‘Separation Of Church And State':The Theory That Government Should Grow Larger And More Powerful And Religion Should Grow Smaller And More Marginalized

Those who claim that the doctrine of the separation of church and state is in the Constitution are frauds.  It is NOT.  The concept existed in a private letter written by a man who did not write so much as a single word of the U.S. Constitution or the Bill of Rights which followed the Constitution.  Oh, and Jefferson’s intent in using the phrase “wall of separation between church and state” was wildly taken out of context and applied in a manner in which Jefferson is even now rolling in his grave (and see here).

What is the clear result of this doctrine?  It is one thing: that government should have absolutely no limit on its growing power and influence while religion should be marginalized and forbidden from increasing areas of discourse.

Now the government of “God damn America” can impose abortion and the radical homosexual agenda on the church and the church is immoral for publicly decrying the impositions.

Another great authority, one Franklin Delano Roosevelt, said that there ought to be a wall of separation between LABOR UNIONS and the state:

“Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees. Upon employees in the Federal service rests the obligation to serve the whole people, whose interests and welfare require orderliness and continuity in the conduct of Government activities. This obligation is paramount. Since their own services have to do with the functioning of the Government, a strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable.”

Not that that mattered.  I mean, FDR didn’t have much more to do with the Constitution than Jefferson did, but somehow you don’t see liberal Supreme Court Justices dictating that all government unions be immediately abolished citing FDR the way they so gleefully cite Jefferson to undermine and replace religion in America.

But wouldn’t it be nice if FDR phrases such as “a strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government” and that government labor unions represent “the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it” the way they exploited Jefferson’s phraseology???

But lets just stick with the words of the founding fathers.  Because we can stick with them all the livelong day and make our point.  In fact, let’s just stick with the words of Thomas Jefferson for a while.  Because it’s rather easy to demonstrate that the liberal justices who decreed that Jefferson’s words were the soul of the Constitution even though they had nothing whatsoever to do with the Constitution dishonestly and blatantly ignored pretty much absolutely everything else that Jefferson ever said.

It’s a shame that the liberals on the Supreme Court fixated on Jefferson’s words that could be twisted and distorted to attack religion in America rather than focus on OTHER words of Jefferson that would have shaped a better society such as:

“A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have.”

And:

“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”

And:

“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”

And:

“If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.”

And:

“To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”

And:

“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government”

Why hasn’t Ruth Bader Ginsburg changed America with these words by Jefferson the way her ideological liberal judicial forerunners changed America with words by Jefferson???

A nation in which there was a rigid separation of labor unions from government would be a far better and stronger one than the one that we have now which wars against and undermines the influence of religion.  And I say that conclusively based on the clear words of our founding fathers that the liberal justices of the Supreme Court chose to deliberately and studiously ignore while instead choosing a few words radically out of context to hamstring the free exercise of religion.

“Of all the habits and dispositions which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.  In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars.” — George Washington

“We have no government armed with the power capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and true religion. Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” — John Adams

“…And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion…reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” –- George Washington, Farewell Address, Sept 17, 1796

“Religion and good morals are the only solid foundations of public liberty and happiness.” –- Samuel Adams, Letter to John Trumbull, October 16, 1778

“The great pillars of all government and of social life [are] virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor…and this alone, that renders us invincible.” –- Patrick Henry, Letter to Archibald Blair, January 8, 1789

I would argue it’s a damn shame that liberal justices seized Jefferson’s “wall of separation” line while refusing to acknowledge what Thomas Jefferson said about THEM and their fascist abuse of judical-tyrant power:

“This member of the Government was at first considered as the most harmless and helpless of all its organs. But it has proved that the power of declaring what the law is, ad libitum, by sapping and mining slyly and without alarm the foundations of the Constitution, can do what open force would not dare to attempt.” —Thomas Jefferson to Edward Livingston, 1825. ME 16:114

“The Constitution . . . meant that its coordinate branches should be checks on each other. But the opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch.” —Thomas Jefferson to Abigail Adams, 1804. ME 11:51

“To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men and not more so. They have with others the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps. Their maxim is boni judicis est ampliare jurisdictionem [good justice is broad jurisdiction], and their power the more dangerous as they are in office for life and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots. It has more wisely made all the departments co-equal and co-sovereign within themselves.” —Thomas Jefferson to William C. Jarvis, 1820. ME 15:277

I hope you see the hypocrisy by now.

Liberals are people who want to destroy the last vestige of true religion in America while imposing the union agenda in the church’s place.  And if they can literally read a phrase such as “wall of separation between church and state” while specifically omitting the rest of the context of the letter those words are found in, and then blatantly ignore the very clear intent of the founding fathers that America needed to be what Lincoln described as “one nation under God,” well, they’re liberal ideologues and that’s what liberal ideologues do.

