreted merely to preclude government from enacting a statute formally establishing a state church, the intent of the Amendment could easily be circumvented by government doing all sorts of things to promote this or that religion–stopping just short of cutting a ribbon to open its new church.

 

JRH:

 

Dougindeap quotes James Madison’s first writing of a proposed First Amendment: “no religion shall be established by law, nor shall the equal rights of conscience be infringed”. I suspect Doug is implying Madison’s influence spoke for all the Congressmen in constructing religious freedom as imputed by Federal government authority en toto as opposed to States’ Rights. That is DEFINITELY not the case because of House deliberation the First Amendment’s form ratified as law is what was sent to the States for ratification. Hence States’ Rights coupled with the Tenth Amendment became the actual Original Intent of the First Amendment which included the individual States upholding the primacy of the values of the Christian religion by which all Denominations upheld regardless of varying theological dogma.

 

Since the Declaration of Independence led to the Articles of Confederation which were then superseded by the U.S. Constitution in 1789 shows that the Founding Fathers bowed to the will of ‘We the People’ in the promotion of the very least the promotion of Christianity as what will maintain the general welfare of the people of the new USA.

 

Here’s an abbreviated list of the Continental Congress pushing Christian Morals and Values for the General Welfare (1774 – 1789):

 

1. Congress’ First Act: A Resolution to Pray – September 6, 1774

 

2. Congress Ordered Purchase and Printing of Bibles – September 11, 1777

 

3. Congress Expressly Promoted Religion – October 12, 1778:

 

Whereas true religion and good morals are the only solid foundations of public liberty and happiness: Resolved, That it be, and it is hereby earnestly recommended to the several States to take the most effectual measures for the encouragement thereof.

 

4. The Declaration of Independence – formally adopted it on July 4, 1776, and signed it August 2, 1776. The Declaration directly appeals to God at least four times

 

5. Congress Appointed Days Of Prayer, Thanksgiving, and Repentance – In the approximately fifteen years of its existence, the Continental Congress approved at least fifteen proclamations calling on the states to appoint days of special worship or honor to God. Dates enumerated from 1777 through 1787.

 

The above lists remarkable does not contain the Northwest Ordinance enacted by the Continental Congress under the Articles of Confederation July 13, 1787. The legislation has 14 Sections and the Fourteenth Section has Six Articles. The purpose for the Northwest Ordinance was to establish a Central government rule of law for expansion westward from the Original 13 States and a method of admitting new sovereign States to the United States of America (then under the Articles of Confederation). Christianity and Religious Freedom combined are expressly part of the designs of the Northwest Ordinance.

 

Sec. 13. And, for extending the fundamental principles of civil and religious liberty, which form the basis whereon these republics, their laws and constitutions are erected; to fix and establish those principles as the basis of all laws, constitutions, and governments, which forever hereafter shall be formed in the said territory: to provide also for the establishment of States, and permanent government therein, and for their admission to a share in the federal councils on an equal footing with the original States, at as early periods as may be consistent with the general interest: (Bold emphasis Blog Editor’s)

 

Sec. 14. It is hereby ordained and declared by the authority aforesaid, That the following articles shall be considered as articles of compact between the original States and the people and States in the said territory and forever remain unalterable, unless by common consent, to wit:

 

Art. 1. No person, demeaning himself in a peaceable and orderly manner, shall ever be molested on account of his mode of worship or religious sentiments, in the said territory.

 

Art. 3. Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged. …

 

The two bills James Madison vetoed was done correctly. The bills’ goals were to Establish the Episcopalian Church in the city of Alexandria within the District of Columbia and provide public funds to buy land for a Church in the Territory of Mississippi. On a Federal basis the First Amendment specifically states that Congress can make no law establishing a Church. AGAIN this has nothing to do with the laws enumerated to the several States not in the U.S. Constitution (Tenth Amendment).

 

My above thoughts on the history of the Courts and Church Establishment already refute the Doug’s claim that Church/State Separation issues is “hardly a new invention of modern courts.”

 

Dougindeap:

 

6. Dreisbach’s fundamental error is his largely unspoken and unexamined presumption that the Constitution’s separation of church and state is merely a First Amendment textual matter. As noted above, however, it is rather a bedrock principle of our Constitution, resting on much more than the First Amendment.

 

JRH:

 

Already proved this line of thinking is in error by Dougindeap.

 

Dougindeap:

 

7. The Constitution, including particularly the First Amendment, embodies the simple, just idea that each of us should be free to exercise his or her religious views without expecting that the government will endorse or promote those views and without fearing that the government will endorse or promote the religious views of others. By keeping government and religion separate, the establishment clause serves to protect the freedom of all to exercise their religion. Reasonable people may differ, of course, on how these principles should be applied in particular situations, but the principles are hardly to be doubted. Moreover, they are good, sound principles that should be nurtured and defended, not attacked. Efforts to undercut our secular government by somehow merging or infusing it with religion should be resisted by every patriot.

 

Wake Forest University has published a short, objective Q&A primer on the current law of separation of church and state–as applied by the courts rather than as caricatured in the blogosphere. I commend it to you. http://tiny.cc/6nnnx

 

JRH:

 

The only contention I can agree with Dougindeap is that the First Amendment prevents the Federal Congress from Establishing a State Church and that the Federal Congress cannot enact laws prohibiting the free exercise of religion. Everything else not forbidden by the U.S. Constitution is the purview of each State in the Union of the United States of America. The tiny url posted by Doug does not work or at least not in my Chrome or Internet Explorer browsers. When I Googled ‘Wake Forest Q&A primer on Separation of Church and State’ I discovered Dougindeap has been posting link since at least 2010. I can find no such document online from Wake Forest. Perhaps the closest thing I can find is a PDF document entitled, “Religious Expression in American Public Life: A Joint Statement of Current Law”. I found two links for this document: One by Wake Forest and another posted on the Anti-Defamation League website but both are the same document. Both documents are dated January 2010. The document is a collective work by a bunch of people that are on opposite sides of the Church/State Separation issues. The document is anything but definitive. The closest section talking about the First Amendment and Church Establishment is Chapter Two of the roughly 32 page document with End Notes longer if you include acknowledgements by Wake Forest’s (at least then) Director of Wake Forest University Divinity School and the Center for Religion and Public Affairs. The Chapter Two title is “Is the First Amendment the only constitutional or legal provision that affects these issues?

