America Is A Christian Nation

I felt it necessary to post my open letter to syndicated columnist and Fox contributor Cal Thomas. The reason is without it, I would feel it necessary to re-explain everything I shared in this letter in my upcoming blog post about the Syrian refugees. Time is of the essence for most of us and I value each of you that follow my posts as well as your time. So without any further adieu, this is a letter I sent to Mr. Thomas on September 16, 2015.

Dear Mr. Thomas,

On September 11, 2015 you published an article titled “America has never been a ‘Christian’ nation. Kim Davis picked the wrong issue.” Wow. I have to say that this offends me personally on so many levels. It offends me as an American in part because you refuse to acknowledge how our Constitutional Republic is supposed to work in regard to creating laws. It offends me as an academic because anyone with internet access can find quotes from the founding fathers that share their hearts and insight when it came to God, Jesus and our Constitutional Republic. Lastly, it offends me as a seeker of peace and unity. It’s clear from your tone that you are not interested in an open discussion on this issue. You have chosen instead to give a tongue lashing to all who would call themselves followers of Jesus and who desire nothing more than the freedom to live with a clean conscience before their Creator. I believe it is you Mr. Thomas who picked the wrong issue. However, the truth can still set you free.

In your intro you state, “Let’s get something straight. America has never been a ‘Christian nation.’ Those who believe otherwise have an obligation to say what part of our history was uniquely Christian. Was it when slavery was legal? How about when women were denied the vote? The Gilded Age? The Roaring ’20s?”

For you Mr. Thomas, I’m willing to go the extra mile and share a bit about the peripheral issues you used to attempt to validate your argument. However, I want to address your initial statement first, which was, “Those who believe otherwise have an obligation to say what part of our history was uniquely Christian.” Very well Mr. Thomas. This is the part of our history that is not only uniquely Christian, but the bedrock on which our government and laws were formed.

“The Pilgrims were English Separatists who founded Plymouth Colony in 1620. The Pilgrims, fleeing religious persecution, broke away from the Church of England because they felt the Church violated biblical principles of true Christians. Due to persecution and economic distress, they believed they had to break away from the Church of England to form congregations which were more in keeping with divine requirements. Coming out of the recent Reformation, the pilgrims believed the Church of England had not come far enough. The Church was under strict rule of the State so their actions were considered treasonous and these Separatists had to flee their homeland.

Determined and very courageous men and women committed themselves (in all aspects of their lives) to life based on the Bible and a relationship with God. They brought their only known culture and spiritual values to the New World and attempted to establish an improved foundation of English society on an unfamiliar new continent.”

SOURCE: All About History

Where your premise fails Mr. Thomas is there is no defining point that makes America a Christian nation. In order to pick one specific point in time one would have to ignore the essence of our countries foundation. The reason this nation was founded and the government created was to escape religious persecution. This nation, at the very depths of its foundation was founded on the Bible and the principles from the Gospels of Jesus the Messiah.

If you need proof, which as an academic and journalist I assume is of the utmost importance to you, I’ve managed to drum up just a few quotes from some of our founding fathers and the sources from which they come. Sources were added for your conveyance, I hope you appreciate them. Now, a few words from our founding fathers.

GEORGE WASHINGTON : “You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are.”

SOURCE: George Washington, The Writings of Washington, John C. Fitzpatrick, editor (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1932), Vol. XV, p. 55, from his speech to the Delaware Indian Chiefs on May 12, 1779

JOHN WITHERSPOON : “[C]hrist Jesus – the promise of old made unto the fathers, the hope of Israel [Acts 28:20], the light of the world [John 8:12], and the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth [Romans 10:4] – is the only Savior of sinners, in opposition to all false religions and every uninstituted rite; as He Himself says (John 14:6): “I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by Me.”

SOURCE: John Witherspoon, The Works of John Witherspoon (Edinburgh: J. Ogle, 1815), Vol. V, p. 255, Sermon 15, “The Absolute Necessity of Salvation Through Christ,” January 2, 1758

THOMAS JEFFERSON: “The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend all to the happiness of man.”