Which is why the beast is coming.

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8 Responses to “‘Separation Of Church And State':The Theory That Government Should Grow Larger And More Powerful And Religion Should Grow Smaller And More Marginalized”

  1. dougindeap Says:

    Separation of church and state is a bedrock principle of our Constitution much like the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances. In the Constitution, the founders did not simply say in so many words that there should be separation of powers and checks and balances; rather, they actually separated the powers of government among three branches and established checks and balances. Similarly, they did not merely say there should be separation of church and state; rather, they actually separated them by (1) establishing a secular government on the power of “We the people” (not a deity), (2) saying nothing to connect that government to god(s) or religion, (3) saying nothing to give that government power over matters of god(s) or religion, and (4), indeed, saying nothing substantive about god(s) or religion at all except in a provision precluding any religious test for public office. Given the norms of the day, the founders’ avoidance of any expression in the Constitution suggesting that the government is somehow based on any religious belief was quite a remarkable and plainly intentional choice. They later buttressed this separation of government and religion with the First Amendment, which constrains the government from undertaking to establish religion or prohibit individuals from freely exercising their religions. The basic principle, thus, rests on much more than just the First Amendment.

    That the phrase “separation of church and state” does not appear in the text of the Constitution assumes much importance, it seems, to some who may have once labored under the misimpression it was there and, upon learning they were mistaken, reckon they’ve discovered a smoking gun solving a Constitutional mystery. To those familiar with the Constitution, the absence of the metaphor commonly used to name one of its principles is no more consequential than the absence of other phrases (e.g., Bill of Rights, separation of powers, checks and balances, fair trial, religious liberty) used to describe other undoubted Constitutional principles.

    To the extent that some nonetheless would like confirmation–in those very words–of the founders’ intent to separate government and religion, Madison and Jefferson supplied it. Madison, who had a central role in drafting the Constitution and the First Amendment, confirmed that he understood them to “[s]trongly guard[] . . . the separation between Religion and Government.” Madison, Detached Memoranda (~1820). He made plain, too, that they guarded against more than just laws creating state sponsored churches or imposing a state religion. Mindful that even as new principles are proclaimed, old habits die hard and citizens and politicians could tend to entangle government and religion (e.g., “the appointment of chaplains to the two houses of Congress” and “for the army and navy” and “[r]eligious proclamations by the Executive recommending thanksgivings and fasts”), he considered the question whether these actions were “consistent with the Constitution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom” and responded: “In strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative. The Constitution of the United States forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion.”

    While the religious views of various founders are subjects of some uncertainty and controversy, it is safe to say that many founders were Christian of one sort or another and held views such as you note regarding religion. In assessing the nature of our government, though, care should be taken to distinguish between society and government and not to make too much of various founders’ individual religious beliefs. Their individual beliefs, while informative, are largely beside the point. Whatever their religions, they drafted a Constitution that establishes a secular government and separates it from religion as noted earlier. This is entirely consistent with the fact that some founders professed their religiosity and even their desire that Christianity remain the dominant religious influence in American society. Why? Because religious people who would like to see their religion flourish in society may well believe that separating religion and government will serve that end and, thus, in founding a government they may well intend to keep it separate from religion. It is entirely possible for thoroughly religious folk to found a secular government and keep it separate from religion. That, indeed, is just what the founders did.

    Lest there be any doubt on this score, note that shortly after the founding, President John Adams (a founder) signed, with the unanimous consent of the Senate (comprised in large measure of founders), the Treaty of Tripoli declaring, in pertinent part, “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” No need to resort to reading tea leaves to understand that. This is not an informal comment by an individual founder, but rather an official declaration of the most solemn sort by the United States government itself. Note that the Constitution provides that treaties, apart from the Constitution itself, are the highest law of the land.

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

  2. FMC Says:

    At the very core, liberals are at complete and total enmity with God. They will do and use anything such as “seperation of church and state” to further their demonic agenda. Their ultimate goal is a one-world government without God. Like the demons that motivate them, they will lie and twist the truth in what the Bible basically calls doctrines of demons. The government as god and the one-world government theme had its roots in early babylon, led by Nimrod and the construction of the Tower of Babel. Although the early movement was stopped by God, this one will culminate in the rise of the antichrist and the Tribulation before he intervenes.

    It’s downright scary what is happening these days. Obama is aiding the radical Muslims of Europe, the Middle East, and even Africa (see Egypt) in taking over that region. Of course, the Bible talks about a Russian-led Arab-coalition that will attack Israel in the last days. You can see this confederation forming now. Deep down, I believe that Obama has an intense hatred for Israel and will start to cause America to not support them in the future. It is interesting that in the past Obama has had strong relationships with people that have intense hatred against both Israel and the U.S.

