Category Archives: E. Supreme Court Religion Clause Jurisprudence

Conclusion to “Supreme Court Religion Clause Jurisprudence”

Jerald Finney
Copyright © January 20, 2012

Click here to go to links to all Chapters in Section V.

Note. This is an edited version of Section V, Chapter 5 of God Betrayed.

Conclusion to “Supreme Court Religion Clause Jurisprudence”

America was once the greatest nation that has ever been. This was because America came closer by far than any nation to operating under God. America was so close, but yet so far, from God’s ideal.

The founding fathers incorporated some biblical principles into the body of the Constitution. For example, they recognized the depravity of man, and therefore provided for a balance of powers among executive, legislative, and judicial branches. However, they did not understand that the God-ordained goal of any nation is to glorify God. They did not, in the document, proclaim that the purpose of America was to be “the glory of God” and that America was to be a nation under God.

The founding fathers were also influenced by enlightenment principles and included some of those principles in the Constitution. According to enlightenment thought, the purpose of government is the happiness of man and that principle was incorporated into the Constitution. This can be discerned from a facial reading of the document and from a study of the history surrounding the adoption of the Constitution. Regardless of assertions that “happiness of man” is ultimately tied into a correct relationship with God, most Americans did not make that connection, and as a result set out to achieve material success and prosperity in order to obtain temporal happiness. A people of a nation had a government that catered to their happiness.

In spite of this and other fatal flaw in the Constitution, multitudes were converted to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ in revivals which occurred after the Constitution was ratified. As a result, the nation as a people proceeded under God to a large degree for many years even though the civil law under the supreme law of the land, the Constitution, was ever so slowly changing conceptions of marriage, family, church, state, and law itself.

However, as heresy invaded the churches, the population of America became less and less “Christian” and more secular. Later, apostasy overcame many of the churches, initially those of some of the main-line Protestant denominations and later even many or most Baptist churches. Without a solid Christian base, Americans and America, especially in the mid-twentieth century and thereafter, quickly began to adopt satanic principles. America, like all nations before the return of Christ, is doomed to judgment.

Most Christians who are active in the political system have no idea that they are proceeding without knowledge as they blindly follow the teachings and leadership of people like David Barton, Glen Beck, Sean Hannity, attorneys such as David Gibbs of the Christian Law Association and others. Only a small handful have ever done any study of the relevant biblical principles, history, and law. The study of most is gleaned from leaders who don’t know, ignore, or censor those matters which conflict with their theology and or their “conservative” beliefs. The author knows this because he was among them for twenty years as he followed the leaders who avowed to return America to the status of “One nation under God.” This author read the ever repackaged false “Christian” revisionist literature. After fifteen years of such activity, he began to see that everything the Christian activist population was doing was resulting in nothing but increasing degeneration. At the same time, many “Christians” including many pastors, as did many “Christians” in Germany under Hitler, blindly confederate with civil government because of their false interpretation of Romans 13.

With the degeneration of the general public came the degeneration of the leaders they elected. President Abraham Lincoln set the example for Presidents who desire to operate outside Constitutional constraints. He became the example for presidential tyranny and eventually for the most tyrannical President this nation has ever known, Barack Obama. As of the time of this posting, America has seen some consequences, but has yet to see all the fruits, of the tyranny of Obama and prior presidents. The United States Senate, at present, is dominated by left-wing radicals. The House is said to be under the control of “conservatives”; but, in truth, a small minority are statesmen who will take a real “conservative” stand. Even “conservative” is not always biblical and therefore polluted. And, in truth, most Senators and Congressmen, like the President, are under the thumb of the elite.

Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803) laid the groundwork for later Supreme court tyranny. After the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Supreme Court gradually intruded more and more into the affairs of the states. Humanistic Supreme Court judges are nominated by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. The reasoning of the Supreme Court was humanistic, even in the nineteenth century (although not as polluted as in the twentieth, and certainly as in the twenty-first). God was left out. In all the examples in this section, the Court only quoted Scripture once, in Stone v. Graham, 449 U.S. 39 (1980) (See page 329 of God Betrayed which is reproduced on this website.), and there in a God-defying manner. In 1940, the First Amendment was incorporated into the Fourteenth Amendment. In 1947, the Supreme Court extended the meaning of “separation of church and state” to also mean “separation of God and state.” Since that time, the Supreme Court has effectively removed almost all vestiges of the sovereign God from public affairs in America, although still upholding the original meaning of the First Amendment to keep the civil government out of the affairs of the church. The task was made much easier for the Court since the Constitution did not proclaim God, and specifically the Lord Jesus Christ, as Sovereign.

“And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come” (Ep. 1.19-21).

“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name” (Ph. 2.9).

As is shown in the Section VI of God Betrayed which is reproduced on this website, America, under the god of this world, knew how to tempt even true churches, many which proceeded without knowledge and others which were knowingly disobedient, to place themselves at least partially under another lover. The apostate churches could be expected to do this since they were not churches  anyway (they were assemblies, but not churches in the biblical sense). But it is vexing to see a Bible believing pastor lead a church into such an unbiblical union; and it is sad to see a good pastor who discovers the truth struggle with whether and/or how to fully please the Lord and separate the church he pastors from the state.

How can born again Christians, even Christian lawyers, be so deceived? Most think like Americans, not like Bible-believing Christians. They are American or humanistic in their thinking. The bases for the beliefs of Christian lawyers are American statute and case law, not the Bible. Instead of applying biblical principle, they apply the revised history, the humanistic principles, and the secular reasoning and philosophies they learned in public schools, universities, and law schools. Many believe that by compromising in the political and judicial systems and counseling secular politicians and leaders they will either influence a return to God by the civil government or delay the inevitable takeover of churches by the state. Some of them undoubtedly believe that the church is destined to work hand in hand with the state in preparing the earth for the return of the Lord. Yet, as is apparent to the knowledgeable believer, they have been a party to the march to destruction.  The civil government, through its laws and courts, has at an accelerating pace rejected the sovereign God. Many pastors have taught and advocated union of church and state because of an improper understanding of biblical principles concerning church, state, and separation of church and state. Well-meaning Bible believing pastors and churches who would insist that they love the Lord, in their rallies and meetings to restore God over America, and proceed without knowledge, thereby leading the way to destruction. Bible Colleges, seminaries, and “Christian” literature have also succumbed to humanistic principles and taught those principles to multitudes of born again students who have carried those principles into their various ministries. Most Christians are too consumed with the cares of this world to make any independent study of the issues.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Ti. 2.15).

“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall” (2 Pe. 1.4-10).

The sad fact is that most Christians are more American than they are Christian. America, not God, is the chosen sovereign and guide of most of America’s citizens, including most Christians and churches. Since America is ruled by the principles of the god of this world, the great majority of citizens, Christians, and churches are placing themselves, at least partially to one degree or another, under state control and rule and live according to American (Satanic) principles.

Some Christians can relate to Habakkuk to whom the holiness of God was more important than that Israel should be delivered. Habakkuk cried out to the Lord:

“O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention. Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth…. Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?  And makest men as the fishes of the sea, as the creeping things, that have no ruler over them?  They take up all of them with the angle, they catch them in their net, and gather them in their drag: therefore they rejoice and are glad.  Therefore they sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their drag; because by them their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous.  Shall they therefore empty their net, and not spare continually to slay the nations” (Hab. 1.2-4.13-17)?

But God assured Habakkuk that He was in control and that judgment would follow the iniquities of the people and the nation. God has given us His Word which explains that judgment follows a turning away from God and His principles.

God is already judging America, but “you ain’t seen nothing yet.” Family and marriage have to a large extent been redefined and destroyed by the application of humanist principles. Crime is rampant. People are “lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” Many “have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof” (See 2 Ti. 3.2-5). So many “Christians” turn to the state, to false religion, to psychology, or to hedonism instead of to God for answers, for help. Many Americans now look up to the sports entertainment complex, sports commentators and stars for advice and direction on moral matters (Sadly, many of those commentators and stars have better advice than do many “pastors” and spiritual leaders.). In other words, America is, and has been for some time, morally bankrupt. When America completely turns against Israel, America, if she has not ceased to exist before then, will suffer God’s final judgment.

“He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Re. 22.20).

Separation of God and State: 1947-2007

Jerald Finney
Copyright © January 18, 2012

Click here to go to links to all Chapters in Section V.

Note. This is an edited version on Section V, Chapter 4 of God Betrayed.