 

Chapter Two clearly expresses the First Amendment is functional as a Federal law in which there is a large degree of discretion on the State level of law in which the First Amendment does not address.

 

In connection to this PDF document (Religious Expression in American Public Life: A Joint Statement of Current Law), the “diverse” committee that truly consisted of representation of both sides of the political spectrum on Church/State issues was led by Melissa Rogers as the Director of Wake Forest University Divinity School’s Center for Religion and Public Affairs during the PDF document’s 2010 publication. Melissa Rogers is hardly neutral a person that looks equally on both sides of the coin on Church/State issues. Rogers is a downright and overt proponent of the revisionist Left Wingers choosing to exclude the merits of Original Intent of the Constitution in relation to the opinions of the Founders on how Christianity effects the general welfare of a good society. Even the Founding Fathers in James Madison (See also HERE) and Thomas Jefferson that were closer to the secularist Enlightenment discrediting of orthodox theology of Christianity agreed that Christian Morals and Values promoted a good society.

 

Dougindeap:

 

8. While some, including myself, grow tired of the semantic wrangling over the phrase commonly used to describe or name one of the Constitution’s fundamental principles, that principle—by whatever name—remains central and essential to the Constitution and our way of life.

           

JRH:

 

Doug says he is getting weary of wrangling that Separation of Church and State is a fundamental principle of the Constitution. I myself am frustrated about Leftists trying so hard to prevent the historical nature of Christianity of being such a huge influence on the development of our nation. It is my belief that the Leftist efforts at historical revisionism is to transform America into a society that abandons Christianity as a Moral Foundation. Then replace Christianity with a Secular Humanist perspective as a foundation for societal morality. Such a humanist morality places the created on a pedestal above the Creator. No matter how lofty the ideals of man being inherently good, actual history shows that man is inherently evil. That inherent evil exists in human nature because God’s first created human being – Adam – betrayed God the Creator by agreeing with the serpent Satan and partook of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Why did Adam consume the fruit? Satan told Eve, who Adam did not rebuke, believed the serpent that the fruit would make her and Adam like God knowing the difference between good and evil. Adam’s act of disobedience of God voluntarily sold his nature to the dominion of Satan. Since Adam was made the perpetual steward of God’s created Earth. That meant the earth also came under Satan’s control. Adam’s disobedience led to the punishment of being separated from God which is spiritual death. Humanity and Earth became cursed to a Fallen nature explaining an inherent evil nature. The inherent evil nature of man will inevitably lead to unwholesome if not downright wicked choices in which selfish desires overrule the general welfare of humanity.

 

The good news for humanity God the Creator promised a way out for Adam choosing Satan’s lie as truth rather than God’s holy union.

 

14 So the Lord God said to the serpent:

 

“Because you have done this,
You are cursed more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you shall go,
And you shall eat dust
All the days of your life.

15 And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel
.” (Bold Emphasis Blog Editor – Genesis 3: 14-15 NKJV
)

 

Verse 15 is God’s first Promise of a Redeemer to bring humanity back into right standing with God Almighty. Then and only then will humanity not need laws of a government to curb the inclination of a Fallen human nature. Secular Humanism is wrong, humanity is not essentially good.

 

JRH 4/5/14

Please Support NCCR

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

Please Support NCCR

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

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

_____________________________________

Dougindeap Comment to: Disputing Separation Church/State Part 2

 

Edited by John R. Houk

© Dougindeap

Dougindeap Comment to: Disputing Separation Church/State Part 1


Dougindeap - Separation Church-State blogger

Dougindeap

 

Actually Dougindeap, the post that quotes your original comment is somewhat of an introduction to several parts on the separation of Church/State. Frankly I disagree with your view of (chuckle) your refutation of my refutation. Albeit as part of an introduction a piece on Deism is a good foundation because my experience is that is one of the primary sets of reasoning Liberals use to denigrate the influence of Christianity on America’s Founding Documents. It will take me awhile to get to everything you originally commented on. I’ve managed to get to a Part 5 (so far) and I feel like I am still on the tip of the iceberg in demonstrating you are incorrect about separation of Church/State as far as the people being involved in government is not a valid assertion. The Establishment Cause is a one-way street keeping government out of religion.

 

I have to say your arguments are well thought out even though I disagree with your interpretation of events. This comment is credible enough for me to post without much comment on my part. I’ll probably show another side of the coin with future points to the original comment. 🙂

 

JRH 3/28/14

Please Support NCCR

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

Dougindeap Comment to: Disputing Separation Church/State Part 1

(At NCCR)

 

By Dougindeap

March 19, 2014 at 12:39 AM

 

I don’t know whether I should be flattered or worried that you intend to go to so much effort to refute my arguments, bit by bit. I appreciate the opportunity, in any event, to explore and air out differing views on separation of church and state. (My pseudonym, by the way, is merely a play on words developed many years ago as part of an April Fool’s joke.)

 

If you aim to refute my arguments, though, you might better focus on what I actually say—and not wander through dictionaries and deism and whatnot. In my argument, I said nothing of such things.

 

But let’s get to my argument. You quote one sentence, which happens to be the topic sentence of a paragraph that explains the argument that you’re supposedly refuting. Here is the full paragraph:

 

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. 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. Given the norms of the day (by which governments generally were grounded in some appeal to god(s)), the founders’ avoidance of any expression in the Constitution suggesting that the government is somehow based on any religious belief was quite a remarkable and plainly intentional choice. They later buttressed this separation of government and religion with the First Amendment, which affirmatively constrains the government from undertaking to establish religion or prohibit individuals from freely exercising their religions. The basic principle, thus, rests on much more than just the First Amendment.

