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Justice Joseph Story on Original Intent and Religious Freedom


Justice Joseph Story on Original Intent and Religious Freedom

LIBERTY LETTERS WITH STEVE FARRELL

joseph-story2Justice Joseph Story served as a Supreme Court Justice from 1811 through 1845. His Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States (first published in 1833) was required reading in U.S. law schools for over a century, being a cornerstone of early American jurisprudence. As such, it was and still is a critical source as to the original intent of the American Founders in penning and passing the First Amendment, and more particularly, regarding the Religious Establishment and Freedom of Religion clauses.

Justice Story writes:

§ 984. Let us now enter upon the consideration of the amendments, which, (it will be found,) principally regard subjects properly belonging to a bill of rights.

§ 985. The first is “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 government for a redress of grievances.”

§ 986. And first, the prohibition of any establishment of religion, and the freedom of religious opinion and worship.

How far any government has a right to interfere in matters touching religion, has been a subject much discussed by writers upon public and political law. The right and the duty of the interference of government, in matters of religion, have been maintained by many distinguished authors, as well those, who were the warmest advocates of free governments, as those, who were attached to governments of a more arbitrary character. Indeed, the right of a society or government to interfere in matters of religion will hardly be contested by any persons, who believe that piety, religion, and morality are intimately connected with the well being of the state, and indispensable to the administration of civil justice. The promulgation of the great doctrines of religion; the being, and attributes, and providence of one Almighty God; the responsibility to him for all our actions, founded upon moral freedom and accountability; a future state of rewards and punishments; the cultivation of all the personal, social, and benevolent virtues; — these never can be a matter of indifference in any well ordered community. It is, indeed, difficult to conceive, how any civilized society can well exist without them. And at all events, it is impossible for those, who believe in the truth of Christianity, as a divine revelation, to doubt, that it is the especial duty of government to foster, and encourage it among all the citizens and subjects. This is a point wholly distinct from that of the right of private judgment in matters of religion, and of the freedom of public worship according to the dictates of one’s own conscience.

§ 987. The real difficulty lies in ascertaining the limits, to which government may rightfully go in fostering and encouraging religion. Three cases may easily be supposed. One, where a government affords aid to a particular religion, leaving all persons free to adopt any other; another, where it creates an ecclesiastical establishment for the propagation of the doctrines of a particular sect of that religion, leaving a like freedom to all others; and a third, where it creates such an establishment, and excludes all persons, not belonging to it, either wholly, or in part, from any participation in the public honours, trusts, emoluments, privileges, and immunities of the state. For instance, a government may simply declare, that the Christian religion shall be the religion of the state, and shall be aided, and encouraged in all the varieties of sects belonging to it; or it may declare, that the Catholic or Protestant religion shall be the religion of the state, leaving every man to the free enjoyment of his own religious opinions; or it may establish the doctrines of a particular sect, as of Episcopalians, as the religion of the state, with a like freedom; or it may establish the doctrines of a particular sect, as exclusively the religion of the state, tolerating others to a limited extent, or excluding all, not belonging to it, from all public honours, trusts, emoluments, privileges, and immunities.

§ 988. Probably at the time of the adoption of the constitution, and of the amendment to it, now under consideration, the general, if not the universal, sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the state, so far as it is not incompatible with the private rights of conscience, and the freedom of religious worship. An attempt to level all religions, and to make it a matter of state policy to hold all in utter indifference, would have created universal disapprobation, if not universal indignation.

§ 989. It yet remains a problem to be solved in human affairs, whether say free government can be permanent, where the public worship of God, and the support of religion, constitute no part of the policy or duty of the state in any assignable shape. The future experience of Christendom, and chiefly of the American states, must settle this problem, as yet new in the history of the world, abundant, as it has been, in experiments in the theory of government.

§ 990. But the duty of supporting religion, and especially the Christian religion, is very different from the right to force the consciences of other men, or to punish them for worshipping God in the manner, which, they believe, their accountability to him requires. It has been truly said, that “religion, or the duty we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be dictated only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence.” Mr. Locke himself, who did not doubt the right of government to interfere in matters of religion, and especially to encourage Christianity, has at the same time expressed his opinion of the right of private judgment, and liberty of conscience, in a manner becoming his character, as a sincere friend of civil and religious liberty. “No man, or society of men,” says he, “have any authority to impose their opinions or interpretations on any other, the meanest Christian; since, in matters of religion, every man must know, and believe, and give an account for himself.” The rights of conscience are, indeed, beyond the just reach of any human power. They are given by God, and cannot be encroached upon by human authority, without a criminal disobedience of the precepts of natural, as well as of revealed religion.

§ 991. The real object of the amendment was, not to countenance, much less to advance Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects, and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment, which should give to an hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government. It thus sought to cut off the means of religious persecution, (the vice and pest of former ages,) and the power of subverting the rights of conscience in matters of religion, which had been trampled upon almost from the days of the Apostles to the present age. The history of the parent country had afforded the most solemn warnings and melancholy instructions on this head; and even New-England, the land of the persecuted puritans, as well as other colonies, where the Church of England had maintained its superiority, had furnished a chapter, as full of dark bigotry and intolerance, as any, which could be found to disgrace the pages of foreign annals. Apostacy, heresy, and nonconformity have been standard crimes for public appeals, to kindle the flames of persecution, and apologize for the most atrocious triumphs over innocence and virtue.

