Religious Freedom

Posted: June 20, 2009 in Basic Concepts of Government, Religious Freedom

To restore the spiritual heritage of our country to its proper position we must also restore the Constitution to its proper position as the supreme law of this land.  To restore the Constitution to its proper position we must educate ourselves so to understand how the liberal activists on the Supreme Court of the United States is using political rather than legal decisions to shred the constitution and take our religious and political freedoms away.  Publius, her pen name, has been a lawyer for thirty-five years.  She has documented how the Supreme Court has used the 14 amendment to swallow up the 1st amendment and by so doing to redefine what constitutes an “establishment of religion.”  I want to thank her for allowing me the privilege of posting this article on my blog. This is an insightful article.  Enjoy.


Religious Freedom

By Publius/Huldah

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

AND

THE U.S. SUPREME COURT’S USURPATIONS OF POWER

A Primer in Constitutional Law

1. How did it happen that our country became a land where children are forbidden to use the word, “God” in the public schools; public school students are forbidden to say prayers at football games; and religious speech is banned from the public square?  Read on, and I will show you how judges on the U.S. Supreme Court perverted our Constitution, prohibited the Free Exercise of Religion, and abridged our Freedom of Speech.


2.  We must begin by learning what our Constitution says – and doesn’t say – about “religion” & “speech”.  Remember, the three branches of federal government, the Legislative Branch (Art I), the Executive Branch (Art II), and the Judicial Branch (Art III), have only the powers granted to them in the Constitution.  All “legislative” powers granted in the Constitution are vested in Congress (Art I, § 1).  This means that no other branch may make law.  The legislative powers of Congress are enumerated.   Thus, Congress may pass laws only on those specific subjects which are listed in the Constitution as proper subjects of legislation.[1] Since “religion” & “speech” are not among the listed powers, Congress may not make any laws about religion or speech.  Neither may any other branch.

3. Furthermore, the First Amendment to the Constitution expressly states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech…

What is an “established religion”? I will show you how judges on the Supreme Court changed the historical definition of that term so they could eradicate religion from our public square and eliminate speech they don’t like.  We will begin by finding out what “establishment of religion” actually meant. To do so, we must consult English history, American colonial history, and writings of our Founders.

Established Religions in England.

4. Queen Mary I (“Bloody Mary”), who reigned between 1553-1558, deposed The Church of England which her Father, Henry VIII, had established; re-established the Roman Catholic Church, and burned approximately 300 Protestant dissenters at stake.

Elizabeth I, who reigned between 1558-1603, restored the Church of England. Elizabeth’s Act of Uniformity (1559), [2] imposed fines, forfeitures, and imprisonment on church officials who did not conform to approved doctrine & practice; and imposed fines on all persons who, without sufficient excuse, did not attend services of the Church of England.

During the reign of Charles II (1661-1685), the Puritan John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim’s Progress, was imprisoned for 11 years because he refused to attend services of the established Church of England, and he refused to obtain a license to preach as a “nonconformist”.

5. The established religions in England, first Roman Catholic, and then Church of England, were supported by “tithes” – mandatory payments of a percentage of the produce of the land, payable by parishioners [those living within the parish regardless of their religious preferences] to the parish church, to support it and its clergyman:

The payment of tithe was a cause of endless dispute between the tithe owners and the tithe payers – between clergy and parishioners – …In addition, Quakers and other non-conformists objected to paying any tithes to support the established church.  Almost every agricultural process and product attracted controversy over its tithe value.   By the eighteenth century the complex legislation surrounding the tithe began to have a detrimental effect…Tithing was seen as increasingly irrele-vant to the needs of the community and the developing agricultural industry.[3]

6. So!  The essential characteristic of “established religion” in England up to the time of the founding of our country was coercion by the civil government: The people were forced to practice the established denomination under pain of death, imprisonment & fines, and were forced to financially support the established church.

Established Religions in the American Colonies.