Separation of God and State: 1947-2007


I. Introduction
The ACLU’s attacks on the recognition of God in state affairs
The 1947 Everson decision lays the groundwork for removal of God from all civil government affairs (for a pluralistic society that rejects the God of the Bible) by adding a new twist to the First Amendment “establishment clause” while still recognizing the original meaning of that clause
An analysis of “religion clause” cases after Everson which have systematically removed the God of the Bible from practically all civil government affairs
V. Conclusion

I. Introduction

“Excessive power concentrated in the hands of sinful men is a formula for tyranny and disaster” (John Eidsmoe, God and Caesar: Biblical Faith and Political Action (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stack Publishers, 1997), pp. 16-17). The Founding Fathers attempted to prevent such a concentration of powers by balancing the power of civil government among legislative, executive, and judicial branches. Nonetheless, the modern Supreme Court, not to mention the President, has become an uncontrolled tyrant by usurping power not given it by the Constitution. Wicked presidents appoint wicked Supreme Court Justices who promote the President’s philosophy and agenda and are consented to by the Senate, even when composed of a majority of “conservatives.” Instead of interpreting law, the Court makes law and overturns legitimate laws made by the representatives of the people. Judges, like all men, vary all along the scale from good to bad. Some judges have been “mentally impaired, venal, and even racist” (Mark R. Levin, Men in Black: How the Supreme Court Is Destroying America (Washington DC: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2005), pp. 1, 11-12).  Most have been spiritually blind, guided by the god of this world. “As few as five justices can and do dictate economic, cultural, criminal, [spiritual] and security policy for the entire nation…” (Ibid.).

“Activist judges have taken over schools systems, prisons, private-sector hiring and firing practices, and farm quotas; they have ordered local governments to raise property taxes and states to grant benefits to illegal immigrants; they have expelled God, prayer, and the Ten Commandments from the public square; they’ve protected virtual child pornography, racial discrimination in law school admissions, flag burning, the seizure of private property without just compensation, [abortion,] and partial-birth abortion. They’ve announced that morality alone is an insufficient basis for legislation. Courts now second-guess the commander in chief in time of war and confer due process rights on foreign enemy combatants. They intervene in the electoral process” (Ibid.).

The Supreme Court in effect legislates and overturns constitutional laws passed by the state and federal governments, ignoring the constitutional constraints upon its authority. The tyrannical turn of the Court could have been predicted by anyone with a firm grasp of biblical principles. Even during the debates over ratification of the Constitution, some men predicted such a turn by the Court. For, example, Robert Yates, an ardent anti-federalist and delegate to the Constitutional Convention from New York, in opposing the Constitution, predicted the process by which the federal judiciary would achieve primacy over the state governments and other branches of the national government:

“Perhaps nothing could have been better conceived to facilitate the abolition of the state governments than the constitution of the judicial. They will be able to extend the limits of the general government gradually, and by insensible degrees, and to accommodate themselves to the temper of the people. Their decisions on the meaning of the constitution will commonly take place in cases which arise between individuals, with which the public will not be generally acquainted; one adjudication will form a precedent to the next, and this to a following one” (Ibid., pp. 27-29 citing Robert Yates, “Essay No. 11,” Anti-federalist Papers first published in the New York Journal, March 20, 1788. Available at

The balance of power intended by the founders was upset soon after ratification of the Constitution.

“In its 1803 Marbury v. Madison[, 5 U.S. 137 (1803)] decision, the Supreme Court determined that it had the power to decide cases about the constitutionality of congressional (or executive) actions and—when it deemed they violated the Constitution—overturn them. The shorthand label given to this Court-made authority is ‘judicial review.’ And this, quite literally, is the foundation for the runaway power exercised by the federal courts to this day…. [Chief Justice John] Marshall’s ruling in Marbury was nothing short of a counter-revolution. For 200 years, the elected branches have largely acquiesced to the judiciary’s tyranny” (Ibid., pp. 30, 33; see pp. 29-33 for an excellent overview of the history surrounding Marbury).

For a century and a half, Supreme Court and civil government interference with churches and attempts to make sure all vestiges of God were erased from public life were practically nonexistent. However, armed with the power of judicial review, the twentieth century Court, without the benefit of a biblical worldview, began to decide issues in a society which had abandoned many of its founding principles and to attempt to define the liberties and rights of the individual, of the minority and the majority, which had been based upon biblical principles—of which many or most of the Justices had no knowledge or understanding—written into the First Amendment. As a result, some of the Court’s assertions were and are correct but were polluted with unbiblical assertions and reasoning. The reasoning of the Court was applied in a society generally ignorant of biblical principles and which was becoming more secular with each passing day. “The application to particular factual situations of the … general rules [concerning the First Amendment religion clause as laid down by the Court], simplistic as they appear to be in the abstract, has involved a complex pattern of turns and twists of legal reasoning, cutting across almost all facets of human life” (Donald T. Kramer, J.D. Annotation: Supreme Court Cases Involving Establishment and Freedom of Religion Clauses of Federal Constitution, 37 L. Ed. 2d 1147 § 2. Kramer lists the “facets of human life” across which the religion clause as applied by the Court has cut. Then Kramer examines the cases. The reader of Kramer’s annotation must keep in mind that Kramer leaves God out of the analysis. A Christian who studies his annotation must also read and study the cases themselves (not just Kramer’s summaries and analyses) and analyze those cases in light of biblical principles. Kramer misses the most important point—the religion clause has been used to remove God from the public life of America and to insult God by eliminating Him from all consideration in civil government affairs.).

The foundational law, the Bible, agrees with a correct interpretation of the First Amendment, an interpretation which has never been fully applied by our courts or understood by the vast majority of Americans. Even Christian lawyers have looked to Court decisions, not the Bible, as the foundational law upon which they make their arguments and place their hope. The result has been a steady downward spiral toward a totally secular state and populace. Although “Christian” lawyers have sought to fight this downward spiral, for the most part they have fought in a manner, as exemplified in recent cases dealing with the display of the Ten Commandments on public property, which dishonors God. Even though “claiming” some “victories” in the legal arena, those “victories” are nothing more than compromises at best which chip away at or totally destroy recognition of the sovereignty of God, and lead deeper into a pluralistic state and society, while Christianity and the true and only God are degraded by civil government and society in general. At the same time that victories (which are rare and which are not victories) are being proclaimed by “Christian” lawyers, those lawyers and their firms are leading Bible believing pastors and church members, who have not studied the issues, down the road to destruction.

II. The ACLU’s attacks on the recognition of God in state affairs

The American Civil Liberties Union (“ACLU”) has been the preeminent instigator of lawsuits attacking the recognition of God in state affairs. The ACLU first sends threatening letters to coerce schools, agencies of civil governments and others into terminating their practice which recognizes God. Should that fail, many times they initiate lawsuits, and many of those legal battles have gone all the way to the Supreme Court. Even should they lose in court, they, and their cohorts in the secular media and in society in general sometimes begin a mass disinformation campaign to turn the tide of public opinion and eventually the tide of the law. That tactic was successful after they lost the 1925 “Scopes Trial,” which involved a state law which punished by fine the teaching of evolution in the public school classroom in Tennessee (See Edward J. Larson, Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America’s Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion (BasicBooks, A Member of the Perseus Books Group)). Only creationism was allowed to be taught in Tennessee. After the trial, in which a public school teacher who had supposedly taught evolution in a Tennessee classroom was convicted, popular writers falsely portrayed the fight as “science against a resistant fundamentalism which clung to the tenets of the Bible,” glorified science and belittled the Bible and those who believed it, portrayed the trial as a decisive defeat for old-time religion, and belittled witnesses in the trial who had been on the side of creationism while making secular saints of those on the other side.

Even then, although the great majority of the population was Christian, much of the media was liberal, having been given a closed-minded education in secular colleges and universities. Ultimately, fundamentalism withdrew from the main culture and constructed “a separate subculture with independent religious, educational, and social institutions” (Ibid., pp. 225-246).

  • “For eight decades, the ACLU has been America’s leading religious censor, waging a largely uncontested (until recently) war against America’s core values—all not only without protest but with the support of much of the media—cloaking its war in the name of liberty.”
  • “The result of this conflict is that Americans find themselves living in a country that, with each passing day, resembles less of what our nation’s Founding Fathers intended…. We now live in a country where our traditional Christian … faith and religion—civilizing forces in any society—are openly mocked and increasingly pushed to the margins. We live in a country where parental authority is undermined and children have less protection from pornography, violent crime, and the promotion of dangerous and selfish sexual behaviors. We live in a country where the value of human life has been cheapened—from the moment and manner of conception to natural or unnatural death” (Alan Sears and Craig Osten, The ACLU vs America (Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman & Holman Publishers 2005), p. 2).