§ 992. It was under a solemn consciousness of the dangers from ecclesiastical ambition, the bigotry of spiritual pride, and the intolerance of sects, thus exemplified in our domestic, as well as in foreign annals, that it was deemed advisable to exclude from the national government all power to act upon the subject. The situation, too, of the different states equally proclaimed the policy, as well as the necessity, of such an exclusion. In some of the states, episcopalians constituted the predominant sect; in others, presbyterians; in others, congregationalists; in others, quakers; and in others again, there was a close numerical rivalry among contending sects. It was impossible, that there should not arise perpetual strife and perpetual jealousy on the subject of ecclesiastical ascendancy, if the national government were left free to create a religious establishment. The only security was in extirpating the power. But this alone would have been an imperfect security, if it had not been followed up by a declaration of the right of the free exercise of religion, and a prohibition (as we have seen) of all religious tests. Thus, the whole power over the subject of religion is left exclusively to the state governments, to be acted upon according to their own sense of justice, and the state constitutions; and the Catholic and the Protestant, the Calvinist and the Arminian, the Jew and the Infidel, may sit down at the common table of the national councils, without any inquisition into their faith, or mode of worship. (1)

This is a far cry from what is taught in our schools today and insisted upon by many a so-called modern expert who collectively labor – it seems – for a cause the very opposite of the Founder’s original intent – and while so doing, taking aim at, indeed making into PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER ONE, free religious expression in public life. Such speech – consistent with the very Nature of man as a spiritual being – was supposed to be protected as a God-given, Inalienable Right, not crushed with the iron fist of socialism, humanism, and atheism! – And as to religion, in general, as Story notes, it was to be encouraged. The First Amendment then being a legal written check upon Congress, a legal prohibition if you will, on passing ANY bill—ANY bill into law that would interfere with this free expression in ANY forum (public or private) period. —And again, a prohibition against any law that might tend to hinder the prosperity of religion in general. Finally, as to the Establishment Clause, it had one clear purpose, and ONE ONLY, being a prohibition against a national church—avoiding that great evil and enemy to true religion and civic virtue.


Footnote: Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States; with a Preliminary Review of the Constitutional History of the Colonies and States, before the Adoption of the Constitution. Abridged by the Author, for the Use of Colleges and High Schools (Boston: Hilliard, Gray, and Company/Cambridge: Brown, Shattuck, and Co., 1833), pp. iii-viii, 693-703.

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James Wilson’s Lectures on Law


James Wilson’s Lectures on Law

James_Wilson American Minute with Bill Federer

He was one of six founding fathers to sign both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

President Washington appointed him to be a Justice on the Supreme Court.

His name was James Wilson.

Born in Scotland, James Wilson was one of the first to argue against British dominance.

In 1774, James Wilson wrote “Considerations on the Nature and Extent of the Legislative Authority of the British Parliament,” reasoning that since the colonies had no representation in Parliament, the Parliament had no authority over the colonies.

In 1775, James Wilson was commissioned as a Colonel and by the end of the Revolution he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General of the Pennsylvania State Militia.

One of the most educated and prominent lawyers in America, James Wilson was chosen as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, where he spoke 168 times.

After the Federalist Papers, James Wilson’s speech in the statehouse yard, October 6, 1787, was the most influential in convincing the States of ratify the U.S. Constitution.

The first law professor of the University of Pennsylvania, James Wilson wrote in his Lectures on Law, 1789-91, that all law comes from God, being divided into four categories:

Law Eternal,”

Law Celestial,”

Laws of Nature,”

and:

Law…communicated to us by reason and conscience…has been called natural; as promulgated by the Holy Scriptures, it has been called revealed…”

James Wilson continued:

But it should always be remembered, that this law, natural or revealed…flows from the same divine source; it is the law of God…

Human law must rest its authority, ultimately, upon the authority of that law, which is divine.”

James Wilson concluded:

Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual assistants. Indeed, these two sciences run into each other.”

To interpret statutes, James Wilson wrote:

The first and governing maxim in the interpretation of a statute is to discover the meaning of those who made it.”

James Wilson described the “Will of God” as the:

“…efficient cause of moral obligation – of the eminent distinction between right and wrong…(and therefore the) supreme law…

(It is revealed) by our conscience, by our reason, and by the Holy Scriptures.”

At the age of 55, James Wilson died AUGUST 21, 1798.

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania recorded in 1824:

The late Judge James Wilson, of the Supreme Court of the United States, Professor of Law in the College in Philadelphia…for our present form of government we are greatly indebted to his exertions…

In his Course of Lectures (3d Vol. of his Works, 122), he states that…’Christianity is part of the common-law.’”

James Wilson remarked at Pennsylvania’s ratifying convention, November 26, 1787:

Governments, in general, have been the result of force, of fraud, and accident.

After a period of 6,000 years has elapsed since the creation, the United States exhibit to the world the first instance…of a nation… assembling voluntarily… and deciding calmly concerning that system of government under which they would wish that they and their posterity should live.”

Daniel Webster made a similar statement in 1802:

We live under the only government that ever existed which was framed by the unrestrained and deliberate consultations of the people.

Miracles do not cluster. That which has happened but once in 6,000 years cannot be expected to happen often.”

Yale President Ezra Stile had stated May 8, 1783:

Most of the States of all ages…have been founded in rapacity, usurpation and injustice…

The military history of all nations, being but a description of the wars and invasions of the mutual robbers and devastators of the human race…

All the forms of civil polity have been tried by mankind, except one: and that seems to have been referred in Providence to be realized in America.”