 

Note that I liken the separation of church and state to the separation of powers and checks and balances because the founders did not state any of these principles in so many words in the Constitution. Rather they drafted the Constitution so as to actually accomplish and implement these principles. With respect to separation of church and state, I pointed to five aspects of the original Constitution plus the First Amendment. I concluded by emphasizing that the principle rests on more than just the First Amendment.

 

How have you gone about refuting this argument? As I read your post, you did five or six things. First, you asserted that my topic sentence is “absolutely FALSE” and, apparently as explanation, further asserted that “[s]eparation of powers as well as government Branch checks and balances are specifically enumerated in the Constitution.” Surely you jest. As you well know, neither those phrases nor the phrase “separation of church and state” or anything like them appear in the Constitution.

 

 

Second, you ignored the explanation I offered and said nothing of the several aspects of the Constitution that reflect its separation of church and state.

 

Third, notwithstanding my observation that the separation of church and state rests on much more than the First Amendment, you focused solely on it and offered your own interpretation of it. You assert that the establishment clause says “Congress can make NO law to establish a State religion (meaning Christian Church in the 1780s)” and elaborate that “Congress specifically, cannot enact legislation that makes a Christian Church a tax supported State institution.”

 

While the First Amendment undoubtedly was intended to preclude the government from establishing a national church or religion as you note, that was hardly the limit of its intended scope. The first Congress debated and rejected just such a narrow provision (“no religion shall be established by law, nor shall the equal rights of conscience be infringed”) and ultimately chose the more broadly phrased prohibition now found in the Amendment. During his presidency, Madison vetoed two bills, neither of which would form a national religion or support a church with taxes, on the ground that they were contrary to the establishment clause. While some in Congress expressed surprise that the Constitution prohibited Congress from incorporating a church in the town of Alexandria in the District of Columbia or granting land to a church in the Mississippi Territory, Congress upheld both vetoes. Separation of church and state is hardly a new invention of modern courts. In keeping with the Amendment’s terms and legislative history and other evidence, the courts have wisely interpreted it to restrict the government from taking steps that could establish religion de facto as well as de jure. Were the Amendment interpreted merely to preclude government from enacting a statute formally establishing a state church, the intent of the Amendment could easily be circumvented by government doing all sorts of things to promote this or that religion–stopping just short of cutting a ribbon to open its new church. Suffice it to say that no court in the history of our country has ever held that the First Amendment means as little as you suppose.

 

You add that the separation in the First Amendment is “one-way,” i.e., “Congress is to stay out of the religion-church business [but t]here is no specified prohibition for Christian Churches to be a moral influence on government.” In this, you are on more solid ground. The Amendment indeed imposes constraints on government and not on individuals and churches. It is important to distinguish between “individual” and “government” speech about religion. The constitutional principle of separation of church and state does not purge religion from the public square–far from it. Indeed, the First Amendment’s “free exercise” clause assures that each individual is free to exercise and express his or her religious views–publicly as well as privately. The Amendment constrains only the government not to promote or otherwise take steps toward establishment of religion. As government can only act through the individuals comprising its ranks, when those individuals are performing their official duties (e.g., public school teachers instructing students in class), they effectively are the government and thus should conduct themselves in accordance with the First Amendment’s constraints on government. When acting in their individual capacities, they are free to exercise their religions as they please. (Students also are free to exercise and express their religious views–in a time, manner, and place that does not interfere with school programs and activities.) If their right to free exercise of religion extended even to their discharge of their official responsibilities, however, the First Amendment constraints on government establishment of religion would be eviscerated. While figuring out whether someone is speaking for the government in any particular circumstance may sometimes be difficult, making the distinction is critical.

 

Nor does the constitutional separation of church and state prevent citizens from making decisions based on principles derived from their religions. Moreover, the religious beliefs of government officials naturally may inform their decisions on policies. The principle, in this context, merely constrains government officials not to make decisions with the predominant purpose or primary effect of advancing religion; in other words, the predominant purpose and primary effect must be nonreligious or secular in nature. A decision coinciding with religious views is not invalid for that reason as long as it has a secular purpose and effect.

 

Confusion understandably arises because the constitutional principle is sometimes equated with a widely supported political doctrine that goes by the same name and generally calls for political dialogue to be conducted on grounds other than religion. The underlying reasons for that political doctrine are many, but three primary ones are that (1) it facilitates discussion amongst people of all beliefs by predicating discussion on grounds accessible to all and (2) it avoids, in some measure at least, putting our respective religious beliefs directly “in play” in the political arena, so we’re not put in the position of directly disputing or criticizing each other’s religious beliefs in order to address a political issue and (3) since the government cannot make laws or decisions with the predominant purpose or primary effect of advancing religion, it makes little sense to urge the government to do just that. This political doctrine, of course, is not “law” (unlike the constitutional separation of church and state, which is), but rather is a societal norm concerning how we can best conduct political dialogue in a religiously diverse society. Reasonable people can disagree about whether the doctrine is a good idea or not and whether or how it should influence us in particular circumstances.

 

Fourth, you took a tour of deism. As my argument does not rest in the least on any thoughts of deism, I’ll leave you to that.

 

Fifth, you note that many founders were Christians and suggest they therefore must have believed Christian morality to be the foundation of the rule of law. It is not entirely clear to me what you have in mind. To the extent, though, that you mean to say that they founded the Constitution or the federal government on Christianity, I think that is mistaken.

 

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. Whatever their religions, they drafted a Constitution that establishes a secular government and separates it from religion as noted earlier. This 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.

 

Finally, you appeal to the Constitution’s date as evidence the founders had no plan to separate Christianity from the government. True enough, in keeping with the convention of the time, the date is keyed to the Christian calendar. You don’t offer any reason this trivial observation should be regarded as substantive or significant. Are we to suppose that the founding of the government on Christianity is to be surmised from the dating convention? That is grasping at straws.