When the results of this cheapening of human life and proliferation of the teaching of atheism and all manner of evil in the public schools rears its ugly head in the form of a perhaps elitist contrived mass murder by a state drugged victim of secular thought, secular society and evil leaders pounce upon the event to further its goal of setting up a world governance by waging an intense campaign of lies and deceit with the goal of taking all the guns; the reason—without the means to resist, those who oppose the goals of the elite and those who might do so can simply be eiliminated (murdered). This was the pattern in the Soviet Union, Germany under Hitler, Cambodia, Korea, etc.

In the area of religion, “in the last 40 years, [the ACLU] has banned school prayer (including silent meditation), eliminated graduation invocations, driven creches and menorahs from public parks, taken carols out of school assemblies, purged the Ten Commandments monuments, and … called into question God in the Pledge of Allegiance” (Ibid., citing Don Feder, “One Nation Under… ,”, April 30, 2004).

The civil government supports humanism with its dollars. “If you doubt this, next time you go to a national park notice how much you and your children are exposed to the theory of evolution” (Eidsmoe, God and Caesar, p. 134). Books, displays, presentations, and tours promote evolution. The Supreme Court has banned God from the public schools, and the curricula of the public school classroom is based on the religion of humanism. Humanists know the importance of getting Satan’s message to the young. As one humanist leader puts it:

  • “I am convinced that the battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being. These teachers must embody the same selfless dedication as the most rabid fundamentalist preacher, for they will be ministers of another servant, utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subjects they teach regardless of the educational level—preschool daycare or large state university. The classroom must and will become an area of conflict between the old and the new—the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery and the new faith of humanism resplendent in its promise of a world in which the never realized Christian idea of ‘love thy neighbor’ will finally be achieved” (Ibid., p. 136, citing John Dumphy, The Humanist, January/February 1983, p. 26. Quoted in Cal Thomas, Book Burning, (Westchester, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1983), p. 55).

III. The 1947 Everson decision lays the groundwork for removal of God from all civil government affairs (for a pluralistic society that rejects the God of the Bible) by adding a new twist to the First Amendment “establishment clause” while still recognizing the original meaning of that clause

Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1, 67 S. Ct. 504, 91 L. Ed. 711, 1947 U.S. LEXIS 2959; 168 A.L.R. 1392 (1947) finished laying the groundwork for the secular pluralistic state, for totally eradicating all mention of God, at least of God as who He is, from civil governmental functions in America. Everson reached the same conclusion as Cochran v. Louisiana State Board of Education, 281 U.S. 370 (1930), but by a different rationale.

In Meyer and Pierce, the First Amendment, as implemented by the Fourteenth, established the right of religious minorities to send their children to parochial schools. In Cochran and Everson, the right of minorities attending church-operated schools to share in the benefits of social legislation was established.

A Bible-believing Christian should ask, “Why was there a public school in a supposedly Christian nation since civil government was given no authority by God to educate children and since God had placed such responsibility in the hands of parents?” Obviously, the nation began early to move away from God’s principles. As could be anticipated, the movement of the public schools away from God began not long after their origin in this nation.

“[T]he religion of the public schools has changed. In the 1700s, the religion of American education was orthodox and mostly Calvinist Christianity. In the 1800s this religion was replaced by a more liberalized version of Christianity bordering on Unitarianism. And in the twentieth century the religion of the American public schools appears to be something closer to secular humanism” (Eidsmoe, God and Caesar, pp. 150-151).

The issue in Cochran was whether taxation by the state of Louisiana for the purchase of school books for school children including school children going to private, religious, sectarian, and other schools not embraced in the public educational system violated the First Amendment. The Court, in a unanimous decision delivered by Chief Justice Hughes,

“drew a distinction among the People, the State, and the Church. It held that there was no violation of the Fourteenth Amendment in a specific legislative act designed to benefit the people and the State…. The fact of education benefits the people and the State; that it may also benefit the Church is a correlative fact but not an indistinguishable one. So long as the textbooks lent were the same ones lent in the public schools and so long as they were lent for the same purpose, education in the areas of secular study, the act was a piece of social legislation within the constitutional prerogative of the State…. If a piece of legislation aids the People and the State but does not aid the Church directly, it is constitutional” (William H. Marnell, The First Amendment: Religious Freedom in America from Colonial Days to the School Prayer Controversy (Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1964), pp. 167-168, 172).

All the cases considered in the last article on this blog (Chapter 3 of God Betrayed), and in this article to this point, dealt with the protection of religious rights of minorities under the “free exercise clause.” Everson was decided under the “establishment clause.” Everson completely changed the meaning of “establishment of religion.”

The issue in Everson was whether the state could use tax money to reimburse the parents of children who attended a church school for their bus fares for riding to school. The majority reached the same conclusion as did Cochran, but using a different rationale.

“[The People] and [the Church] were fused in contradistinction to the [State], in the majority opinion as well as in the minority. Out of this fusion emerges a new pattern of thinking. Does the Constitution forbid an establishment of religion, or does it forbid an establishment of religion? … When the word establishment is italicized, the phrase has a definite historical meaning. An establishment is a state-supported church[.] But when the word religion is italicized, then an undetermined and indeterminable swarm of implications, inferences, corollaries, and conclusions emerges from the philological cacoon. They began to merge in 1948” (Ibid., pp. 172, 175-176).

The majority and minority in Everson agreed that any aid to a church through legislation that was intended to aid the people and the state was “an establishment of religion” which was forbidden by the Constitution. The majority thought that the bus fare paid for students riding to parochial schools did not aid the church. The minority disagreed.

Thus, with Everson, “establishment of religionbecame something entirely different from what it had been to that point. As described by Marnell in the above quote, “establishment of religion” or establishment of a state supported church became “establishment of religion,” which was something entirely different. The court further stated that the Constitution created “a wall of separation between church and state” (Everson, 330 U.S. 1 at 16; 67 S. Ct. 504, 91 L. Ed. 711, 1947 U.S. LEXIS 2959; 168 A.L.R. 1392 (1947)). Eventually, this rationale, all taken together, while honoring the historical First Amendment and biblical principle of separation of church and state, would also lead to the removal, or the attempt to remove, any vestige of God from civil government affairs—something which the history surrounding the time of ratification of the Constitution soundly disproves; obviously, the Constitution did not require the removal of the God of the Bible from civil government affairs although it did put a wall between church and state, a wall which was breached by churches who readily submitted themselves to the state for alleged benefits. Even when the Court would allow the mention of God, it was with the understanding that it was only historical and of no significance. God, the Ruler of the universe, the Ultimate Lawmaker, and the Judge of the Supreme Court of the universe, gave United States Supreme Court justices the right to rebel against His authority.

Supreme Court Justices in the 1940s were operating in a nation where the underlying framework of civil government had already been remolded into something contrary to the principles of God concerning civil government and something not allowed by the Constitution—the federal government was aiding individuals through all types of social legislation. Justice Black, in the majority opinion in Everson, commented upon some of the changes in direction the nation had taken:

  • “It is true that this Court has, in rare instances, struck down state statutes on the ground that the purpose for which tax-raised funds were to be expended was not a public one…. But the Court has also pointed out that this far-reaching authority must be exercised with the most extreme caution…. Otherwise, a state’s power to legislate for the public welfare might be seriously curtailed, a power which is a primary reason for the existence of states. Changing local conditions create new local problems which may lead a state’s people and its local authorities to believe that laws authorizing new types of public services are necessary to promote the general well-being of the people. The Fourteenth Amendment did not strip the states of their power to meet problems previously left for individual solution.
  • “It is much too late to argue that legislation intended to facilitate the opportunity of children to get a secular education serves no public purpose…. Nor does it follow that a law has a private rather than a public purpose because it provides that tax-raised funds will be paid to reimburse individuals on account of money spent by them in a way which furthers a public program…. Subsidies and loans to individuals such as farmers and home-owners, and to privately owned transportation systems, as well as many other kinds of businesses, have been commonplace practices in our state and national history” (Ibid., pp. 6-7).

As to the issue of separation of church and state, as pointed out in the above statement and in the dissent, states were now taxing to support individuals. Prior to independence and the Constitution, the colonies had done this, but with a difference. The difference—the money to support members of the public went to churches in the colonies and the churches used the money to pay ministers, build church buildings, and support charities. Tax money now went to government agencies, whose religion was secular humanism and which were becoming the new source of help and instruction for many Americans. The United States went from one type of illegal and destructive taxation to another. On the national level, the New Deal spearheaded by President Franklin D. Roosevelt had gone far in replacing a faith in God with a faith in government. President Roosevelt, with his proposed court-packing scheme, coerced the Justices of the Supreme Court into going along with his civil government programs. The nation was switching from the way of faith in God to the way of faith in the god of this world; and, in its instructive capacity, was leading the people down the same path.