John Adams wrote in his notes of A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, February 1765:

I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in Providence for the illumination of the ignorant, and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth.”

John Jay, the First Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, stated September 8, 1777:

The Americans are the first people whom Heaven has favored with an opportunity of…choosing the forms of government under which they should live.

All other constitutions have derived their existence from violence or accidental circumstances.”

Poet Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote:

America…appears like a last effort of divine Providence in behalf of the human race.”

President Calvin Coolidge stated in 1924:

The history of government on this earth has been almost entirely…rule of force held in the hands of a few.

Under our Constitution, America committed itself to power in the hands of the people.”

President Millard Fillmore stated in 1852:

Our free institutions…were planted in the free charters of self-government under which the English colonies grew up…

European nations have had no such training for self-government, and every effort to establish it by bloody revolutions has been, and must without that preparation continue to be, a failure.”

Theodore Roosevelt stated October 24, 1903:

In no other place and at no other time has the experiment of government of the people, by the people, for the people, been tried on so vast a scale as here in our own country.”

President Ronald Reagan stated in 1961:

In this country of ours took place the greatest revolution that has ever taken place in the world’s history.

Every other revolution simply exchanged one set of rulers for another.

Here for the first time in all the thousands of years of man’s relation to man…the founding fathers established the idea that you and I had within ourselves the God-given right and ability to determine our own destiny.”

 


Bill Federer The Moral Liberal Contributing Editor,William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s bookshere.


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The Constitution was completed September 17, 1787


The Constitution was completed September 17, 1787

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“Done…the SEVENTEENTH DAY of SEPTEMBER, in the year of our LORD one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven.”

This is the last line of the U.S. Constitution.

Professors Donald S. Lutz and Charles S. Hyneman published an article in American Political Science Review, 1984, titled “The Relative Influence of European Writers on Late 18th-Century American Political Thought.”

They examined nearly 15,000 writings of the 55 writers of the U.S. Constitution, including newspaper articles, pamphlets, books and monographs, and discovered that the Bible, especially the book of Deuteronomy, contributed 34 percent of all direct quotes made by the Founders.

When indirect Bible citations were included, the percentage rose even higher.

Benjamin Franklin wrote to the Editor of the Federal Gazette, April 8, 1788 (The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, Farrand’s Records, Vol. 3, CXCV, pp. 296-297. Documentary History of the Constitution, IV, 567-571):

“I beg I may not be understood to infer, that our general Convention was divinely inspired when it form’d the new federal Constitution…

yet I must own I have so much faith in the general government of the world by Providence, that I can hardly conceive a transaction of such momentous importance to the welfare of millions now existing, and to exist in the posterity of a great nation, should be suffered to pass without being in some degree influenc’d, guided and governed by that omnipotent, omnipresent Beneficent Ruler, in whom all inferior spirits live & move and have their being.”

Presiding over the Constitutional Convention was George Washington, who wrote ten days after his Presidential Inauguration to the United Baptist Churches of Virginia, May 10, 1789:

“If I could have entertained the slightest apprehension that the Constitution framed by the Convention, where I had the honor to preside, might possibly endanger the religious rights of any ecclesiastical Society, certainly I would never have placed my signature to it.”

John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, had remarked, September 8, 1777:

“The Americans are the first people whom Heaven has favored with an opportunity of deliberating upon, and choosing the forms of government under which they should live. All other constitutions have derived their existence from violence or accidental circumstances.”

James Wilson, who signed the Declaration and Constitution and was appointed to the Supreme Court by George Washington, remarked at Pennsylvania’s ratifying convention, November 26, 1787:

“Governments, in general, have been the result of force, of fraud, and accident.

After a period of 6,000 years has elapsed since the creation, the United States exhibit to the world the first instance…of a nation…assembling voluntarily…and deciding calmly concerning that system of government under which they would wish that they and their posterity should live.”

In 1802, Daniel Webster stated in a Fourth of July Oration:

“We live under the only government that ever existed which was framed by the unrestrained and deliberate consultations of the people.

Miracles do not cluster. That which has happened but once in 6,000 years cannot be expected to happen often.

Such a government, once gone, might leave a void, to be filled, for ages, with revolution and tumult, riot and despotism.”

Daniel Webster continued:

“The history of the world is before us…Ambitious men must be restrained by the public morality; when they rise up to do evil, they must find themselves standing alone. Morality rests on religion. If you destroy the foundation, the superstructure must fall…

The civil, the social, the Christian virtues are requisite to render us worthy the continuation of that government which is the freest on earth.”

Ronald Reagan, 1961:

“In this country of ours took place the GREATEST REVOLUTION that has ever taken place IN THE WORLD’S HISTORY… Every other revolution simply exchanged one set of rulers for another…

Here for the first time in all the THOUSANDS OF YEARS of man’s relation to man…the founding fathers established the idea that you and I had within ourselves the God-given right and ability to determine our own destiny.”

President Calvin Coolidge, 1924:

“The history of government on this earth has been almost entirely…rule of force held in the HANDS OF A FEW. Under our Constitution, America committed itself to power in the HANDS OF THE PEOPLE.”

Chief Justice John Jay wrote in Chisholm v. Georgia:

“THE PEOPLE are the Sovereign of this country.”