  3. Michael Eden Says:

    they did not merely say there should be separation of church and state; rather, they actually separated them by (1) establishing a secular government on the power of “We the people” (not a deity), (2) saying nothing to connect that government to god(s) or religion

    dougindeap,

    In four words, your analysis is simply wrong:

    When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    Which is to say “Creator = life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.” And “No Creator equals NO life, liberty or pursuit of happiness.” If you want life, liberty or happiness, affirm the Creator. Period.

    This was the very first decaration from the very group of men who would later write the Constitution. And those men signed a document that said YOU are wrong and God is Lord over America.

    The founding fathers VERY MUCH established the United States of America on a “deity.” They literally grounded their right to create the United States of America ON a deity. They literally founded human equality ON A DEITY. The founding fathers told the King of England, GOD gave us these rights and if you don’t honor the rights that GOD gave us we have a GOD-given right to separate and form a government which DOES recognize that a sovereign GOD gave us these rights.

    So your entire excuse and rationalization for the fact that “separation of church and state” does NOT appear in the Constitution is vapid.

    Abraham Lincoln, concluding the greatest words that any American president ever spoke, utterly refuted you in saying in the final sentence of his Gettysburg Address:

    It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us–that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion–that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.

    You made it an either/or proposition: either the Constitution enshrined man or it enshrined God and it clearly enshrined man, on your deeply flawed view. Lincoln refuted your flawed premise and stated conclusively that it was ONLY in “this nation under God” that you could have anything like “government of the people, by the people, for the people” exist.

    Your subsequent writing also misunderstands what “one nation under God” looks like. It does NOT look like a theocracy, nor does it look like a theocratic tyranny under which everyone must be a Christian or die. Rather, it is the recognition that God created man as a morally reasoning being and that, when a nation is under God and honors God, that nation will treat its citizens as the capstone of God’s creation rather than as famous atheists such as Jospeh Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot, Chairman Mao and Kim Jong Il treated them.

    The Constitution was intended to give God and religion honoring Him a firm place in American society AND government that could not be usurped. And what the Constitution guaranteed has been taken away by those who do NOT recognize the Constitution in any literal or historical interpretation which enabled them to flagrently abandon what the founding fathers said.

    It was NOT John Adams who wrote the Treaty of Tripoli; it was a bureaucrat named Joel Barlow who wrote it. What John Adamns DID write was, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” And interestingly, the words of a FAR more important treaty in the history of America – the Treaty of Paris with Great Britain in 1783 – obviates whatever force you believe the Treaty of Tripli has. Because in THAT treaty that was in fact directly negotiated by John Adamns, it states, “In the Name of the most holy and undivided Trinity.” And unlike the Treaty of Tripoli, the words or validity of this treaty are in no way in dispute.

    I might also add that in 1892 the Supreme Court stated:

    There is no dissonance in these declarations. There is a universal language pervading them all, having one meaning; they affirm and reaffirm that this is a religious nation. These are not individual sayings, declarations of private persons: they are organic [legal, governmental] utterances; they speak the voice of the entire people. … These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.”.

    Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli says: As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

    The interesting thing about that is that it was written in Arabic and copied in English. And the Arabic original very definitely did NOT include the words about “the Christian religion.” Which is to say that the version that actually accomplished the peace did not include this reference to Christianity. Furthermore, the Treaty of Tripoli remained on the books for only eight years, at which time the treaty was renegotiated, and Article 11 was dropped. Apparently, the founding fathers did not want to do the thing you say they wanted to do – because they CHANGED the Treaty of Tripoli to remove your tenuous foundation.

    So I have the most important founding document in all of history – the Declaration of Independence – and I have the most important Treaty negotiated by the founding fathers – the Treaty of Paris. Both of them remain exactly as they refute you. You have a Treaty that stood for eight years and which had the part you cite specifically omitted. I’m not impressed.

    And if you can cite the Treaty of Tripoli, I can cite not only the far more important Treaty of Paris, but I can cite the most precious founding document of America, I can cite numerous clearly statements by the founding fathers including the one you falsely stated wrote the Treaty of Tripoli, AND I can cite the declaration of the Supreme Court of the United States to the precise opposite effect of your assertions.

    Of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence, 54 of our founding fathers were confessed Christians and members of Christian churches. An astonishing 29 of them had seminary degrees and were ordained ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is simply no question that they envisioned a nation which honors God. Their genius was to enshrine a system in which every man was free to honor God according to his or her conscience. The founding fathers did not seek to elevate one sect of Christianity above any others, and therefore intentionally erected your “wall of seperation” such that government could not influence the teachings of the churches; but they couldn’t have been much more clear that God was to be given sacred honor in this new nation UNDER God.