Bible believing Christians should note that Supreme Court Justices and other government officials and agents who were not operating under God were called upon to formulate principles to guide its citizens. Supreme Court Justices in Everson were deciding an issue by incorrectly using underlying First Amendment law which had come about as a result of a spiritual conflict and which reflected a biblical principle in a nation that was becoming more and more divorced from God’s principles.

The majority opinion in Everson, of course, contained some truth in reaching its unconstitutional and unbiblical conclusion. The god of this world has from the beginning been a master of deceit and always introduces some truth into the debate. Justice Black, writing for the majority, and the dissent written by Justice Rutledge, selectively extracted accurate portions of First Amendment history while leaving out vital aspects. Justice Black wrote:

  • “A large proportion of the early settlers of this country came here from Europe to escape the bondage of laws which compelled them to support and attend government-favored churches. The centuries immediately before and contemporaneous with the colonization of America had been filled with turmoil, civil strife, and persecutions, generated in large part by established sects determined to maintain their absolute political and religious supremacy. With the power of government supporting them, at various times and places, Catholics had persecuted Protestants, Protestants had persecuted Catholics, Protestant sects had persecuted other Protestant sects, Catholics of one shade of belief had persecuted Catholics of another shade of belief, and all of these had from time to time persecuted Jews. In efforts to force loyalty to whatever religious group happened to be on top and in league with the government of a particular time and place, men and women had been fined, cast in jail, cruelly tortured, and killed. Among the offenses for which these punishments had been inflicted were such things as speaking disrespectfully of the views of ministers of government-established churches, non-attendance at those churches, expressions of non-belief in their doctrines, and failure to pay taxes and tithes to support them.
  • “These practices of the old world were transplanted to and began to thrive in the soil of the new America. The very charters granted by the English Crown to the individuals and companies designated to make the laws which would control the destinies of the colonials authorized these individuals and companies to erect religious establishments which all, whether believers or non-believers, would be required to support and attend. An exercise of this authority was accompanied by a repetition of many of the old-world practices and persecutions. Catholics found themselves hounded and proscribed because of their faith; Quakers who followed their conscience went to jail; Baptists were peculiarly obnoxious to certain dominant Protestant sects; men and women of varied faiths who happened to be in a minority in a particular locality were persecuted because they steadfastly persisted in worshipping God only as their own consciences dictated. And all of these dissenters were compelled to pay tithes and taxes to support government-sponsored churches whose ministers preached inflammatory sermons designed to strengthen and consolidate the established faith by generating a burning hatred against dissenters.
  • “These practices became so commonplace as to shock the freedom-loving colonials into a feeling of abhorrence. The imposition of taxes to pay ministers’ salaries and to build and maintain churches and church property aroused their indignation. It was these feelings which found expression in the First Amendment. No one locality and no one group throughout the Colonies can rightly be given entire credit for having aroused the sentiment that culminated in adoption of the Bill of Rights’ provisions embracing religious liberty. But Virginia, where the established church had achieved a dominant influence in political affairs and where many excesses attracted wide public attention, provided a great stimulus and able leadership for the movement. The people there, as elsewhere, reached the conviction that individual religious liberty could be achieved best under a government which was stripped of all power to tax, to support, or otherwise to assist any or all religions, or to interfere with the beliefs of any religious individual or group.
  • “The movement toward this end reached its dramatic climax in Virginia in 1785-86 when the Virginia legislative body was about to renew Virginia’s tax levy for the support of the established church. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison led the fight against this tax. Madison wrote his great Memorial and Remonstrance against the law. In it, he eloquently argued that a true religion did not need the support of law; that no person, either believer or non-believer, should be taxed to support a religious institution of any kind; that the best interest of a society required that the minds of men always be wholly free; and that cruel persecutions were the inevitable result of government-established religions. Madison’s Remonstrance received strong support throughout Virginia, and the Assembly postponed consideration of the proposed tax measure until its next session. When the proposal came up for consideration at that session, it not only died in committee, but the Assembly enacted the famous ‘Virginia Bill for Religious Liberty’ originally written by Thomas Jefferson. [Quotations from the ‘Virginia Bill for Religious Liberty’ follow in the opinion.]” (Ibid., pp. 8-14).

The majority gave its interpretation of the meaning of the First Amendment:

“The ‘establishment of religion’ clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between church and State.’ Reynolds v. United States, supra at 164…” (Ibid., pp. 15-16). [Emphasis mine.]

Then, the majority upheld the New Jersey law which required the state to aid parents of students of Catholic schools, in effect aiding not only parents, but also a “church.”

  • “New Jersey cannot consistently with the ‘establishment of religion’ clause of the First Amendment contribute tax-raised funds to the support of an institution which teaches the tenets and faith of any church. On the other hand, other language of the amendment commands that New Jersey cannot hamper its citizens in the free exercise of their own religion. Consequently, it cannot exclude individual Catholics, Lutherans, Mohammedans, Baptists, Jews, Methodists, Non-believers, Presbyterians, or the members of any other faith, because of their faith, or lack of it, from receiving the benefits of public welfare legislation. While we do not mean to intimate that a state could not provide transportation only to children attending public schools, we must be careful, in protecting the citizens of New Jersey against state-established churches, to be sure that we do not inadvertently prohibit New Jersey from extending its general state law benefits to all its citizens without regard to their religious belief.
  • “Measured by these standards, we cannot say that the First Amendment prohibits New Jersey from spending tax-raised funds to pay the bus fares of parochial school pupils as a part of a general program under which it pays the fares of pupils attending public and other schools. It is undoubtedly true that children are helped to get to church schools. There is even a possibility that some of the children might not be sent to the church schools if the parents were compelled to pay their children’s bus fares out of their own pockets when transportation to a public school would have been paid for by the State. The same possibility exists where the state requires a local transit company to provide reduced fares to school children including those attending parochial schools, or where a municipally owned transportation system undertakes to carry all school children free of charge. Moreover, state-paid policemen, detailed to protect children going to and from church schools from the very real hazards of traffic, would serve much the same purpose and accomplish much the same result as state provisions intended to guarantee free transportation of a kind which the state deems to be best for the school children’s welfare. And parents might refuse to risk their children to the serious danger of traffic accidents going to and from parochial schools, the approaches to which were not protected by policemen. Similarly, parents might be reluctant to permit their children to attend schools which the state had cut off from such general government services as ordinary police and fire protection, connections for sewage disposal, public highways and sidewalks. Of course, cutting off church schools from these services, so separate and so indisputably marked off from the religious function, would make it far more difficult for the schools to operate. But such is obviously not the purpose of the First Amendment. That Amendment requires the state to be a neutral in its relations with groups of religious believers and non-believers; it does not require the state to be their adversary. State power is no more to be used so as to handicap religions than it is to favor them.
  • “This Court has said that parents may, in the discharge of their duty under state compulsory education laws, send their children to a religious rather than a public school if the school meets the secular educational requirements which the state has power to impose. See Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U. S. 510. It appears that these parochial schools meet New Jersey’s requirements. The State contributes no money to the schools. It does not support them. Its legislation, as applied, does no more than provide a general program to help parents get their children, regardless of their religion, safely and expeditiously to and from accredited schools” (Ibid., pp. 15-18).

True, the state has the power, but not the God-given authority, to enforce secular educational requirements. Then, Justice Black wrote:

  • “The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach. New Jersey has not breached it here” (Ibid., p. 18). [Emphasis mine.]

The effect of the new rationale regarding separation of church and state was twofold. First, the Court still honored biblical separation of church and state. A church can operate under God if it so chooses. That “high and impregnable” wall allows both the civil government and a church, according to their individual choices, to remain under God only. Civil government is not over a church—if a church so chooses—and a church is not over civil government. Sadly, most churches eagerly submit to civil government by incorporating and applying for 501(c)(3) status.