President Gerald Ford stated at Southern Methodist University, September 13, 1975:

“Never forget that in America our Sovereign is THE CITIZEN…

The State is a servant of the individual. It must never become an anonymous monstrosity that masters everyone.”

Harvard President Samuel Langdon was a delegate to New Hampshire’s ratifying convention.

His speech, “The Republic of the Israelites An Example to the American States,” June 5, 1788, helped convince New Hampshire to become the 9th State to ratify the U.S. Constitution, thereby putting the Constitution into effect:

“Instead of the twelve tribes of Israel, we may substitute the thirteen States of the American union, and see this application plainly offering itself, viz. —

That as God in the course of his kind providence hath given you an excellent Constitution of government, founded on the most rational, equitable, and liberal principles, by which all that liberty is secured….

and you are impowered to make righteous laws for promoting public order and good morals;

and as he has moreover given you by his Son Jesus Christ…a complete revelation of his will…it will be your wisdom…to…adhere faithfully to the doctrines and commands of the gospel, and practice every public and private virtue.”


Bill FedererThe Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.

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Constitutionalist Thomas Cooley died September 12, 1898


Constitutionalist Thomas Cooley died September 12, 1898

thomas cooleyAmerican Minute with Bill Federer

The dean of the University of Michigan Law School was Thomas Cooley, who died SEPTEMBER 12, 1898.

Thomas Cooley was Chief Justice of Michigan’s Supreme Court, President of the American Bar Association and the first Chairman of the Interstate Commerce Commission

His commentaries were influential in shaping American law.

He declined offers to teach at Hastings College of Law, University of Texas, Johns Hopkins University, Boston Law School, University of Pennsylvania and Cornell Law School.

In Constitutional Limitations, 8th Edition, Volume 2, p. 966, 974, Thomas Cooley stated:

“While thus careful to establish, protect, and defend religious freedom and equality, the American constitutions contain no provisions which prohibit the authorities from such solemn recognition of a superintending Providence in public transactions and exercises as the general religious sentiment of mankind inspires, and as seems meet and proper in finite and dependent beings.”

Cooley continued:

“Whatever may be the shades of religious belief, all must acknowledge the fitness of recognizing in important human affairs the superintending care and control of the great Governor of the Universe, and of acknowledging with thanksgiving His boundless favors, of bowing in contrition when visited with the penalties of His broken laws.”

In his General Principles of Constitutional Law, 1890, Thomas Cooley wrote:

“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.”

Thomas Cooley continued:

“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.”

Thomas Cooley stated of the Second Amendment:

“The right is general. It may be supposed from the phraseology of this provision that the right to keep and bear arms was only guaranteed to the militia; but this would be an interpretation not warranted by the intent. The militia, as has been explained elsewhere, consists of those persons who, under the law, are liable to the performance of military duty, and are officered and enrolled for service when called upon… If the right were limited to those enrolled, the purpose of the guarantee might be defeated altogether by the action or the neglect to act of the government it was meant to hold in check. The meaning of the provision undoubtedly is, that the people, from whom the militia must be taken, shall have the right to keep and bear arms, and they need no permission or regulation of law for that purpose.”


Bill FedererThe Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.

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Bill of Rights approved September 25, 1789


Bill of Rights approved September 25, 1789

bill-of-rights_public domain imageAmerican Minute with Bill Federer

“Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Thus began the first of the Ten Amendments, or Bill of Rights, which were approved SEPTEMBER 25, 1789.

“The Father of the Bill of Rights” was George Mason of Virginia.

When George Washington was chosen to be the Commander of the Continental Army, George Mason was drafted by citizens of Virginia to fill Washington’s place in the Continental Congress.

George Mason wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights, from which Jefferson drew from to write the Declaration of Independence.

George Mason was one of 55 founders who wrote the U.S. Constitution, but was one of the few who refused to sign it because it did not end the slave trade and did not put enough limits on the Federal Government’s power.

On August 22, 1787, George Mason stated:

“Every master of slaves is born a petty tyrant. They bring the judgment of heaven upon a country. As nations cannot be rewarded or punished in the next world, they must be in this.

By an inevitable chain of causes and effects, Providence punishes national sins, by national calamities.”

George Mason stated before the General Court of Virginia:

“The laws of nature are the laws of God, whose authority can be superseded by no power on earth.”

This phrase of Mason’s was mirrored in the Declaration of Independence as

“the laws of nature and nature’s God.”

George Mason joined with Patrick Henry and Samuel Adams in an effort to prevent the Constitution from being ratified.

They feared that too much power concentrated into the hands of the Federal Government would result in the same trampling of individual rights that King George III perpetrated.

George Mason’s opposition to the Constitution cost him his friendship with George Washington.

When the Constitution was ratified, George Mason led the charge in insisting that in the first session of Congress there should be ten limitations or “Amendments” put in place which would restrict the power of the new Federal Government.

George Mason suggested the wording of the First Amendment be:

“All men have an equal, natural and unalienable right to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that no particular sect or society of Christians ought to be favored or established by law in preference to others.”


Bill FedererThe Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.

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Freedom OF Religion, Not Freedom FROM Religion


In God We Trust 2BY ALAN CARUBA

The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution do not abandon religion, they embrace it. They do not, however, require that Americans believe in God, nor punish them for failing to do so.

