Lynn v. Sekulow

Lynn v. Sekulow


Capitol Visitor Center Is About the History of Government, Not Religion

posted by Rev. Barry W. Lynn

Jay,

It’s a shame the Freedom From Religion Foundation had to file this lawsuit at all. This should never have been an issue in the first place.

The Capitol Visitor Center is a building dedicated to the history and importance of the Capitol Building and the legislature. This isn’t a historical church or a museum dedicated to religion or religious liberty, so why has this become some heated debate about the role of religion in our nation’s founding?

It seems that certain Religious Right groups just want to use this building as another way to push their “Christian nation” propaganda.


When the building first opened, these groups claimed it was
a “godless pit,” and a shrine to secularism, despite the fact that the center does
reference some religious history. The building includes a facsimile of a story
from a Virginia newspaper reporting on a sermon delivered in the Capitol in
July 1801. It also discusses the internal operations of the Capitol talks about
congressional chaplains. It includes an illustration of Bishop John Thomas
Clagget, Senate chaplain in 1800, and a photo of the Rev. Henry N. Couden, a
House chaplain, leading that chamber in prayer on Dec. 6, 1909. And a large
King James Bible that was given to congressional stenographers by Sen. Huey P.
Long of Louisiana in 1934 is also on display.

The phrase “In God We Trust” was also originally included on
a wall in the building, but this wasn’t good enough. It had to be THE focus of
center, and the American Family Association lobbied to get these words boldly
displayed in the main hall. 

Jay, there is no need for this. The focus of the
exhibits at the Capitol Visitor Center should not be on religion, but on
Congress and governance. Our government has never been based on religion, and
to emphasize this phrase is to represent inaccurate history.

Besides, the Capitol Building should be a place all
Americans welcome and comfortable. They’re coming to visit a place where laws
are made, not a religious shrine.

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Gwyddion9

posted December 1, 2009 at 12:21 pm


I completely agree. The focus of the Capital Visitor Center should be government NOT religion. Unfortunately, there are specific religious groups and denominations that want it to focus not only on religion but THEIR specific understanding, interpretation and belief of THEIR religion.
We are a nation made up of many peoples, who represent many different cultural backgrounds and religions. We are not a nation of ‘one religion’ as these groups would have everyone believe.
Their concern is only about their beliefs and how to further the illusion that we are a nation based on ‘their’ religion and interpretation.
I find such acts as dishonest and at best, deceitful but then one runs into the thought process that the end justifies the means. Never mind who they crush under their heels or the dishonesty they create.



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momintum

posted December 1, 2009 at 1:33 pm


This is but another attempt by the religious right to shore up another waning religion. This god, that god, whatever, are losing their credence as education gains support over superstition and ignorance. To further exacerbate the divisions within our human culture these fiends will continue their activities as long as they can gain a dollar or a vote. Initiated by ignorant, malicious, or self serving leaders, the flock goes mindlessly without question for a large part. The good news is…PEOPLE ARE WAKING UP!



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N. Lindzee Lindholm

posted December 1, 2009 at 9:30 pm


The motto “In God We Trust” is appropriate at the Capitol Visitor Center because God has been a prevalent theme since the conception of our country. The Court has ruled this phrase does not violate the Establishment Clause because it is benign, does not give a boom to religion, nor does it establish a religion (Prof. Cheh). The phrase is not a prayer or religious exercise. Therefore, the Court has upheld this phrase to be Constitutional, the reference to God being a rich part of our Nation’s historic fabric.



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phillip zerillo

posted December 1, 2009 at 9:30 pm


@Gwyddion9 & momintum : I believe you two live in a bubble somewhere. Do you both understand that you do live in a Christain Nation? The very rights, government, and principles such as freedom, equality and justice, that you have ungraciously inherited, are the fruits of Christainity. Our Government is a product of Christain culture. You can not understand fully our government without understanding the culture that produced it. Our founding fathers were Christains, who wanted a Christain nation and a government that encouraged a Godly people. You can not discuss or appreciate our government without discussing the root of it’s conception. That root is expressed in the Declaration of Independence…that our Creator endow us with inalienable rights. That is the very spirit or crux of American Justice and Governance. Both of you think you sound intelligent but your statements only show your utter ignorance of our Government’s history. You are victims of a marist attempt to completely change the culture and nature of this country. Why? Because there is a movement in this country to remove the moral compass of this country and replace it with a amoral one. America is about Truth. The Truth is Liberals are using the very freedoms of expression to silence another. When you erase our history to please the amoral americans, you are silencing others. It is Liberals who lie and silence to push their. In the name of religious freedom, they ban the very expression of it to the point of erasing history. Also it is not about this god or that god. It’s about the God that inspired this nation! That God effected the thought of the men who pened the Constitution and Bill of Rights. This country was not founded or inspired by any other god. In fact it is the Christain God that teaches tolerance and patience to others who are diffrent. If you two ungrateful brainwashed atheists lived in a America that was founded by any other religion like Islam or Hinduism, you two would not be expressing yourselves at all on this blog. The both of you would be killed or jailed for speaking your minds. So even if you can’t understand American history or appreciate were your rights come from, be very grateful to that God of the Christains and Jews that you were born in a Christain Nation that tolerates non-believers like you two. Cut the root of our tree of Liberty and America will be just another second rate secular society that will just whither away. It’s so unfortunate that you two have been taught to be ashamed of our religious heritage especially when it is the main ingredient of it’s success. Why would anyone not feel comfortable in a building that expressed an appreciation for God? If you don’t believe, then fine. Then feel extra comfortable being in a building that expresses an appreciation of a Christain God that recognises your right not believe. That God you don’t believe in protects you despite yourselves. GOD BLESS AMERICA!



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I

posted December 2, 2009 at 12:03 am


Completely agree with Reverend Lynn. Why some people are not satisfied unless they can force religion into an issue is beyond me. This is not, and never has been a Christian nation; and I don’t believe in supernatural beings.



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Tashawna

posted December 2, 2009 at 12:38 am


This nation wa built on the foundation of God, having that removed and allowing it to be removed is an act of being ashamed of God. If we go to the middle east, their country is mainly muslim, however no one is trying to take away their prayer times. Other religions are respected in this country and doing this act is not respecting the Christian religion. By doing this chaos will fall on this country; chaos from God and from the citizens of this country. The phrase “In God We Trust” is often overlooked by many going about their daily lives, besides aetheists, who is complaining about this phrase?! God will never cease, even if His name is removed. Treat others the way you want to be treated.



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Your Name

posted December 2, 2009 at 12:38 am


This nation wa built on the foundation of God, having that removed and allowing it to be removed is an act of being ashamed of God. If we go to the middle east, their country is mainly muslim, however no one is trying to take away their prayer times. Other religions are respected in this country and doing this act is not respecting the Christian religion. By doing this chaos will fall on this country; chaos from God and from the citizens of this country. The phrase “In God We Trust” is often overlooked by many going about their daily lives, besides aetheists, who is complaining about this phrase?! God will never cease, even if His name is removed. Treat others the way you want to be treated.



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TexasCowboy

posted December 2, 2009 at 11:16 am


When Europeans landed on the shores of these United States, they came, in part to escape religious oppression and beliefs forced by state-affiliated Christian churches such as the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England. The idea of the new democracy was to separate church and state and allow the freedom to practice one’s faith, or not, without fear of persecution, and was guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”
The majority of the founding fathers were not Christians, but Deists, meaning they thought the universe had a creator, but that he does not concern himself with the daily lives of humans, and does not directly communicate with humans, either by revelation or by sacred books. The founding fathers spoke often of God, (Nature’s God or the God of Nature), but this was not the God of the bible. They did not deny that there was a person called Jesus, and praised him for his benevolent teachings, but they flatly denied his divinity.
Yes there are a large number of Christians in this country, Evangelicals, Catholics, Protestants, but there are also other religions represented along with agnostics and atheists. Forcing Christianity on every American and attempting to combine religion and government clearly violates the 1st Amendment. Worship God in church, but pushing the religious right’s agenda on others through government is politically motivated, not Christ centered.



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Gwyddion9

posted December 2, 2009 at 11:27 am


phillip zerillo
No, I do not live in a bubble. The U.S. is a nation where most ‘proclaim’ to be Christian but we are not a Christian nation. There is a difference between the two ideas. Some Christian sects want to push the idea that we are a Christian country, with the intent to essentially create a belief that we owe everything to their understanding of Christianity and ‘their’ god. What is now seen as fundamental Christianity is at best, 100 years old and a recent belief system put forth by certain sects of Christianity.
The desire of these sects is to create that illusion that we are a “Christian nation” with the intent to further the intent to push their version of Christianity on the country, re-write history to support their belief that we are a Christian nation so it can be further pushed towards a nation governed by Christian beliefs…”their beliefs” and eventually push for a Christian theocracy.
I doubt that the country would ever stand for these groups trying to re-make the country in ‘their’ image, which is essentially is the desire. All one has to do is listen to the ranting of Robertson and Dobson to see where this is coming from. They’re all about creating a Christian nation with the full intent of governing it by their beliefs.
True Americans believe in the Constitution of the United States and the rule of law.
Some true Americans are Christians. Some are Jews. Some are Muslims. Some are Buddhists. Some are Pagan. Some are atheists. Some don’t give a damn about religion one way or the other.
On the other hand, no one who claims that the Bible is the law of the land is a True American. Such a person is fundamentally opposed to our system of government (pun intended).
Our system of government DID NOT ARISE FROM THE BIBLE. In fact, the founders were very careful to keep theocracy OUT of the government . . . thus their insistence on the wall of separation, which is clearly seen in the Bill of Rights and in all the case law that supports it.



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Rebecca

posted December 2, 2009 at 12:18 pm


Tashawna, I don’t know where you get the idea that anyone is “trying to take away…prayer times” of Christians in this country – or for that matter, the “prayer times” of anyone else. Furthermore, that’s not what this post is about.
And expecting the government to behave one way or the other in order to accomodate your (or any) particular mythology (ie, that God will destroy this country if we don’t show due “respect”) is ridiculous, and not what secular government — which we are supposed to have — is about. We do not live under a theocracy, despite what you might want to believe.



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concerned citizen

posted December 2, 2009 at 12:22 pm


Actually the laws written by our founding fathers were besed on the system of governing given in the Old Testament to Moses and the Isrealites after they left Egypt. Many of the founding fathers of our nation were Christians wanting to exercise freedom of religion and to escape religious tyrrany in England. The first text book ever used in public schools was the Bible. Our nation was a Christian nation. That does not mean others have to be Christians, that does not mean you can not practice another religion. It is simply the truth about our history and our heritage. It is the reason we have been blessed as a nation and our country has risen to sucess because God’s truth never fails and the laws of our nation were founded on the word of God.



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Your Name

posted December 3, 2009 at 3:54 am


The real SHAME Rev. Lynn is that the Freedom from Religion Foundation exists at all however I guess that is what Freedom is all about. An organization that proports to have over 13,000 members nationwide and wants to blot out Religious Freedom. By their own admission only 14% of the Adult U.S. Population don’t believe in religion. Well waht about the other 86%.
Perhaps You Rev Lynn and the Freedom from Religion Foundation should consider this:
WHEN THE ABUSE OF CIVIL LIBERTIES BECOMES A FREE FOR ALL; THE END RESULT IS A FREE FOR NONE!
And I just love this Disingenuous Mis-Statement of yours that “It seems that certain Religious Right groups just want to use this building as another way to push their “Christian nation” propaganda”.
Since when is God exclusive to Christians. Our Jewish Borothers and Sisters believe in the same God; the God of Abraham, Issac and Moses.
So get off your Christian Right groups. Most of our Judeo Brothers and Sisters believe in Jusus as well, with the exception of the left group Jews. The only difference is they do not consider Jesus the Messiah, although you do have the Jews For Jesus and the Messianic Jews, and Christians do.
I’ll leave it at that for the moment but expect to hear more from me on “Seperation of Church and State”, Government History and the founding of this Great Country.
In ending let me state this: I am not Religious and there is a big difference between Religion and Christianity. You see, I am a Born Again, Non, Denominational Christian who believes Christianity is a WALK of FAITH. It is a way of life and Most importantly a Personal Relationship Between God and My Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
And if you don’t believe in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and that this Country was formed on the Basis of Christian Principles then maybe you should drop your Reverend Title and change it to GURU Lynn. I’m sorry, but you can’t change it to Rabbi Lynn because then you would have to believe in God and find no offence to referencing His name on the Capitol, our money or any place else.