    The founding fathers did not make it their political goal that every person worship Jesus Christ. In that limited sense I affirm your Treaty of Tripoli, just as the founders who ratified it would have. The founding fathers did not intend to create a theocracy; of that all are completely agreed. A great book called “The 5000 Year Leap” makes the case that the founding fathers advocated for a “civic religion” based on Judeo-Christian morality. They did not want to impose their theology and make edicts such as “every citizen shall be baptized by full immersion in the name of Jesus Christ,” but rather they wanted a religious morality that enshrined the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus. What they intended as their political goal was that every citizen be a “moral and religious” person capable of freely living in a free society without needing oppressive government to make them do this and not that which characterizes our godless society so pervasively today.

  4. Michael Eden Says:

    FMC,

    It’s interesting that you cite the Tower of Babel and say “Although the early movement was stopped by God, this one will culminate in the rise of the antichrist and the Tribulation before he intervenes.” That is precisely correct.

    God has stopped every movement to replace Him until this point. But God told us 2,000 years ago and even 3,000 years ago in the Old Testament that there would come a day when He would allow manking to shake its fist at Him. He would allow Godless man to rise up. He would allow Godless man to reveal that godlessness fails and fails spectacularly.

    The Tribuation will be a time that Jesus Christ gives secular humanist liberalism the chance that it has always sought. Up to now, liberals have been able to say, “We would have created the perfect Utopia but those Christians or those Republicans or those Tea Partiers or Bush stopped us.” They live in a world of excuses in which they have never been responsible for any of the carnage they have caused. Well, one day Christ will give them their chance to rule. And when He returns seven years later liberals will have so completely destroyed the world and its governments that Christ will have to return to save the planet from the despicable rule of global tyrant liberalism.

  5. dougindeap Says:

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

    The plain declaration of the United States Government, then comprised largely of founders, in the Treaty or Tripoli that it “is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion” cannot be discounted on the grounds you posit. First, the treaty can hardly be dismissed, as you seem to suggest, as merely the work of a single “bureaucrat,” Joel Barlow. Certainly, you would not expect the President to personally negotiate and write the terms of a treaty. That Consul Barlow negotiated and wrote the terms of this treaty does not in the least detract from the critical point that the U.S. Senate unanimously consented to the treaty and President Adams signed it into law.
    Second, nor does it matter that the Arabic version of the treaty does not include language corresponding to this statement, since our interest in the treaty is what it reveals of the founders’ understanding of the Constitution. President Adams signed and the Senate ratified the English version of the treaty–without any evidence of question or controversy about the pertinent statement in Article 11. Moreover, the treaty was published in the newspapers of the time, along with a statement by Adams that, with the advice and consent of the Senate, he had considered and ratified the treaty and “every clause and article thereof.” As far as I am aware, there is no evidence that publication of the treaty prompted any public dissent.

    Third, you suggest, without explanation, that the words and validity of the Treaty of Tripoli are “disputed.” Apart from lacking any basis, this suggestion is beside the point. Ours is a largely factual question, not a legal one. We’re looking for evidence of the founders’ intent, not trying to determine the treaty’s validity. Assuming for the sake of argument that the treaty was legally defective (which, to be sure, is not my view), the fact remains that by signing and ratifying it, President Adams and the other founders in the Senate plainly and officially confirmed their understanding that “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”

    Fourth, you assert that the treaty was “renegotiated” and “Article 11 was dropped,” implying that the substance of the article was somehow disavowed. The assertion is inaccurate, and the implication invalid. The Treaty of Tripoli effectively became inoperative when the United States and the Barbary states went to war. After the war, the United States negotiated new treaties with the Barbary states. I know of no evidence that the pertinent statement in Article 11 was the subject of negotiation either in the 1797 treaty or later treaties. While little can be deduced from speculation why certain terms were not included in later treaties, a straightforward explanation is that the statement appeared in the 1797 treaty as part of an elaboration why the United States had no reason to go to war with the Barbary nations, and that elaboration did not appear in later treaties because by that time the United States had actually gone to war with the Barbary nations.

    You would make much of a prefatory phrase in the Treaty of Paris ending the Revolutionary War with Great Britain. This is grasping at straws. First, this treaty was entered into in 1783 by a precursor of the Government of the United States later founded by the Constitution that separated government and religion. Second, your suggestion that John Adams directly negotiated inclusion of the phrase “In the Name of the most holy and undivided Trinity” and thus we should suppose it has real meaning for our government is specious. Great Britain customarily included that phrase in all treaties written by it at the time as an acknowledgement that Great Britain was a Christian nation. It says nothing of the United States. The most that can be said, I suppose, is that Adams did not care to dispute Great Britain’s custom. When agents of the United States later actually wrote the terms of treaties, they did not add such language.