Central to the liberties enshrined in these documents is the belief that they come from a higher power and America exists because of that belief. Without it there would have been no America. There are those among us who insist that, as a nation, we abandon faith in God and, if we do, America will cease to be a power for good in the world.

AA - Founding FathersWhen Thomas Jefferson presented the Declaration to those who would pledge their lives and their sacred honor to achieve independence from England John Adams asked that it include the words “They are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights” after the phrase “all men are created equal” and Benjamin Franklin agreed, suggesting that “with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence” be added as well.” In their 2004 book, “Under God” by Toby Mac and Michael Tait, said “The changes demonstrated Congress’s strong reliance upon God—as delegates added the words “appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the rectitude of our intentions.”

Aware of the dangers inherent in a state religion, the First Amendment says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” followed by freedom of speech, the press, and the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievance.” There is no state religion in America, but reflecting the values that created it, its leaders have always acknowledged a greater power than government, the belief in God.

There would be no America if the Pilgrims who established Plymouth, Massachusetts had not left England in the quest for their right to worship as they wished, reflecting the Protestant Reformation. Another early settlement, Jamestown, was a business venture by investors to obtain wealth. Jamestown failed and Plymouth is with us today.

I am not a religious person per se, but I do believe in God. Always have and always will. I don’t insist that anyone else has to and neither do our founding documents. They do, however, acknowledge God and sought His protection to create a new nation; a republic with clearly stated protections for all its citizens.

There are, however, those who insist that any reference to God be removed from public documents and recognition. The leader among them is the Freedom From Religion Foundation and their most recent lawsuit is against the U.S. Treasury Department claiming they are discriminating against non-believers by including the phrase “In God We Trust” on the nation’s currency. Their claim is that the government is prohibited from endorsing religion over non-religion.

“In God We Trust” on U.S. coins was first approved by Congress during the Civil War in 1864. In 1956, Congress passed a resolution to recognize the words officially as the national motto, replacing the de facto phrase, “E Pluribus Unum” and it has appeared on U.S. currency since 1957.

The Foundation’s intention is to make any acknowledgement of God illegal by any public institution. If that is true, then we might was well tear up the Declaration and Constitution. Atheists are not content to not believe in God, they insist that everyone else not believe as well. That is a form of tyranny we must not permit to exist in America.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation specializes in lawsuits to advance what it calls the separation of church and state, but this principle is enshrined in the Constitution along with the right to freely exercise one’s faith. Its lawsuits are designed to destroy religion in America. In 2012 the Foundation had total contributions of $2,726,316. Nearly 90% was devoted to its attack on the freedom of religion.

In 2013, the Huffington Post reported that In the past six years the Foundation’s paid membership had increased 130 percent. It was estimated at “nearly 20,000” members. Its co-president, Laurie Gaylor, said that recent high-profile legal victories had increased the foundation’s popularity.

There is still strong support in Congress for the freedom of religion. In 1993 it passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act aimed at preventing laws that substantially burden a person’s free exercise of religion. It was signed into law by President Clinton. In 1997 the Supreme Court found that it was unconstitutional if applied to states, ruling that it was not a proper exercise of Congress’s enforcement power. It does, however, still apply to the federal government. In response, some states passed their own religious freedom restoration acts.

The Act was recently cited by the Supreme Court that ruled that closely held companies may be exempted from a government requirement to include contraceptives in employee health insurance coverage if it contravenes their belief in the sanctity of life.

There are millions more Americans who belong to various religious faiths and who believe that America must protect their right to exercise their faith. A relatively small Freedom From Religion Foundation will continue to use the courts to impose their atheistic views on any public institution. They must be resisted if America is to remain a citadel to the world as a place where people of faith can live together and exercise the tolerance that the atheists will not.


Alan Caruba 2013 150 x 150The Moral Lib­eral Fea­tured Writer, Alan Caruba, writes a daily post at http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com.An author, busi­ness and sci­ence writer, he is the founder of The National Anx­i­ety Center. Copyright 2014 © Alan Caruba

 

 

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Francis Asbury, born August 20, 1745


Agree or disagree with this denomination, great benefit in freedom of religion was attained with this Methodist and the Baptist.

Francis AsburyAmerican Minute with Bill Federer

300,000 miles on horseback, from the Atlantic to the Appalachians, from Maine to the Gulf of Mexico, for 45 years, he spread the Gospel.

This was Francis Asbury, Methodist Circuit riding preacher who was born AUGUST 20, 1745.

When the Revolution began, he was the only Methodist minister to remain in America, refusing to return with other Anglican ministers to England, stating:

“I can by no means agree to leave such a field for gathering souls to Christ as we have in America.”

Preaching over 16,000 sermons, Asbury’s leadership resulted in the Methodist Church in America growing from 1,200 people to 214,000 with 700 ordained minsters.

In 1785, Asbury broke the Methodist movement away from the Episcopal Church, forming its own denomination.

This had tremendous political impact, as Episcopal members of Virginia’s Assembly now no longer had a majority.

When a vote was taken the next year, the Episcopal Church lost its position as Virginia’s established State Church, thereby allowing other denominations to be treated equally.

Francis Asbury befriended Richard Bassett, a signer of the U.S. Constitution, who converted to being a Methodist, freed his slaves, paid them as hired labor and rode joyfully with them to revival meetings.

Methodist Bishops Francis Asbury and Thomas Coke met with newly elected President George Washington in New York, delivering the message, May 19, 1789:

“We…express to you…our sincere congratulations, on your appointment to the presidentship of these States.