7.The English immigrants to this country promptly established various religions. In Massachusetts, where the Congregational Church was established, only church members could vote between 1631-1664; dissenters (Roger Williams, etc.) were banished; and during the 1650’s-1670’s, Quakers were whipped, imprisoned, banished, and put to death.  In Virginia, where the Church of England was established, penalties for failure to attend services during the early 1600’s included death, imprisonment, and fines. [4] In Maryland, where the Church of England was established, from 1704 to 1775, Roman Catholic (“RC”) services could not be held except in private homes, RCs could not teach school, there were restrictions on the inheritance of property by RCs, and RCs who would not take a certain oath were disfranchised and subject to additional taxes, as well as being forced to contribute to the established church.  In Virginia at this time, RCs were forbidden to possess arms, give evidence in court or hold office unless they took certain oaths.  New York and Massachusetts passed laws that stayed on the books until the Revolution directing all RCs to leave the realm.  Rhode Island’s laws between 1719-1783 provided that RCs were not allowed to be freeman or office holders.  Not until 1783 were RC’s given full political rights in Rhode Island.  In Virginia, no marriage was legal unless performed by a minister of the Church of England. [5]

Everyone in Virginia, Maryland, and North & South Carolina was required to contribute to the support of the established Church of England, to maintain the building, pay the minister’s salary, and provide him with a house and plot of land.  New York required each county to hire a “good sufficient” Protestant minister and to levy taxes for his support. By 1760, the Congregational Church was still established in Massachusetts and Connecticut; but Episcopalians, Baptists and Quakers were now tolerated, and no longer required to contribute to the support of the Congregational Church.[6] Presbyterians of the Town of Chester, N.H. objected to being taxed to support a Congregational Minister, and in 1740 won the right to be taxed only for their own denomination.  Even so, in 1807, the Presbyterians sold a Quaker’s cow for non-payment of the Minister’s Tax! [7]

8. As the Spirit of Toleration grew in England and colonial America, the criminal penalties for dissenting from the tax-supported established religions were abolished.  By 1776, the essential characteristic of established religions, as opposed to tolerated religions, was that the former were still supported by tax money (or tithes assessed & collected by law and to which the established religion had a legally enforceable right); whereas the latter were supported by voluntary contributions alone.  Benjamin Franklin wrote in 1772 of colonial Americans:

They went from England to establish a new country…where they might enjoy the free exercise of religion…they granted the lands out in townships, requiring …that the freeholders should forever support a gospel minister (meaning probably one of the then governing sects)…Thus, what is commonly called Presbyterianism became the established religion of that country.  All went on well in this way while the same religious opinions were general, the support of minister … being raised by a proportionate tax on the lands.  But in process of time, some becoming Quakers, some Baptists, and…some returning to the Church of England …objections were made to the payment of a tax appropriated to the support of a church they…had forsaken.  The civil magistrates, however, continued for a time to collect and apply the tax according to the original laws which remained in force…a payment which it was thought no honest man ought to avoid under the pretense of his having changed his religious persuasion. …But the practice being clamoured against by the episcopalians as persecution, the legislature of the Province of the Massachusets-Bay, near thirty years since, passed an act for their relief, requiring indeed the tax to be paid as usual, but directing that the…sums levied from members of the Church of England, should be paid over to the Minister of that Church, with whom such members usually attended divine worship, which Minister had power given him to receive and on occasion to recover the same by law. [8]

Alexander Hamilton wrote in 1775:

The characteristic difference between a tolerated and established religion, consists in this:[9] With respect to the support of the former, the law is passive and improvident, leaving it to those who profess it, to make as much, or as little, provision as they…  judge expedient; and to vary and alter that provision, as their circumstances may require.  In this manner, the Presbyterians, and other sects, are tolerated in England.  They are allowed to exercise their religion without molestation, and to maintain their clergy as they think proper.  These are wholly dependent upon their congregations, and can exact no more than they stipulate and are satisfied to contribute.  But with respect to the support of the latter, the law is active and provident.  Certain precise dues, (tithes &c.,) are legally annexed to the clerical office, independent on the liberal contributions of the people…While tithes were the free…gift of the people… the Roman church was only in a state of toleration; but when the law came to take cognizance of them, and, by determiningtheir permanent existence, destroyed the free agency of the people, it then resumed the nature of an establishment. [emphasis added]