SOURCE: Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Albert Bergh, editor (Washington, D. C.: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Assoc., 1904), Vol. XV, p. 383, to Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse on June 26, 1822

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN: “As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of morals and His religion as He left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see.”

SOURCE: Benjamin Franklin, Works of Benjamin Franklin, John Bigelow, editor (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904), p. 185, to Ezra Stiles, March 9, 1790

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

SOURCE: Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (Washington D. C.: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904), Vol. XIII, p. 292-294. In a letter from John Adams to Thomas Jefferson on June 28, 1813

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS: “In the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior. The Declaration of Independence laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity.”

SOURCE: John Quincy Adams, An Oration Delivered Before the Inhabitants of the Town of Newburyport at Their Request on the Sixty-First Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1837 (Newburyport: Charles Whipple, 1837), pp. 5-6.

JOHN DICKSON: “Rendering thanks to my Creator for my existence and station among His works, for my birth in a country enlightened by the Gospel and enjoying freedom, and for all His other kindnesses, to Him I resign myself, humbly confiding in His goodness and in His mercy through Jesus Christ for the events of eternity.”

SOURCE: From the Last Will & Testament of John Dickinson, attested March 25, 1808.

JOHN HANCOCK: “Sensible of the importance of Christian piety and virtue to the order and happiness of a state, I cannot but earnestly commend to you every measure for their support and encouragement.”

SOURCE: Independent Chronicle (Boston), November 2, 1780, last page; see also Abram English Brown, John Hancock, His Book (Boston: Lee and Shepard, 1898), p. 269.

PATRICK HENRY: “Being a Christian… is a character which I prize far above all this world has or can boast.”

SOURCE: A. G. Arnold, The Life of Patrick Henry of Virginia (Auburn and Buffalo: Miller, Orton and Mulligan, 1854), p. 250

CONGRESS OF 1854 “The great, vital, and conservative element in our system is the belief of our people in the pure doctrines and the divine truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

SOURCE: Journal of the House of the Representatives of the United States of America (Washington, DC: Cornelius Wendell, 1855), 34th Cong., 1st Sess., p. 354, January 23, 1856; see also: Lorenzo D. Johnson, Chaplains of the General Government With Objections to their Employment Considered (New York: Sheldon, Blakeman & Co., 1856), p. 35, quoting from the House Journal, Wednesday, January 23, 1856, and B. F. Morris, The Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States (Philadelphia: George W. Childs, 1864), p. 328

As you can see Mr. Thomas based on what the founding fathers state the United States of America was built upon Christian principals, making it a Christian nation. To deny or say otherwise, you would have to rewrite history. But before that nasty idea creeps into your head, please allow me to remind you of the dangers in rewriting history.

If you need to know the exact dangers of rewriting history, just find any survivor of the holocaust. Adolf Hitler, in order to “create” the Aryan Race had to first rewrite the history of Germany. The fact is, Aryans were not and are not German. They were of Iranian and Indian descendant. In order for Hitler to establish an Aryan race he had to rewrite German history. He needed a history that fit into his narrative and into his belief system. History proves that the end result of Hitler’s narrative was 11 million people killed, 6 million of which were Jews. See, there’s a danger in rewriting history.

Now, to address the peripheral issues you have with American history as it pertains to slavery, women’s rights, The Gilded Age and The Roaring ’20s. There is not a single country on the face of this planet that doesn’t have skeletons in their closets. I feel it’s more applicable to quote the Apostle Paul who wrote, “for all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23. All of us have sinned, no one does good, we are all in need of a Savior. The founding fathers were not perfect. Is slavery wrong? YES. Is denying women equal rights wrong? YES. These are areas in which we failed greatly in human history. Hopefully, we can learn from our history and strive to make a better nation, and that’s what I believe we have done. Today, in 21st century America we have an African American as President. We have a woman and an African American man running for President in the Republican party. We have come so far as a nation. But despite all of our triumphs we have failed in not keeping the definition of marriage, the most sacred union, defined as God has always intended it. We have left the foundation upon which we were built.