We…place as full a confidence in your wisdom and integrity, for the preservation of those civil and religious liberties which have been transmitted to us by the Providence of GOD…

Dependence on the Great Governor of the Universe which you have repeatedly expressed, acknowledging Him the source of every blessing, and particularly of the most excellent Constitution of these States, which is at present the admiration of the world…”

Bishop Asbury continued:

“We enjoy a holy expectation that you will always prove a faithful and impartial patron of genuine, vital religion – the grand end of our creation and present probationary existence…

We promise you our fervent prayers to the Throne of Grace, that GOD Almighty may endue you with all the graces and gifts of his Holy Spirit, that may enable you to fill up your important station to His glory.”

On May 29, 1789, President Washington wrote a reply:

“To the Bishops of the Methodist-Episcopal Church…

I return to you…my thanks for the demonstrations of affection and the expressions of joy…on my late appointment.

It shall still be my endeavor…to contribute…towards the preservation of the civil and religious liberties of the American people…

I hope, by the assistance of Divine Providence, not altogether to disappoint the confidence which you have been pleased to repose in me…in acknowledgments of homage to the Great Governor of the Universe…”

Washington continued:

“I trust the people of every denomination…will have every occasion to be convinced that I shall always strive to prove a faithful and impartial patron of genuine, vital religion…

I take in the kindest part the promise you make of presenting your prayers at the Throne of Grace for me, and that I likewise implore the Divine benediction on yourselves and your religious community.”

In 1799, Francis Asbury ordained the first African-American Methodist minister, Richard Allen, and dedicated the first African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Unveiling the Equestrian Statue of Francis Asbury in Washington, D.C., 1924, President Calvin Coolidge stated:

“Francis Asbury, the first American Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church…made a tremendous contribution…”

Coolidge continued:

“Our government rests upon religion. It is from that source that we derive our reverence for truth and justice, for equality and liberty, and for the rights of mankind. Unless the people believe in these principles they cannot believe in our government…

Calling the people to righteousness (was) a direct preparation for self-government. It was for a continuation of this work that Francis Asbury was raised up.”

Coolidge added:

“The government of a country never gets ahead of the religion of a country. There is no way by which we can substitute the authority of law for the virtue of man…

Real reforms which society in these days is seeking will come as a result of our religious convictions, or they will not come at all. Peace, justice, humanity, charity – these cannot be legislated into being. They are the result of a Divine Grace…”

Coolidge continued about Francis Asbury:

“Frontier mothers must have brought their children to him to receive his blessings! It is more than probable that Nancy Hanks, the mother of Lincoln, had heard him in her youth.

Adams and Jefferson must have known him, and Jackson must have seen in him a flaming spirit as unconquerable as his own…He is entitled to rank as one of the builders of our nation.

On the foundation of a religious civilization which he sought to build, our country has enjoyed greater blessing of liberty and prosperity than was ever before the lot of man.

These cannot continue if we neglect the work which he did.”

Coolidge concluded:

“We cannot depend on the government to do the work of religion. I do not see how anyone could recount the story of this early Bishop without feeling a renewed faith in our own country.”


Bill FedererThe Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s bookshere.

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Judge Learned Hand – ‘the tenth justice of the Supreme Court’


Judge Learned HandAmerican Minute with Bill Federer

Considered several times as a nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, he was passed over for not being consistently conservative enough for Republican President Warren G. Harding and not consistently liberal enough for Democrat President Franklin Roosevelt.

His legal decisions, though, were so respected they were referenced in U.S. Supreme Court Cases.

His name was Learned Hand, who served as a judge for over 50 years, first on New York’s District Court, then on the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Though a political progressive, he was an advocate of judicial restraint.

Judge Learned Hand, nicknamed ‘the tenth justice of the Supreme Court’, died AUGUST 18, 1961.

In Gregory v. Helvering (2d Cir. 1934), Judge Hand wrote:

“Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes…Nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands.”

Two weeks before the D-Day invasion in the last year of World War II, Judge Learned Hand was catapulted to national prominence when he gave a speech to the largest crowd ever assembled in New York City to that date.

Nearly one and a half million met in Central Park, May 21, 1944, for the annual “I Am an American Day,” including 150,000 newly naturalized citizens about to swear their oath of allegiance to the United States.

After comments by Mayor LaGuardia, Senator Wagner and clergymen of Protestant, Catholic and Jewish faiths, Judge Learned Hand gave his short speech, ‘The Spirit of Liberty,’ which was reprinted in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Life Magazine and Readers Digest.

Judge Learned Hand stated:

“We have gathered here to affirm a faith, a faith in a common purpose, a common conviction, a common devotion.

Some of us have chosen America as the land of our adoption; the rest have come from those who did the same…

We sought liberty; freedom from oppression, freedom from want, freedom to be ourselves…”

Judge Hand continued:

“I often wonder whether we do not rest our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon laws and upon courts. These are false hopes; believe me, these are false hopes.

Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it…”

Hand went on:

“And what is this liberty which must lie in the hearts of men and women?

It is not the ruthless, the unbridled will; it is not freedom to do as one likes. That is the denial of liberty, and leads straight to its overthrow.

A society in which men recognize no check upon their freedom soon becomes a society where freedom is the possession of only a savage few; as we have learned to our sorrow.”

Hand added:

“What then is the spirit of liberty?