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William J. Coviello

posted December 3, 2009 at 3:57 am


My apologies for my name missing in the pst that reads YOUR NAME. My Name is William J. Coviello



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G

posted December 3, 2009 at 3:20 pm


Keep religion and government separate as intended by the Founding Fathers and as expressed in the Constitution. Those who do not believe in supernatural beings, or who believe in different deities (Budda, Allah, Vishnu,…Trees – even if only 1% of the population) are not required to support religion–and certainly not through government. Religious beliefs, or walks of faith, are not part of government business.



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Your Name

posted December 3, 2009 at 4:24 pm


RE: G
You so state that our founding fathers wanted us to keep religion and government seperate.
That would indeed be a religion all of it’s own.
What I gather is this:
Amendment 1
Freedom of Religion, Press Expression, Ratified 12/15/1791
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.
—————————
Basically, what I see here is that you have freedom to choose, not to dictate that others can not still have God in government. For that would be an athiest, which in a religion without God. So, I am tired of others writing or voicing that we are to take God out of pledges and Government. For, like I said before that is a religion. The Constitution is for freedom of religion.
C



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William J. Coviello

posted December 3, 2009 at 5:09 pm


G.
Apparently your not familiar with the intentions of our founding farhers regarding “Seperation of Church and State”. It is not what nost Americans believe today through false indoctrination and interpretation.
I think you need to brush up on early American History.



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G

posted December 3, 2009 at 5:48 pm


I think you need to read the Constitution and the writings of Madison and Jefferson. You will find separation of religion and government to be not only the intent of the Framers, but demanded by the document they produced.



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G

posted December 3, 2009 at 6:53 pm


In 1787, the Founding Fathers expressed the principle of separation between religion and government in clearly stated terms: “No religious Test shall ever be required as a qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States” (Constitution, Art. 6., Sec. 3.).
Here, it makes no difference if a person is atheist, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, whatever; there will be “no religious Test.” That’s the wording as drafted by the Founders and approved by the states. How much more clearly could they define the sentiment of the American people in regard to separation between religion and government?!
Yet, in 1787, people pushing for adoption of the Constitution had to promise that a further guarantee related to separation between religion and government would be added to the Constitution as a part of a Bill of Rights.
“Shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”. None! Zero! Religion, the broad term, includes all the trappings.
Make no laws, and use no religious test. What they were saying was: Your beliefs are your own. Religious support was to be completely voluntary (that means you aren’t taxed to support religious endeavors. If a religion cannot stand on its own, it is likely not a very good one, was the sentiment. You are not asked to divorce yourself from your religion while in government position. The two areas, religion and government, don’t touch–or, as little as POSSIBLE. Government business deals with actions, not spiritual beliefs – which are the domain of religions.
Keep your religious beliefs, bring them with you to work (they are not tangible); but don’t try to use government to finance religion or to proselytize. That isn’t part of government business.
James Madison, “Father of the Constitution,” wrote: “Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States, the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history” (“Detached Memoranda,” William and Mary Quarterly, 3:555).
Credit to Gene Garman, from whom much of this was “borrowed”.