Mr. Thomas, as you can probably tell I am quite upset by your comments and opinion. However, the great thing about this nation is we both can have an opinion and we are both given the freedom to express it openly without fear. My hope in writing you is that you will see that this nation, although it has strayed far from it’s foundation was in the very beginning intended to be a Christian nation. Though it may not resemble one now, my prayer is by God’s grace we, as a nation, will repent of our sins, and humbly ask Jesus the Only Son of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to forgive us and He will heal us, heal this land, and unite us once again, that we may truly be the United States of America.

2 thoughts on “America Is A Christian Nation

  1. The “Christian nation” claim generally produces more heat than light for the simple reason that exactly what is meant by that claim is not clear. Those advancing the claim typically content themselves to offer ill-defined, soft-focus happy talk about America being a Christian nation. What for instance do they mean in this context by “nation”? Government(s), society, something else?

    It is important in particular in this discussion to distinguish between “society” and “government.” To the extent one equates “nation” with “society,” whether it is legitimate and appropriate to label our nation “Christian” (or “secular”) may be debated Aon various grounds, e.g., the demographic makeup of the population. To the extent one equates “nation” with “government,” it is an entirely different matter that calls for analyzing the legal nature of our government.

    While it is much debated in some circles whether the Constitution separates church and state, it is at least plain that the Constitution (1) establishes a government on the power of “We the people” and not a deity, (2) accords that government limited, enumerated powers, (3) says nothing to connect that government to god(s) or religion, (4) says nothing to give that government power over matters of god(s) or religion, and (5), indeed, says nothing substantive about god(s) or religion at all except in a provision precluding any religious test for public office. The founders later buttressed the Constitution’s treatment of government and religion with the First Amendment, which affirmatively constrains the government from undertaking to establish religion or prohibit individuals from freely exercising their religions.

    The founders of course would not establish a government that is inherently at odds with their religious convictions, which were largely Christian in nature. That said, there is no reason to suppose that Christianity or theism is an inherent aspect of our constitutional government. Indeed, any such claim is antithetical to the constitutional principle against government establishment of religion and inconsistent with the Christian principle that people cannot be coerced to believe but rather must come to God voluntarily. By founding a secular government and assuring it would remain separate from religion, the founders basically established government neutrality in matters of religion, allowing individuals to freely choose and exercise their religions and thus allowing Christianity (and other religions) to flourish or founder as they will. It is to be expected that the values and views of the people, shaped in part by their religions, will be reflected in the laws adopted by their government. There is nothing in the Constitution that requires or calls for this; it is simply a natural outgrowth of the people’s expression of political will in a republican government. To the extent that the people’s values and views change over time, it is to be expected that those changes will come to be reflected in the laws adopted by their government. There is nothing in the Constitution to prevent this; indeed, just the opposite–the Constitution establishes a government designed to be responsive to the political will of the people. It is conceivable, therefore, that if Christianity’s influence in our society wanes relative to other influences, that may lead to changes in our laws. Nothing in the Constitution would prevent that–and moreover the establishment clause would preclude Christians from using the government to somehow “lock in” (aka establish) Christianity in an effort to stave off such an eventuality.

    Does the foregoing describe a “Christian nation”? And what is the import of that label anyway? Certainly, the label carries no legal effect; it appears to speak more to political or cultural interests.

  2. Thank you dougindeap for taking the time to read my blog and for responding. I truly appreciate it. However the issue that I’m finding with your thesis is the failure to use the definitions of the words given and instead attempt to bring their meanings into question. For instance, in your statement,
    “What for instance do they mean in this context by ‘nation’? Government(s), society, something else?”
    For clarity, I would refer to Merriam Webster’s where a society is defined as, “people in general, thought of as living together in organized communities with shared laws, traditions, and values.”
    It was from the shared values, faith, traditions and laws (i.e. the Bible) that the father’s of the Constitution and Bill of Rights had their beliefs rooted and it’s why the founding documents on which our nation rests is filled with Christian principals.

    What I found particularly interesting is the definition of nation. When I looked it up in Merriam Webster’s it had an example that read; “the American people became one nation when they adopted the Constitution in 1789.”

    And as for the definition of government Merriam Webster’s defines it as; “the act or process of governing; specifically :authoritative direction or control.”

    So, a government doesn’t exist without a nation, and a nation doesn’t exist without society. I’m not clear why anyone would attempt to separate them, unless they didn’t understand how important each is to the other.