I cannot define it; I can only tell you my own faith.

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right;

the spirit of liberty is the spirit which seeks to understand the mind of other men and women;

the spirit of liberty is the spirit which weighs their interests alongside its own without bias;

the spirit of liberty remembers that not even a sparrow falls to earth unheeded;

the spirit of liberty is the spirit of Him who, near two thousand years ago, taught mankind that lesson it has never learned but never quite forgotten; that there may be a kingdom where the least shall be heard and considered side by side with the greatest.”

Judge Learned Hand ended, after which he led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance:

“In the spirit of that America which lies hidden in some form in the aspirations of us all;

in the spirit of that America for which our young men are at this moment fighting and dying;

in that spirit of liberty and of America I ask you to rise and with me pledge our faith in the glorious destiny of our beloved country.”

Judge Learned Hand wrote:

“The use of history is to tell us…past themes, else we should have to repeat, each in his own experience, the successes and the failures of our forebears.”


Bill FedererThe Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s bookshere.

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14TH AMENDMENT adopted on July 28, 1868


14th_Amendment archive imageAmerican Minute with Bill Federer

In 1857, the Supreme Court, with 7 of the 9 Justices being Democrat, decided that Dred Scott was not a citizen, but property.

Chief Justice Roger Taney, appointed by Democrat President Andrew Jackson, wrote that slaves were “so far inferior…that the Negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for their own benefit.”

After the Civil War, the 13TH AMENDMENT was adopted December 6, 1865, abolishing slavery in America.

Southern Democrat Legislatures then passed Black Codes and Jim Crow Laws, requiring freed slaves to be “apprenticed” to “employers” and punished any who left.

On November 22, 1865, Republicans denounced Mississippi’s Democrat legislature for enacting “black codes” which institutionalized racial discrimination.

On February 5, 1866, Republican Congressman Thaddeus Stevens introduced legislation to give former slaves “40 acres and a mule,” but Democrats opposed it, led by President Andrew Johnson.

On April 9, 1866, Republicans in Congress overrode Democrat President Johnson’s veto and passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866, conferring rights of citizenship on African-Americans.

To force Southern States to grant State citizenship rights to freed slaves, the U.S. House passed the 14TH AMENDMENT, May 10, 1866, as did the Senate, June 8, 1866. One hundred percent of Democrats voted against it.

The 14TH AMENDMENT was adopted by the States on JULY 28, 1868.

Republican Congressman John Farnsworth of Illinois stated, March 31, 1871:

“The reason for the adoption (of the 14TH AMENDMENT)…was because of… discriminating… legislation of those States… by which they were punishing one class of men under different laws from another class.”

On January 8, 1867, Republicans granted voting rights to African-Americans in the District of Columbia, after overriding Democrat President Andrew Johnson’s veto.

On July 19, 1867, Republican passed legislation protecting voting rights of African-Americans, after overriding Democrat President Andrew Johnson’s veto.

On March 30, 1868, Republicans began impeachment proceedings of Democrat President Andrew Johnson.

On September 12, 1868, Democrats in Georgia’s Senate expelled Civil rights activist Tunis Campbell and 24 other Republican African-Americans, who would later be reinstated by a Republican Congress.

On October 22, 1868, while campaigning for re-election, Republican Congressman James Hinds was assassinated by Democrat terrorists who organized vigilante groups known for intimidation tactics and lynchings.

The 15TH AMENDMENT was passed February 3, 1870, overcoming 97 percent Democrat opposition, granting the right to vote to all Americans regardless of race.

On May 31, 1870, Republican President U.S. Grant signed the Enforcement Act, providing stiff penalties for depriving any American of their civil rights.

On June 22, 1870, Republican Congress created the U.S. Department of Justice to safeguard the civil rights of African-Americans against Democrats in the South.

On February 28, 1871, Republican Congress passed the Enforcement Act providing federal protection for African-American voters.

On April 20, 1871, Republican Congress enacted the Ku Klux Klan Act, outlawing Democratic Party-affiliated terrorist groups which oppressed African-Americans.

On October 10, 1871, African-American Republican civil rights leader Octavius Catto was murdered by a Democratic Party operative, after repeated threats by Philadelphia Democrats against black voting.

On October 18, 1871, Republican President Ulysses S. Grant deployed U.S. troops to combat violence committed by Democrat terrorists who formed the Ku Klux Klan.

In solving one problem, another was created.

When questioned as to whether the 14th Amendment might open the door for the Federal Government to usurp other rights away from the States, its sponsor, Republican Congressman John Bingham of Ohio, replied:

“I repel the suggestion…that the Amendment will…take away from any State any right that belongs to it.”

Yet after the 14th Amendment was ratified, activist Federal Judges began to do just that.

Darwinist philosopher Herbert Spencer influenced Harvard Law School dean Christopher Columbus Langdell to apply evolution to the legal process.

Rather than upholding the intent of those who wrote the laws, Langdell taught that laws could evolve through a series of “case precedents.”

This influenced Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., to challenge the traditionalist concept that the Constitution does not change, so neither should its interpretation.

The 14th Amendment soon became a door by which Federal Courts gradually took authority away from the States in other areas such as trade disputes, union strikes, what farmers could grow, and eventually religion.