Second, the opinion laid the groundwork for removal of God from the public life of America. Mr. Justice Jackson’s dissent, joined by Mr. Justice Rutledge was prophetical:

  • “The Court’s opinion marshals every argument in favor of state aid and puts the case in its most favorable light, but much of its reasoning confirms my conclusions that there are no good grounds upon which to support the present legislation. In fact, the undertones of the opinion, advocating complete and uncompromising separation of Church from State, seem utterly discordant with its conclusion yielding support to their commingling in educational matters. The case which irresistibly comes to mind as the most fitting precedent is that of Julia who, according to Byron’s reports, ‘whispering ‘I will ne’er consent,’ – consented’” (Ibid., p. 19).
  • “Thus, under the Act and resolution brought to us by this case, children are classified according to the schools they attend and are to be aided if they attend the public schools or private Catholic schools, and they are not allowed to be aided if they attend private secular schools or private religious schools of other faiths…. If we are to decide this case on the facts before us, our question is simply this: Is it constitutional to tax this complainant to pay the cost of carrying pupils to Church schools of one specified denomination? … [States] cannot, through school policy any more than through other means, invade rights secured to citizens by the Constitution of the United States. West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624. One of our basic rights is to be free of taxation to support a transgression of the constitutional command that the authorities ‘shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ….’ U.S. Const.
  • “The function of the Church school is a subject on which this record is meager. It shows only that the schools are under superintendence of a priest and that ‘religion is taught as part of the curriculum.’ But we know that such schools are parochial only in name — they, in fact, represent a world-wide and age-old policy of the Roman Catholic Church. Under the rubric ‘Catholic Schools,’ the Canon Law of the Church, by which all Catholics are bound, provides concerning the education of Catholic children, among other things, that the Catholic faith and morals are to be taught in Catholic schools; that the religious teaching of youth in any schools is subject to the authority and inspection of the Church” (Ibid., pp. 20-23).
  • “The state cannot maintain a Church and it can no more tax its citizens to furnish free carriage to those who attend a Church. The prohibition against establishment of religion cannot be circumvented by a subsidy, bonus or reimbursement of expense to individuals for receiving religious instruction and indoctrination.
    “The Court, however, compares this to other subsidies and loans to individuals and says, ‘Nor does it follow that a law has a private rather than a public purpose because it provides that tax-raised funds will be paid to reimburse individuals on account of money spent by them in a way which furthers a public program.’ Of course, the state may pay out tax-raised funds to relieve pauperism, but it may not under our Constitution do so to induce or reward piety. It may spend funds to secure old age against want, but it may not spend funds to secure religion against skepticism. It may compensate individuals for loss of employment, but it cannot compensate them for adherence to a creed.
  • “It seems to me that the basic fallacy in the Court’s reasoning, which accounts for its failure to apply the principles it avows, is in ignoring the essentially religious test by which beneficiaries of this expenditure are selected. A policeman protects a Catholic, of course — but not because he is a Catholic; it is because he is a man and a member of our society. The fireman protects the Church school — but not because it is a Church school; it is because it is property, part of the assets of our society. Neither the fireman nor the policeman has to ask before he renders aid ‘Is this man or building identified with the Catholic Church’” (Ibid., pp. 23-25)?

Mark R. Levin points out that Justice Black, a former Ku Klux Klan member who probably hated the Catholic Church, wrote the majority opinion “for the purpose of undercutting the true meaning of the religion clauses.” He “joined the majority in order to thwart them from the inside—and he succeeded.”

“[Justice Black’s opinion in Everson] drew criticism from all quarters. Black’s rhetoric and dicta contrasted too sharply with his conclusion and holding to satisfy anyone. If he had not written it as he did, he later said, ‘[Supreme Court Justice Robert] Jackson would have. I made it as tight and gave them as little room to maneuver as I could.’ [Justice Black] regarded it as going to the verge. His goal, he remarked at the time, was to make it a Pyrrhic victory and he quoted King Pyrrhus, ‘One more victory and I am undone’” (Levin, pp. 42-43 quoting Roger K. Newman, Hugo Black, A Biography (New York: pantheon Books, 1994)).

Liberals still constantly rely on Jefferson’s words, “wall of separation between church and state,” to justify their opposition to virtually any civil government intersection with God. If indeed Justice Black’s motivation was to hurt the Catholic Church, he instead hurt the nation by laying the groundwork for the severing of a recognition of the biblical doctrine of the sovereignty of God and an incorrect extension of the biblical doctrines of “government,” “church,” and “separation of church and state,” doctrines alien to the Catholic Church.

The Court was adopting the First Amendment to the conditions of a civil government that had gone outside its God-given and constitutional boundaries. All religions were to be treated equally and obviously to be given equal deference. Although the “wall of separation” originated by this Court still allowed a church to remain under God, when and if applied consistently, that wall would also be used to assure that God would not be honored as Supreme Sovereign by the United States of America. The new aspect of the First Amendment would ultimately result in chaos, especially since the other branches opened the door for churches to subjugate themselves to the civil government, as is shown in Section VI of God Betrayed which is reproduced on this website.

Even though a church can still choose to be under God only, most have chosen—by incorporating and taking “tax exemption” under an unconstitutional act of the federal government—not to do so. Justice Rehnquist was correct in stating that “[t]he ‘wall of separation between church and State’ [as interpreted by the Everson Court] is a metaphor based on bad history, a metaphor which has proved useless as a guide to judging. It should be frankly and explicitly abandoned” (Ibid., p. 45, quoting Justice Rehnquist in Wallace v. Jeffree, 472 U.S. 38, 107 (1985)). “Despite this, the ‘wall’ is part of the lexicon of many Supreme Court cases that involve religion and it has led to an inconsistent and illogical series of decisions” (Ibid.). However, one must keep in mind that the decision was partially correct in that it still proclaims that churches may choose to be under God because of the “high and impregnable wall” between church and state.

IV. An analysis of “religion clause” cases after Everson which have systematically removed the God of the Bible from practically all civil government affairs

Many cases between the decision in Everson in 1947 and the present continued to separate God and state. First, the federal and state governments had extended their authorities into areas where they were given no authority by God, into areas God desired to be left under the authority of governments other than civil government. Then the “impregnable wall of separation between church and state” was used to separate God from the United States of America. America made its God-allowed choice. The nation and its unlawful institutions and agencies are more and more guided by secular Godless and unbiblical principles.

A biblical examination of Supreme Court jurisprudence involving the removal of the nation from under God would be voluminous (See Kramer, 37 L. Ed. 2d 1147. This is an excellent summary of the cases involved. However, for a Christian to do the correct biblical and God-honoring analysis, he must read and analyze the cases from a biblical perspective.). The cases following in this chapter are just a sampling, with two 2005 cases involving public display of the Ten Commandments examined in some detail to show the depraved state of Supreme Court “separation of church and state” jurisprudence.

The “undetermined and indeterminable swarm of implications, inferences, corollaries, and conclusions which emerges from the philological cacoon” brought about by the newly defined establishment of religion began to emerge in 1948 in the McCollum case (Marnell, p. 176, citing Illinois ex rel. McCollum v. Board of Education, 333 U.S. 203 (1948)). The released time law of the state of Illinois provided for voluntary attendance by students whose parents agreed to allow their children to attend such instruction at thirty or forty-five minute religious classes conducted in the classrooms of public schools. The teachers of such classes were volunteers of various religions approved by school authorities who provided their services at no expense to the schools. Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish classes were conducted, and other religions could have established classes under the law had there been a demand. The issue in McCollum was whether the state could use its power “to utilize its tax-supported public school system in aid of religious instruction insofar as that power may be restricted by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.” The five-judge majority wrote:

  • “This is beyond all question a utilization of the tax-established and tax-supported public school system to aid religious groups to spread their faith. And it falls squarely under the ban of the First Amendment (made applicable to the States by the Fourteenth) as we interpreted it in Everson v. Board of Education…. There we said: ‘Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force or influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or nonattendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups, and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between Church and State’” (McCollum, 333 U.S. at 210-211). [Emphasis mine.]

Although the Supreme Court retreated somewhat from its Everson position in 1952, since Everson, America has been sliding down hill and away from recognition of God at an accelerating pace. In Zorach v. Clauson, 343 U.S. 306 (1952), the Court upheld a New York law which allowed schools to dismiss students for religious instruction given off campus and financed entirely by churches. The issue was “whether New York by this system has either prohibited the ‘free exercise’ of religion or has made a law ‘respecting an establishment of religion’ within the meaning of the First Amendment” (Ibid., p. 310).