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William J. Coviello

posted December 3, 2009 at 10:34 pm


AFFIDAVIT OF DAVID BARTON IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS’ OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR CONTEMPT, OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, FOR SUPPLEMENTAL PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION
STATE OF TEXAS
COUNTY OF PARKER
Upon being duly sworn by the undersigned officer empowered to administer and attest to oaths, the Affiant, David Barton, testifies as follows:
1. I am a recognized authority in American history, particularly concerning the Colonial, Revolutionary, and Federal Eras.
2. I personally own a vast collection of thousands of documents of American history predating 1812, including handwritten works of the signers of the Declaration and the Constitution.
3. As a result of my expertise, I work as a consultant to national history textbook publishers and have been appointed by the State Boards of Education in States such as California and Texas to help write the American history and government standards for students in those States. Additionally, I consult with Governors and State Boards of Education in several other States and have testified in numerous State Legislatures on American history.
4. I am the recipient of several national and international awards, including the George Washington Honor Medal, the Daughters of the American Revolution Medal of Honor, Who’s Who in America (1997, 1999), Who’s Who in the World (1996, 1999), Who’s Who in American Education (1996, 1997), International Who’s Who of Professionals (1996), Two Thousand Notable American Men Hall of Fame (1995), Who’s Who in the South and Southwest (1995, 1999), Who’s Who Among Outstanding Americans (1994), Outstanding Young Men in America (1990), and numerous other awards.
5. I have also written and published numbers of books and articles on American history and its related issues. (Original Intent, 1996; Bulletproof George Washington, 1990; Ethics: An Early American Handbook, 1999; Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, 1995, and many others).
6. I offer the following opinion regarding whether the Ten Commandments are a historical document in America’s civil and judicial history based upon my expertise and study in the areas of American history and the forces and ideas that formed the basis for our system of laws and government.
INTRODUCTION
7. Opponents to the public display of the Ten Commandments offer several grounds for their objections, including that “there is no “˜standard version’ of the Ten Commandments”; that “there is not agreement on exactly what constitutes the Ten Commandments”; and that “the Ten Commandments are not a “˜secular’ moral code that everyone can agree on” and therefore are not appropriate to be included in a display of documents that have helped shape America’s history. In fact, these groups warn that “if the Decalog [sic] was publicly displayed” it “could create religious friction, leading to feelings of anger and of marginalization” and that “these emotions are precisely the root causes of the Columbine High School tragedy.”
8. The Decalogue addresses what were long considered to be man’s vertical and horizontal duties. Noah Webster, the man personally responsible for Art. I, Sec. 8, ¶ 8, of the U. S. Constitution, explained two centuries ago:
The duties of men are summarily comprised in the Ten Commandments, consisting of two tables; one comprehending the duties which we owe immediately to God-the other, the duties we owe to our fellow men.
9. Modern critics, while conceding “six or five Commandments are moral and ethical rules governing behavior,” also point out that because the remaining “four of the Ten Commandments are specifically religious in nature,” that this fact alone should disqualify their display. They assert that only one of the two “tablets” of the Ten Commandments is appropriate for public display.
10. In an effort to substantiate this position historically, critics often point to the Rhode Island Colony under Roger Williams and its lack of civil laws on the first four commandments to “prove” that American society was traditionally governed without the first “tablet.” However, they fail to mention that the Rhode Island Colony was the only one of the thirteen colonies that did not have civil laws derived from the first four divine laws -the so-called first “tablet.” Significantly, every other early American colony incorporated the entire Decalogue into its own civil code of laws.
11. This affidavit will demonstrate that, historically speaking, neither courts nor civil officers were confused or distracted by the so-called “various versions” of the Decalogue and that each of the Ten Commandments became deeply embedded in both American law and jurisprudence. This affidavit will establish that a contemporary display of the Ten Commandments is the display of a legal and historical document that dramatically impacted American law and culture with a force similar only to that of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
THE INCORPORATION OF DIVINE LAW INTO AMERICAN COLONIAL LAW
12. The Ten Commandments are a smaller part of the larger body of divine law recognized and early incorporated into America’s civil documents. For example, the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut-established in 1638-39 as the first written constitution in America and considered as the direct predecessor of the U. S. Constitution -declared that the Governor and his council of six elected officials would “have power to administer justice according to the laws here established; and for want thereof according to the rule of the word of God.”
13. Also in 1638, the Rhode Island government adopted “all those perfect and most absolute laws of His, given us in His holy word of truth, to be guided and judged thereby. Exod. 24. 3, 4; 2 Chron. II. 3; 2 Kings. II. 17.”
14. The following year, 1639, the New Haven Colony adopted its “Fundamental Articles” for the governance of that Colony, and when the question was placed before the colonists:
Whether the Scriptures do hold forth a perfect rule for the direction and government of all men in all dut[ies] which they are to perform to God and men as well in the government of families and commonwealths as in matters of the church, this was assented unto by all, no man dissenting as was expressed by holding up of hands.
15. In 1672, Connecticut revised its laws and reaffirmed its civil adherence to the laws established in the Scriptures, declaring:
The serious consideration of the necessity of the establishment of wholesome laws for the regulating of each body politic hath inclined us mainly in obedience unto Jehovah the Great Lawgiver, Who hath been pleased to set down a Divine platform not only of the moral but also of judicial laws suitable for the people of Israel; as . . . laws and constitutions suiting our State.
16. Significantly, those same legal codes delineated their capital laws in a separate section, and following each capital law was given the Bible verse on which that law was based because:
No man’s life shall be taken away . . . unless it be by the virtue or equity of some express law of the country warranting the same, established by a general court and sufficiently published, or in case of the defect of a law, in any particular case, by the Word of God. (emphasis added)
17. There are other similar examples, but it is a matter of historical fact that the early colonies adopted the greater body of divine laws as the overall basis of their civil laws. Subsequent to the adoption of that general standard, however, the specifics of the Decalogue were then incorporated into the civil statutes.
WHICH ARE THE TEN COMMANDMENTS ?
18. In order to avoid the alleged misunderstanding that critics claim accompanies the reading of the Decalogue, for the purposes of this affidavit, these Commandments as listed in the Bible in Exodus 20:3-17 and Deuteronomy 5:7-21 (and in a shortened version in Exodus 34:14-28) will be summarized as
1. Have no other gods.
2. Have no idols.
3. Honor God’s name.
4. Honor the Sabbath day.
5. Honor your parents.
6. Do not murder.
7. Do not commit adultery.
8. Do not steal.
9. Do not perjure yourself.
10. Do not covet.
19. The following sections will fully demonstrate that each of these commandments was individually encoded in the civil laws, and consequently became a part of the common law of the various colonies.
HOW THE TEN COMMANDMENTS ARE EXPRESSED
IN CIVIL LAW IN AMERICAN HISTORY
Have no other gods.
20. This first commandment of the Decalogue is incorporated into the very first written code of laws enacted in America, those of the Virginia Colony. In 1610, in a law enacted by the Colony leaders, it was declared:
[S]ince we owe our highest and supreme duty, our greatest and all our allegiance to Him from whom all power and authority is derived, and flows as from the first and only fountain, and being especially soldiers impressed in this sacred cause, we must alone expect our success from Him who is only the blesser of all good attempts, the King of kings, the Commander of commanders, and Lord of hosts, I do strictly command and charge all Captains and Officers of what quality or nature soever, whether commanders in the field, or in town or towns, forts or fortresses, to have a care that the Almighty God be duly and daily served, and that they call upon their people to hear sermons, as that also they diligently frequent morning and evening prayer themselves by their own example and daily life and duties herein, encouraging others thereunto.
21. A subsequent 1641 Massachusetts legal code also incorporated the thrust of this command of the Decalogue into its statutes. Significantly, the very first law in that State code was based on the very first command of the Decalogue, declaring:
1. If any man after legal conviction shall have or worship any other god but the Lord God, he shall be put to death. Deut. 13.6, 10, Deut. 17.2, 6, Ex. 22.20.
22. The 1642 Connecticut law code also made this command of the Decalogue its first civil law, declaring:
1. If any man after legal conviction shall have or worship any other god but the Lord God, he shall be put to death (Duet. 13.6 and 17.2, Ex. 22.20).
23. There are numerous other examples affirming that the first commandment of the Decalogue indeed formed an historical part of American civil law.
Have no idols.
24. Typical of the civil laws prohibiting idolatry was a 1680 New Hampshire idolatry law that declared:
Idolatry. It is enacted by ye Assembly and ye authority thereof, yet if any person having had the knowledge of the true God openly and manifestly have or worship any other god but the Lord God, he shall be put to death. Ex. 22.20, Deut. 13.6 and 10.
25. Additional examples from colonial codes demonstrate that the second commandment also was historically a part of American civil law.
Honor God’s name.
26. Civil laws enacted to observe this commandment were divided into two categories: laws prohibiting blasphemy and laws prohibiting swearing and profanity. Noah Webster, an American legislator and judge, affirms that both of these categories of laws were derived from the third commandment of the Decalogue:
When in obedience to the third commandment of the Decalogue you would avoid profane swearing, you are to remember that this alone is not a full compliance with the prohibition which [also] comprehends all irreverent words or actions and whatever tends to cast contempt on the Supreme Being or on His word and ordinances [i.e., blasphemy].
27. Reflecting the civil enactment of these two categories embodying the third commandment, a 1610 Virginia law declared:
2. That no man speak impiously or maliciously against the holy and blessed Trinity or any of the three persons . . . upon pain of death.
3. That no man blaspheme God’s holy name upon the pain of death.
28. A 1639 law of Connecticut similarly declared:
If any person shall blaspheme the name of God the Father, Son, or Holy Ghost, with direct, express, presumptuous or high-handed blasphemy, or shall curse in the like manner, he shall be put to death. Lev. 24.15, 16.
29. Similar laws can be found in Massachusetts in 1641, Connecticut in 1642, New Hampshire in 1680, Pennsylvania in 1682, 1700, and 1741, South Carolina in 1695, North Carolina in 1741, etc. Additionally, prominent Framers also enforced the Decalogue’s third command.
30. For example, Commander-in-Chief George Washington issued numerous military orders during the American Revolution that first prohibited swearing and then ordered an attendance on Divine worship, thus relating the prohibition against profanity to a religious duty. Typical of these orders, on July 4, 1775, Washington declared:
The General most earnestly requires and expects a due observance of those articles of war established for the government of the army which forbid profane cursing, swearing, and drunkenness; and in like manner requires and expects of all officers and soldiers not engaged on actual duty, a punctual attendance on Divine Service to implore the blessings of Heaven upon the means used for our safety and defense.
31. Washington began issuing such orders to his troops as early as 1756 during the French and Indian War, and continued the practice throughout the American Revolution, issuing similar orders in 1776, 1777, 1778, etc.
32. This civil prohibition against blasphemy and profanity drawn from the Decalogue continued well beyond the Founding Era. It subsequently appeared in the 1784 laws in Connecticut, the 1791 laws of New Hampshire, the 1791 laws of Vermont, the 1792 laws of Virginia, the 1794 laws of Pennsylvania, the 1821 laws of Maine, the 1834 laws of Tennessee, the 1835 laws of Massachusetts, the 1836 laws of New York, etc.
33. Judge Zephaniah Swift, author in 1796 of the first legal text published in America, explained why civil authorities enforced the Decalogue prohibition against blasphemy and profane swearing:
Crimes of this description are not punishable by the civil arm merely because they are against religion. Bold and presumptuous must he be who would attempt to wrest the thunder of heaven from the hand of God and direct the bolts of vengeance where to fall. The Supreme Deity is capable of maintaining the dignity of His moral government and avenging the violations of His holy laws. His omniscient mind estimates every act by the standard of perfect truth and His impartial justice inflicts punishments that are accurately proportioned to the crimes. But short-sighted mortals cannot search the heart and punish according to the intent. They can only judge by overt acts and punish them as they respect the peace and happiness of civil society. This is the rule to estimate all crimes against civil law and is the standard of all human punishments. It is on this ground only that civil tribunals are authorized to punish offences against religion.
34. In 1824, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania (in a decision subsequently invoked authoritatively and endorsed by the U. S. Supreme Court ) reaffirmed that the civil laws against blasphemy were derived from divine law:
The true principles of natural religion are part of the common law; the essential principles of revealed religion are part of the common law; so that a person vilifying, subverting or ridiculing them may be prosecuted at common law.
The court then noted that its State’s laws against blasphemy had been drawn up by James Wilson, a signer of the Constitution and original Justice on the U. S. Supreme Court:
The late Judge Wilson, of the Supreme Court of the United States, Professor of Law in the College in Philadelphia, was appointed in 1791, unanimously by the House of Representatives of this State to “revise and digest the laws of this commonwealth. . . . “ He had just risen from his seat in the Convention which formed the Constitution of the United States, and of this State; and it is well known that for our present form of government we are greatly indebted to his exertions and influence. With his fresh recollection of both constitutions, in his course of Lectures (3d vol. of his works, 112), he states that profaneness and blasphemy are offences punishable by fine and imprisonment, and that Christianity is part of the common law. It is vain to object that the law is obsolete; this is not so; it has seldom been called into operation because this, like some other offences, has been rare. It has been retained in our recollection of laws now in force, made by the direction of the legislature, and it has not been a dead letter.
35. The Decalogue’s influence on profanity and blasphemy laws was reaffirmed by subsequent courts, such as the 1921 Supreme Court of Maine, the 1944 Supreme Court of Florida, and others.
36. Many additional sources may be cited, but it is clear that the civil laws against both profanity and blasphemy-many of which are still in force today-were originally derived from the divine law and the Ten Commandments. These examples unquestionably demonstrate that the third commandment of the Decalogue was an historical part of American civil law and jurisprudence.
Honor the Sabbath day.
37. The civil laws enacted to uphold this injunction are legion and are far too numerous for any exhaustive listing to be included in this brief affidavit. While a representative sampling will be presented below, there are three points that clearly establish the effect of the fourth commandment of the Decalogue on American law.
38. First is the inclusion in the U. S. Constitution of the recognition of the Sabbath in Art. I, Sec. 7, ¶ 2, stipulating that the President has 10 days to sign a law, “Sundays excepted.” The “Sundays excepted” clause had previously appeared in the individual State constitutions of that day, and therefore, when incorporated into the U. S. Constitution, carried the same meaning that had been established by traditional usage in the States. That meaning was then imparted into the constitutions of the various States admitted into the Union subsequent to the adoption of the federal Constitution. The historical understanding of this clause was summarized in 1912 by the Supreme Court of Missouri which, expounding on the meaning of this provision in its own State constitution and in the U. S. Constitution, declared:
It is provided that if the Governor does not return a bill within 10 days (Sundays excepted), it shall become a law without his signature. Although it may be said that this provision leaves it optional with the Governor whether he will consider bills or not on Sunday, yet, regard being had to the circumstances under which it was inserted, can any impartial mind deny that it contains a recognition of the Lord’s Day as a day exempted by law from all worldly pursuits? The framers of the Constitution, then, recognized Sunday as a day to be observed, acting themselves under a law which exacted a compulsive observance of it. If a compulsive observance of the Lord’s Day as a day of rest had been deemed inconsistent with the principles contained in the Constitution, can anything be clearer than, as the matter was so plainly and palpably before the Convention, a specific condemnation of the Sunday law would have been engrafted upon it? So far from it, Sunday was recognized as a day of rest.
39. The second point establishing the impact of the fourth commandment of the Decalogue on American law is seen in the civil process clauses of the early State legal codes which forbade legal action on the Sabbath. For example, an 1830 New York law declared:
Civil process cannot, by statute, be executed on Sunday, and a service of such process on Sunday is utterly void and subjects the officer to damages.
40. Similar laws may be found in Pennsylvania in 1682 and 1705, Vermont in 1787, Connecticut in 1796, New Jersey in 1798, etc.
41. The third point establishing the long-standing effect of the fourth commandment on American law and jurisprudence is demonstrated by the fact that Sabbath laws remain constitutional today, and many communities still practice and enforce those laws.
42. Examples of the early implementation of this fourth commandment into civil law are seen in the Virginia laws of 1610, the New Haven laws of 1653, the New Hampshire laws of 1680, the Pennsylvania laws of 1682 and 1705, the South Carolina laws of 1712, the North Carolina laws of 1741, the Connecticut laws of 1751, etc.
43. In 1775, and throughout the American Revolution, Commander-in-Chief George Washington issued military orders directing that the Sabbath be observed. His order of May 2, 1778, at Valley Forge was typical:
The Commander in Chief directs that divine service be performed every Sunday at 11 o’clock in those brigades to which there are chaplains; those which have none to attend the places of worship nearest to them. It is expected that officers of all ranks will by their attendance set an example to their men.
Washington issued numerous similar orders throughout the Revolution.
44. In the Federal Era and well beyond, states continued to enact and reenact Sabbath laws. In fact, the States went to impressive lengths to uphold the Sabbath. For example, in 1787, Vermont enacted a ten-part law to preserve the Sabbath; in 1791, Massachusetts enacted an eleven-part law; in 1786, Virginia enacted a law written by Thomas Jefferson and sponsored by James Madison; in 1798, New Jersey enacted a twenty-one-part law; in 1799, New Hampshire enacted a fourteen-part law; in 1821, Maine enacted a thirteen-part law; etc.
45. These Sabbath laws-and scores of others like them-were nothing less than the enactment of the fourth commandment in the Decalogue. In fact, in 1967, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania provided a thorough historical exegesis of those laws and concluded:
“Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy; six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. In it thou shalt not do any work.” This divine pronouncement became part of the Common Law inherited by the thirteen American colonies and by the sovereign States of the American union.
46. In 1950, the Supreme Court of Mississippi had similarly declared:
The Sunday laws have a divine origin. Blackstone (Cooley’s) Par. 42, page 36. After the six days of creation, the Creator Himself rested on the Seventh. Genesis, Chapter 2, verses 2 and 3. Thus, the Sabbath was instituted, as a day of rest. The original example was later confirmed as a commandment when the law was handed down from Mt. Sinai: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.”
47. Similar declarations may be found in the courts of numerous other States, including New York, Alabama, Florida, Oregon, and Kentucky, Georgia, Minnesota, etc.
48. However, before any of these contemporary courts had acknowledged that the Sabbath laws were derived from the Decalogue, John Jay, the original Chief Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court, had confirmed that the source of civil Sabbath laws were the divine commands. As he explained:
There were several divine, positive ordinances . . . of universal obligation, as the Sabbath.
49. There are numerous other examples demonstrating that the fourth commandment of the Decalogue played an important historical role in American civil law.
50. While contemporary critics argue that the first four commands of the Decalogue were inconsequential in our history or that they should not be publicly displayed today, the facts prove that they exerted a substantial influence on American law and jurisprudence. In fact, the 1922 Iowa Supreme Court rejected the assertion that only one side of the Decalogue was important to American law, declaring:
The observance of Sunday is one of our established customs. It has come down to us from the same Decalogue that prohibited murder, adultery, perjury, and theft. It is more ancient than our common law or our form of government. It is recognized by Constitutions and legislative enactments, both State and federal. On this day Legislatures adjourn, courts cease to function, business is suspended, and nation-wide our citizens cease from labor.
51. Whether individuals today agree with those early laws based on the first four commandments in the Decalogue in no manner lessens their historical impact.
Honor your parents.
52. This fifth command begins the so-called second “tablet” of the Decalogue-the section addressing “civil” behavior that even critics acknowledge to be appropriate for public display. This portion of the Decalogue formed the basis of many of our current criminal laws and modern courts are not reticent to acknowledge and enforce these commandments. As the Supreme Court of Indiana declared in 1974:
Virtually all criminal laws are in one way or another the progeny of Judeo-Christian ethics. We have no intention to overrule the Ten Commandments.
53. Yet the mandates of the Decalogue currently embodied in our criminal laws are no less religiously-based than were the first four commandments. For example, a 1642 Connecticut law addressing the fifth commandment specifically cited both the Decalogue and additional Bible verses as the basis for its civil laws related to honoring parents:
If any child or children above sixteen years old, and of sufficient understanding shall curse or smite their normal father or mother, he or they shall be put to death; unless it can be sufficiently testified that the parents have been very unchristianly negligent in the education of such children, or so provoke them by extreme and cruel correction that they have been forced thereunto to preserve themselves from death [or] maiming. Ex. 21:17, Lev. 20, Ex. 20:15
This law also appears in other State codes as well.
54. Even three centuries after these early legal codes, this commandment was still influencing civil laws-as confirmed in 1934 by a Louisiana appeals court that cited the fifth commandment of the Decalogue as the basis of civil policy between parents and children:
” ˜Honor thy father and thy mother,’ is as much a command of the municipal law as it is a part of the Decalogue, regarded as holy by every Christian people. ˜A child,” says the code, ˜whatever be his age, owes honor and respect to his father and mother.’ “
55. Other courts have made similar declarations, all confirming that the fifth commandment of the Decalogue was an historical part of American civil law and jurisprudence.
Do not murder.
56. The next several commands form much of the heart of our criminal laws, and, as noted by Noah Webster, one of the first founders to call for the Constitutional Convention, the divine law is the original source of several of those criminal laws:
The opinion that human reason left without the constant control of Divine laws and commands will . . . give duration to a popular government is as chimerical as the most extravagant ideas that enter the head of a maniac. . . . Where will you find any code of laws among civilized men in which the commands and prohibitions are not founded on Christian principles? I need not specify the prohibition of murder, robbery, theft, [and] trespass.
57. The early civil laws against murder substantiate the influence of the Decalogue and divine laws on American criminal laws. For example, a 1641 Massachusetts law declared:
4. Ex. 21.12, Numb. 35.13, 14, 30, 31. If any person commit any willful murder, which is manslaughter committed upon premeditated malice, hatred, or cruelty, not in a man’s necessary and just defense nor by mere casualty against his will, he shall be put to death.
5. Numb. 25.20, 21. Lev. 24.17. If any person slayeth another suddenly in his anger or cruelty of passion, he shall be put to death.
6. Ex. 21.14. If any person shall slay another through guile, either by poisoning or other such devilish practice, he shall be put to death.
58. Perhaps the point is too obvious to belabor, but similar provisions can be found in the Connecticut laws of 1642, the New Hampshire laws of 1680, etc.
59. Courts, too, have been very candid in tracing civil murder laws back to the Decalogue. For example, a 1932 Kentucky appeals court declared:
The rights of society as well as those of appellant are involved and are also to be protected, and to that end all forms of governments following the promulgation of Moses at Mt. Sinai has required of each and every one of its citizens that “Thou shalt not murder.” If that law is violated, the one guilty of it has no right to demand more than a fair trial, and if, as a result thereof, the severest punishment for the crime is visited upon him, he has no one to blame but himself.
60. Even the “severest punishment for the crime” is traced back to divine laws. As first Chief Justice John Jay explained:
There were several divine, positive ordinances . . . of universal obligation, as . . . the particular punishment for murder.
61. There certainly exist more than sufficient cases with declarations similar to that made by the Kentucky court above to demonstrate that the sixth commandment of the Decalogue exerted substantial force on American civil law and jurisprudence.
Do not commit adultery.
62. Directly citing the Decalogue, a 1641 Massachusetts law declared:
If any person committeth adultery with a married or espoused wife, the adulterer and adulteresses shall surely be put to death. Ex. 20.14.
63. Other States had similar laws, such as Connecticut in 1642, Rhode Island in 1647, New Hampshire in 1680, Pennsylvania in 1705, etc. In fact, in 1787, nearly a century-and-a-half after the earliest colonial laws, Vermont enacted an adultery law, declaring that it was based on divine law:
Whereas the violation of the marriage covenant is contrary to the command of God and destructive to the peace of families: be it therefore enacted by the general assembly of the State of Vermont that if any man be found in bed with another man’s wife, or woman with another’s husband, . . . &c
64. Subsequent civil laws on adultery passed in other States used the same basis for their own laws.
65. Two-and-a-half centuries later, courts were still using divine laws and the Decalogue as the basis for the enforcement of their own State statutes on the subject. For example, in 1898, the highest criminal court in Texas declared that its State laws on adultery were derived from the Decalogue:
The accused would insist upon the defense that the female consented. The state would reply that she could not consent. Why? Because the law prohibits, with a penalty, the completed act. “Thou shalt not commit adultery” is our law as well as the law of the Bible.
66. Half-a-century later in 1955, the Washington Supreme Court declared that the Decalogue was the basis of its State laws against adultery:
Adultery, whether promiscuous or not, violates one of the Ten Commandments and the statutes of this State.
67. Other courts made similar declarations. These and numerous additional examples demonstrate that the seventh commandment of the Decalogue was an historical part of American civil law and jurisprudence.
Do not steal.
68. The laws regarding theft that indicate their reliance on divine law and the Decalogue are far too numerous even to begin listing. Perhaps the simplest summation is given by Chancellor James Kent, who is considered, along with Justice Joseph Story, as one of the two “Fathers of American Jurisprudence.” In his classic 1826 Commentaries on American Law, Kent confirmed that the prohibitions against theft were found in divine law:
To overturn justice by plundering others tended to destroy civil society, to violate the law of nature, and the institutions of Heaven.
69. Subsequent to James Kent, numerous other legal sources have reaffirmed the divine origin of the prohibition against theft. For example, in 1951, the Louisiana Supreme Court acknowledged the Decalogue as the basis for the unchanging civil laws against theft:
In the Ten Commandments, the basic law of all Christian countries, is found the admonition “Thou shalt not steal.”
70. In 1940, the Supreme Court of California had made a similar acknowledgment:
Defendant did not acknowledge the dominance of a fundamental precept of honesty and fair dealing enjoined by the Decalogue and supported by prevailing moral concepts. “Thou shalt not steal” applies with equal force and propriety to the industrialist of a complex civilization as to the simple herdsman of ancient Israel.
71. Significantly, other courts acknowledged the same, including the Utah Supreme Court, the Colorado Supreme Court, the Florida Supreme Court, the Missouri Supreme Court, etc.
72. However, the eighth commandment of the Decalogue provided the foundation for civil laws other than just those against theft. For example, in 1904, an Appeals Court in West Virginia cited the eighth commandment of the Decalogue as the basis for laws protecting the integrity of elections:
[T]here are some people who at least profess to believe that elections, being human institutions, are governed solely by human inclinations, and are not subject to the supervision or control of that moral code of ethics promulgated by God through the greatest of all human law-givers from Sinai’s hoary summit. This, however, is a great and grievous error, for the eighth commandment, “Thou shalt not steal,” forbids not only larceny as defined in the Criminal Code, but also the unjust deprivation of every person’s civil, religious, political, and personal rights of life, liberty, reputation, and property-even though done under the sanction of legal procedure.
73. And in 1914, a federal court acknowledged that the Constitution’s “takings clause” was an embodiment of the Decalogue’s eighth commandment:
Bared to nakedness, the facts show that the Rochester Company simply coveted and desired its neighbor’s property, and to make this covetous purpose effective it seeks to violate, not only the act of congress, which says, “But this shall not be construed as requiring any such common carrier to give the use of its tracks or terminal facilities to another carrier engaged in like business,” but that constitutional provision which in effect but restates another of the Decalogue when it provides, “Nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.”
74. There are numerous other examples demonstrating that the eighth commandment of the Decalogue was an historical part of American civil law and jurisprudence.
Do not perjure yourself.
75. A 1642 Connecticut law against perjury acknowledged its basis to be in divine law, declaring:
If any man rise up by false witness, wittingly and of purpose, to take away any man’s life, he shall be put to death. Deut. 19:16, 18, 19.
76. Similar laws on perjury declaring their basis to be in divine law and the Decalogue may be found in Massachusetts in 1641, Rhode Island in 1647, New Hampshire in 1680, Connecticut in 1808, etc.
77. Courts were also open in acknowledging their indebtedness to the Decalogue for the civil perjury laws. For example, 1924, the Oregon Supreme Court declared:
No official is above the law. “Thou shalt not bear false witness” is a command of the Decalogue, and that forbidden act is denounced by statute as a felony.
78. And in 1988, the Supreme Court of Mississippi, citing the Decalogue, reproached a prosecutor for introducing accusations during cross-examination of a defendant for which the prosecutor had no evidence:
When the State or any party states or suggests the existence of certain damaging facts and offers no proof whatever to substantiate the allegations, a golden opportunity is afforded the opposing counsel in closing argument to appeal to the Ninth Commandment. “Thou shalt not bear false witness . . . “ Exodus 20:16.
79. Numerous other courts have cited the Decalogue as the source of the laws on perjury, including courts in Missouri, California, Florida, etc. These and many other examples demonstrate that the ninth commandment of the Decalogue was incorporated into American civil law and jurisprudence.
Do not covet.
80. This tenth commandment in the Decalogue actually forms the basis for many of the prohibitions found in the other commandments. That is, a violation of this commandment frequently precedes a violation of the other commandments. As William Penn, the framer of the original laws of Pennsylvania, declared:
[H]e that covets can no more be a moral man than he that steals since he does so in his mind. Nor can he be one that robs his neighbor of his credit, or that craftily undermines him of his trade or office.
81. John Adams, one of only two individuals who signed the Bill of Rights, also acknowledged the importance of this commandment, declaring:
The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If “Thou shalt not covet” and “Thou shalt not steal” were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free.
82. Many courts have also acknowledged the importance of this provision of the Decalogue. For example, in 1895, the California Supreme Court cited this prohibition as the basis of civil laws against defamation. In 1904, the Court of Appeals in West Virginia cited it as the basis of laws preventing election fraud. In 1958, a Florida appeals court cited it as the basis of laws targeting white-collar crime. And in 1951, the Oregon Supreme Court cited this Decalogue prohibition as the basis of civil laws against modern forms of cattle rustling. There are numerous other examples that all affirm that the tenth commandment of the Decalogue did indeed form an historical part of American civil law and jurisprudence.
OPINIONS OF THE FRAMERS OF OUR GOVERNMENT
83. The Colonial, Revolutionary, and Federalist Era laws, as well as contemporary court decisions, provide two authoritative voices establishing that the Decalogue formed the historical basis for civil laws and jurisprudence in America. As a third authoritative voice, the Framers themselves endorsed those commandments, both specifically and generally.
84. In addition to the approbation already given throughout this affidavit by John Adams, John Jay, Noah Webster, et. al, there are many other specific declarations, including that of William Findley, a soldier in the Revolution and a U. S. Congressman, who declared:
[I]t pleased God to deliver on Mount Sinai a compendium of His holy law and to write it with His own hand on durable tables of stone. This law, which is commonly called the Ten Commandments or Decalogue, . . . is immutable and universally obligatory. . . . [and] was incorporated in the judicial law.
85. Additionally, John Quincy Adams, who bore arms during the Revolution, served under four Presidents and became a President, and who was nominated (but declined) a position on the U. S. Supreme Court under President Madison, similarly declared:
The law given from Sinai was a civil and municipal as well as a moral and religious code; it contained many statutes . . . of universal application-laws essential to the existence of men in society, and most of which have been enacted by every nation which ever professed any code of laws. . . . Vain, indeed, would be the search among the writings of profane antiquity . . . to find so broad, so complete and so solid a basis for morality as this Decalogue lays down.
86. However, in addition to their specific references to the Decalogue, the Framers also used other terms to describe that code of laws-terms such as the “moral law.” For example, John Witherspoon, President of Princeton and signer of the Declaration, declared:
[T]he Ten Commandments . . . are the sum of the moral law.
87. Thomas Jefferson agreed, declaring that “the moral law” is that law “to which man has been subjected by his creator.”
88. The Framers also used a third descriptive term synonymous with the Decalogue and the moral law: the natural law. As Chief Justice John Jay, an author of the Federalist Papers, explained:
The moral, or natural law, was given by the sovereign of the universe to all mankind.
89. The Framers’ understanding of natural law must not be confused with the secular view of natural law embraced in Europe at that time. The American view of natural law was not secular-a fact made exceptionally clear by Justice James Wilson, a signer of the Constitution and the father of the first organized legal training in America. As Wilson explained:
As promulgated by reason and the moral sense, it has been called natural; as promulgated by the Holy Scriptures, it has been called revealed law. As addressed to men, it has been denominated the law of nature; as addressed to political societies, it has been denominated the law of nations. But it should always be remembered that this law, natural or revealed, made for men or for nations, flows from the same divine source; it is the law of God. . . . What we do, indeed, must be founded on what He has done; and the deficiencies of our laws must be supplied by the perfections of His. 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. The divine law as discovered by reason and moral sense forms an essential part of both. The moral precepts delivered in the sacred oracles form part of the law of nature, are of the same origin and of the same obligation, operating universally and perpetually.
90. Notice additional evidence that the Framers considered “natural law” as a synonym for divine law:
In the supposed state of nature, all men are equally bound by the laws of nature, or to speak more properly, the laws of the Creator. Samuel Adams, Father of the American Revolution, Signer of the Declaration
[T]he laws of nature . . . of course presupposes the existence of a God, the moral ruler of the universe, and a rule of right and wrong, of just and unjust, binding upon man, preceding all institutions of human society and government. John Quincy Adams
The law of nature, “which, being coeval with mankind and dictated by God Himself, is, of course, superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times. No human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this.” Alexander Hamilton, Signer of the Constitution
The “law of nature” is a rule of conduct arising out of the natural relations of human beings established by the Creator and existing prior to any positive precept. . . . [These] have been established by the Creator, and are, with a peculiar felicity of expression, denominated in Scripture, “ordinances of heaven.” Noah Webster, Judge and Legislator
The law of nature being coeval with mankind, and dictated by God Himself, is of course superior to and the foundation of all other laws. . . . No human laws are of any validity if they are contrary to it; and such of them as are of any validity, derive all their force and all their authority, mediately or immediately, from their original. William Findley, Revolutionary Soldier, Member of Congress
[The] law established by the Creator, which has existed from the beginning, extends over the whole globe, is everywhere and at all times binding upon mankind. . . . [This] is the law of God by which He makes His way known to man and is paramount to all human control. Rufus King, Signer of the Constitution, Framer of the Bill of Right
God . . . is the promulgator as well as the author of natural law. James Wilson, Signer of the Declaration and the Constitution, Original Justice on the U. S. Supreme Court
The transcendent excellence and boundless power of the Supreme Deity . . . [has] impressed upon them those general and immutable laws that will regulate their operation through the endless ages of eternity. . . . These general laws . . . are denominated the laws of nature. Zephaniah Swift, Author of America’s First Legal Text
91. The Framers clearly considered that the natural law and the moral law, of which the Decalogue was a major component, provided the basis for our civil laws and jurisprudence.
92. However, even if it should be argued that the Decalogue is nothing more than the embodiment of a religious rather than a secular code, even this, in the views of the Framers, would be insufficient grounds for its exclusion from the public arena. For example, Justice William Paterson, a signer of the Constitution placed on the Supreme Court by President George Washington, declared:
Religion and morality . . . [are] necessary to good government, good order, and good laws.
93. Justice Joseph Story, later appointed to the Supreme Court by President James Madison, similarly declared:
I verily believe Christianity necessary to the support of civil society. One of the beautiful boasts of our municipal jurisprudence is that Christianity is a part of the Common Law. . . . There never has been a period in which the Common Law did not recognize Christianity as lying its foundations. (emphasis added)
94. John Adams, an accomplished attorney and an author of a commentary on the Constitution of the United States, similarly declared:
The study and practice of law . . . does not dissolve the obligations of morality or religion.
95. Dewitt Clinton, the Framer who introduced the 12th Amendment, also declared:
The laws which regulate our conduct are the laws of man and the laws of God. . . . The sanctions of the Divine law . . . cover the whole area of human action.
96. Perhaps the best reflection of the collective belief of the Framers that religion was not to be excluded from civil society is enactment of the Northwest Ordinance, one of the four organic laws of the United States. That law, passed in 1789 by the same Congress that framed the Bill of Rights, declared:
Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.
97. This federal law declares that “religion, morality, and knowledge” are necessary for “good government.” Expounding on the reasoning behind this belief, signer of the Declaration John Witherspoon, who served on over 100 committees while in Congress, declared:
[T]o promote true religion is the best and most effectual way of making a virtuous and regular people. Love to God and love to man is the substance of religion; when these prevail, civil laws will have little to do.
98. However, the Decalogue clearly is more than just a religious code. It-in its entirety-provides the base for much of America’s common law. As the Supreme Court of North Carolina declared in 1917:
Our laws are founded upon the Decalogue, not that every case can be exactly decided according to what is there enjoined, but we can never safely depart from this short, but great, declaration of moral principles, without founding the law upon the sand instead of upon the eternal rock of justice and equity.
99. In 1950, the Florida Supreme Court similarly declared:
A people unschooled about the sovereignty of God, the Ten Commandments, and the ethics of Jesus, could never have evolved the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution. There is not one solitary fundamental principle of our democratic policy that did not stem directly from the basic moral concepts as embodied in the Decalogue . . .
CIVIL DISPLAYS
100. Significantly, Americans seem to recognize the important contributions made to our society by the Decalogue. Consequently, there is a centuries old American propensity to honor both the Ten Commandments and Moses, the deliverer of the Decalogue.
101. For example, in 1776 immediately following America’s separation from Great Britain, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were placed on a committee to design a seal for the new United States. Both of them separately proposed featuring Moses prominently in the symbol of the new nation. Franklin proposed “Moses lifting his wand and dividing the Red Sea” while Jefferson proposed “the children of Israel in the wilderness, led by a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.”
102. A further indication of this American proclivity to honor Moses, the deliverer of the Ten Commandments, is seen in the U. S. Capitol. Adorning the top of the walls around the House Chamber are the side-view profile reliefs of 23 great lawgivers, including Hammurabi, Justinian, John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, William Blackstone, Hugo Grotius, George Mason, and 16 others. Significantly, there is only one relief of the 23 that is full faced rather than in profile, and that one relief is placed where it looks directly down onto the House Speaker’s rostrum, symbolically overseeing the proceedings of the lawmakers. That relief is of Moses.
103. Not only Moses but also depictions of the Ten Commandments adorn several of the more important government buildings in the nation’s capitol. For example, every visitor that enters the National Archives to view the original Constitution and Declaration of Independence (and other official documents of American government) must first pass by the Ten Commandments embedded in the entryway to the Archives. Additionally, in the U. S. Supreme Court are displayed two depictions of the Ten Commandments. One is on the entry into the Chamber, where, engraved on the lower half of the two large oak doors, are the Ten Commandments. The other display of the commandments is in the Chamber itself on a marble frieze carved above the Justices’ heads. As Chief Justice Warren Burger noted in Lynch v. Donnelly:
The very chamber in which oral arguments on this case were heard is decorated with a notable and permanent-not seasonal-symbol of religion: Moses with the Ten Commandments.
104. Other prominent buildings where large displays of the Ten Commandments may be viewed include the Texas State Capitol, the chambers of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and scores of other legislatures, courthouses, and public buildings across America. In fact, the Ten Commandments are more easily found in America’s government buildings than in her religious buildings, thus demonstrating the understanding by generations of Americans from coast to coast that the Ten Commandments formed the basis of America’s civil laws.
SUMMARY
105. Historical evidence, drawn from civil law codes, judicial decisions, and declarations of great American lawgivers, affirms and reaffirms that the entire Decalogue has made a seminal contribution to the early common law and still continues today to make a significant contribution to the modern common law.
106. The fact that some may not agree with all of the commandments of the Decalogue does not mean it should be prohibited from display any more than does the fact that not everyone agrees with all of the protections in the Bill of Rights requires that the Bill of Rights should not be displayed-or that because not everyone agrees with what the American flag represents requires the flag should not be displayed. Even though some may wish that the American ensign was the Stars & Bars rather than the Stars & Stripes, the reality is otherwise-and the reality is also that all ten of the commandments in the Decalogue had a unique, distinct, and significant impact on both American law and jurisprudence.
107. To prohibit the display of the Decalogue simply because the first four commandments are more religious in nature than are the other six is like permitting the display of George Washington’s “Farewell Address” or Patrick Henry’s “Liberty or Death” speech or the “Mayflower Compact” only if each document is displayed without its religious portions. In a display of any of the aforementioned works, it is not the advocation of religion that is occurring but rather the recognition of a significant historical contribution made to America that also happens to include religion.
108. Aside from the Declaration, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, it is difficult to argue that there is any single work that has had a greater or more far-reaching impact on four centuries of American life, law, and culture than the Decalogue. For this reason alone, the Decalogue merits display.
FURTHER AFFIANT SAYETH NAUGHT.
Under penalty of perjury, I declare that I have read the foregoing; that the facts alleged are true, to the best of my knowledge and belief.