 

It is, in any event, also moot since the dating language is not part of the text of the Constitution voted upon and adopted by the Convention or ratified by the states. It was apparently just appended by the scrivener who prepared copies of the document.

 

http://www.philipvickersfithian.com/2011/05/us-constitution-and-year-of-our-lord.html 

 

As the founders neither drafted, nor chose, nor decided on the dating language added to the end of the document, that language says nothing of their intent.

______________________________

Edited by John R. Houk

© Dougindeap

Disputing Separation Church/State Part 5


G. Washington- Rightly Govern only by God & Bible

John R. Houk
© March 26, 2014
 
Here we go continuing to refute Dougindeap’s false belief the Church/State separation is as much a part of the Constitution as are the separation branch powers and checks and balances.
 
Similarly, they [i.e. the Founding Fathers] did not merely say there should be separation of church and state; rather, they actually separated them by … (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’s point two is vaguely cryptic. What in the world does he mean by “… they actually separated them by … (2) according that government limited, enumerated powers”?
 
An accurate statement might be seen in a rearrangement of the word order of the Dougindeap quote. How about something like:
 
The Founding Fathers separated powers (since power resides in the government that being separated must refer to the constitutionally defined Branches] by (2) according limiting government by enumerated the Branch powers.
 
This reordering of wording is a point I can get on board with because is a bit more clarity to extract an understanding. The Founding Fathers intent with the Constitution was to limit government in the context of affecting personal Liberty of American citizens. The object of employing checks and balances between the Branches was so that no single Branch could achieve despotic unchecked power over the government and hence over Americans promised Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness as a way of life.
 
Government was to be limited to enforcing the rule of law that should be designed for the general welfare according to the moral of Nature’s God – the Creator – Who has placed the measuring stick for what is right and wrong for a good society.
 
I have established in Part Two that the Original Intent of the phrase of “general welfare” of the Constitution’s Preamble was in relation to the framing of Nature by Nature’s God the Creator. I quoted the Father of our Nation George Washington followed by an observation:
 

“No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts in the affairs of men more than the people of the United States. — Every step, by which they have been advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.”
George Washington (Quote found, “SEVENPRINCIPLES OF LIBERTY: I LIBERTY IS OF DIVINE ORIGIN; By J. David Gowdy; Institute for American Liberty; Copyright © 1996)
 
As far as Liberty is concerned the Founding Fathers in the majority that religion (meaning Christianity in the 1780s) was essential for a virtuous and moral society to remain cohesive in the practice of Liberty or chaos will ensue that will only despotic rule could quell. (Disputing Separation Church/State Part 2)
 
The should and must recognize that this provides a context for the First Amendment that Justice Hugo Black must have willfully ignored in the majority decision of Everson v. Board of Education in 1947 which ONLY THEN not only upheld the intent of keeping government out of religion BUT ALSO extra-constitutionally added that religion must not have any contact with a taxpayer supported government operation on a Local, State and Federal basis.
 
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. (Bold Emphasis Mine First Amendment)
 
There is no place in the First Amendment that enumerates that Christianity should not be the moral basis for the rule of law foundation in the U.S. Constitution. That which is enumerated is that Congress – the vehicle for legislating law and establishing a government budget – MUST not make any laws establishing an established religion (meaning in the 1780s the Christian Church). And the First Amendment specifically enumerates that Congress shall prohibit the “free exercise” of religion (AGAIN meaning the Christian Church in the 1780s).
 
ERGO Dougindeap is wrong that the Founding Fathers created a Constitutional paradigm of Separation of Church and State in the sense that American practicing Christians must keep their faith out of the government. In relation to the State the only enumeration of power separation is that the government must stay out of the worship business of the Church in not establishing the preeminence of one Denomination over another Denomination whether that be Protestant, Catholic and by extension the Eastern Orthodox Churches that were not common in the USA in the 1780s and 1790s.
 
End of Part Five
 
o   Part One
 
o   Part Two
 
 
o   Part Four
 
 
JRH 3/26/14

Please Support NCCR

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

Please Support NCCR

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)

Please Support NCCR

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

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

_____________________________

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

 

Restore Christian America Homepage

 

Disputing Separation Church/State Part 1


Embarkation of the Pilgrims. by Robert Walter Weir

John R. Houk

© March 18, 2014

 

On May 13 I posted some thoughts entitled “The Commonality between Leftist Paradigms & Scientific Theories”. The thoughts were inspired by one of those misguided people that sincerely believe the U.S. Constitution separates Church and State to the extent that not only is the State prohibited to interfere in religion (religion = Christianity in 1780s), but also that We the People (i.e. the voters) are prohibited from both injecting Christian morality into a limited government AND that government is prohibited from allowing any public institution, policy or building supported by taxpayer money to be used for religious purposes.

 

At the end of my thoughts I posted an edited version of the comments giving it the title “Comment to: Returning to a Christian Moral Stand will Perpetuate the USA”. The (unedited version) comment was posted on my NeoConservative Christian Right (NCCR) blog. The commenter attributed to himself an obvious pseudonym – dougindeap.

 

So this is what I am going to do. I am going to make the effort to refute dougindeap’s assertions a bit at a time.  This undoubtedly will result in several parts to come close to refuting dougindeap.

 

The first paragraph has many of those assertions which are skewed by half-truths and downright inaccuracies.

 

Separation of church and state is a bedrock principle of our Constitution, much like the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances.”

 

This above assertion is absolutely FALSE. Separation of powers as well as government Branch checks and balances are specifically enumerated in the Constitution. There is ABSOLUTELY no enumeration of the so-called separation of Church-State in the Constitution EXCEPT the enumeration that Congress can make NO law to establish a State religion (meaning Christian Church in the 1780s) and prohibiting the free exercise of religion.