The Court, as it has done many times, demonstrated its misunderstanding of the difference between “separation of church and state” and “separation of God and state” by equating the two:

  • “The First Amendment, however, does not say that in every and all respects there shall be a separation of Church and State. Rather, it studiously defines the manner, the specific ways, in which there shall be no concert or union or dependency one on the other…. Prayers in our legislative halls; the appeals to the Almighty in the messages of the Chief Executive; the proclamations making Thanksgiving Day a holiday; ‘so help me God’ in our courtroom oaths – these and all other references to the Almighty that run through our laws, our public rituals, our ceremonies would be flouting the First Amendment. A fastidious atheist or agnostic could even object to the supplication with which the Court opens each session: ‘God save the United States and this Honorable Court’” (Ibid., pp. 312-313).

Church and God are not the same. The First Amendment deals with separation of church and state, not separation of God and state. This seems such a simple truth; but one which, like God’s simple plan of salvation, has eluded many brilliant but foolish and vain religious and non-religious men.

  • “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. Therefore let no man glory in men…” (1 Co. 3.18-21).

To replow some ground, God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, instituted the church, with Himself to be over each local church. When He instituted the church, He had already instituted civil government and made known that He desired that each nation choose to submit itself to His sovereignty. Prayers, references, oaths, messages of chief executives, etc. have nothing to do with the establishment of a church. If made with proper motive to the God of the universe who has revealed Himself in the Bible, they have to do with recognition of and submission to the Sovereign of the universe.

Zorach demonstrated that, even though temporarily retreating somewhat from its Everson position, the Court, ignorant of truth, was unknowingly confused and at odds with its Sovereign. The Court continued:

“We are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being. We guarantee the freedom to worship as one chooses. We make room for as wide a variety of beliefs and creeds as the spiritual needs of man deem necessary. We sponsor an attitude on the part of government that shows no partiality to any one group and that lets each flourish according to the zeal of its adherents and the appeal of its dogma. When the state encourages religious instruction or cooperates with religious authorities by adjusting the schedule of public events to sectarian needs, it follows the best of our traditions…. The government must be neutral when it comes to competition between sects. It may not thrust any sect on any person. It may not make a religious observance compulsory. It may not coerce anyone to attend church, to observe a religious holiday, or to take religious instruction. But it can close its doors or suspend its operations as to those who want to repair to their religious sanctuary for worship or instruction. No more than that is undertaken here” (Zorach, pp. 313-314).

If “we are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being,” then why do not the Court and the nation bow down to that Supreme Being? “Supreme” means “highest in rank or authority” (WEBSTER’S COLLEGIATE DICTIONARY 1185 (10th ed. 1995)).  Maybe it is because we are, for the most part, “religious” but lost. The apostle Paul said:

  • “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Co. 4.3-4).

The retreat in Zorach was only temporary. Gradually Satan’s principles and activities were implemented, taught, and encouraged by the Supreme Court. In 1961, in McGowan v. Maryland, 366 U.S. 420, 6 L. Ed. 2d 393, 81 S. Ct. 1101 (1961) the Supreme Court secularized the “Sabbath:”

  • “Indeed, the purpose apparent from government action can have an impact more significant than the result expressly decreed: when the government maintains Sunday closing laws, it advances religion only minimally because many working people would take the day as one of rest regardless, but if the government justified its decision with a stated desire for all Americans to honor Christ, the divisive thrust of the official action would be inescapable. This is the teaching of McGowan v. Maryland, 366 U.S. 420, 6 L. Ed. 2d 393, 81 S. Ct. 1101 (1961), which upheld Sunday closing statutes on practical, secular grounds after finding that the government had forsaken the religious purposes behind centuries-old predecessor laws. Id., at 449-451, 6 L. Ed. 2d 393, 81 S. Ct. 1101” (McCreary County, Kentucky, v. ACLU, 545 U.S. 844, 860-861 (2005)).

In Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 U.S. 488 (1961)), Leo Pfeffer and Lawrence Speiser argued the cause for appellant who was denied a commission as notary public in Maryland because he would not declare his belief in God. The Maryland Constitution provided that “[N]o religious test ought ever to be required as a qualification for any office of profit or trust in this State, other than a declaration of belief in the existence of God…” (Ibid., p. 489). The Supreme Court wrote:

  • “The power and authority of the State of Maryland thus is put on the side of one particular sort of believers – those who are willing to say they believe in ‘the existence of God.’ … When our Constitution was adopted, the desire to put the people ‘securely beyond the reach’ of religious test oaths brought about the inclusion in Article VI of that document of a provision that ‘no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.’ … This Maryland religious test for public office unconstitutionally invades the appellant’s freedom of belief and religion [under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution] and therefore cannot be enforced against him” (Ibid., pp. 490, 491, 496).

The Court, as did our forefathers, related a belief in the Sovereign of the universe with “religious test.”

The Court further noted:

“In discussing Article VI in the debate of the North Carolina Convention on the adoption of the Federal Constitution, James Iredell, later a Justice of this Court, said:

  • “… [I]t is objected that the people of America may, perhaps, choose representatives who have no religion at all, and that pagans and Mahometans may be admitted into offices. But how is it possible to exclude any set of men, without taking away that principle of religious freedom which we ourselves so warmly contend for” (Ibid., fn. 10, p. 495)?
  • “Among religions in this country which do not teach but would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism, and others” (Ibid., fn. 11, p. 495).

Under the First Amendment, as it was intended, followers of humanism, and all followers of any other false religion were intended to be given freedom from persecution because of their beliefs. God desires that no one come to Him by force. However, the 1961 Court failed to know that there is but one God, but one Sovereign of the universe, Sovereign of nations, individuals, families, religious institutions and churches. The Court failed to understand the certain consequences brought by the failure of Judges of the Supreme Court, all civil government officials, and all people everywhere to choose to recognize Him as Sovereign.

In Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962) the Court declared that prayer in public school breaches the constitutional wall between church and state (). State officials wrote the following prayer which was required to be said aloud by each class in the presence of a teacher at the beginning of each school day:

  • “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our Country” (Ibid., p. 422).

Satan is not satisfied with merely the watering down of prayer and failure to recognize God the Son. He hates to hear the name of the God of the Bible in any form. The state of New York had made every attempt to adapt a non-sectarian prayer.

  • “Every effort was made in New York to adapt what was considered a traditional American right to the mid-twentieth-century situation in the state. The churches of the state were broadly represented in the composition of the prayer. It was limited in its theological foundation to the expression of a belief in God and a belief that human welfare was His concern. It represented, as well as human care could achieve, a non-sectarian common denominator of religious belief. It did affirm, however, a belief in God and in His providence. This belief conflicted with a minority belief…. The minority had a right not to say it, but in the view of the Court that was not enough. The Engel decision translated a minority right into minority rule” (Marnell, pp. 193-194).

The Court stated:

  • “[W]e think that the constitutional prohibition against laws respecting an establishment of religion must at least mean that in this country it is no part of the business of government to compose official prayers for any group of the American people to recite as a part of a religious program carried on by government” (Engel, 370 U.S. at 425).

One statement of the Court in Engel shows its total ignorance of the history, issues, and principles involved:

  • “It is true that New York’s establishment of its Regents’ prayer as an officially approved religious doctrine of that State does not amount to a total establishment of one particular religious sect to the exclusion of all others – that, indeed, the governmental endorsement of that prayer seems relatively insignificant when compared to the governmental encroachments upon religion which were commonplace 200 years ago” (Ibid., p. 436).

That is an incredibly arrogant and misinformed statement indeed. One can interpret this to mean that the Court declares that the founders were more guilty of violating the First Amendment than were those who formulated the New York prayer being struck down!

In 1963, the Court in Abington v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203 (1963) again, as in McCollum and cases since, placed minority rights above the rights of the majority. The Court struck down state laws requiring the reading of Bible verses to students each day and the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in the public schools. Two cases were combined. The Bible reading case was initiated in Abington Township, Pennsylvania, by Edward and Sidney Schempp. The Lord’s Prayer case was initiated by Madalyn Murray and her son William J. Murray, two professed atheists. At trial, parents Edward Lewis Schempp, his wife Sidney, and their children testified that as to specific religious doctrines purveyed by a literal reading of the Bible “which were contrary to the religious beliefs which they held and to their familial teaching” (Ibid, p. 208).  An “expert” testified:

  • “Dr. Solomon Grayzel testified that there were marked differences between the Jewish Holy Scriptures and the Christian Holy Bible, the most obvious of which was the absence of the New Testament in the Jewish Holy Scriptures. Dr. Grayzel testified that portions of the New Testament were offensive to Jewish tradition and that, from the standpoint of Jewish faith, the concept of Jesus Christ as the Son of God was ‘practically blasphemous…. Dr. Grayzel gave as his expert opinion that such material from the New Testament could be explained to Jewish children in such a way as to do no harm to them. But if portions of the New Testament were read without explanation, they could be, and in his specific experience with children Dr. Grayzel observed, had been, psychologically harmful to the child and had caused a divisive force within the social media of the school’” (Ibid., p. 209).