    And as for your argument regarding the first amendment, below I’ve included a link to an article I found very interesting which actually gives insight to the direct intentions of our founding fathers as it relates to it. As I stated in my blog, it was the founding fathers full intentions for this to be a Christian nation. And although there are many who find this notion offensive and desire to rewrite history to attempt to make their case I would warn that the last person to completely rewrite his countries history ended up murdering millions of innocent Jews, his last name was Hitler.

    Below is a portion of the article. The fill article can be found here ->

    The First Amendment to limit the federal Congress began:

    “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.”

    During North Carolina’s ratifying convention, Governor, Samuel Johnston argued, July 30, 1788: “The people of Massachusetts and Connecticut are mostly Presbyterians. … In Rhode Island, the tenets of the Baptists, I believe, prevail. In New York, they are divided very much; the most numerous are the Episcopalians and the Baptists. In New Jersey, they are as much divided as we are. In Pennsylvania, if any sect prevails more than others, it is that of the Quakers. In Maryland, the Episcopalians are most numerous, though there are other sects. In Virginia, there are many sects. … I hope, therefore, that gentlemen will see there is no cause of fear that any one religion shall be exclusively established.”

    Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, who was appointed by James Madison, explained in his “Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States,” 1833: “In some of the states, Episcopalians constituted the predominant sect; in other, Presbyterians; in others, Congregationalists; in others, Quakers. … The whole power over the subject of religion is left exclusively to the state governments, to be acted upon according to their own sense of justice and the state constitutions.”

    What acknowledgments of religion were in the state constitutions at the time those states debated and ratified the Bill of Rights?

    The first state to ratify 10 of the proposed 12 articles of the Bill of Rights was New Jersey on Nov. 20, 1789. At that time, New Jersey was still operating under its 1776 Constitution, which stated: “All persons, professing a belief in the faith of any Protestant sect, who shall demean themselves peaceably under the government … shall be capable of being elected.”

    Maryland was the second state to ratify the Bill of Rights, Dec. 19, 1789. At that time, Maryland was still operating under its 1776 Constitution, which stated: “No other test … ought to be required, on admission to any office … than such oath of support and fidelity to this state … and a declaration of a belief in the Christian religion.”

    North Carolina was the third state to ratify the Bill of Rights, Dec. 22, 1789. At that time, North Carolina was still operating under its 1776 Constitution, which stated: “No person, who shall deny the being of God or the truth of the Protestant religion, or the Divine authority either of the Old or New Testaments, or who shall hold religious principles incompatible with the freedom and safety of the state, shall be capable of holding … office.”

    South Carolina was the fourth state to ratify the Bill of Rights, Jan. 19, 1790. At that time, South Carolina was still operating under its 1778 Constitution, which stated: “No person shall be eligible to a seat … unless he be of the Prostestant religion. … The Christian Protestant religion shall be deemed … the established religion of this state.”

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    New Hampshire was the fifth state to ratify the Bill of Rights, Jan. 25, 1790. At that time, New Hampshire was still operating under its 1784 Constitution, which stated: “No person shall be capable of being elected … who is not of the Protestant religion.”

    Delaware was the sixth state to ratify the Bill of Rights, Jan. 28, 1790. At that time, Delaware was still operating under its 1776 Constitution, which stated: “Every person … appointed to any office … shall … subscribe … ‘I … profess faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ His only Son, and in the Holy Ghost, one God, blessed for evermore; and I do acknowledge the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine inspiration.’”

    New York was the seventh state to ratify the Bill of Rights, Feb. 24, 1790. At that time, New York was still operating under its 1777 Constitution, which stated: “The United American states … declare … ‘Laws of nature and of Nature’s God … All men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. … Appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world … A firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence’ … People of this state, ordain … the free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination. … Provided, That the liberty of conscience, hereby granted, shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness.”

    Pennsylvania was the eighth state to ratify the Bill of Rights, March 10, 1790. At that time, Pennsylvania was still operating under its 1776 Constitution, which stated: “Each member, before he takes his seat, shall … subscribe … ‘I do believe in one God, the Creator and Governor of the Universe, the Rewarder of the good and the Punisher of the wicked. And I do acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine Inspiration.’”