    Apart from our apparent differences about the foregoing historical details, I think perhaps we agree on some basics. I agree with your overarching thesis that the founders would not establish a government that is inherently at odds with their religious convictions, which were largely Christian in nature. Moreover, given the republican nature of our government, I think it is only natural and expected that the laws enacted by our government–in both the founders’ time and today–largely reflect Christianity’s dominant influence in our society.
    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. You appear to agree, at least to the extent that the founders did not intend to create a theocracy or use government to impose a theology. By founding a secular government and assuring it would remain separate, in some measure at least, 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. As noted above, 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 of the First Amendment would preclude using the government to somehow “lock in” (aka establish) Christianity in an effort to stave off such an eventuality.

  6. Michael Eden Says:

    While some, as you, draw meaning from the references to “Nature’s God” and “Creator” in the Declaration of Independence (references that could mean any number of things, some at odds with the Christian idea of God) and try to connect that meaning to the Constitution, the effort is largely baseless

    dougindeep.

    No. Your very first sentence is simply flat-out wrong.

    Here’s an article that completely refutes you. It very definitely establishes the geneology of the very phrase you cite as meaning something both very definite and uniquely and distinctly Christian:

    God’s Law the Foundation of Free Government
    by Carolyn Alder

    How is it possible that the United States of America became the greatest nation in the history of the world, and in a remarkably short period of time? I believe that it is because our Founding Fathers were able to design an ingenious charter of freedom, based on true and righteous principles, the Constitution of the United States.

    How is it possible that the Founding Fathers created a system of government which provided ultimate freedom and prosperity? I believe that they were extensive researchers, great thinkers, effective communicators, and seekers of truth and inspiration. They had prepared themselves many years, for the great opportunity they were given, to design a system of government which they believed would secure freedom, liberty, and prosperity for themselves and their posterity.

    In the marvelous book, The Five Thousand Year Leap, by Dr. W. Cleon Skousen, he explains that the Founders were all amazingly well read, and although their formal schooling varied greatly, there was remarkable unanimity in their fundamental beliefs. 1 He attributes this to their quest for knowledge in numerous fields:

    “…the debates in the Constitutional Convention and the writings of the Founders reflect a far broader knowledge of religious, political, historical, economic, and philosophical studies.”

    “The thinking of Polybius, Cicero, Thomas Hooker, Coke, Montesquieu, Blackstone, John Locke, and Adam Smith salt-and-peppered their writings and their conversations. They were also careful students of the Bible, especially the Old Testament, and even though some did not belong to any Christian denomination, the teachings of Jesus were held in universal, respect and admiration.” 2

    Dr. Skousen has formulated the Founders fundamental beliefs into 28 Principles of Liberty. The 1st Principle is: “The only reliable basis for sound government and just human relations is Natural Law.” 3

    Dr. Skousen cites the writings of Cicero as authority for this 1st principle of liberty:

    “Marcus Tullius Cicero was the Founders’ favorite expositor of Natural Law. In the Founders’ roster of great political thinkers, Cicero was high on the list.” 4

    Describing Cicero, Dr. Skousen quotes Dr. William Ebenstein of Princeton:

    “The only Roman political writer who has exercised enduring influence throughout the ages is Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 B.C.)…Cicero studied law in Rome, and philosophy in Athens…He became the leading lawyer of his time and also rose to the highest office of state (Roman Consul)… 5

    Cicero…was a victim of turbulent power politics, but in his writings On the Republic and On the Laws he had projected the grandeur and promise of some future society based on Natural Law.

    “Cicero spoke of building a society on principles of Natural Law by recognizing and identifying the rules of ‘right conduct’ with the laws of the Supreme Creator of the universe. He recognized the “brilliant intelligence of a supreme Designer with an ongoing interest in both human and cosmic affairs….that once the reality of the Creator is clearly identified in the mind, the only intelligent approach to government, justice, and human relations is in terms of the laws which the Supreme Creator has already established. The Creator’s order of things is called Natural Law.” 6

    So, Cicero defined Natural Law as “right conduct” according to the laws established by the Supreme Creator, or “the Creator’s order of things.” He goes on to describe it as “true law”:

    “True law is right reason in agreement with nature; it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting;…It is a sin to try to alter this law, nor is it allowable to repeal any part of it, and it is impossible to abolish it entirely. We cannot be freed from its obligations by senate or people,…one eternal and unchangeable law will be valid for all nations and all times, and there will be one master and ruler, that is God, over us all, for he is the author of this law,…” 7

    Simply stated, Cicero says God’s law is “true law” and man’s laws, of “right conduct,” are obligated to conform to God’s law.

    Let’s look at a similar phrase, found in the first paragraph of The Declaration of Independence.