As it was in the times of Christ and the infant church, so it remains. The Jewish religion used the arm of the state to crucify Christ and to persecute His followers after His resurrection and ascension. “[T]he unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren” (Ac. 14.2). Jewish religious leaders have always opposed and been offended by the Lord Jesus Christ, but this nation arose because of true believers who stood on New and Old Testament principles, including the Lordship of Christ. Just as those who practiced Judaism crucified Christ in a nation destroyed because of their rebellion against God, unbelieving Jews continue their rebellion in America, many of whose founders and citizens believed in New and Old Testament principles, and as a result provided for religious freedom for all men, including religious Jews. (Note. Although the Jewish religious leaders acted to have Christ crucified, the sin of every man and woman was responsible for His crucifixion. He laid down His life that all who believe in Him would be saved.)

As to the purpose of the First Amendment, the Court quoted Mr. Justice Rutledge, joined by Justices Frankfurter, Jackson and Burton from the Everson opinion:

  • “The [First] Amendment’s purpose was not to strike merely at the official establishment of a single sect, creed or religion, outlawing only a formal relation such as had prevailed in England and some of the colonies. Necessarily it was to uproot all such relationships. But the object was broader than separating church and state in this narrow sense. It was to create a complete and permanent separation of the spheres of religious activity and civil authority…” (374 U.S. at 217, citing Everson, p. 26). [Emphasis mine.]

How could the Court be any clearer in its statement of its 1947 Everson principle of separation of God and state—that is, in its renunciation of God over civil affairs?

The Court decided the case based upon the “establishment clause” and not on the “free exercise” clause which would have required a showing of coercion, according to the Court. Since the reading of the Bible and recitation of the Lord’s prayer were prescribed as classroom activities, the Court held that “the exercising and the law requiring them are in violation of the establishment clause” (Ibid.).

Not knowing that they were bucking the sovereign God, the Court belittled God and His principles by both its rationale and its conclusions. The Court in Abington stated that the Bible may constitutionally be used in an appropriate study of history, civilization, ethics, comparative religion, or the like (Ibid., p. 225). In other words, The Bible cannot be taught as the Word of God in a public school classroom.

In Walz v. Tax Commission of the City of New York, 397 U.S. 664 (1970), another example of such lunacy, an owner of real estate in Richmond County, New York, sought an injunction in the New York courts to prevent the New York City Tax Commission from granting property tax exemptions to religious organizations for religious properties used solely for religious worship. The Court upheld the state law, stating that the law did not violate the First Amendment. Explaining that complete separation was impossible, but that neutrality was necessary, the Court declared:

  • “The legislative purpose of the property tax exemption is neither the advancement nor the inhibition of religion; it is neither sponsorship nor hostility. New York, in common with the other States, has determined that certain entities that exist in a harmonious relationship to the community at large, and that foster its ‘moral or mental improvement,’ should not be inhibited in their activities by property taxation or the hazard of loss of those properties for nonpayment of taxes. It has not singled out one particular church or religious group or even churches as such; rather, it has granted exemption to all houses of religious worship within a broad class of property owned by nonprofit, quasi-public corporations which include hospitals, libraries, playgrounds, scientific, professional, historical, and patriotic groups. The State has an affirmative policy that considers these groups as beneficial and stabilizing influences in community life and finds this classification useful, desirable, and in the public interest. Qualification for tax exemption is not perpetual or immutable; some tax-exempt groups lose that status when their activities take them outside the classification and new entities can come into being and qualify for exemption” (397 U.S. at 672-673). [Emphasis mine.]

The justices equated property owned by God’s church with other property owned by nonprofit, quasi-public corporations which include hospitals, libraries, playgrounds, scientific, professional, historical, and patriotic groups. A Christian should understand that the church, a spiritual entity, should never own any property (See Sections II, III, and VI of God Betrayed. These sections are reproduced on this website). Sadly, as is shown in Section VI of God Betrayed, although churches in America can occupy property in a manner which pleases God, most churches choose to hold property as owners under the plan laid out by the Satan through the civil government.

The Court in 1980, in Stone v. Graham, 449 U.S. 39 (1980), held that a Kentucky statute requiring the posting of a copy of the Ten Commandments, purchased with private contributions, on the wall of each public school classroom in the State has no secular legislative purpose as required by Lemon; and, therefore, is unconstitutional as violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The Court stated:

  • “The Commandments do not confine themselves to arguably secular matters, such as honoring one’s parents, killing or murder, adultery, stealing, false witness, and covetousness. See Exodus 20:12-17; Deuteronomy 5:16-21. Rather, the first part of the Commandments concerns the religious duties of believers: worshipping the Lord God alone, avoiding idolatry, not using the Lord’s name in vain, and observing the Sabbath Day. See Exodus 20:1-11; Deuteronomy 5:6-15….
  • “Posting of religious texts on the wall serves no such educational function. If the posted copies of the Ten Commandments are to have any effect at all, it will be to induce the schoolchildren to read, meditate upon, perhaps to venerate and obey, the Commandments. However desirable this might be as a matter of private devotion, it is not a permissible state objective under the Establishment Clause” (Ibid., p. 42).

The Courts opinion indicates that had the Kentucky statute left off the first four commandments (perhaps without the numbers so that no connection could be made to the commandments and God’s Word), those which deal with man’s relationship to God, the statute may have been constitutional. However, without all ten of the commandments being honored, without God being honored, students and other human beings are powerless to keep the last six commandments which deal with man’s relationship to man (prohibitions against murder, theft, adultery, dishonoring parents, lying, coveting). We see the results today in the zoos called public schools—murder, aggravated assault, lying, drug addiction, sexual sins of all kinds, prostitution, and all manner of evil. God told man the consequences of dishonoring the Sovereign of the universe. These undereducated judges had no idea about the consequences they were unleashing upon the American people.

In Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38 (1985), the Court held that, although a one-minute period of silence for meditation was constitutional, an Alabama law authorizing such a period is a law respecting the establishment of religion and thus violates the First Amendment. The Court used the Lemon test:

“Thus, in Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602, 612-613 (1971), we wrote:

‘Every analysis in this area must begin with consideration of the cumulative criteria developed by the Court over many years. Three such tests may be gleaned from our cases. First, the statute must have a secular legislative purpose; second, its principal or primary effect must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion, Board of Education v. Allen, 392 U.S. 236, 243 (1968); finally, the statute must not foster `an excessive [472 U.S. 38, 56] government entanglement with religion.’ Walz [v. Tax Comm’n, 397 U.S. 664, 674 (1970)]’” (Ibid., pp. 55-56).

Wallace stated that the Alabama law violated the first part of the Lemon test, noting that “[t]he sponsor of the bill that became [the law in issue] Senator Donald Holmes, inserted into the legislative record—apparently without dissent—a statement indicating that the legislation was an “effort to return voluntary prayer to the public schools” (Ibid., pp. 56-57).

In Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578, 107 S.Ct. 2673, 96 L. Ed. 2d 510 (1987) the Court held unconstitutional a Louisiana statute, the “Creationism Act,” which required the state’s public schools to give balanced treatment to creation science and evolution science. The statute did not require a school to teach either creation science or evolution science, but provided that if either one was taught, the other must also be taught. Edwards held that, although the Act’s stated purpose was to protect academic freedom, the actual purpose was to endorse religion, and therefore was in violation of Lemon’s first prong. The Court stated:

  • “because the primary purpose of the Creationism Act is to endorse a particular religious doctrine, the Act furthers religion in violation of the Establishment Clause. The Act violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment because it seeks to employ the symbolic and financial support of government to achieve a religious purpose” (Ibid., pp. 594, 597).