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William J. Coviello

posted December 3, 2009 at 10:41 pm


The Bill of Rights: A Transcription
The Preamble to The Bill of Rights
Congress of the United States
begun and held at the City of New-York, on
Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.
THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.
RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.
ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.
Note: The following text is a transcription of the first to the Constitution in its original form. These amendment was ratified December 15, 1791, and form what is known as the “Bill of Rights.”
Amendment I
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.
———————————————————————-
Separation of Church and State – The Metaphor and the Constitution
“Separation of church and state” is a common metaphor that is well recognized. Equally well recognized is the metaphorical meaning of the church staying out of the state’s business and the state staying out of the church’s business. Because of the very common usage of the “separation of church and state phrase,” most people incorrectly think the phrase is in the constitution. The phrase “wall of separation between the church and the state” was originally coined by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to the Danbury Baptists on January 1, 1802. His purpose in this letter was to assuage the fears of the Danbury, Connecticut Baptists, and so he told them that this wall had been erected to protect them. The metaphor was used exclusively to keep the state out of the church’s business, not to keep the church out of the state’s business.
The constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Both the free exercise clause and the establishment clause place restrictions on the government concerning laws they pass or interfering with religion. No restrictions are placed on religions except perhaps that a religious denomination cannot become the state religion.
However, currently the implied common meaning and the use of the metaphor is strictly for the church staying out of the state’s business. The opposite meaning essentially cannot in be found in the media, the judiciary, or in public debate and is not any part of the agenda of the ACLU or the judiciary.
This, in conjunction with several other factors, makes the “separation of church and state” metaphor an icon for eliminating anything having to do with Christian theism, the religion of our heritage, in the public arena. One of these factors is the use of the metaphor in place of the actual words of the constitution in discourse and debate. This allows the true meaning of the words in the constitution to be effectively changed to the implied meaning of the metaphor and the effect of the “free exercise” clause to be obviated. Another factor facilitating the icon to censor all forms of Christian theism in the public arena is a complete misunderstanding of the “establishment” clause.
Separation of Church and State – The Establishment Clause in Context
In addition to the “Separation of Church and State” metaphor misrepresenting the words of the establishment clause, the true meaning of the establishment clause is also misrepresented. The “establishment” clause states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. . .” Before these words can be put in context and the true meaning of the clause can be correctly identified, we need to examine the word “religion” and put it in America’s historical context at the time the constitution was framed. In addition, we need to examine the previous European historical background of the founders of our country to identify what specifically motivated them to place the “establishment” clause in the constitution.
To accomplish this, we need to add more specificity to the word “religion” to clarify both the American and European historical backgrounds and put the word “religion” in proper context. We need do delineate between doctrinal and denominational religion. We also need to understand that the doctrinal religion being discussed is Christian Theism, which is defined by a belief in the Bible. We know what specific Christian denominational religions are.
Separation of Church and State – Constitution Framers Historical Context
The “Separation of Church and State” metaphor blurs the distinction between a doctrinal religion and a denominational religion. This places the doctrinal religion we have embraced in the same basket as an organized denominational religion with potential to merge with the state. The documentary evidence of the doctrinal Christian religion origin of this nation is voluminous. The Supreme Court thoroughly studied this issue, and in 1892 gave what is known as the Trinity Decision. In that decision the Supreme Court declared, “this is a Christian nation.” John Quincy Adams said, “The highest glory of the American Revolution was, it connected in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.” The founders were definitely Christian for the most part. At least 90 to 95 percentage of them were practicing, Trinitarian Christians. This and the additional supporting evidence below show conclusively that the concern that motivated the framers to include the establishment clause in the constitution was definitely not fear of the doctrinal religion of Christian Theism. It was understood that Christian Theism was the default state doctrinal religion. As opposed to being something to fear, it was something believed to be vital to the success of our government. Consequently, the framers feared a state denominational religion not a state doctrinal religion! Some additional evidences that indicate Christian Theism was the national doctrinal religion are listed below:
• Emblazoned over the Speaker of the House in the US Capitol are the words “In God We Trust.”
• The Supreme Court building built in the 1930’s has carvings of Moses and the Ten Commandments.
• God is mentioned in stone all over Washington D.C., on its monuments and buildings.
• As a nation, we have celebrated Christmas to commemorate the Savior’s birth for centuries.
• Oaths in courtrooms have invoked God from the beginning.
• The founding fathers often quoted the Bible in their writings.
• Every president that has given an inaugural address has mentioned God in that speech.
• Prayers have been said at the swearing in of each president.
• Each president was sworn in on the Bible, saying the words, “So help me God.”
• Our national anthem mentions God.
• The liberty bell has a Bible verse engraved on it.
• The original constitution of all 50 states mentions God.
• Chaplains have been in the public payroll from the very beginning.
• Our nations birth certificate, the Declaration of Independence, mentions God four times.
• The Bible was used as a textbook in the schools.
Separation of Church and State – Founders European Historical Context
As indicated above, the “Separation of Church and State” metaphor blurs the distinction between a doctrinal religion and a denominational religion. The lack of this distinction automatically assigns the potential evil of the denominational religion to the doctrinal religion as explained below.
The pilgrims were ultimately forced to leave Europe and flee to the land we now know as America because of persecution and oppression. This persecution and oppression was a result of the Church of England, the Anglican Church, becoming the state church. It was an unholy alliance giving more power to both the church and the state to control the people.
The Anglican Church was a denominational church that persecuted religious nonconformists like the Puritans that just wanted to believe in the Bible and worship accordingly. As such they were not really a denomination. They were more of a doctrinal religion. In this case the denominational religion was the evil and the doctrinal religious group was the victim.
However, the denominational religion was not the only perpetrator of evil. The state was also a perpetrator. Neither states nor denominational religions are inherently evil. We are not always fearful of either a state or a denominational religion. It is the persecution and the oppression that are inherently evil. They can come from any organization that has power. However, the establishment clause was definitely added to the constitution to prevent a denominational religion from becoming the state religion not the doctrinal religion of Christian Theism.
Separation of Church and State – Summary of Fact Vs. Deception
The current implied meaning of the “Separation of Church and State” metaphor and its use is just the opposite of what was intended and what historical facts justify. Our framers feared a state denominational church based upon European history. The constitutional restrictions were targeted at our government to prevent it from making a denominational religion the state church. We actually embraced the Christian Theism doctrinal religion as the state religion. Now we are rejecting any expression or symbol of our doctrinal religion, which our framers embraced. We are treating the doctrinal religion of our heritage like a virus that must be expunged from the public square. We also have inverted the original intent of the “Separation of Church and State” metaphor. The oppression that the Christian Theism religion is now undergoing through the ACLU and activist judges is the same evil that the establishment clause in our constitution was intended to prevent. Our current state religion of humanism is using the full power of the government to oppress the nonconformists to its doctrine, which is exactly the opposite doctrine of Christian Theism.



