Both before and after the ratification of the Constitution, America as a nation acknowledged its duty to be a nation "under God." The modern Supreme Court has repudiated that duty, making America an officially atheistic nation. Never mind that every single person who signed the Constitution believed that America was and must always be a nation under God, and must always acknowledge its duty to God, the Court frankly admitted in ALLEGHENY COUNTY v. GREATER PITTSBURGH ACLU, 492 U.S. 573 (1989):
|This Court, however, squarely has rejected the proposition that the Establishment Clause is to be interpreted in light of any favoritism for Christianity that may have existed among the Founders of the Republic. (http://laws.findlaw.com/us/492/573.html)|
The Court violates the central assumption of American Constitutional interpretation: that the document is to be interpreted in light of the original intent of its Framers. The Court now believes it can make the Constitution "mean" anything it wants. And what the Court wants is to "be as god." And that means getting the real God out of the way by declaring, as the Allegheny Court went on to say, that
This is a lie. The Framers of the Constitution intended no such mandate, and never observed any such mandate. Just as all individuals have a duty to worship God, so do nations. America's Founding Fathers honored that duty. The Constitution did not repeal that duty. (The duty to "remain secular," in this particular case, means the duty of the government not to acknowledge Christmas.)
When Chief Justice Roy Moore was removed from the Alabama Supreme Court for publicly displaying the Ten Commandments, Federal District Court Judge Myron Thompson said:
There are more errors in this paragraph than words. The Supreme Court unanimously declared in 1892 that America is a Christian nation. There are some things so obvious that nobody ever thinks of challenging them, and this explains why Judge Thompson can't find Supreme Court decisions on these issues. The Supreme Court may never have suggested that there is such a thing as gravity. Should we now conclude that there is no such thing as gravity? The Court in 1892 noted this problem: "While because of a general recognition of this truth the question has seldom been presented to the courts . . . ."
The "Judeo-Christian" God is the sovereign head of this nation. According to the Founding Fathers, He is the "Lord and Ruler," the "Governor," "the Universal Sovereign," and "the Supreme Lawgiver" of this and every nation. The Framers of the Constitution unquestionably elevated Christianity above all other religions. James Madison, the "Father of the Constitution," said in one of his most memorable addresses, the "Memorial and Remonstrance," that legislators should vote against any legislation if
See the numerous references by America's Founding Fathers to Christianity as "the true religion."
The idea that America's Founding Fathers put "all religions on par with one another," or worse, equalized religion and non-religion, is completely contradicted by the totality of American history. The Allegheny decision, which Judge Thompson relies on, made public nativity scenes unconstitutional, a ridiculous decision, and was based on the Supreme Court's earlier ridiculous decision to not allow school children to have a "moment of silence" because they might use that moment to pray. Justice Rehnquist's dissent in that case should be required reading in every American history class. It shows that religion and non-religion were not put on par with one another in this Christian nation.
While our nation recognizes -- publicly and officially -- that America has a duty -- as a nation and as individuals -- to acknowledge God and worship Him, there are no criminal penalties for unbelief or failure to go to a particular church, or worship in a particular manner, where "worship" is defined in terms of a particular set of liturgies, ceremonies, or rituals. But "worship" is more than just "church." It means service and obedience to God, in private and in the public square. A Christian nation will not tolerate child molestation, for example. You can believe that child molestation is good and even necessary for the healthy sexual development of children, as "sex researcher" Alfred Kinsey believed. But America's Founding Fathers believed that in a Christian nation there should be criminal penalties against such practices, even if there was "freedom of belief." Believe whatever you want, go to church or don't go to church, but you will act like a Christian or go to jail.
As Noah Webster said, "The ecclesiastical establishments of Europe which serve to support tyrannical governments are not the Christian religion but abuses and corruptions of it." Daniel Webster similarly explained: "Christianity to which the sword and the fagot [burning stake or hot branding iron] are unknown -- general tolerant Christianity is the law of the land!"
It should go without saying that America's original 13 colonies were Christian Theocracies. The word "theocracy" means "under God," an inescapable characteristic of early America. The Framers of the Constitution had no intention of changing this.
It was Benjamin Franklin who proposed, in January 1748, the first fast day in Pennsylvania. In connection with this proposal, he drew up a proclamation declaring that "it is the duty of mankind on all suitable occasions to acknowledge their dependence on the Divine Being" and expressing a prayer "that He would take this province under His protection, confound the designs and defeat the attempts of its enemies, and unite our hearts and strengthen our hands in every undertaking that may be for the public good, and for our defense and security in this time of danger."
quoted by Van Doren in Benjamin Franklin, NY: Viking, 1938, p. 188
Before the Constitution was ratified, the Continental Congress acknowledged its duty to be "under God."