James Madison wrote in 1832:

In the Colonial State of the Country, there were four examples, R.I., N.J., Penna. and Delaware, & the greater part of N.Y. where there were no religious Establishments; the support of Religion being left to the voluntary associations & contributions of individuals…[10]

9. So! The essential characteristic of an “established religion” in America by 1789 was that an established denomination was supported by mandatory taxes or tithes, but tolerated denominations were supported by voluntary offerings of their adherents. Benjamin Franklin’s letter of 1772 shows that the hot topic of the time was the forcing of dissenters to financially support established religion. In England, dissenters from the Church of England were being forced to pay tithes to the clergy of that Church. The English supporters of the Church of England responded that the “dissenters” in America had no room to complain because they, in turn, compelled American Anglicans to pay taxes to support the Presbyterian or independent worship!

Whose Powers Are Restricted By The First Amendment?

10.  Before we get to U.S. Supreme Court opinions prohibiting the free exercise of religion & abridging free speech in our public forums, we must consider:  Whose Powers are restricted by The First Amendment?  Does it apply only to Congress – as it says?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech…

The plain language shows that the First Amendment restricts only Congress’ powers! The People of the States are free to establish (or dis-establish) any religion they want – this is one of the powers retained by the States or the People!  Several States did retain their established religions after ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1789.  We saw that in 1807, Presbyterians in Chester, N.H. sold a Quaker’s cow for non-payment of the Minister’s Tax.  Not until the Toleration Law of 1819 did the Legislature of N.H. make it illegal for towns, as corporate bodies, to raise money for the support of the gospel.[11] Connecticut did not dis-establish the Congregational Church until they adopted their Constitution of 1818.[12] Massachusetts did notdis-establish the Congregational Church until 1833.[13]

11. So! The First Amendment (1) prohibited Congress from establishing a national denominational religion, (2) prohibited Congress from interfering in the States’ establishments of the religions of their choice, or the dis-establishments thereof, and (3) prohibited Congress from abridging the Peoples’ Freedom of Speech.  Everyone understood that no one in the federal government had any authority to cancel, abridge, restrain or modify rights of any denomination or the States’ essential rights of liberty of conscience.  Read, e.g., the words of the General Assembly of Virginia on June 26, 1788 when it ratified the U.S. Constitution:

We the Delegates of the People of Virginia…having…investigated and discussed the proceedings of the Federal Convention…Do in the name…of the People of Virginia declare and make known that the powers granted under the Constitution being derived from the People of the United States may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression and that every power not granted thereby remains with them and at their will: that therefore no right of any denomination can be cancelled abridged restrained or modified by the Congress by the Senate or House of Representatives acting in any Capacity by the President or any Department or Officer of the United States except in those instances in which power is given by the Constitution for those purposes: & that among other essential rights the liberty of Conscience and of the Press cannot be cancelled abridged restrained or modified by ANY authority of the United States. With these impressions with a solemn appeal to the Searcher of hearts for the purity of our intentions…We…in the name…of the People of Virginia…ratify the Constitution recommended on the seventeenth day of September one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven by the Federal Convention for the Government of the United States…[emphasis added] [14]

12. But in Gitlow v. People, 268 U.S. 652, 666 (1925),[15] judges on the U.S. Supreme Court assumed – without any proof or evidence whatsoever – that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution[16] incorporated the First Amendment so that the First Amendment now restricted the powers of the States!  These judges said:

we may and do assume that freedom of speech and of the press which are protected by the First Amendment from abridgment by Congress are among the fundamental personal rights and “liberties” protected by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment from impairment by the States. We do not regard the incidental statement in Prudential Ins. Co. v. Cheek…that the Fourteenth Amendment imposes no restrictions on the States concerning freedom of speech, as determinative of this question. [emphasis added][17]