    “When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitles them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

    Violations of these laws, the laws of nature and of nature’s God, was the reason the Founders declared they must separate themselves from Great Britain and that they were entitled to establish themselves among the powers of the earth as a separate and equal station.

    I like how David Barton in his booklet, “The Spirit of the Revolution” explains that sadly we have lost the concept of “…the laws of nature and of nature’s God…”

    “Today, these eight words seem to carry no special significance (certainly not enough to justify a revolution), but in their day, that eight-word phrase described a complete philosophy of life.

    Yet, even in our era, we, too, have phrases more expressive than their literal wording. For example, the phrase “secular humanism.” Secular humanism currently represents much more than just two words, it describes a philosophy which identifies a widespread movement which embraces specific beliefs and has a declared agenda.” 8

    I believe that it is by design that the principles of the Founders’ have not only been removed from society and education, but they have intentionally been replaced with the opposite philosophy. This discussion of the postmodernism philosophy will need to be saved for another paper. 9

    So what is the philosophy of life described in the Declaration’s phrase, “the laws of nature and of nature’s God”?

    The best way we can understand the meaning of that phrase is to turn to the source largely responsible for those words. Sir William Blackstone (1723-1780). He was an English judge and law professor who authored the four-volume Commentaries on the Laws of England.

    Itroduced in 1766, Blackstone’s became the law book of the Founding Fathers. In fact, political scientists have shown that Blackstone was one of two most frequently invoked political authorities of the Founders. 10

    I will expound on this modern scientific political science study later.

    Blackstone explains “the laws of nature”:

    “Man, considered as a creature, must necessarily be subject to the laws of his Creator, for he is entirely a dependent being…And consequently, as man depends absolutely upon his Maker for everything, it is necessary that he should in all points conform to his Maker’s will. This will of his Maker is called the law of nature.

    …This law of nature, being coeval (coexistent) 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.” 11

    So, Blackstone said, “the laws of nature” are the will of God for man. Blackstone continued:

    “And if our reason were always…clear and perfect…the task would be pleasant and easy; we should need no other guide but the (the law of nature). But every man now finds the contrary in his own experience; that his reason is corrupt, and his understanding full of ignorance and error. This has given manifold occasion for the benign interposition of Divine Providence; which…hath been pleased, at sundry times and in diverse manners, to discover and enforce its laws by an immediate and direct revelation. The doctrines thus delivered we call the revealed or divine law, and they are to be found only in the Holy Scriptures.” 12

    Summarizing Blackstone’s second phrase, “the laws of nature’s God” are the reveled or divine law, God’s law, found in the Holy Scriptures. Blackstone’s conclusion couples these two phrases:

    “Upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation (the law of nature’s God), depend all the human laws; that is to say, no human laws should be suffered to contradict these.” 13

    Nowadays, if we said “the laws of nature” many people would think we are advocating doing what ever comes naturally, or perhaps whatever the animals might do. There seems to be little relevance to absolute truth or God’s Law. To some modern philosophers, man’s law is supreme. Everything is evolving, and people, legislatures, and courts do not seem to be concerned with consequences now or in the hereafter.

    David Barton, in his book “Original Intent” explains the importance of God’s law and Blackstone on the Founding Fathers.

    “Blackstone’s influence is not only apparent in our American government documents, the Commentaries became the major foundation for the American system of jurisprudence for decades. The fundamental precept was that civil laws could not contradict the laws of God revealed either through nature or the Bible.” 14

    It is amazing to note the homogeneity of these two great thinkers centuries apart! For both Cicero (106-43 BC) Natural Law, and Blackstone (1723-1780) the Laws of Nature, the root of the source of both of their political theories was God as the Supreme Creator and obeying His laws!

    Dr. Skousen explains,

    “These concepts were repeated by the American Founders a thousand times. The Law of Nature or nature’s God is eternal in its basic goodness; it is universal in its application. It is a code of “right reason” from the Creator himself. It cannot be altered. It cannot be repealed. It cannot be abandoned by legislators or the people themselves, even thought they may pretend to do so…we are dealing with factors of absolute reality…totally correct and morally right…” 15

    So back to the previously mentioned scientific study of primary original sources quoted by the Founding Fathers in their writings. This research was conducted by Donald S. Lutz, “The Origins of American Constitutionalism,” 1988. This study as explained by David Barton:

    A group of contemporary political scientists embarked on an ambitious ten-year project (beginning in the early 1970′s) to analyze the political writings from the Founding Era (1760-1805). Those writings were examined with the goal of isolating and identifying the specific political sources cited amidst the debates in the establishment of American government.