    Rhode Island was the ninth state to ratify the Bill of Rights, June 7, 1790. At that time, Rhode Island was still operating under its 1663 Colonial Constitution, which stated: “By the blessing of God … a full liberty in religious concernments … rightly grounded upon Gospel principles, will give the best and greatest security … in the true Christian faith and worship of God. … They may … defend themselves, in their just rights and liberties against all the enemies of the Christian faith.”

    Vermont was the 10th state to ratify the Bill of Rights, Nov. 3, 1791. At that time, Vermont was still operating under its 1777 Constitution, which stated: “And each member, before he takes his seat, shall make and subscribe the following declaration, viz. ‘I ____ do believe in one God, the Creator and Governor of the Universe, the Rewarder of the good and Punisher of the wicked. And I do acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine inspiration, and own and profess the Protestant religion.’ And no further or other religious test shall ever, hereafter, be required.”

    Virginia was the 11th state to ratify the Bill of Rights, Dec. 15, 1791. At that time, Virginia was still operating under its 1776 Constitution, which stated: “It is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other.”

    After the Bill of Rights were ratified by three-fourths of the states, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson certified their adoption on March 1, 1792.

    Regarding religion, Thomas Jefferson wrote to Samuel Miller, Jan. 23, 1808: “I consider the government of the U.S. as interdicted (prohibited) by the Constitution from inter-meddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises. This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment or free exercise of religion, but from that also which reserves to the states the powers not delegated to the U.S. …”

    Jefferson continued: “Certainly no power to prescribe any religious exercise, or to assume authority in religious discipline, has been delegated to the general (federal) government. It must then rest with the states as far as it can be in any human authority. … I do not believe it is for the interest of religion to invite the civil magistrate to direct its exercises, its discipline, or its doctrines. … Every religious society has a right to determine for itself the times for these exercises, and the objects proper for them, according to their own particular tenets.”

    The Legislative Reference Service of the Library of Congress prepared “The Constitution of the United States of America – Analysis and Interpretation” (Edward S. Corwin, editor, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, 1953, p. 758), which stated: “In his ‘Commentaries on the Constitution,’ 1833, Justice Joseph Story asserted that the purpose of the First Amendment was not to discredit the then existing state establishments of religion, but rather ‘to exclude from the National Government all power to act on the subject.’”

    Justice Joseph Story wrote in “A Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United States,” 1840: “We are not to attribute this prohibition of a national religious establishment to an indifference to religion in general, and especially to Christianity (which none could hold in more reverence than the framers of the Constitution). … Probably, at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, and of the Amendment to it now under consideration, the general, if not the universal, sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the state so far as was not incompatible with the private rights of conscience and the freedom of religious worship. An attempt to level all religions, and to make it a matter of state policy to hold all in utter indifference, would have created universal disapprobation, if not universal indignation. …”

    Story continued: “But the duty of supporting religion, and especially the Christian religion, is very different from the right to force the consciences of other men or to punish them for worshipping God in the manner which they believe their accountability to Him requires. … The rights of conscience are, indeed, beyond the just reach of any human power. They are given by God, and cannot be encroached upon by human authority without a criminal disobedience of the precepts of natural as well as of revealed religion. The real object of the First Amendment was not to countenance, much less to advance Mohammedanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity, but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment which should give to a hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government.”

    Thomas Jefferson stated in his second inaugural address, March 4, 1805: “In matters of religion I have considered that its free exercise is placed by the Constitution independent of the powers of the general (Federal) government. I have therefore undertaken, on no occasion, to prescribe the religious exercise suited to it; but have left them, as the Constitution found them, under the direction and discipline of state and church authorities by the several religious societies.”

    Things began to change with the 14th Amendment.

    In 1889, John Bouvier’s Law Dictionary (Philadelphia, J.B. Lippincott Co.) gave the definition of “Religion” and then hinted of the novel use of the 14th Amendment: “‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof’ … By establishment of religion is meant the setting up of state church, or at least conferring upon one church of special favors which are denied to others. … The Christian religion is, of course, recognized by the government, yet … the preservation of religious liberty is left to the states. … This provision and that relating to religious tests are limitations upon the power of the (federal) Congress only. … Perhaps the Fourteenth Amendment may give additional securities if needful.”