Their new interpretation of the 14th Amendment became the weapon the Court has since used to seize Power over the States and political subdivisions thereof. By claiming that the First Amendment (& then other Amendments in The Bill of Rights) restricted the powers of the States, the Court set itself up as policeman over the States, over counties, over cities & towns, and even over football fields & court-house lawns!  In this way, the Bill of Rights, which was intended to be the States’ and The Peoples’ protection against usurpations of power by the federal government, became the weapon the federal courts have since used to usurp power and to force their wills on all people throughout these United States.

How the U.S. Supreme Court Re-defined the Historic Term, “Establishment of Religion”

13. We have seen where Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison said the essential characteristic of an “established religion” was that an “established” denomination was supported by mandatory taxes or tithes, whereas “tolerated” denominations were supported by voluntary offerings of their adherents.

14. Now let’s see how various judges on the U. S. Supreme Court re-defined “establishment of religion” in order to impose their wills on us.  Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962), [18] is the case where six men outlawed prayer in the public schools. A public school board in New York had directed that the following prayer be said at school:

Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our Country.

Any student was free to remain seated or leave the room, without any comments by the teacher one way or the other.

But six men on the Supreme Court said this short, non-denominational and voluntary prayer constituted an “establishment of religion” in violation of the First Amendment!  They (Hugo Black,[19] Warren, Clark, Harlan, Brennan, and Douglas) admitted that allowing school children to say this prayer did not really “establish” a “religion”!  They admitted that the prayer:

…does not amount to a total establishment of one particular religious sect to the exclusion of all others — that, indeed, the governmental endorsement of that prayer seems relatively insignificant when compared to the governmental encroachments upon religion which were commonplace 200 years ago…(p.436)

Douglas wrote in his concurring opinion:

I cannot say that to authorize this prayer is to establish a religion in the strictly historic meaning of those words.  A religion is not established in the usual sense merely by letting those who choose to do so say the prayer that the public school teacher leads. (p.442)

But these six men didn’t like children praying in school.   So, they just redefined “establishment of religion” to mean, “a religious activity”, “a prayer” (p.424), having public school children hear or recite a prayer that “somebody in government composed” (pp.425-427), “writing or sanctioning official prayers”(p.435), and “government endorsement of a prayer” (p.436).

These six men also admitted that even though no coercion was present, and even though the prayer was “denominationally neutral”, it still constituted an unlawful “establishment of religion”.  They said:

The Establishment Clause…does not depend upon any showing of direct governmental compulsion and is violated by the enactment of laws which establish an official religion whether those laws operate directly to coerce nonobserving individuals or not. (p.430)

Douglas said in his concurring opinion:

There is no element of compulsion or coercion in New York’s regulation requiring that public schools be opened each day with the …prayer (p.438); there is…no effort at indoctrination, and no attempt at exposition…New York’s prayer…does not involve any element of proselytizing…(p.439).

15. They thus redefined “established religion” to describe what the N.Y. public schools were doing so that they could then outlaw it. But they don’t have that right!  We have quoted three of our founders showing that the essence of an “established religion” during the era of the ratification of our Constitution was that the civil government selects a particular religious denomination (Roman Catholic or Church of England or Congregational orand forces everybody to financially support that particular denomination with taxes or tithes[20] Presbyterian, etc.,

16. Well!  Since the evil from which the Supreme Court in Engle v. Vitale pretended it sought to protect our public school children was having them recite or hear (if they wanted to) a one-sentence non-denominational prayer which “somebody in government composed”; that monstrous evil can be avoided if the children write their own prayers, right?