TUESDAY, MARCH 20, 1781
The United States in Congress assembled, agreed to the following proclamation:
In times of calamity and impending danger when a vindictive enemy pursues with unrelenting fury a war of rapine and devastation to reduce us by fire and sword, by the savages of the wilderness and our own domestics to the most abject and ignominious bondage; it becomes the indispensible duty of the citizens of these United States with true penitence of heart publicly to acknowledge the over ruling Providence of God, to confess our offences against him, and to supplicate his gracious interposition for averting the threatened danger and preparing our efforts in the defence and preservation of our injured country.
At all times it is our duty to acknowledge the over-ruling providence of the great Governor of the universe, and devoutly to implore his divine favour and protection. But in the hour of calamity and impending danger, when by fire and the sword, by the savages of the wilderness, and by our own domestics, a vindictive enemy pursues a war of rapine
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and devastation, with unrelenting fury, we are peculiarly excited, with true penitence of heart, to prostrate ourselves before our great Creator, and fervently to supplicate his gracious interposition for our deliverance.
The United States in Congress assembled, therefore do earnestly recommend, that Thursday the third day of May next, may be observed as a day of humiliation, fasting and prayer, that we may, with united hearts, confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and by sincere repentance and amendment of life, appease his righteous displeasure, and through the merits of our blessed Saviour, obtain pardon and forgiveness: that it may please him to inspire our rulers with wisdom and uncorruptible integrity, and to direct and prosper their councils: to inspire all our citizens with a fervent and disinterested love of their country, and to preserve and strengthen their union: to turn the hearts of the disaffected, or to frustrate their devices: to regard with divine compassion our friends in captivity, affliction and distress, to comfort and relieve them under their sufferings, and to change their mourning into grateful songs of triumph: that it may please him to bless our ally, and to render the connection formed between these United States and his kingdoms a mutual and lasting benefit to both nations: to animate our officers and forces by sea and land with invincible fortitude, and to guard and protect them in the day of battle, and to crown our joint endeavours for terminating the calamities of war with victory and success: that the blessings of peace and liberty may be established on an honourable and permanent basis, and transmitted inviolate to the latest posterity: that it may please him to prosper our husbandry and commerce, and to bless us with health and plenty: that it may please him to bless all schools and seminaries of learning, and to grant that truth, justice and benevolence, and pure and undefiled religion, may universally prevail.
This was before the Constitution was ratified. If the Constitution had been known to repudiate these beliefs, and change America from a Christian nation to a secular nation, the Constitution simply would not have been ratified.
There is no evidence at all that anyone believed that the Constitution did this. After the Constitution was ratified, "the Father of his Country," in response to a Congressional request, proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving to God for the new Constitution. How could the Constitution require our nation to be secular when the men who framed that Constitution immediately ordered public and official discharge of the duty to be thankful to God for that very Constitution?
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
When we review the calamities which afflict so many other nations. the present condition of the United States affords much matter of consolation and satisfaction. Our exemption hitherto from foreign war, an [p.172] increasing prospect of the continuance of that exemption, the great degree of internal tranquillity we have enjoyed, the recent confirmation of that tranquillity by the suppression of an insurrection which so wantonly threatened it, the happy course of our public affairs in general, the unexampled prosperity of all classes of our citizens, are circumstances which peculiarly mark our situation with indications of the Divine beneficence toward us. In such a state of things it is in an especial manner our duty as a people, with devout reverence and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great obligations to Almighty God and to implore Him to continue and confirm the blessings we experience.
Deeply penetrated with this sentiment, I, George Washington, President of the United States, do recommend to all religious societies and denominations, and to all persons whomsoever, within the United States to set apart and observe Thursday, the 19th day of February next, as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, and on that day to meet together and render their sincere and hearty thanks to the Great Ruler of Nations for the manifold and signal mercies which distinguish our lot as a nation, particularly for the possession of constitutions of government which unite and by their union establish liberty with order; for the preservation of our peace, foreign and domestic; for the seasonable control which has been given to a spirit of disorder in the suppression of the late insurrection, and generally, for the prosperous course of our affairs, public and private; and at the same time humbly and fervently to beseech the kind Author of these blessings graciously to prolong them to us; to imprint on our hearts a deep and solemn sense of our obligations to Him for them; to teach us rightly to estimate their immense value; to preserve us from the arrogance of prosperity, and from hazarding the advantages we enjoy by delusive pursuits; to dispose us to merit the continuance of His favors by not abusing them; by our gratitude for them, and by a correspondent conduct as citizens and men; to render this country more and more a safe and propitious asylum for the unfortunate of other countries; to extend among us true and useful knowledge; to diffuse and establish habits of sobriety, order, morality, and piety, and finally, to impart all the blessings we possess, or ask for ourselves, to the whole family of mankind.