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William J. Coviello

posted December 3, 2009 at 10:55 pm


G writes: In 1787, the Founding Fathers expressed the principle of separation between religion and government in clearly stated terms: “No religious Test shall ever be required as a qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States” (Constitution, Art. 6., Sec. 3.). Here, it makes no difference if a person is atheist, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, whatever; there will be “no religious Test.”
———————————————————————- A Biblical Christian doctrine of Religious Tolerance.



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William J. Coviello

posted December 3, 2009 at 11:23 pm


G writes: In 1787, the Founding Fathers expressed the principle of separation between religion and government in clearly stated terms: “No religious Test shall ever be required as a qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States” (Constitution, Art. 6., Sec. 3.). Here, it makes no difference if a person is atheist, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, whatever; there will be “no religious Test.”
———————————————————————- A Biblical Christian doctrine of Religious Tolerance.



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William J. Coviello

posted December 3, 2009 at 11:37 pm


The phrase “wall of separation between the church and the state” was originally coined by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to the Danbury Baptists on January 1, 1802. His purpose in this letter was to assuage the fears of the Danbury, Connecticut Baptists, and so he told them that this wall had been erected to protect them. The metaphor was used exclusively to keep the state out of the church’s business, not to keep the church out of the state’s business.
The constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Both the free exercise clause and the establishment clause place restrictions on the government concerning laws they pass or interfering with religion. No restrictions are placed on religions except perhaps that a religious denomination cannot become the state religion.



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G

posted December 3, 2009 at 11:59 pm


There are many “experts” who would contradict your, over-long, one sided dissertation.
The Constitution does not “prohibit” the free exercise of religion, but it can, and does, abridge it (bigamy is an obvious example). If they had meant that the free exercize of religion shall not be abridged, they would have used the word.
Did you not read the words of James Madison? Madison does not mention “church”, and the word in the Constitution is not “church”, but “religion”. What do you think Madison meant when he used the phrase “Strongly guarded as is the separation between religion and government in the Constitution of the United States…”? You think he didn’t know what he had, himself, written? Are you completely mental?!



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William J. Coviello

posted December 4, 2009 at 12:03 am


Benjamin Franklin
Signer of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence
[O]nly a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.
(Source: Benjamin Franklin, The Writings of Benjamin Franklin, Jared Sparks, editor (Boston: Tappan, Whittemore and Mason, 1840), Vol. X, p. 297, April 17, 1787. )
I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that “except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better, than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing governments by human wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.
I therefore beg leave to move that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service.
(Source: James Madison, The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, Max Farrand, editor (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1911), Vol. I, pp. 450-452, June 28, 1787.)



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Your Name

posted December 4, 2009 at 12:08 am


Why in 1893 when the first penny was pressed the Federal Government found it fit to be pressed with the Ten Commandments. Where is the Separation of Church and State there? And it is still legal today.
Let me bring you back in time to the thoughts and actions of some of our Founding Fathers.
The ending of the Declaration of Independence states: “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor”.
Divine Providence, is the sovereignty, superintendence, or agency of God over events in people’s lives and throughout history.
This word comes from Latin providentia “foresight, prudence”, from pro- “ahead” + videre “to see”. The current meaning of the word (Divine Providence) derives from the sense “knowledge of the future” or omniscience, which is the privilege of God.



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William J. Coviello

posted December 4, 2009 at 12:10 am


Thomas Jefferson Believed Nature’s God entitle them, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence. He was also the sole author of The Virginia Declaration of Rights, Section 16. That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity toward each other.
In Jewish thought
Divine providence (Hebrew äùâçä ôøèéú Hasgochoh Protis / Hasgachah Pratit lit. [Divine] supervision of the individual) is discussed throughout Rabbinic literature, and in particular by the classical Jewish philosophers. The discussion brings into consideration the Jewish understanding of nature, and its reciprocal, the miraculous. This analysis thus underpins much of Orthodox Judaism’s world view, particularly as regards questions of interaction with the natural world.
Like most Enlightenment intellectuals, Benjamin Franklin separated virtue, morality, and faith from organized religion, although he felt that if religion in general grew weaker, morality, virtue, and society in general would also decline (and we certainly are seeing that now, aren’t we). Thus he wrote Thomas Paine, “If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be if without it.”
According to David Morgan, Franklin was a proponent of all religions. He prayed to “Powerful Goodness” and referred to God as the “INFINITE.” John Adams noted that Franklin was a mirror in which people saw their own religion: “The Catholics thought him almost a Catholic. The Church of England claimed him as one of them. The Presbyterians thought him half a Presbyterian, and the Friends believed him a wet Quaker.” Whatever else Benjamin Franklin was, concludes Morgan, “he was a true champion of generic religion.” Ben Franklin was noted to be “the spirit of the Enlightenment.”



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William J. Coviello

posted December 4, 2009 at 12:13 am


George Washington was an early supporter of religious toleration and freedom of religion. In 1775, he ordered that his troops not show anti-Catholic sentiments by burning the pope in effigy on Guy Fawkes Night. When hiring workmen for Mount Vernon, he wrote to his agent, “If they be good workmen, they may be from Asia, Africa, or Europe; they may be Mohammedans, Jews, or Christians of any sect, or they may be Atheists.” In 1790, he wrote a response to a letter from the Touro Synagogue, in which he said that as long as people remain good citizens, their faith does not matter. This was a relief to the Jewish community of the United States, since the Jews had been either expelled from or prejudiced against in many European countries.
Benjamin Franklin separated virtue, morality, and faith from organized religion, although he felt that if religion in general grew weaker, morality, virtue, and society in general would also decline (and we certainly are seeing that now, aren’t we). Thus he wrote Thomas Paine, “If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be if without it.”



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William J. Coviello

posted December 4, 2009 at 12:26 am


General Thanksgiving
By the PRESIDENT of the United States Of America
A PROCLAMATION
———————————————————————-
WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANKSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”
NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;– for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;– for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;– and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions;– to enable us all, whether in publick or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.
(signed) G. Washington
——————————————————————————–
Source: The Massachusetts Centinel, Wednesday, October 14, 1789



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William J. Coviello

posted December 4, 2009 at 12:52 am


Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government.
James Madison
As I see it you have to look at the historical background of the thoughts of the founding fathers and framers of the Constitution in order to accurately interpret the Constitution.
Since the majority believed in God and Divine Providence the only conclusion I can come to is that this Country was founded on Christian Principles and the 1st Ammendment was to protect Freedom Religion from the Government.



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William J. Coviello

posted December 4, 2009 at 12:57 am


The happy Union of these States is a wonder; their Constitution a miracle; their example the hope of Liberty throughout the world.
James Madison
Gee G. Madison used the word Miracle. Sounds a bit religious to me.



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William J. Coviello

posted December 4, 2009 at 1:23 am


Gee G. Madison used the word virtue
To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea.
James Madison
Virtue is another principle of Christianity, for without virtue there can be no morality or Family Values.
God and Jesus are the epitomy of virtue.



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G

posted December 4, 2009 at 2:11 am


Belief in the supernatural is no basis for virtue.
As for Ben Franklin, he said: “I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in life I absented myself from Christian assemblies.” Apparently Ben didn’t see the virtue of Christianity.
And you still didn’t comment on Madison, “The Father of the Constitution”, stating unequivically that he fully believed he had written a separation of government from religion into the United States Constitution. Amazing how you continually dodge that little gem.
As for the first US penny, The first US penny was minted in 1787; it was pure copper and was designed by Benjamin Franklin. E Pluribus Unum, ratified by act of Congress in 1782, was considered the de facto motto of the U.S. until 1956 when an act of Congress adopted “In God We Trust” as the official motto. Who would push such an agenda through Congress? Isn’t that just after “Under God” was inserted into our Pledge of Allegiance after a campaign by The Knights of Columbus? Why yes, it is.
The pennies minted in the US are done by a banking organization which is not part of the federal government in any way. It is legal tender, but the appropriateness of the motto is under scrutiny.



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Melissa

posted December 4, 2009 at 4:38 pm


Anyone who uses David Barton as a basis for an argument hasn’t got a leg to stand on. The man has admitted making up false quotes from the founders.
Perhaps study the decisions of the Supreme Court, which over the years has interpreted the Establishment clause. Note the Lemon Test and this quote from Justice Blackmun from Allegany:
“Whatever else the Establishment Clause may mean (and we have held it to mean no official preference even for religion over non-religion), . . . it certainly means at the very least that government may not demonstrate a preference for one particular sect or creed (including a preference for Christianity over other religions). The clearest command of the Establishment Clause is that one religious denomination cannot be officially preferred over another.”
Barton and his ilk will lead you astray every time.



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Your Name

posted December 4, 2009 at 5:25 pm


Re: G, basically you can choose your religion. This does not include making others take God out of them or country. FREEDOM RINGS C



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William J. Coviello

posted December 4, 2009 at 8:51 pm


RE: G. I didn’t think I specifically had to respond to James Madison’s stating unequivically that he fully believed he had written a separation of government from religion into the United States Constitution.
I was under the impression that I had basically andwered that within my comments of how the intention of Seperation of Religion from Government was to keep Government out of Religion and not allow the Federal Government to form a National Religion.
Religious freedom is a choice of the people not something mandated by government, but it is clear that our County’s Heritage was based primarily on Biblical and Christian Principles.



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William J. Coviello

posted December 4, 2009 at 9:11 pm


Jasper Adams was president of the College of Charleston. He had sent Madison a copy of his pamphlet, The Relation of Christianity to Civil Government in the United States, and requested Madison’s comments. Adams contested the view “that Christianity had no connection with our civil government.” Rather, he argued, “the people of the United States have retained the Christian religion as the foundation of their civil, legal, and political institutions.” Adams sent the pamphlet to numerous other statesmen, including John Marshall and justice Joseph Story. Marshall replied, “The American population is entirely Christian, and with us, Christianity and religion are identified.” Story went further, writing, “I have read it with uncommon satisfaction. I think its tone and spirit excellent. My own private judgment has long been (and every day’s experience more and more confirms me in it) that government can not long exist without an alliance with religion; and that Christianity is indispensable to the true interests and sold foundations of free government.”