17. Oh no! said six people on the Supreme Court in Santa Fe Independent School Dist. v. Doe, 530 U.S. 290 (2000) [21]government endorsement of prayer.” Here, a public school district permitted, but did not require, student-initiated, student-led, nonsectarian, nonproselytizing prayer at home football games. But Justices Stevens, Ginsberg, Souter, Breyer, O’Connor & Kennedy said this constituted an “establishment of religion” in violation of the First Amendment, because the prayers were “public speech” authorized by “government policy” taking place on “government property” at government sponsored school events, and the policy involved “perceived” and “actual” “

The six also said on page 309-310 of their opinion:

…School sponsorship of a religious message is impermissible because it sends the ancillary message to members of the audience who are nonadherents “that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community, and an accompanying message to adherents that they are insiders, favored members of the political community” Lynch, 465 U.S. at 688 …

Do you see?  They cite themselves – their earlier opinion in Lynchas authority! [22] Further, making “nonadherents” feel like “outsiders” is not a constitutional standard; it is the judges’ own silly standard.

The six said on page 310:

…We explained in Lee that the “preservation and transmission of religious beliefs and worship is a responsibility and a choice committed to the private sphere.”  505 U.S. at 589…

Again, they cite themselves- their opinion in Leeas authority! The Constitution nowhere restricts religion to the “private sphere”; it forbids Congress from prohibiting its free-exercise anywhere.

18. Again, the six re-defined “establishment of religion” to describe what the Santa Fe School District was doing so that they could then outlaw it.

19. In his dissenting opinion, Rehnquist, joined by Scalia & Thomas, said the majority opinion:

…bristles with hostility to all things religious in public life.  Neither the holding nor the tone of the opinion is faithful to the meaning of the Establishment Clause, when it is recalled that George Washington himself, at the request of the very Congress which passed the Bill of Rights, proclaimed a day of “public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God.”…(p. 318) [emphasis added]

The One-Way Only “Wall of Separation” Between Church and State.

20. We have all heard the chant, mindlessly recited, “separation of church and state”.  Many believe this phrase is in the Constitution, and that it forbids any religious influence in the public square. But that is false. The Truth is the phrase is nowhere in the Constitution; it is not a constitutional principle; and there is no evidence that our Founders ever wanted to sever the influence of religion in the public square. The First Amendment gives effect to the exact opposite: that Congress may not “legally establish one [religious] creed as official truth and support it with its full financial and coercive powers” [23]; and it may not prohibit the Free Exercise of Religion or religious speech anywhere, including the public square.

21. We saw that in Connecticut, the Congregational Church was the established religion until Connecticut adopted its Constitution of 1818 and dis-established the Congregational Church.  On October 7, 1801, Baptists in Danbury, Connecticut wrote a letter to President Thomas Jefferson [24] in which they expressed their distress that in Connecticut, where they were a religious minority,

…religion is considered as the first object of legislation; and therefore what religious privileges we enjoy (as a minor part of the state) we enjoy as favors granted, and not as inalienable rights; and these favors we receive at the expense of  such degrading acknowledgements as are inconsistent with the rights of freemen…

…..Sir, we are sensible that the president of the United States is not the national legislator, and also sensible that the national government cannot destroy the laws of each state; but our hopes are strong that the sentiments of our beloved president, which have had such genial effect already, like the radiant beams of the sun, will shine and prevail through all these states…till…tyranny be destroyed from the earth…

These Baptists thus expressed their hope that the People of Connecticut would be influenced by Jefferson’s good example and dis-establish the Congregational Church.

22.  In the final draft of his response dated January 2, 1802, [25] Jefferson indicated that he hoped the People of Connecticut would follow the example of the “whole American people”:

…Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights…

Jefferson agreed that civil governments ought not dictate to the People in matters of religious belief, and pointed out that a “wall of separation” in the U.S. Constitution prevents Congress from doing this.  He did not say that religious people ought not exert influence in the public square!  He used the First Amendment as his model – and it restricts only Congress, not religious people.  He and the Danbury Baptists both knew that the federal government had no authority to dis-establish Connecticut’s established Church.