 

First Amendment

 

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. (Bold emphasis mine)

 

For simple understanding’s sake let me rehash what is often referred to as the Establishment Clause. Congress specifically, cannot enact legislation that makes a Christian Church a tax supported State institution. The separation is specifically one-way! Congress is to stay out of the religion-church business. There is no specified prohibition for Christian Churches to be a moral influence on government. In fact the Constitution’s Preamble should be used as a guiding principle in constitutional interpretation (Hello SCOTUS):

 

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)

 

Here is a definition of the meaning of the thought general welfare” from The Free Dictionary:

 

The concern of the government for the health, peace, morality, and safety of its citizens.

 

Providing for the welfare of the general public is a basic goal of government. The preamble to the U.S. Constitution cites promotion of the general welfare as a primary reason for the creation of the Constitution. Promotion of the general welfare is also a stated purpose in state constitutions and statutes. The concept has sparked controversy only as a result of its inclusion in the body of the U.S. Constitution. (Bold emphasis mine)

 

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. The essay’s context from Article one is the dispute about States’ Rights versus the power of the Federal government pertaining to taxation. That is beyond the scope of what we are looking at here, but it is interesting to note that The Free Dictionary cites a SCOTUS decision tipping the scale to the Federal government 150 years after the Constitution was enacted. In the matter of taxing and spending the SCOTUS chose the Hamilton argument over the Madison argument meaning the Federal government won. It is my opinion that an interpretation of the Constitution that took a 150 years to find solidification is something that needs a bit more stare decisis to make the Hamilton argument such as the Federal government trumping State’ Rights to be cast in stone.

 

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.

 

This is where Left Wingers would dispute my assertion that Christian morality was the norm with the popular humanist theology of the Founding Fathers’ day called deism. What Left Wingers fail to include in their arguments screaming that most of the Founding Fathers were deists is that America had one form of deism and Europe (specifically the French of their Revolution) had a deism more akin to Anti-Christian morality.

 

American deists were Christians in practice but not big believers in Biblical miracles that the science of their day may explain as impossible. I found an article that is actually balanced in its outlook on the faith of the Founding Fathers providing a good explanation of the Founders’ Deism and the absolute Deism that flowed from the French.

 

…  [T]here are those who argue that because our Founding Fathers were devoted Christians who held to an orthodox Christian faith, the state and the church in America are already linked together, and that if America as a nation loses its uniquely Christian flavor, the church will fail in its task as well. They see America as a unique country that holds a special place in God’s plan for reaching the world. Additionally, they argue that we enjoy God’s special protection and blessings because of this Christian founding, blessings which will be lost if Christians lose control of the nation.

At the other end of the religious and political spectrum is the group who portray America and its founding as a thoroughly secular project. They argue that by the time the Revolution had occurred in the colonies, Enlightenment rationalism had won the day in the minds and hearts of the young nation’s leaders. They often add that the drive towards religious tolerance was the result of a decline in belief in God and an attempt to remove religious influence from America’s future.

 

For all those involved in this debate, the specific beliefs of our Founders are very important. Those who argue that America was founded by godless men who established a godless Constitution are, for the most part, wrong. Belief in God was practically universal among our Founding Founders. On the other hand, those who argue that our Founders were mostly devoted Christians who sought to establish a Christian nation devoted to the gospel of Jesus Christ are not giving us the full picture either. Because both sides in this debate tend to define America by the religious faith of our Founders, both sides tend to over-simplify the religious beliefs of those early patriots.

 

It’s important, therefore, to consider the specific beliefs of some of our Founding Fathers so that we might get a clearer picture of religion in that era and avoid either of the two extremes usually presented. As we look into the actions and words of specific Revolutionary era leaders we will find that their beliefs represent a mixture of READ THE REST (Deism and America’s Founders; By Don Closson; Probe Ministries; © 2008)

 

Then there is a French deism which is Anti-Christian in its tenants and leans toward atheism. Most of the articles I read seem to credit Voltaire bringing a form of English Deism to France.

 

Deism entered France, but only its materialistic and revolutionary phases were seized upon, to the exclusion of religious values which had never been lost in England or America. French Deism stood outside of theology and laid the groundwork for atheism, secular humanism, and cultural relativism. American Deists were mainly influenced by English Deism and perhaps French Deist Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

 

Michel de Montaigne is the father of moral and cultural relativism. It argues (falsely in my opinion) that all cultures be it cannibals in mud huts or Paris are equal because they rest on cultural habit rather than absolute truth. Who are Europeans to insist that Brazilian cannibals who merely consume dead human flesh instead of wasting it are morally inferior to Europeans who persecute and oppress those of whom they disapprove? This would also apply to morals as well: If we cannot be certain that our values are God-given, then we have no right to impose them by force on others. Thus homosexually, abortion, sex with animals, sex with children, etc. are a private matter that society has no right to regulate or interfere with.

 

French Deism was anti-Catholic and anti-religious in general, shading into skepticism, atheism, and materialism. When people speak of Deism today they often think of French Deism, which has little in common with English/American Deism which was known often as Unitarianism. While Deism began in England and influenced Voltaire, he would strip away all of the religious aspects. (Voltaire’s Deism; From Sullivan-county.com; Web site Copyright Lewis Loflin, All rights reserved.)

 

French Deist Rousseau in contrast to Voltaire was not quite anti-religion; however Rousseau thought society exists best with a State religion that is not Christian but adheres to what he felt was a natural morality inherent in humankind. Hello State control of people and an absence of personal Liberty.

 

J. J. Rousseau (1712 – 1778) gave quite a different tendency to Deism. Accepting in the main the sensualism of Locke and the metaphysics of Clarke and Newton, he maintains after the manner of Shaftesbury and Diderot a belief in inborn moral instincts which he distinguishes as “sentiments” from mere acquired ideas; he is true to the position of Deism in connecting this moral “sentiment” with a belief in God, and he protests against the separation between the two which the skepticism of Diderot had brought about. He was influenced by Richardson, as well as by Locke.