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William J. Coviello

posted December 4, 2009 at 10:11 pm


RE: G As I see it you have to look at the historical background of the thoughts of the founding fathers and framers of the Constitution in order to accurately interpret the Constitution. Since the majority believed in God and Divine Providence the only conclusion I can come to is that this Country was founded on Christian Principles and the 1st Ammendment was to protect Freedom of Religion from the Government, as opposed to the Goverment establishing a national religion and imosing beliefs on those who disagreed with what ever National Religion was mandated. It also protects those who do not believe in any religion, thus their is freedom from religion as well. But this debate is not really about religion, it is more toned to our National Heritage which just happens to include Christianity. In regards to your comment: Belief in the supernatural is no basis for virtue. I gree with. But that is not what I said or at least was not my intention if that is the way it came accross to you. What I said was: Virtue is another principle of Christianity, for without virtue there can be no morality or Family Values. God and Jesus are the epitomy of virtue. If you want to omit the line “God and Jesus are the epitomy of virtue.”, then be my guest and do so. It still does not change the fact that the teachings of virtue in the Bible are a principle taught and believed in within the Christian Faith. It doesn’t matter to me if you believe the Bible to be the “WORD OF GOD” or not, it doesn’t change the fact that virtue is a christian belief and teaching but not necessarily exclusive to Christianity. As for your comment on Benjamin Franklin: As for Ben Franklin, he said: “I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in life I absented myself from Christian assemblies.” I agree that he said that. But you neglected to mention what else he said. Like most Enlightenment intellectuals, Benjamin Franklin separated virtue, morality, and faith from organized religion, although he felt that if religion in general grew weaker, morality, virtue, and society in general would also decline (and we certainly are seeing that now, aren’t we). Thus he wrote Thomas Paine, “If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be if without it.”
You also passed over this from Benjamin Franklin:
“I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that “except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better, than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing governments by human wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.
I therefore beg leave to move that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service”.
(Source: James Madison, The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, Max Farrand, editor (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1911), Vol. I, pp. 450-452, June 28, 1787.)



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Your Name

posted December 4, 2009 at 10:31 pm


To G: When I use the term Christian regarding principles, values and heritage I should really be using the term Judeo/Christian. So my apologies for that error on my part. Because if it were not for the Jews, there would be no Christianity. And Jesus did not establish a religion nor did he ever mean for the Jews and Gentiles to be sperated. Both the Establishment of Religion and the Separation of the Gentiles from the Jews were man made. As I believe I said before. Christianty is a way of life, a walk of Faith and most importantly a Personal Relationship with God and Jesus. Man established religiosity and denominations with each having there own Doctrine. That is why I am A NON DENOMINATIONAL Born Again Christian and believe only in the Doctrine professed in the BIBLE (God’s Word) not man’s religious doctrines because I know the Author of The Bible. But lets get back to the historical heritage of Our Country , since that is what the Lynn-Sekulow Debate is all about. Groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation and people like Lynn are trying to make the arguement that are trying to make the inscription proposed on the Capitol Visitor Center is religious when in fact it’s Heritage.



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William J. Coviello

posted December 4, 2009 at 10:53 pm


More Proof of Our Heritage:
GENERAL ORDER RESPECTING THE OBSERVANCE OF THE SABBATH DAY IN THE ARMY AND NAVY
EXECUTIVE MANSION,
Washington, November 15, 1862
The President, Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, desires and enjoins the orderly observance of the Sabbath by the officers and men in the military and naval service. The importance for men and beast of the prescribed weekly rest, the sacred rights of Christian soldiers and sailors, a becoming deference to the best sentiment of a Christian people, and a due regard for the divine will demand that Sunday labor in the Army and Navy be reduced to the measure of strict necessity.
The discipline and character of the national forces should not suffer nor the cause they defend be imperiled by the profanation of the day or name of the Most High. “At this time of public distress,” adopting the words of Washington in 1776, “men may find enough to do in the service of God and their country without abandoning themselves to vice and immorality.” The first general order issued by the Father of his Country after the Declaration of Independence indicates the spirit in which our institutions were founded and should ever be defended:
The General hopes and trusts that every officer and man will endeavor to live and act as becomes a Christian soldier defending the dearest rights and liberties of his country.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN
———————————————————————-
George Washington’s original General Orders:
February 26, 1776
All Officers, non-commissioned Officers and Soldiers are positively forbid[den from] playing at Cards, and other Games of Chance. At this time of public distress, men may find enough to do in the service of God and their country without abandoning themselves to vice and immorality.
July 9, 1776
The Hon. Continental Congress having been pleased to allow a Chaplain to each Regiment, with the pay of Thirty-three Dollars and one third pr month—The Colonels or commanding officers of each regiment are directed to procure Chaplains accordingly; persons of good Characters and exemplary lives—To see that all inferior officers and soldiers pay them a suitable respect and attend carefully upon religious exercises. The blessing and protection of Heaven are at all times necessary but especially so in times of public distress and danger—The General hopes and trusts that every officer and man will endeavor to live and act as becomes a Christian soldier defending the dearest rights and liberties of his country.
[Source: The Writings of George Washington, John C. Fitzpatrick, editor (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1931), Vol. 4, p. 347, February 26, 1776 Order; and Writings (1932), Vol. 5, pp. 244-245, July 9, 1776 Order.]



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William J. Coviello

posted December 5, 2009 at 2:27 am


Religion and the Federal Government
In response to widespread sentiment that to survive the United States needed a stronger federal government, a convention met in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 and on September 17 adopted the Constitution of the United States. Aside from Article VI, which stated that “no religious Test shall ever be required as Qualification” for federal office holders, the Constitution said little about religion. Its reserve troubled two groups of Americans–those who wanted the new instrument of government to give faith a larger role and those who feared that it would do so. This latter group, worried that the Constitution did not prohibit the kind of state-supported religion that had flourished in some colonies, exerted pressure on the members of the First Federal Congress. In September 1789 the Congress adopted the First Amendment to the Constitution, which, when ratified by the required number of states in December 1791, forbade Congress to make any law “respecting an establishment of religion.”
The first two Presidents of the United States were patrons of religion–George Washington was an Episcopal vestryman, and John Adams described himself as “a church going animal.” Both offered strong rhetorical support for religion. In his Farewell Address of September 1796, Washington called religion, as the source of morality, “a necessary spring of popular government,” while Adams claimed that statesmen “may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand.” Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, the third and fourth Presidents, are generally considered less hospitable to religion than their predecessors, but evidence presented in this section shows that, while in office, both offered religion powerful symbolic support.
When the Constitution was submitted to the American public, “many pious people” complained that the document had slighted God, for it contained “no recognition of his mercies to us . . . or even of his existence.” The Constitution was reticent about religion for two reasons: first, many delegates were committed federalists, who believed that the power to legislate on religion, if it existed at all, lay within the domain of the state, not the national, governments; second, the delegates believed that it would be a tactical mistake to introduce such a politically controversial issue as religion into the Constitution. The only “religious clause” in the document–the proscription of religious tests as qualifications for federal office in Article Six–was intended to defuse controversy by disarming potential critics who might claim religious discrimination in eligibility for public office.
That religion was not otherwise addressed in the Constitution did not make it an “irreligious” document any more than the Articles of Confederation was an “irreligious” document. The Constitution dealt with the church precisely as the Articles had, thereby maintaining, at the national level, the religious status quo. In neither document did the people yield any explicit power to act in the field of religion. But the absence of expressed powers did not prevent either the Continental-Confederation Congress or the Congress under the Constitution from sponsoring a program to support general, nonsectarian religion.
RELIGION AND THE BILL OF RIGHTS
Many Americans were disappointed that the Constitution did not contain a bill of rights that would explicitly enumerate the rights of American citizens and enable courts and public opinion to protect these rights from an oppressive government. Supporters of a bill of rights permitted the Constitution to be adopted with the understanding that the first Congress under the new government would attempt to add a bill of rights.
James Madison took the lead in steering such a bill through the First Federal Congress, which convened in the spring of 1789. The Virginia Ratifying Convention and Madison’s constituents, among whom were large numbers of Baptists who wanted freedom of religion secured, expected him to push for a bill of rights. On September 28, 1789, both houses of Congress voted to send twelve amendments to the states. In December 1791, those ratified by the requisite three fourths of the states became the first ten amendments to the Constitution. Religion was addressed in the First Amendment in the following familiar words: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” In notes for his June 8, 1789, speech introducing the Bill of Rights, Madison indicated his opposition to a “national” religion. Most Americans agreed that the federal government must not pick out one religion and give it exclusive financial and legal support.



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William J. Coviello

posted December 5, 2009 at 2:36 am


THE STATE BECOMES THE CHURCH:
JEFFERSON AND MADISON
It is no exaggeration to say that on Sundays in Washington during the administrations of Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809) and of James Madison (1809-1817) the state became the church. Within a year of his inauguration, Jefferson began attending church services in the House of Representatives. Madison followed Jefferson’s example, although unlike Jefferson, who rode on horseback to church in the Capitol, Madison came in a coach and four. Worship services in the House–a practice that continued until after the Civil War–were acceptable to Jefferson because they were nondiscriminatory and voluntary. Preachers of every Protestant denomination appeared. (Catholic priests began officiating in 1826.) As early as January 1806 a female evangelist, Dorothy Ripley, delivered a camp meeting-style exhortation in the House to Jefferson, Vice President Aaron Burr, and a “crowded audience.” Throughout his administration Jefferson permitted church services in executive branch buildings. The Gospel was also preached in the Supreme Court chambers.
Jefferson’s actions may seem surprising because his attitude toward the relation between religion and government is usually thought to have been embodied in his recommendation that there exist “a wall of separation between church and state.” In that statement, Jefferson was apparently declaring his opposition, as Madison had done in introducing the Bill of Rights, to a “national” religion. In attending church services on public property, Jefferson and Madison consciously and deliberately were offering symbolic support to religion as a prop for republican government.
SOURCE: Library of Congress Website, Wihich was also the Source for the Post: Religion and the Federal Government.



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William J. Coviello

posted December 5, 2009 at 3:15 am


THE STATE BECOMES THE CHURCH:
JEFFERSON AND MADISON
It is no exaggeration to say that on Sundays in Washington during the administrations of Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809) and of James Madison (1809-1817) the state became the church. Within a year of his inauguration, Jefferson began attending church services in the House of Representatives. Madison followed Jefferson’s example, although unlike Jefferson, who rode on horseback to church in the Capitol, Madison came in a coach and four. Worship services in the House–a practice that continued until after the Civil War–were acceptable to Jefferson because they were nondiscriminatory and voluntary. Preachers of every Protestant denomination appeared. (Catholic priests began officiating in 1826.) As early as January 1806 a female evangelist, Dorothy Ripley, delivered a camp meeting-style exhortation in the House to Jefferson, Vice President Aaron Burr, and a “crowded audience.” Throughout his administration Jefferson permitted church services in executive branch buildings. The Gospel was also preached in the Supreme Court chambers.
Jefferson’s actions may seem surprising because his attitude toward the relation between religion and government is usually thought to have been embodied in his recommendation that there exist “a wall of separation between church and state.” In that statement, Jefferson was apparently declaring his opposition, as Madison had done in introducing the Bill of Rights, to a “national” religion. In attending church services on public property, Jefferson and Madison consciously and deliberately were offering symbolic support to religion as a prop for republican government.
SOURCE: Library of Congress Website, Wihich was also the Source for the Post: Religion and the Federal Government.