23. The Draft of Jefferson’s letter with the Recently Discovered Text reads:

…I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establish-ment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” thus building a wall of eternal separation between Church & State.  Congress thus inhibited from acts respecting religion, and the Executive authorized only to execute their acts…[emphasis added]

In another version of the draft, Jefferson said:

…confining myself therefore to the duties of my station, which are merely temporal, be assured that your religious rights shall never be infringed by any act of mine…

24. Dr. Hutson’s article reveals that right after Jefferson wrote the letter to the Danbury Baptists, he invited John Leland, a Baptist minister and well known advocate of religious liberty, to preach in the House of Representatives on Sunday, Jan 3, 1802. During the remainder of Jefferson’s two administrations, he attended religious services conducted in the House “constantly”.  Jefferson granted “permission to various denominations to worship in executive office buildings, where four-hour communion services were held…”

Jefferson had no problem with sectarian praying, preaching & communion serving on public property!  It could be said that he “endorsed” Christianity! Those who are so determined to eradicate “religion” from our country walk on a slender reed when they claim Jefferson as an ally.

25.  In Engel v. Vitale, Hugo Black said that the use of the prayer [“Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our Country”] before children in the N.Y. public schools who chose to hear it:

breaches the constitutional wall of separation between Church and State (p.425).

So! Not only did this Klansman turned Supreme Court Justice use a standard which was nowhere in the Constitution – the so-called “wall of separation between church and state” – to decide the case; he misrepresented that it was a “constitutional” principle!  It isn’t! [26] And further, Black completely misconstrued Jefferson’s letter.  As proven above, Jefferson’s “wall” only prevented Congress from establishing a religion, dis-establishing a State’s religion, or abridging religious speech. Congress could not prohibit the “free exercise” of religion anywhere; and that Jefferson thought that “religion” should influence the public square is clear from all those church services & celebrations of communion that were “constantly” held in the House of Representatives and the Executive Office Building! I rest my case.

Lawlessness on the Court.

26.  Let us summarize what the U.S. Supreme Court has done to Free Speech and the Free Exercise of Religion throughout Our Land. They have violated the First Amendment in four ways:

a) Even though the First Amendment expressly restricts only the law-making powers of Congress, and thus was intended to be the States’ and the Peoples’ protection from Congress; the Supreme Court reversed the meaning of the First Amendment so that it became the tool the Court used to silence speech they don’t like and to suppress the free exercise of a religion they don’t like, all throughout the States, counties, towns & villages, all the way down to football fields & county courthouse lawns.

b) Even though the First Amendment says, “an establishment of religion”, a phrase that has a well-recognized and definite historical meaning, the Court from time to time re-defines that term so as to describe the circumstances surrounding religious speech they don’t like so that they can then declare it  “unconstitutional”.  In effect, they claim the right to sit as a continuing constitutional convention amending the words in the U.S. Constitution to elevate into “Law” their own WILLS.

c) They outlawed the free exercise of religion; and they outlawed Free Speech – when the subject is “religious” – because they don’t like it.  They took away from their Sovereign – their Creators – a right expressly reserved by us in the U.S. Constitution.  Congress may not stop people from praying anywhere, or posting The Ten Commandments anywhere, or preaching in any public areas.  Neither may the Supreme Court.  But those lawless usurpers took away OUR religions and replaced them with THEIR humanist & statist religion which they are determined to cram down our throats.

d) By claiming that their Opinions have the effect of “law”, they made “laws” respecting religion, and “laws” abridging speech they don’t like, even though the federal government has no authority to act in this area.  When Congress is prohibited from making laws in an area, the Supreme Court certainly may not make laws in that area!  The only way “religion” or “speech” could ever properly get before the U.S. Supreme Court would be if CONGRESS VIOLATED the First Amendment and Art. I., Sec. 8 by making a law “respecting” the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or by making a law abridging the Freedom of Speech.  The States and political subdivisions may make whatever laws they please “respecting” religion (subject only to any limitations imposed by their own state constitutions), and the U.S. Supreme Court has no constitutional authority whatsoever to interfere.

