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Lindenmuller v. The People
Christianity in American Law


We are currently digitizing the case of Lindenmuller vs. The People, an 1861 case from the Supreme Court of New York.

Here's what it says:

This court ruled that while Sunday Laws could be considered a civil prerogative of the State to provide a day of rest for all people, it further explained that even if they were adjudged to be a specific legislation of Christianity, that this would be permissible since Christianity was part of the common law:

It would be strange that a people Christian in doctrine and worship, many of whom or whose forefathers had sought these shores for the privilege of worshipping God in simplicity and purity of faith, and who regarded religion as the basis of their civil liberty and the foundation of their rights, should, in their zeal to secure to all the freedom of conscience which they valued so highly, solemnly repudiate and put beyond the pale of the law the religion which was dear to them as life and dethrone the God who they openly and avowedly professed to believe had been their protector and guide as a people.

The court further explained that maintaining an official respect for Christianity did not infringe upon the free exercise of religion for others; instead, it provided an umbrella of protection:

Religious tolerance is entirely consistent with a recognized religion. Christianity maybe conceded to be established religion to the qualified extent mentioned,while perfect civil and political equality with freedom of conscience and religious preference is secured to individuals of every other creed and profession.... [and] every man is left free to worship God according to the dictates of his conscience, or not to worship him at all, as he ......... Compulsory worship of God in any form is prohibited, and every man's opinion on matters of religion, as in other matters, is beyond the reach of the law. No man can be compelled to perform any act... as a duty to God; but this liberty of conscience in matters of faith and practice is entirely consistent with the existence, in fact, of the Christian religion.... All agreed that the Christian religion was engrafted upon the law and entitled to protection as the basis of our morals and the strength of our government

Lindenmuller v. The People, 33 Barb 548 (Sup.Ct.NY 1861).
This summary from David Barton, Original Intent, Wallbuilders, 1996, pp. 70-71.

This case proves the recent origin of the "Separation of Church and State." The modern doctrine of "separation" did not come from the Constitution or the first 100 years of Constitutional practice. The modern doctrine of "separation" holds that if the government permits the free exercise of religion by Christians (by permitting student-initiated voluntary prayer before a football game, for example) this is "an establishment of religion" in violation of the First Amendment. The Lindenmuller Court more accurately expressed the Original Intent of the Founding Fathers:

  • This is a Christian nation (see here), and
  • our laws are based on Christianity (see here), and
  • our government advances Christianity (see here), but
  • non-Christian religionists are free to worship their own way (provided their practices are not illegal by Christian standards, e.g., polygamy, human sacrifice, etc. [see here]).

Non-Christians and atheists, however, have no right to prevent Christians from the free exercise of their religion, nor to prevent official and public government acknowledgment of our nation's gratitude and dependence upon the Christian God.

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