    From the 15,000 representative writings selected, the researchers first isolated some 3,154 quotations and then documented the original sources. Baron Charles de Montesquieu a French attorney and author was the most frequently invoked political source 8.3%, from his(1748) Spirit of Laws. The second most frequently quoted was Blackstone 7.9%. 16

    Perhaps to their amazement, what the researchers discovered:

    “[T]hat one direct source of inspiration for their ideas was cited far and away more than any other. In fact, the Founders cited this source four times more often than either Montesquieu or Blackstone and twelve times more often than Lock. What was that source? It was the Bible-accounting for 34 percent of the direct quotes in the political writings of the Founding Era.” 17

    How do we know that the Founding Fathers understood these concepts and applied these principles? I would like to share a few of their statements.

    “All (laws), however, may be arranged in two different classes. 1) Divine. 2) Human…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…Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority of that law which is Divine.”18 James Wilson 1804, (Signer both the Declaration of Independence & the Constitution, and a U.S. Supreme Court Justice)

    “The law…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.” 19 Alexander Hamilton Feb 23, 1775

    “[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 (human law)…these…have been established by the Creator and are, with a peculiar felicity of expression, denominated in Scripture, “ordinances of heaven.” 20 Noah Webster (America’s school master, Author of 1st American English Dictionary, authored Art. 1 Section 8 of U.S. Constitution.)

    “Our citizens should early understand that the genuine source of correct republican principles is the Bible,…particularly the New Testament, or the Christian religion.” 21 Noah Webster

    “The education of youth should be watched with the most scrupulous attention. It is much easier to introduce and establish an effectual system…than to correct by penal statutes the ill effects of a bad system…The education of youth… lays the foundations on which both law and gospel rest for success.” 22 Noah Webster

    “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.” 23 Patrick Henry (5 time Governor of Virginia)

    The last quote, which I love, and have memorized comes from the “Father of our Country,” George Washington’s famous promise, the key to political prosperity from his Farewell address. The greatness of this country depend upon two principles; religion and morality:

    “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

    ‘Tis substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule indeed extends with more or less force to every species of free Government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric.” 24 George Washington Farewell Address

    I want to end where I began, that I am so thankful for the wisdom of our Founding Fathers that they could through study, reason, experience, seeking truth and inspiration of heaven recognized eternal principles and were able to design a structure of government for themselves and their posterity, which resulted in the United States of America becoming the greatest nation on earth!

    1. W. Cleon Skousen, The Five Thousand Year Leap p. 32

    2. W. Cleon Skousen, The Five Thousand Year Leap p. 32;

    (I wonder if Dr. Skousen could mean Richard Hooker 1554-1600 see David Barton’s Original Intent p 219.)

    3. W. Cleon Skousen, The Five Thousand Year Leap p. 37

    4. W. Cleon Skousen, The Five Thousand Year Leap p. 38

    5. W. Cleon Skousen, The Five Thousand Year Leap p. 38

    6. W. Cleon Skousen, The Five Thousand Year Leap p. 38

    7. W. Cleon Skousen, The Five Thousand Year Leap p. 40

    8. David Barton, The Spirit of the American Revolution p.3

    9. Allen Quist, Textbook Review of the Center for Civic Education’s High School Version of We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution & FAQ About the Federal Curriculum p. 3

    10. David Barton, The Spirit of the American Revolution p. 4

    11. David Barton, The Spirit of the American Revolution p. 4

    12. David Barton, The Spirit of the American Revolution p. 4

    13. David Barton, The Spirit of the American Revolution p. 5

    14. David Barton, Original Intent, p. 217

    15. W. Cleon Skousen, The Five Thousand Year Leap p. 40

    16. David Barton, Original Intent, p. 214;

    Donald S. Lutz, The Origins of American Constitutionalism, Louisiana State University Press, p. 142

    17. David Barton, Original Intent, p. 225

    18. David Barton, Original Intent, p. 488; Works of the Honorable James Wilson,1804, Vol. 1, pp103-105, “Of the General principles of Law and Obligation.”

    19. David Barton, Original Intent, p. 488; The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, Vol. 1, p. 87, Feb. 23, 1775

    20. David Barton, Original Intent, p. 225; p. 470, Noah Webster, An American Dictionary of the English Language 1828, “law,” definition #3 & #6.

    21. David Barton, Original Intent, p. 336; p. 488, Noah Webster, History of the United States, 1832, p. 6

    22. David Barton, Original Intent, p.340; p. 489, Noah Webster, Schoolmaster to America pp.181-82.

    23. William J. Federer, America’s God and Country, p. 289, p. 762, M. E. Bradford, The Trumpet Voice of Freedom: Patrick Henry of Virgina, Plymouth Rock Foundation, p. iii; David Barton, The Myth of Separation, pp. 25, 158

    24. George Washington Farewell Address (Published Sept. 19th 1796 in Claypoole’s American Daily Advertiser.)

    Your entire reasoning process is fundamentally flawed due to your flawed presuppositions.