27. Later, I will discuss the ignored and under-used system of checks and balances in the Constitution.  There are peaceful, lawful and constitutional ways to reign in lawless judges who know no standard but their own unbridled WILLS.  Judges may, and should, be impeached & removed from the bench for such lawless usurpations. The Federalist Papers, No. 81 (9th Para), Alexander Hamilton.

In the Year of our Lord, [27] June 19, 2009

Publius/Huldah


[1] Congress’ powers are listed mainly at Art I, Sec 8, U.S.Constitution.

[2] Text at http://history.hanover.edu/texts/ENGref/er80.html See http://history.hanover.edu/texts/ENGref/links.html for the texts of additional laws illustrative of English Church History from 1558-1640.

[3] See http://www.devon.gov.uk/tithe_records for a history of tithing & financing established religions in England.

[4] A History of the Congregational Churches in the United States, Williston Walker (1894), pp 114-149; Google digitized book.

[5] A History of the United States: A Century of Colonial History, 1660-1760, Edward Channing (1908), pp 423- 454; Google digitized book.

[6] Id.

[7] Website of Hooksett, New Hampshire      http://www.hooksett.org/about/history_officers.php

[8] Letter published in The London Packet, June 3, 1772; The Writings of Benjamin Franklin: London, 1757-1775, Vol. III, web ed at www.historycarper.com/resources/twobf3/toleratn.htm [emphasis in boldface added; italics in original]

[9] Remarks on the Quebec Bill (Pt. II.)  (1775); The Works of Alexander Hamilton, Vol. II, p. 133 (Digitized by Google).

[10] Madison’s Letter to Rev. Adams 1832 http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/amendI_religions68.html

[11] Website of Hooksett, New Hampshire http://www.hooksett.org/about/history_officers.php

[12] Text of 1818 Constitution at   http://www.sots.ct.gov/sots/cwp/view.asp?a=3188&q=392280 See Art. Seven. See also historical timeline at   http://www.shgresources.com/ct/timeline/

[13] http://www.macucc.org/about-us/history.htm

[14] http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/ratva.asp contains the text of this and many others of our founding documents.  This web site is a Treasure Trove.

[15] Online at http://supreme.justia.com/us/268/652/case.html The quoted passage is on p. 666 [No kidding!]

[16] The 14th Amendment (ratified in 1868) doesn’t say anything about “religion”, “freedom of speech” or “freedom of the press”.  Instead, it says, “…No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws…”

The original purpose of the 14th Amendment was “to limit individual state governments from enforcing laws (termed “Black Codes”), which prohibited black citizens from owning property”. The Second American Revolution, John W. Whitehead, Crossway Books (1982), p. 212.  In an essay in the Appendix, The Fading Constitution, Whitehead explains how the Supreme Court turned the Bill of Rights, “which was once a source of freedom against federal governmental interference [into] a source of intervention by the federal government into the very heart of the state governments.”

[17] In Prudential Ins. Co. v. Cheek, 259 U.S. 530, 543 (1922), http://supreme.justia.com/us/259/530/case.html , just three years earlier, the Supreme Court said [on page 543]:

But, as we have stated, neither the Fourteenth Amendment nor any other provision of the Constitution of the United States imposes upon the states any restrictions about “freedom of speech”…nor…does it confer any right of privacy upon either persons or corporations. [emphasis added]

So! Do you see?  First it doesn’t; then three years later, it does!  They amend our Constitution with their ever changing opinions!  And “Law” becomes nothing but the arbitrary expression of their WILLS.