 

“Sentiment” becomes the basis of a metaphysical system built up out of the data of experience under the influence of the Deistic philosophy, but redeemed from formalism by constant reference to sentimentality and emotion as the principal sources of religion. The nature of religion is not dogmatic but moralistic, practical, and emotional. Rousseau, therefore, finds the essence of religion, not (like Voltaire) in the cultivated intellect, but in the naive and disinterested understanding of the uncultured. Conscious, rational progress in civilization, no less than supernaturalism in Church and State, is an outcome of the fall, when the will chose intellectual progress in preference to simple felicity.

 

With Rousseau natural religion takes on a new meaning; “nature” is no longer universality or rationality in the cosmic order, in contrast to special supernatural and positive phenomena, but primitive simplicity and sincerity, in contrast to artificiality and studied reflection.

In his scheme of the rise of religions he gets out from the common standpoint of the discrepancies and contradictions prevailing among historic creeds. Yet positive religion to him is not so much the product of ignorance and fear as the corruption of the original instinct through the selfishness of man, who has erected rigid creeds that he might arrogate to himself unwarranted privilege or escape the obligations of natural morality.

 

 

Note that freedom as Rousseau defines it has nothing to do with individual liberty. Rousseau’s views on society are very influential on the political left/liberalism since the 1960s. To quote another source:

 

Man is by nature good; society is the cause of corruption and vice.

 

In a state of nature, the individual is characterized by healthy self-love; self-love is accompanied by a natural compassion.

 

In society, natural self-love becomes corrupted into a venal pride, which seeks only the good opinion of others and, in so doing, causes the individual to lose touch with his or her true nature; the loss of one’s true nature ends in a loss of freedom.

 

While society corrupts human nature, it also represents the possibility of its perfection in morality.

 

Human interaction requires the transformation of natural freedom into moral freedom; this transformation is based on reason and provides the foundation for a theory of political right.

 

A just society replaces the individual’s natural freedom of will with the general will; such a society is based on a social contract by which each individual alienates all of his or her natural rights to create a new corporate person, the sovereign, the repository of the general will.

 

The individual READ ENTIRETY (The French Deists: J. J. Rousseau; Compiled by Lewis Loflin; Sullivan-county.com)

 

The culmination of the radicalism of French Deism is in Robespierre.

 

The Cult of the Supreme Being (French: Culte de l’Être suprême) was a form of deism established in France by Maximilien Robespierre during the French Revolution.[1] It was intended to become the state religion of the new French.[2]a

 

Origins

 

The French Revolution had given birth to (sic) many radical changes in France. One of the most fundamental for the hitherto Roman Catholic nation was the official rejection of religion. The first major organized school of thought emerged under the umbrella name of the Cult of Reason. Advocated by extreme radicals like Jacques Hébert and Antoine, the Cult of Reason distilled a mixture of largely atheistic views into a humanocentric philosophy. No gods at all were worshipped in the Cult – the guiding principle was devotion to the abstract conception of Reason.[3] This bold rejection of all divinity appalled the rectitudinous Robespierre. Its offense was compounded by the “scandalous scenes” and “wild masquerades” attributed to its practice.[4] In late 1793, Robespierre delivered a fiery denunciation of the Cult and its proponents [5] and proceeded to give his own vision of proper Revolutionary religion. Devised almost entirely by his own hand, Le culte de l’Être suprême was formally announced before the French National Convention on 7 May 1794.[6]

 

Religious tenets

 

Robespierre believed that reason is only a means to an end, and the singular end is Virtue. He sought to move beyond simple deism (often described as Voltairean by its adherents) to a new and, in his view, more rational devotion to the godhead. The primary principles of the Cult of the Supreme Being were a belief in the existence of a god and the immortality of the human soul.[7] Though not inconsistent with Christian doctrine, these beliefs were put to the service of Robespierre’s fuller meaning, which was of a type of civic-minded, public virtue he attributed to the Greeks and Romans:[8] this type of Virtue could only be attained through active fidelity to liberty and democracy.[9]Belief in a living god and a higher moral code, he said, were “constant reminders of justice” and thus essential to a republican society.[10]

 

Revolutionary impact

 

Robespierre used the religious issue to publicly denounce the motives of many radicals not in his camp, and it led, directly or indirectly, to the executions of Revolutionary de-Christianizers like Hébert, Momoro, and Anacharsis Cloots.[11] The establishment of the Cult of the Supreme Being represented the beginning of the reversal of the wholesale de-Christianization process that had been looked upon previously with official favor.[12] Simultaneously it READ ENTIRETY (Cult of the Supreme Being; By Jeff Franklin; CultBusters Galactica Origin Page [Yeah I know crazy looking website, but the article is good writing])

 

I am driving home the point there was a difference between American deism and the atheistic naturalism of French deism is this: A huge majority of Founding Father deists considered themselves Christians. So even though these Christian Deists in varying degrees were not agreeable to the Word of God demonstrating the power of God, the Founding Fathers believed that Christian Morality must be the foundation for what can be good in the rule of law. Check out the Signers Page of the U.S. Constitution:

 

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)

 

Does anyone wonder why the Founding Fathers use the words “year of our Lord” if they intended Christianity to have no effect in the rule of law as administered by the three Branches of the U.S. government? It doesn’t sound like an ambitious plan to separate Christianity from influencing the Federal government, right?

 

END OF PART ONE

 

JRH 3/18/14

Please Support NCCR

The Commonality between Leftist Paradigms & Scientific Theories


america shining city on hill - gif

The Commonality between Leftist Paradigms & Scientific Theories

Truth & Theories are not NECESSARILY the Same

 

John R. Houk

© March 13, 2014

 

I received a comment from a person who identified himself as “dougindeap” which if you do the word/space separation is obviously “Doug in Deep”. Or anyway that was my first interpretive inclination. My guess is the person’s name is Doug but euphemistically symbolized “dug” as in digging a hole. So I presumed that “deap” was a euphemism for digging in deep as in being entrenched in a position to stand one’s ground when attacked. However I decided I had better look and see if there is a word “deap” and if so find out its meaning.