In testimony whereof I have caused the seal of the United States of America to be affixed to these presents, and signed the same with my hand. Done at the city of Philadelphia, the 1st day of January 1795, and of the Independence of the United States of America the nineteenth.[SEAL.]
By the President:
Messages and Papers of the Presidents, George Washington, vol. 1, p.172
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
Whereas the Congress of the United States, by a joint resolution of the two Houses, have signified a request that a day may be recommended to be observed by the people of the United States with religious solemnity as a day of public humiliation and prayer; and
Whereas such a recommendation will enable the several religious denominations and societies so disposed to offer at one and the same time their common vows and adorations to Almighty God on the solemn occasion produced by the war in which He has been pleased to permit the injustice of a foreign power to involve these United States:
I do therefore recommend the third Thursday in August next as a convenient day to be set apart for the devout purposes of rendering the Sovereign of the Universe and the Benefactor of Mankind the public homage due to His holy attributes; of acknowledging the transgressions which might justly provoke the manifestations of His divine displeasure; of seeking His merciful forgiveness and His assistance in the great duties of repentance and amendment, and especially of offering fervent supplications that in the present season of calamity and war He would take the American people under His peculiar care and protection; that He would guide their public councils, animate their patriotism, and bestow His blessing on their arms; that He would inspire all nations with a love of justice and of concord and with a reverence for the unerring precept of our holy religion to do to others as they would require that others should do to them; and, finally, that, turning the hearts of our enemies from the violence and injustice which sway their councils against us, He would hasten a restoration of the blessings of peace.
Given at Washington, the 9th day of July, A. D. 1812. [SEAL.]
By the President:
Secretary of State.
Messages and Papers of the Presidents, James Madison, vol. 1, p.498
64. George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, Jared Sparks, editor (Boston: Ferdinand Andrews, 1838), Vol. XII, p. 119, October 3, 1789. (Return)
65. Samuel Adams, A Proclamation for a Day of Public Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer (Printed at the State Press: Adams and Larkin, 1795). (Return)
66. John Hancock, A Proclamation For a Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer (Boston, 1782). (Return)
67. Massachusetts Council, A Proclamation For a Day of Public Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer (Boston: 1780). (Return)
68. Massachusetts Council, A Proclamation For a Day of Public Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer (Watertown, Massachusetts, 1776). (Return)
69. John Wentworth, By the Governor, A Proclamation For a General Fast (Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 1775). (Return)
Proclamations of President James Madison
|President John Adams:||23d day of March, A. D. 1798|
|MARCH 6, 1799|
The change in America from a Christian nation that acknowledged its duty to worship God to a secular nation that spurned God did not come about in 1789 with the ratification of the Constitution, but 150 years later, with the invention of the modern myth of "separation of church and state."
It doesn't really matter what the Framers intended. Christianity has in fact been judicially repudiated as the foundation of our law; it has been purged from the State's schools, and the courts are unanimous that this is now a secular nation. Whatever a Christian might think about America's "organic law" and the work of the Founding Fathers, in 1907 "the modern age" may be said to have dawned when Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes remarked that "the Constitution is what the judges say it is." (The Autobiographical Notes of Charles Evans Hughes 143 (D. Danelski and J. Tulchin, eds., 1973). See also Cooper v. Aaron, 358 U.S. 1, 17-19 (1958) ("Article VI of the Constitution makes the Constitution the 'supreme Law of the Land.' . . . [But i]t is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is. . . . It follows that the interpretation of the [Constitution] enunciated by the Court . . . is the supreme law of the land . . . .") and J. Whitehead, The Second American Revolution 20-21 (1982) (citing same). S. Levinson, "'The Constitution' in American Civil Religion," 1979 Sup. Ct. Rev. 123, 137n.54 adds Powell v. McCormack, 395 U.S. 486, 521 (1969), and U.S. v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683, 704 (1974) in this connection.)