  7. dougindeap Says:

    The article does not “completely refute” my point. Hardly. It merely claims that the religious references in the Declaration have a particularly Christian meaning. I acknowledged in my comment that those references are susceptible of such a meaning, and noted (as have many scholars and students of history) that they also are susceptible of meanings at odds with the Christian idea of God. Indeed, many have observed that the drafters wisely chose language susceptible of multiple meanings in order to garner political support from as much of a populace with varying views as possible. In any event, the article does not even address my central point–which is that the Declaration, regardless of how the religious references are interpreted, did not and could not limit or define the government later established in the Constitution. About that, the article says nothing.

    Even the narrow claims made by the article are dubious, since the article largely parrots the widely discredited “work” of David Barton and William Federer. The article’s claims with respect to Blackstone and its interpretation of Lutz’s study, for instance, are fundamentally flawed. Chris Rodda, Liars for Jesus: The Religious Right’s Alternate Version of American History (2006) 461-496 (available free on line http://www.liarsforjesus.com/); http://candst.tripod.com/tnppage/arg9.htm; http://uncommonliberty.blogspot.com/2008/07/how-much-did-founders-quote-bible.html Illustrative of the shallowness of the article’s author’s knowledge of history is that she offers as genuine a notoriously fake quotation attributed to Patrick Henry. See https://fakehistory.wordpress.com/2009/06/14/fake-quotations-patrick-henry-on-religionists/ or http://www.religioustolerance.org/badquotes.htm No serious student of our history would pass that old joke off as genuine, but a disciple of Barton, Federer, and their ilk might.

  8. Michael Eden Says:

    The article does not “completely refute” my point. Hardly. It merely claims that the religious references in the Declaration have a particularly Christian meaning

    dougindeap,

    Wrong. It documents that the Declaration phrases in question derived from the previous uniquely Christian and massively-contemporaneously cited Blackstone volumes which were the standard that any legal mind was familiar with.

    To use your own words, the historical progression went from: 1) Blackstone’s “particularly Christian meaning” which was well-known to the founding fathers to 2) the same phraseology being used in the Declaration of Independence. When the founding fathers used the Blackstone words, they intended the Blackstone meaning.

    If the founding fathers cited phrases obviously similar to Blackstone and failed to explain how they did NOT intend to convey the Blackstone Christian meaning, they would have been seriously remiss not to point that out. Because everyone was reading Blackstone when the Declaration was written. Therefore the founders cited Blackstone because they believed as Blackstone believed. Because had they cited Blackstone and intended to disagree with him, they would obviously have noted that in their argument.

    You’re pretty amazing in your hypocrisy: you decry Barton as “discredited” and biased and then cite a book to prove your case with “Liars for Jesus” in the title. No bias in that author, I’m sure.

    Let me provide an example of David Barton right from the article:

    David Barton:

    A group of contemporary political scientists embarked on an ambitious ten-year project (beginning in the early 1970′s) to analyze the political writings from the Founding Era (1760-1805). Those writings were examined with the goal of isolating and identifying the specific political sources cited amidst the debates in the establishment of American government.

    From the 15,000 representative writings selected, the researchers first isolated some 3,154 quotations and then documented the original sources. Baron Charles de Montesquieu a French attorney and author was the most frequently invoked political source 8.3%, from his(1748) Spirit of Laws. The second most frequently quoted was Blackstone 7.9%. 16

    Perhaps to their amazement, what the researchers discovered:

    “[T]hat one direct source of inspiration for their ideas was cited far and away more than any other. In fact, the Founders cited this source four times more often than either Montesquieu or Blackstone and twelve times more often than Lock. What was that source? It was the Bible-accounting for 34 percent of the direct quotes in the political writings of the Founding Era.” 17

    Oh, yeah, what a dishonest historiographer Barton is! The guy cites a major academic study and actually directly quotes their conclusion as the basis for his fundamental point. The founding fathers were inspired by Blackstone, an uberuberChristian legal scholar. Fact.

    That is all your hated bogeyman Barton needs to utterly and completely refute you that the founding fathers didn’t cite Blackstone or that they did but didn’t really mean what Blackstone meant but rather the exact opposite. Bullcrap.

    Oh, yeah. Blackstone was the SECOND most guy the founding fathers quoted. Hey, dougindeep, meet the MOST QUOTED guy – Baron Charles de Montesquieu. And note that Montesquieu entirely agreed with Blackstone (and me) on the matter of religion and government as this site very clearly documents.

    I think I’ve wasted enough time with you. I’ve just got better things to do than to respond to your continual quibblings. Whatever your point was, if you haven’t made it by now, I’m through waiting anyway.

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