[18] Opinion online at: http://supreme.justia.com/us/370/421/case.html

[19] Hugo Black, who wrote the majority opinion, was a “New Deal” Democrat, a former Ku Klux Klan member, a supporter of FDR’s “court-packing” scheme, and FDR’s first appointment to the Supreme Court.

[20] The majority opinion is also silly.  Between the time Justice Black changed his white robe for a black robe, he apparently didn’t study Logic: On pp.425-427, Black discussed the 16th century Established Church of England and its Book of Common Prayer which was approved by the English Parliament during 1548 & 1549.  From that, Black concluded that when somebody “in government” composes a prayer, such constitutes an “establishment of religion”, even if the prayer is non-denominational and voluntary!  This is the form of Black’s argument:

1st Premise: An established religion wrote a Book of Common Prayer for the public that Parliament [government] approved.

2nd Premise: People in N.Y. State government wrote a one-sentence prayer for the public.

Conclusion: When people in government write a one-sentence prayer for the public, they “establish” a “religion”.

Oh my! Black made several errors in Logic, among which are (1) The dreaded “Fallacy of Four Terms”: The Premiseswith “people in government writing a prayer”, so the reasoning is invalid.  There are four terms  in Black’s argument. But “[w]ith more than three terms, no connection can be established from which a conclusion can be drawn…the idea of the syllogism is that two things related to the same thing ought to be related to each other.”  http://philosophy.lander.edu/logic/four_fall.html don’t connect ‘“establish” a “religion”’

(2) Black selected one of many activities engaged in by established religions – writing prayers – and concluded that anytime government performs that same activity, such constitutes an “establishment of religion”.  But established religions do many things – you can’t pick out one of those things and say that if government does it, government “establishes a religion”!  That’s ridiculous!

(3) Our Founders said the defining characteristic of  “established religion” is that a particular denomination selected by the civil government exists on taxes & tithes extracted from the People by force! But Black redefined the term to mean “people in government writing a prayer for the public”, so as to enable him to rule – in the case then before him – that N.Y. “established a religion”.  This is the fallacy of “Victory by Definition”: one redefines the terms so that one “wins”.  It is intellectually dishonest.

Learn Logic! Amaze your friends & confound our enemies!  Some web sites are better than others, so check out several.  See the logic site above & Google “logical fallacies”.

[21] Text of opinion at http://supreme.justia.com/us/530/290/case.html

[22] They insert their own views into their opinions and then, in later cases, they cite those earlier opinions as binding authority!  This is preposterous & a classic example of the Rule of Men!  The judges’ sole power is to decide only those cases properly before them; their decisions affect only the parties to the cases, and do not have the force & effect of “law” on anybody.  See, e.g., The Federalist Papers, No. 78, by Alexander Hamilton.

[23]A Wall of Separation’ by James Hutson, web ed. at http://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/9806/danbury.html The quote is from the next to the last paragraph. Dr. Hutson is Chief of the Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress.

[24] Text of the Danbury Baptist’s letter at http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=65

[25] The link to Hutson’s Article in FN 23 gives links to Jefferson’s final draft of his letter to the Danbury Baptists & to his Draft with Recently Discovered Text.  With the aid of the FBI, Hutson was able to restore Jefferson’s Obliterated Draft of his letter to the Danbury Baptists – very interesting reading!

[26] On this point, Justice Stewart, who dissented, said:

Moreover, I think that the Court’s task, in this as in all areas of constitutional adjudication is not responsibly aided by the uncritical invocation of metaphors like the “wall of separation,” a phrase nowhere to be found in the Constitution…(pp.445-446)

[27] Art. VII, clause 2, U.S. Constitution contains an express recognition of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Tell me, is that “unconstitutional”?  I think not – It is, after all, “in the Constitution”.

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Comments
  1. Art. VII? – answered.

    However, it is my opinion that the stated clause 2 is not part of the Constitution but more like a footnote.

    I have no objections to religion, except the misuse of it.

    Allan

  2. LnddMiles says:

    The best information i have found exactly here. Keep going Thank you

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