 

I soon found via Google there are applications of the word “DEAP” as an acronym. I quickly eliminated the first item on the search – “Urban Dictionary: DEAP”. This first Google item references “DEAP” as the name of a RAP artist from Philadelphia born as Ricardo Leon Jr.

 

The next item on Google I inadvisably skipped over allowing the third Google search item to catch my eye – “DEAP – Definition by AcronymFinder”. This took me to a page that asked the question: “What does DEAP stand for?” Followed by a short list of acronyms for DEAP:

 

All definitions (13)

 

1)     DEAP: Developmental Educational Assistance Program

 

2)     DEAP: Dwelling Energy Assessment Procedure (Ireland)

 

3)     DEAP: Disability Entitlement Advocacy Program

 

4)     DEAP: Drop Everything and Pray

 

5)     DEAP: Directional Electrostatic Accretion Process

 

6)     DEAP: Dark Matter Experiment using Argon Pulse-shape discrimination

 

7)     DEAP: Diffused Eutectic Aluminum Process

 

8)    DEAP: Descendants of Early American Peoples

 

9)     DEAP: Direct Entry and Advanced Placement

 

10)DEAP: Disaster Emergency Awareness & Preparedness

 

11)DEAP: Dundee Employment and Aftercare Project Ltd (Scotland)

 

12)DEAP: Disability Equipment Assessment Programme

 

13)DEAP: Diplôme d’Etat d’Auxiliaire de Puériculture (French: Qualification for Childcare Assistants)

 

The list numbers are added by me and not AcronymFinder.

 

Just as a reminder I embarked on this quest of looking at acronyms for “DEAP” to see if there is a different meaning than my first impression for commenter “dougindeap”. At this point I have decided the quest is a wild goose chase which I am way too often guilty of participating. Nevertheless, I continue to digress.

 

I did not point out that at the very top of the Google search page was a definition directly given for “DEAP”:

 

Web definitions

 

DEAP is a direct dark matter search experiment using liquid argon as target material. DEAP utilizes background discrimination based on the characteristic scintillation pulse shape in argon. …

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DEAP

 

I did not click the Wikipedia link. Although Wikipedia is convenient their content is based on a collective of contributors that may or may not be credible and are typically slanted toward the Left in editorial content. I am not averse to using Wikipedia as a source like most of academia is; however I do like to look at correlative sources to gage the accuracy of a Wikipedia article. Interestingly the Wikipedia excerpt at the top of the page was number 6 on the AcronymFinder list: Dark Matter Experiment using Argon Pulse-shape discrimination.

 

You can look at the other acronyms for DEAP in your own wild goose chase but I am focusing on the dark matter experimenting using argon pulse-shape discrimination:

 

Liquid argon based Dark Matter detection

 

Dark matter makes up about 25% of our universe, yet it has never been detected. The goal of the DEAP experiment is to directly observe and identify this dark matter component of the universe. This will be achieved by observing the elastic scattering of dark matter particles, probably in the form of Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs), from argon nuclei. Argon in its liquid form is a favorable detection medium for Dark Matter searches because it has a high stopping power against ionizing radiation and good light yield, it allows for any desired detector shape and, due to its low cost, for a large detector mass. A very low background can be reached due to ease of purification and scintillation characteristics which are suitable for achieving very powerful pulse shape discrimination. A prototype detector, DEAP-1, has READ THE REST (DEAP: Liquid argon based Dark Matter detection; DEAP Project Director – Mark Boulay; Department of Physics, Stirling Hall, Queen’s University at Kingston, Kingston, Ontario, Canada; http://deap.phy.queensu.ca/)

 

O yeah, you might as well be speaking Greek or Chinese to me in my comprehension ability here. Nonetheless, this is what I gleaned about DEAP. Physicists believe Dark Matter exists; HOWEVER the primary component that science thrives on – AND is the primary reason there are so many non-believing Western scientists as far as Christianity goes – IS MISSING. Science thrives on OBSERVING in order to MEASURE something that is studied. If something cannot be observed it cannot be measured. If something cannot be measured then its reality is not proven. So if an abundance of data is out there that suggest something should be there to measure the preponderance of science decides to make an educated guess and stipulate it is there. BUT it cannot be observed there; hence the educated guess is a THEORY. Science believes that something is there because data suggests something is there? I think the word that should be on the tip of your tongue is FAITH. Faith is that pesky little belief system that knows there is something there subjectively by deciding to completely KNOW something is there. For Christians we KNOW God exists not because of a measurable/observable feeling in the sense realm but because of an immeasurable inner subjective experience in the spiritual realm.

 

Okay so DEAP was my wild goose chase in making an attempt to understand any hidden meaning in the pseudonym of “dougindeap”. More than likely my first impression was correct in that a person choosing to go by Doug has dug in deep holding to a position believed to be the only answer.

 

Dougindeap made a comment to a blot post I made at the NeoConservative Christian Right (NCCR) entitled “Returning to a Christian Moral Stand will Perpetuate the USA”. You can tell from my title that I believe Christian Morality is what has made the USA good and as long as America is good then the USA is great. America has been that shining city on a hill that has been a beacon of light shining to the world that when a government is accountable to the people Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness is an honorable and a Creator endowed quest for humanity to attain.

 

 

13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

 

14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5: 13-16 NKJV)

 

 

I found President Ronald Reagan’s January 1989 Oval Office Farewell Address on video. You should listen to the entire speech. This is a speech about what it is to be an American. At the very end watch the portion about the city on a hill (18 minute 30 second spot):

 

VIDEO: Farewell Speech – President Reagan’s Farewell Speech from the Oval Office 1/11/89

 

 

For America to remain good it is my contention that a Christian America influencing government keeps government from embracing human-centered (humanistic) greed and corruption that sways away the created from the Creator. I believe the Founding Fathers believed this AND contrary to Church/State separationist propaganda even the maligned Deist Founding Fathers believed this. Here’s why.