    The 14th Amendment was passed July 28, 1866, to force Southern Democrat states to give rights to freed slaves. But in solving one problem it created another.

    Republican Congressman John Farnsworth of Illinois stated of the 14th Amendment, March 31, 1871: “The reason for the adoption (of the 14th Amendment) … was because of … discriminating … legislation of those states … by which they were punishing one class of men under different laws from another class.”

    The 14th Amendment was sponsored by Republican Congressman John Bingham of Ohio. When asked if he feared the 14th Amendment might open the door for the federal government to usurp rights away from the states, Rep. John Bingham replied: “I repel the suggestion … that the Amendment will … take away from any state any right that belongs to it.”

    Nevertheless, shortly after the 14th Amendment was ratified, activist federal judges began to do just that. Darwinist philosopher Herbert Spencer influenced Harvard Law School dean Christopher Columbus Langdell to apply evolution to the legal process. Rather than upholding the intent of those who wrote the laws, Langdell taught that laws could evolve through a series of “case precedents.”

    There developed two ways to change laws.

    The first way to change laws requires motivating a majority of citizens to elect Congressmen and Senators, who in turn, need a majority to pass a law, which in turn needs to be signed by the president, who was elected by a majority.

    The second way to change laws is much easier. Simply find an activist judge who is willing to subtly change the definitions of words that are in existing laws.

    This evolutionary view influenced Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., to challenge the traditionalist concept that the Constitution should only be changed by two-thirds of the states approving Amendments.

    Federal courts gradually began to use the 14th Amendment to change the role of the Bill of Rights, particularly the first eight Amendments, from limiting the federal government to limiting the state governments.

    Federal judges used the 14th Amendment, along with an expanded reading of the “commerce clause,” to remove from states’ jurisdiction responsibility over trade disputes, union strikes, and even what farmers could grow on their own farms.

    Justice John Marshall Harlan warned in his dissent of Lochner v. New York (1905), the first case to overturn a state law on the grounds that the law violated the “due process” clause of the 14th Amendment: “No evils arising from … (state) legislation could be more far reaching than those that might come to our system of government if the judiciary, abandoning the sphere assigned to it by the fundamental law, should enter the domain of legislation, and upon grounds merely of justice or reason or wisdom annul statute that had received the sanction of the people’s representatives.”

    Federal court cases which began to creatively usurp state jurisdiction included:

    Freedom of speech and press, Gitlow v. New York, 1925 (re: Socialists) and Fiske v. Kansas, 1927 (re: Unions)
    Freedom of press, Near v. Minnesota, 1931 (re: anti-Catholics)
    Freedom of assembly, DeJonge v. Oregon, 1937 (re: Communists)
    Federal judges used the 14th Amendment to remove from states’ jurisdiction responsibility for freedom of religion in cases regarding Jehovah’s Witnesses:

    Cantwell v. Connecticut, 1940
    Minersville School District v. Gobitis, 1940
    Jones v. Opelika, 1942
    Taylor v. Mississippi, 1943
    Martin v. Struthers, 1943
    United States v. Ballard, 1944
    Saia v. New York, 1948
    Niemotoko v. Maryland, 1951
    Cases of anti-Catholic discrimination were appealed to the Supreme Court: Pierce v. Society of Sisters of Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, 1925, and Everson v. Board of Education, 1947.

    Federal courts gradually created a case by case “crucible of litigation” method (Wallace v. Jaffree, 1985) by which the First Amendment took on an increasingly anti-religious interpretation. The federal courts figuratively took the handcuffs off their wrists and placed them on the states.

    Thomas Jefferson warned Charles Hammond, 1821, how federal judges would be tempted to usurp power: “The germ of dissolution of our … government is in … the federal judiciary … working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow … until all shall be usurped from the states.”

    Ronald Reagan addressed the Alabama state Legislature, March 15, 1982: “The First Amendment of the Constitution was not written to protect the people of this country from religious values; it was written to protect religious values from government tyranny.”

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