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William J. Coviello

posted December 5, 2009 at 3:17 am


The Founders And Public Religious Expressions
Recently, there have been objections to public religious expressions by legislative chaplains supported through State budgets. These objections to legislative chaplains are very similar to one lodged with the U. S. Congress in 1852. In that challenge, the Committees on the Judiciary in both the House and the Senate each delivered a report pertinent to this discussion.
For example, in the House Report on March 27, 1854, it noted:
There certainly can be no doubt as to the practice of employing chaplains in deliberative bodies previous to the adoption of the Constitution. We are, then, prepared to see if any change was made in that respect in the new order of affairs. . . . On the 1st day of May [1789], Washington’s first speech was read to the House, and the first business after that speech was the appointment of Dr. Linn as chaplain. By whom was this plan made? Three out of six of that joint committee were members of the Convention that framed the Constitution. Madison, Ellsworth, and Sherman passed directly from the hall of the [Constitutional] Convention to the hall of Congress. Did they not know what was constitutional? . . . It seems to us that the men who would raise the cry of danger in this state of things would cry fire on the 39th day of a general deluge. . . . But we beg leave to rescue ourselves from the imputation of asserting that religion is not needed to the safety of civil society. It must be considered as the foundation on which the whole structure rests. Laws will not have permanence or power without the sanction of religious sentiment—without a firm belief that there is a Power above us that will reward our virtues and punish our vices.
(Reports of Committees of the House of Representatives Made During the First Session of the Thirty-Third Congress [Washington: A. O. P. Nicholson, 1854]).
The House Judiciary Committee therefore concluded:
Whereas, the people of these United States, from their earliest history to the present time, have been led by the hand of a kind Providence and are indebted for the countless blessings of the past and present, and dependent for continued prosperity in the future upon Almighty God; and whereas the great vital and conservative element in our system is the belief of our people in the pure doctrines and divine truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ, it eminently becomes the representatives of a people so highly favored to acknowledge in the most public manner their reverence for God: therefore, Resolved, That the daily sessions of this body be opened with prayer and that the ministers of the Gospel in this city are hereby requested to attend and alternately perform this solemn duty.
(Id.)
On January 19, 1853, the Senate Judiciary Committee delivered its report:
The whole view of the petitioners seems founded upon mistaken conceptions of the meaning of the Constitution. . . . If [the use of chaplains] had been a violation of the Constitution, why was not its character seen by the great and good men who were coeval with the government, who were in Congress and in the Presidency when this constitutional amendment was adopted? They, if any one did, understood the true purport of the amendment, and were bound, by their duty and their oath, to resist the introduction or continuance of chaplains, if the views of the petitioners were correct. But they did no such thing; and therefore we have the strongest reason to suppose the notion of the petitioner to be unfounded. . . . They had no fear or jealousy of religion itself, nor did they wish to see us an irreligious people; they did not intend to prohibit a just expression of religious devotion by the legislators of the nation, even in their public character as legislators; they did not intend to spread over all the public authorities and the whole public action of the nation the dead and revolting spectacle of atheistical apathy.
(The Reports of the Committees of the Senate of the United States for the Second Session of the Thirty-Second Congress, 1852-53 [Washington: Robert Armstrong, 1853].
Interestingly, a century later, the U. S. Supreme Court reached a similar conclusion, declaring:
We are a religious people whose 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.
(Zorach v. Clauson, 343 U. S. 306, 312-314 [1952]).
Just because so many framers specifically endorsed Christianity did not mean that they excluded other religious faiths, for such was not the case. In fact, evangelical Christian Benjamin Rush (a signer of the Declaration and a member of the presidential administrations of Adams, Jefferson, and Madison), in discussing educational policies in public schools, declared:
Such is my veneration for every religion that reveals the attributes of the Deity, or a future state of rewards and punishments, that I had rather see the opinions of Confucius or Mohamed inculcated upon our youth than see them grow up wholly devoid of a system of religious principles. But the religion I mean to recommend in this place is that of the New Testament. . . . [A]ll its doctrines and precepts are calculated to promote the happiness of society and the safety and well-being of civil government.
(Benjamin Rush, Essays, Literary, Moral and Philosophical (Philadelphia: Thomas and Samuel F. Bradford, 1798), p. 8, “Of the Mode of Education Proper in a Republic.”)
However, while Dr. Rush was outspoken about his personal Christian preferences, he was also gratified with the religious tolerance exercised in America. In fact, in his description of the federal parade in Philadelphia following the adoption of the Constitution, Rush happily declared:
The Rabbi of the Jews locked in the arms of two ministers of the Gospel was a most delightful sight. There could not have been a more happy emblem!
(Benjamin Rush, Letters of Benjamin Rush, L. H. Butterfield, editor (Princeton: American Philosophical Society, 1951), Vol. I, p. 474, to Elias Boudinot on July 9, 1788.)
And as Constitution signer Richard Dobbs Spaight explained:
As to the subject of religion. . . . no power is given to the general government to interfere with it at all. . . . No sect is preferred to another. Every man has a right to worship the Supreme Being in the manner he thinks proper.
(The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, Jonathan Elliot, editor (Washington, D. C.: Jonathan Elliot, 1836), Vol. IV, p. 208, Richard Dobbs Spaight, July 30, 1788.)
The “every man” protections mentioned not only by Jefferson and Spaight but by so many other framers would include protections for those chaplains who wish to offer prayers in whatever manner they may choose.
The historical evidence is clear: those who oppose legislative chaplaincies (paid or unpaid), or who decry sectarian public prayers, lack any broad historical basis for their arguments. Such opposition certainly cannot be justified in the name the Founding Fathers.



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Gwyddion9

posted December 5, 2009 at 1:22 pm


William J. Coviello –
“As a nation, we have celebrated Christmas to commemorate the Savior’s birth for centuries.”
Christmas became a federal holiday in 1870 under President Grant, who hoped to use it as a means to unite the Northern and Southern States again. It may have been recognized by individual Christians but not by the Nation, as whole until 1870.
“The Supreme Court building built in the 1930’s has carvings of Moses and the Ten Commandments.”
Moses and the 10 commandments are on the Supreme Court building however; it is misleading and deceitful to suggest that they are the only images on the Supreme Court.
Also, Moses and the 10 Commandments were not placed in a prominent position on the building. The art of the Supreme Court building to contain depictions of Moses as an important and relevant lawgiver. But this is a far cry from proving that American law is founded on the 10 Commandments.
These are the other individuals who are depicted on the Supreme Court:
Sculpture figures prominently in the Corinthian architecture of the Court Building. One-chamber features a frieze decorated with a bas-relief sculpture by Adolph A. Weinman of eighteen influential lawgivers. The south wall depicts Menes, Hammurabi, Moses, Solomon, Lycurgus, Solon, Draco, Confucius and Octavian, while the north wall depicts Napoleon Bonaparte, John Marshall, William Blackstone, Hugo Grotius, Louis IX, King John, Charlemagne, Justinian and, Mohammad.
If the U.S. were strictly a “Christian Nation” one would not expect to find those of other religions, featured so prominently on the Supreme Court Building.
Many of the other bullet points you make are simply done from a standpoint of tradition and not because of religious reasons.
Also, are you aware that when one is in court, one does not have to swear on the Bible?
In November of 2006, Democrat Keith Ellison won election to the House as a representative on his Minnesota Congressional district. He made the decision to swear on the Koran rather than the Bible simply because it had more meaning to him. There was an up roar to this, mostly by conservatives. This is another example that religious bigotry is alive and well in the U.S.
As a nation, to claim that our country is not influenced by its Christian heritage would be wrong but equally wrong is to claim that we are a ‘Christian Nation’. We are a nation where the majority of its citizens may claim to be Christian but that in no way makes us a ‘Christian Nation’. Such equate to the concept of a theocracy, which we are not nor should we ever become such. While you may disagree, I have no doubts that there are those in the conservative Christian groups whose beliefs and desires is to make our country a Christian Theocracy.
Historically, I have never understood why the Pilgrims or other religious groups would flee to the what became the U.S., for religious freedom only to have a specific religious groups seek to establish the very thing these people left their homelands to escape. To say that these conservative Christians wouldn’t persecute others of differing faiths would be a lie. Their actions have been made public many times. A recent example was when a Hindu priest gave the morning invocation at the Senate.
Mr. Coviello I am rather curious as to where you found the information you presented.
Would you post the source?



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Your Name

posted December 5, 2009 at 3:07 pm


Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary
religion-
1a:the state of a religious>a nun in her 20th year of~ b(1)the service
and worship of God or the supernatural (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance 2: a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs,and practices 3 archaic: scrupulous conformity : conscientiousness 4: a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.
I just like to look up words to see exactly what they mean. It seems that people have a tendency to misinterpret words, especially when it is religious in nature. I see that some people use the word as if it were a negative experience. It looks like there are different ways of interpreting the word religion as well. Different strokes for different folks. C



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Your Name

posted December 5, 2009 at 3:11 pm


Thanks William, for the historical document printing. I especially like George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation. Wow, that man could write.
C



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William J. Coviello

posted December 6, 2009 at 3:52 am


Gwyddion9
December 5, 2009 1:22 PM
I believe that the sources are listed. If there is something specific that I did not list the source from please feel free to ask and I will be more than happy to oblige.
Merry Christmas,
Bill



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Gene Garman, M.Div.

posted December 7, 2009 at 10:11 pm


Just in time for Christmas shopping, Kirkus Discoveries review says about
The Religion Commandments in the Constitution: A Primer, by Gene Garman, M.Div.:
“Garman does a great service by bringing together many primary source texts crucial to understanding the American debate … effectively argued … required reading … persuasive.”
“It is the religion commandments in the Constitution which should be hung on every court room wall, posted and taught in every American public school, and monumentalized throughout America, not the Jewish commandments of Moses, or of any religion,” p. 19, The Religion Commandments in the Constitution, a textbook for understanding the three religion commandments in the Constitution for the United States of America.



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Gregarious

posted December 8, 2009 at 1:32 pm


Very good reading, I have no doubt. I would be loath to give it away though, and some on my gift list equally reluctant to read it. Why ISN’T the american public school system focused on giving the meaning of our Constitution to our people? It’s like the debate, and relevant information, have been banned from classrooms.



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G

posted December 8, 2009 at 1:56 pm


WJC wrote: “Most Americans agreed that the federal government must not pick out one religion and give it exclusive financial and legal support.”
This may be true, but it isn’t what was written in the Constituion. The Constitution forbids Congress from passing laws regarding religion. Not a specific religion, not a national religion. It forbids any religious test by the government. The idea that the Constitution was ONLY designed to forbid government from endorsing one religion over another is a classic foul ball.



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Your Name

posted December 9, 2009 at 3:20 pm


Re: Gregarious- What I find interesting is that I bring up things in our very own Constitution and they are ignored. I have been writing for about a year and a half straight on the subject of our posterity which is noted in our opening paragraph in our Constitution and you guessed it, we are to defend them and they are supposed to be entitled to the same blessings as we get here in the states. A bit contradictory to the fact that our states at the present time are legally letting people kill our posterity through abortions and Embryonic Stem-Cell. So there you have it, the fight we contend with. It wouldn’t have to be an argument if they would just protect them and defend them, which our Constitution states. A bit hypocritical for the land of freedom with rights of liberty to all. Merry Christmas, Cara



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G

posted December 9, 2009 at 3:48 pm


Happy Holiday’s Cara. Your arguements regarding posterity have been shot full of holes, you simply refused to “hear” the evidence or replies.
James Madison, “Father of the Constitution”, wrote that the separation of government and religion was strongly guarded in the constitution, yet I can’t get you to acknowledge that as fact. You don’t think the guy who wrote it knows what’s in it? I never get a reply on that one.



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Your Name

posted December 10, 2009 at 3:27 pm


Re: G
This has nothing to do with religion, this has to do with the facts.
Do you need me to print out the first paragraph of our Constitution, again. Seeing how you use religious references as an escape goat. If you are not familiar with that term, that would be trying to ignore the facts and camouflage the evidence as to what it really says. So Mr. G whoever you are, do us all a favor and go back and reread The opening paragraph of The Constitution on references to our posterity. Which you so deny their fundamental rights to liberty and defense by your mirror lies of misleading our people down the road of a destruction of a human being. Merry Christmas G, Cara



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G

posted December 11, 2009 at 7:32 pm


Your definition of posterity does not fit that recognized by U.S. law, as per the SCOTUS. This has been explained to you many times. Where is my answer concerning Madison’s words. Ducked it AGAIN didn’t you!



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Your Name

posted December 12, 2009 at 6:52 pm


Yes Mr. G, did you have to look for some abstract definition of a child being formed as to it not being a child?
That way you can try and justify not defending people who are maturing in the womb?
Sorry, your argument does not stick in the court of law. It is too bad that people have been lead astray as to go so far as ending children’s lives by way of finding false documents or false representation of maturing people in the womb.
Thanks, but no thanks, G! Your argument does not fly with me. I certainly am not going to argu with you as to children not being people. You can lie all you want, but I know the difference.
C



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G

posted December 13, 2009 at 2:08 am


Once again, no response. My point.



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Bruce A,

posted December 29, 2009 at 12:58 pm


Just exactly why does Mr. Lynn have the initials “REV.” in front of his name?



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Previous Posts

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