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"The Organic Law"
Christianity in American Law


Maybe you've seen the article that should go here. Send us the link Or send us the book or journal article and we'll plagiarize it like all our other pages.

Here's what it says:

  • The "Organic Law" is the Fundamental Law of a Government System.
  • The US Supreme Court in Holy Trinity v. U.S. declared that America "is a Christian nation."
  • This was not a demographic survey or poll of people's opinions.
  • The Court was speaking of the nation's fundamental laws and charters: its "organic law."


Black's Law Dictionary, Rev. 4th Ed.
ORGANIC LAW - The fundamental law, or constitution, of a state or nation, written or unwritten; that law or system of laws or principles which defines and establishes the organization of its government.
St. Louis v. Dorr, 145 Mo. 466, 46 S.W. 976, 42 L.R.A. 686, 86 Am.St. Rep. 575
U.S. Supreme Court, Holy Trinity v. U.S.
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 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.
In PUBLIC CITIZEN v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, 491 U.S. 440 (1989), JUSTICE KENNEDY, with whom THE CHIEF JUSTICE and JUSTICE O'CONNOR join, concurring in the judgment, wrote:
The Church of the Holy Trinity entered into a contract with an alien residing in England to come to the United States to serve as the director and pastor of the church. Notwithstanding the fact that this agreement fell within the plain language of the statute, which was conceded to be the case, see ibid., the Court overrode the plain language, drawing instead on the background and purposes of the statute to conclude that Congress did not intend its broad prohibition to cover the importation of Christian ministers. The central support for the Court's ultimate conclusion that Congress did not intend the law to cover Christian ministers is its lengthy review of the "mass of organic utterances" establishing that "this is a Christian nation," and which were taken to prove that it could not "be believed that a Congress of the United States intended to make it a misdemeanor for a church of this country to contract for the services of a Christian minister residing in another nation." Id., at 471.
Justice David Brewer, The United States: A Christian Nation (1905)
Justice Brewer pointed out that his claim (that America is a "Christian nation") reached into the "organic law" of the nation, and every State in the union, thus putting it on the firmest of legal authority. The claim that America is a Christian nation is in "the domain of official action and recognition," not mere "individual acceptance." (p 27 in 1996 reprint).

Until you send us this article, readers of this page will have to be content with the following dialogue on American OnLine's "Separation of Church and State" Discussion Board.

Subject: Justice Douglas on Religion in Public Schools
From: kevin4vft@aol.com (KEVIN4VFT)
Date: 04 Aug 1998 11:27:49 EDT

Even though Justice Douglas concurred in Engel v. Vitale, which removed voluntary prayer from public schools, he admitted that

Religion was once deemed to be a function of the public school system. The Northwest Ordinance, which antedated the First Amendment, provided in Article III that "Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged."

Remember the saying, "The end doesn't justify the means."
In the Northwest Ordinance, the "end" is religion and  morality, and the "means" are public schools. The Founding Fathers believed that the end required the means, that public schools served the purpose of advancing religion.

The Northwest Ordinance is one of the nation's "organic laws," along with the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence (see West's edition of the U.S. Code, vol. 1, which lists them as among the "organic laws of the United States."). Douglas says this Ordinance "antedated the First Amendment," by which he hopes to make us think that it came long before some great revolution of thought embodied in the First Amendment. The Ordinance was approved by the House on July 21, 1789, and by the Senate on Aug 4, 1789. This was the same Congress that was simultaneously framing the religion clauses of the First Amendment. And for decades after the Bill of Rights was passed, this Ordinance was extended by Congress to new states admitted to the Union. For example,

When the Ohio territory applied for statehood in 1802, Congress framed an "enabling act" which required that Ohio form its state government in a manner "not repugnant to the [Northwest] Ordinance." As a result, Ohio's constitution declared:

[R]eligion, morality, and knowledge, being essentially necessary to the good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of instruction shall forever be encouraged by legislative provision.

When Mississippi applied for statehood in 1817, Congress required that its government be formed in a manner "not repugnant to the principles of the Ordinance." Hence, Mississippi's constitution declared:

Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government, the preservation of liberty and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged in this State.

The Constitutions of Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas (1858), Nebraska (1875), and many other territorial papers and state constitutions make clear that government had a duty to promote Christianity. The Northwest Ordinance was signed by President Washington on Aug 7, 1789. "History must judge whether it was the Father of his Country in 1789, or a majority of the Court today, which has strayed from the meaning of the [First Amendment]." (Justice Rehnquist in Wallace v. Jaffree.)

Kevin C.

And they shall beat their swords into plowshares
and sit under their Vine & Fig Tree.
Micah 4:1-7


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