Federal Judges gradually began using the 14th Amendment to remove from States’ jurisdiction responsibility for:

-Freedom of speech and press, Gitlow v. New York, 1925 (re: Socialists) and Fiske v. Kansas, 1927 (re: Unions);
-Freedom of press, Near v. Minnesota, 1931 (re: anti-Catholics); and
-Freedom of assembly, DeJonge v. Oregon, 1937 (re: Communists).

Federal Judges used the 14th Amendment to remove responsibility for religious freedom from States’ jurisdiction in cases regarding Jehovah’s Witnesses:

Cantwell v. Connecticut, 1940; Minersville School District v. Gobitis, 1940; Jones v. Opelika, 1942; Taylor v. Mississippi, 1943; Martin v. Struthers, 1943; United States v. Ballard, 1944; Saia v. New York, 1948; and Niemotoko v. Maryland, 1951.

Cases of anti-Catholic discrimination were appealed to the Supreme Court:

Pierce v. Society of Sisters of Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, 1925, and Everson v. Board of Education, 1947.

Since then, Federal Courts used a case by case “crucible of litigation” (Wallace v. Jaffree, 1985) to evolve the First Amendment into its present anti-religious interpretation.

Thomas Jefferson warned that this would eventually happen, in a letter to Charles Hammond in 1821:

“The germ of dissolution of our…government is in…the Federal judiciary…working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow…until all shall be usurped from the States.”

The pre-14TH AMENDMENT view of “Separation of Church and State” was to simply to limit the Federal Government, as President Thomas Jefferson stated in his Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1805:

“In matters of religion I have considered that its free exercise is placed by the Constitution independent of the powers of the General (Federal) Government.

I have therefore undertaken, on no occasion, to prescribe the religious exercise suited to it; but have left them, as the Constitution found them, under the direction and discipline of State and church authorities by the several religious societies.”

On January 23, 1808, Jefferson wrote to Samuel Miller:

“I consider the (Federal) Government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises.

This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment or free exercise of religion, but from that also which reserves to the States the powers not delegated to the United States (10th Amendment).

Certainly no power to prescribe any religious exercise, or to assume authority in religious discipline, has been delegated to the General (Federal) government. It must then rest with the States as far as it can be in any human authority…

I do not believe it is for the interest of religion to invite the civil magistrate to direct its exercises, its discipline, or its doctrines…

Every religious society has a right to determine for itself the times for these exercises, and the objects proper for them, according to their own particular tenets.”

Summing up the pre-14TH AMENDMENT view, Justice Joseph Story wrote in A Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United States, 1840:

“The real object of the First Amendment was not to countenance, much less to advance Mohammedanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity, but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects.”

In his Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833, Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story wrote:

“In some of the States, Episcopalians constituted the predominant sect; in other, Presbyterians; in others, Congregationalists; in others, Quakers…

The whole power over the subject of religion is left exclusively to the State governments, to be acted upon according to their own sense of justice and the State Constitutions.”

When North Carolina was considering ratifying the U.S. Constitution, its Governor, Samuel Johnston, argued, July 30, 1788:

“The people of Massachusetts and Connecticut are mostly Presbyterians…
In Rhode Island, the tenets of the Baptists, I believe, prevail.
In New York, they are divided very much; the most numerous are the Episcopalians and the Baptists.
In New Jersey, they are as much divided as we are.
In Pennsylvania, if any sect prevails more than others, it is that of the Quakers.
In Maryland, the Episcopalians are most numerous, though there are other sects.
In Virginia, there are many sects…
I hope, therefore, that gentlemen will see there is no cause of fear that any one religion shall be exclusively established.”

In 1889, John Bouvier’s Law Dictionary (Philadelphia, J.B. Lippincott Company) hinted of the novel use of the 14TH AMENDMENT in its definition of the word “Religion”:

“‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof’… By establishment of religion is meant the setting up of state church, or at least conferring upon one church of special favors which are denied to others…

The Christian religion is, of course, recognized by the government, yet…the preservation of religious liberty is left to the States…

This provision and that relating to religious tests are limitations upon the power of the (Federal) Congress only…Perhaps the Fourteenth Amendment may give additional securities if needful.”

Justice Joseph Story wrote in his Commentaries, 1833:

“Probably at the time of the adoption of the Constitution…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.

Any attempt to level all religions, and make it a matter of state policy to hold all in utter indifference, would have created universal disapprobation, if not universal indignation.”


Bill FedererThe Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.

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Throne of the Son—Forever


Hebrews 1:5-12
“But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom,” Hebrews 1:8.
The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was ratified in 1951, its purpose being to set the term limits of presidents to no more than two terms. In American history, only Franklin Roosevelt served more than two terms, most likely, because the American people came to love and trust him through WWII, electing him to four terms. Since 1951, though, only six presidents have served two terms.
Honestly, it does not really matter who the leader of the nation is, most citizens—usually up to half—become tired of the current leader before the term is up, longing for a new leader with new ideas and skills. Why is that? It is because, no matter who our leaders are, they are all fallible human beings and are incapable of leading an entire community or country efficiently.
For Christians, though, we have a ruler in Heaven who is perfect in every way. With God, we do not long for the next election because His throne is forever, and He is not fallible. That does not mean we should not get involved in the election process. We have a responsibility to make sure our civil leaders are fulfilling their God-given role in society: suppressing evil and promoting good. It does mean that, at the end of the day when we are frustrated with our human leaders, we can trust that God knows and will ultimately rule.

JUST A THOUGHT
Will you trust in God today?

Mark Clements

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