 

American Deists were very different from European Deists. American Deists were completely dedicated to the Biblical Morality the Christian Creator bestowed upon humanity through Jesus Christ. They believed that without the morality in the Bible to be the crux of community humanity would bend toward evil corruption destroying the rule of law that makes society cohesive. A nation of evil voters means the election of evil morally corrupt leaders. Morally corrupt leaders leads to corrupt government. Corrupt government leads to government-centered power. Government-centered power leads to despotism. Despotism leads to an oppression that robs individuals of a choice on how to achieve Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

 

European Deists – as exampled particularly in the French Revolution – excludes a Divine influence of a moral standard. Rather European Deists believed that whatever humanity defines as the standard of morality is the only compass to follow for life’s decisions and existence. The butchery of the French Revolution that ultimately led to the bloody realization of an absolute ruler in Napoleon Bonaparte bent on European conquest from France in the West to Russia in the East to Britain in the North and even to North Africa in the South to force humanity under a one-man rule to be the paradigm of Secular Humanism.

 

And so Dougindeap follows the Left Wing propaganda (which is even presumed by a number of deluded Conservatives) that the Founding Fathers overtly established the principle of Separation of Church and State in the U.S. Constitution AND that the Judicial Branch correctly asserted this principle in judicial decisions including our present time. I am going to do a rebuttal to Dougindeap’s assertions in a future post. Below are his thoughts. Just one more thing though pertaining to the judiciary. New Hampshire became the ninth State to ratify the Constitution on June 21, 1788. The U.S. government began operation on March 4, 1789. The Supreme Court of the United States of America did not make today’s interpretation of the First Amendment pertaining Church/State separation the law until 1947 with the majority opinion delivered by Justice Hugo Black. Dougindeap’s assertion of Judicial consistency in upholding Separation of Church and State as in keeping the Christian faith out of anything to do with taxpayer money simply is not supported by the facts.

 

JRH 3/13/14

Please Support SlantRight 2.0

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

Comment to: Returning to a Christian Moral Stand will Perpetuate the USA

 

By dougindeap

Comment Posted: February 13, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Blog Posted at: NCCR

 

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. 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. Given the norms of the day (by which governments generally were grounded in some appeal to god(s)), the founders’ avoidance of any expression in the Constitution suggesting that the government is somehow based on any religious belief was quite a remarkable and plainly intentional choice. They later buttressed this separation of government and religion with the First Amendment, which affirmatively constrains the government from undertaking to establish religion or prohibit individuals from freely exercising their religions. The basic principle, thus, rests on much more than just the First Amendment.

 

That the words “separation of church and state” do not appear in the text of the Constitution assumes much importance, it seems, to some who mistakenly supposed they were there and, upon learning of their error, fancy they’ve solved a Constitutional mystery. To those familiar with the Constitution, the absence of the metaphorical phrase commonly used to name one of its principles is no more consequential than the absence of other phrases (e.g., Bill of Rights, separation of powers, checks and balances, fair trial, religious liberty) used to describe other undoubted Constitutional principles.

 

To the extent that some nonetheless would like confirmation–in those very words–of the founders’ intent to separate government and religion, Madison and Jefferson supplied it. Some try to pass off the Supreme Court’s decision in Everson v. Board of Education as simply a misreading of Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists–as if that were the only basis of the Court’s decision. Instructive as that letter is, it played but a small part in the Court’s decision. Rather, the Court discussed the historical context in which the Constitution and First Amendment were drafted, noting the expressed understanding of Madison perhaps even more than Jefferson, and only after concluding its analysis and stating its conclusion did the Court refer–once–to Jefferson’s letter, largely to borrow his famous metaphor as a clever label or summary of its conclusion. The notion, often heard, that the Court rested its decision solely or largely on that letter is a red herring.

 

Madison, who had a central role in drafting the Constitution and the First Amendment, confirmed that he understood them to “[s]trongly guard[] . . . the separation between Religion and Government.” Madison, Detached Memoranda (~1820).

 

Indeed, he understood the original Constitution–without the First Amendment–to separate religion and government. He made plain, too, that they guarded against more than just laws creating state sponsored churches or imposing a state religion. Mindful that even as new principles are proclaimed, old habits die hard and citizens and politicians could tend to entangle government and religion (e.g., “the appointment of chaplains to the two houses of Congress” and “for the army and navy” and “[r]eligious proclamations by the Executive recommending thanksgivings and fasts”), he considered the question whether these actions were “consistent with the Constitution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom” and responded: “In strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative. The Constitution of the United States forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion.”

 

While some also draw meaning from the variously phrased references to god(s) in the Declaration of Independence (references that could mean any number of things, some at odds with the Christian idea of God) and try to connect that meaning to the Constitution, the effort is largely baseless. Important as the Declaration is in our history, it did not operate to bring about independence (that required winning a war), nor did it found a government, nor did it even create any law, and it certainly did not say or do anything that somehow dictated the meaning of a Constitution adopted twelve years later. The colonists issued the Declaration not to do any of that, but rather to politically explain and justify the move to independence that was already well underway. Nothing in the Constitution depends on anything said in the Declaration. Nor does anything said in the Declaration purport to limit or define the government later formed by the free people of the former colonies. Nor could it even if it purported to do so. Once independent, the people of the former colonies were free to choose whether to form a collective government at all and, if so, whatever form of government they deemed appropriate. They were not somehow limited by anything said in the Declaration. Sure, they could take its words as inspiration and guidance if, and to the extent, they chose–or they could not. They could have formed a theocracy if they wished–or, as they ultimately chose, a government founded on the power of the people (not a deity) and separated from religion.

______________________________________

The Commonality between Leftist Paradigms & Scientific Theories

John R. Houk

© March 13, 2014

_____________________________________

Comment to: Returning to a Christian Moral Stand will Perpetuate the USA

 

Pseudonym: Dougindeap

 

Edited by John R. Houk