In reaching this conclusion, the majority opinion “reasoned:”

  • “The preeminent purpose of the Louisiana Legislature was clearly to advance the religious viewpoint that a supernatural being created humankind. The term ‘creation science’ was defined as embracing this particular religious doctrine by those responsible for the passage of the Creationism Act. Senator Keith’s leading expert on creation science, Edward Boudreaux, testified at the legislative hearings that the theory of creation science included belief in the existence of a supernatural creator.… Senator Keith also cited testimony from other experts to support the creation-science view that ‘a creator [was] responsible for the universe and everything in it.’ … The legislative history therefore reveals that the term ‘creation science,’ as contemplated by the legislature that adopted this Act, embodies the religious belief that a supernatural creator was responsible for the creation of humankind.
  • “Furthermore, it is not happenstance that the legislature required the teaching of a theory that coincided with this religious view. The legislative history documents that the Act’s primary purpose was to change the science curriculum of public schools in order to provide persuasive advantage to a particular religious doctrine that rejects the factual basis of evolution in its entirety. The sponsor of the Creationism Act, Senator Keith, explained during the legislative hearings that his disdain for the theory of evolution resulted from the support that evolution supplied to views contrary to his own religious beliefs. According to Senator Keith, the theory of evolution was consonant with the ‘cardinal principle[s] of religious humanism, secular humanism, theological liberalism, aestheticism [sic].’ … The state senator repeatedly stated that scientific evidence supporting his religious views should be included in the public school curriculum to redress the fact that the theory of evolution incidentally coincided with what he characterized as religious beliefs antithetical to his own. The legislation therefore sought to alter the science curriculum to reflect endorsement of a religious view that is antagonistic to the theory of evolution.
  • “In this case, the purpose of the Creationism Act was to restructure the science curriculum to conform with a particular religious viewpoint. Out of many possible science subjects taught in the public schools, the legislature chose to affect the teaching of the one scientific theory that historically has been opposed by certain religious sects. As in Epperson, the legislature passed the Act to give preference to those religious groups which have as one of their tenets the creation of humankind by a divine creator” (Ibid., pp. 591-593). [Emphasis mine.]

In Edwards, the Court again substituted its religious preference for that of the majority of the people of a state. The preference of the Court was to remove the God of the universe, the Creator of all, from consideration in the public schools. The Court used its twisted interpretations of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to achieve its goal. The Court used its God-given free will to establish law that is already resulting in dire consequences and will ultimately lead to the total destruction of this nation. What better way for the god of this world to achieve his purposes than providing for the perversion of the minds of children who will one day be adults. There is nothing new under the sun.

The Court, in Lee v. Weisman, 505 U.S. 577 (1992), held that the long time tradition of inviting clergy to give invocations and benedictions at high school graduation ceremonies was coercive and therefore unconstitutional. Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, wrote:

“[T]he school districts supervision and control of a high school graduation ceremony places public pressure, as well as peer pressure, on attending students to stand as a group or, at least, maintain respectful silence during the invocation and benediction. This pressure, though subtle and indirect, can be as real as any overt compulsion” (505 U.S. at 593).

  • “So the nonexistent constitutional right not to feel uncomfortable trumped, in the Court’s logic, the First Amendment’s guarantee of the free exercise of religion, which Providence, Rhode Island, had exercised for a very long time” (Levin, p. 49).

The issue in Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow, 124 S. Ct. 2301 (2004) was whether the voluntary recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, including the phrase “under God,” in a public school setting violates the establishment clause. The Justices were unanimous in ruling against Newdow, but the various opinions demonstrate the Court’s confusion. Justice Stevens ruled that Newdow had no standing, Justice O’Connor invented a new establishment clause test, Kennedy ruled against Newdow based upon lack of standing, and Thomas admitted that if the coercion test were honestly applied, the recitation would have to be struck down, arguing therefore that the establishment clause needed to be rethought by the Court. Rehnquist argued that the pledge was constitutional because “reciting the Pledge, or listening to others recite it, is a patriotic exercise, not a religious one; participants promise fidelity to our flag and our Nation, not to any particular God, faith or church” (124 S. Ct. at 2320).

Two 2005 cases which dealt with the issue of whether the Establishment Clause allows the display of a monument inscribed with the Ten Commandments on public property illustrate how far down the slippery slope to destruction this nation has fallen. In neither of those cases is there an establishment of religion. In each, there is an establishment of religion. As Douglas Laycock said, “With respect to new religious displays, the lesson to politicians is never to mention the religious reasons that are, in fact, the only source of pressure to create such displays; to talk blandly of the display’s alleged historical, cultural, or legal significance; to place some secular [or non-Christian religious] text or object nearby, whether or not it has any real relation to the religious display; and, whether plausible or not, to vigorously claim a predominantly secular purpose and effect” (Marty Lederman, “Doug Laycock on the Ten Commandments Cases,” July 5, 2005, on the web at A close examination of the cases reveals that Professor Laycock’s statement is totally accurate. Most, if not all but one, of the arguments for the commandments in the brief and amicus briefs for those in favor of the monuments emphasized that the monuments were not religious and had a secular purpose, while those against the commandments argued that the monuments were religious. Those for the displays made secular arguments, and those against the displays made religious arguments. God will not honor such insanity by “Christians.”

In Van Orden v. Perry, 545 U.S. 677 (2005) a plurality of four conservatives, along with the liberal Justice Breyer, upheld the display. The plurality stated that the test laid down in Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971) was not useful in dealing with the sort of passive monument that Texas had erected on its capitol grounds. Instead, in holding that the Establishment Clause allowed the display, the analysis used by the Court looked to the monument’s nature and the nation’s history. In McCreary County, Kentucky, et al. v. American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky et al, 545 U.S. 844 (2005)McCreary, the Court, using the test laid down in Lemon, declared that since the County’s purpose for the display was religious, the display was forbidden by the Establishment Clause.

In Van Orden Chief Justice Rehnquist, a conservative, joined by Justices Scalia, Kennedy, and Thomas noted that the Ten Commandments monolith challenged was one of “17 monuments and 21 historical markers commemorating the ‘people, ideals, and events that compose Texan identity located upon the 22 acres surrounding the Texas State Capitol’” (Van Orden, 545 U.S. at 681). The court stated that the attempt to reconcile the strong role played by religion and religious traditions throughout the nation’s history with the principle that governmental intervention in religious matters can itself endanger religious freedom, “requires that we neither abdicate our responsibility to maintain a division between church and state nor evince a hostility to religion by disabling the government from in some ways recognizing our religious heritage.” The church who is to be divided from the state in this case is not there. The Court effectively declared that God is severed from the state and that the display was a mere historical marker which they would allow in this limited factual situation.

Chief Justice Rehnquist then writes of the two directions toward which our Establishment Clause jurisprudence looks—first toward the strong role played by religion and religious traditions which he exemplifies by the religious people who prayed to a Supreme Lawgiver to guide them on the one hand and secondly toward the principle that governmental intervention in religious matters can itself endanger religious freedom. A better way to describe the first direction would be the strong role played by God. As has been pointed out, in some ways, the people and leaders of the nation were, for a significant period of our nation’s history, under God, although the Constitution did not state that the nation was under God. This was because a majority of the people were probably Christians for some time after the adoption of the Constitution. The opinion makes clear that at least Chief Justice Rehnquist is trying to sort all this out in a way to justify the display, and he almost has it right. He just does not seem to understand the issue of the sovereignty of God over nations and the folly of not recognizing the headship of God the Son over the nation.

The second direction he mentions is biblically correct. Chief Justice Rehnquist then writes of what he calls the role of religion in our nation’s heritage in one place and the role of God in our nation’s heritage in another. He gives examples supporting the role of religion and the role of God. It is as though he equates religion with God. He never defines religion. Religion and God are not the same. He does not understand, or if he does, he does not state his understanding in the opinion, that God wishes the nation to choose to operate under Him, nor does he understand the consequences that will come to a nation that chooses to operate outside God’s principles. He then gives examples of acknowledgements of the role played by the Ten Commandments in government buildings, including the Supreme Court building, in America’s capital and throughout America. He points out that “our opinions, like [our Supreme Court building] have recognized the role the Decalogue plays in America’s heritage.” He then acknowledges that the Ten Commandments are religious and have a religious significance, but that just having a religious content does not run afoul of the Establishment clause.

He asserts that there are “limits to the display of religious messages.”

Stone v. Graham, 449 U.S. 39 (1980)(per curiam) held that a Kentucky statute requiring the posting of the Ten Commandments in every public schoolroom ‘had an improper and plainly religious purpose.’ In the classroom context, we found that the Kentucky statute had an improper and plainly religious purpose. Id. at 41. As evidenced by Stone’s almost exclusive reliance upon two of our school prayer cases, Id., at 41-42 (citing School Dist. of Abington Township v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203 (1963), and Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962)), it stands as an example of the fact that we have ‘been  particularly vigilant in monitoring compliance with the Establishment Clause in elementary and secondary schools,’ Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578, 583-584 (1987). Compare Lee v. Weisman, 505 U.S. 577, 596-597 (1992)(holding unconstitutional a prayer at a secondary school graduation), with Marsh v. Champers, [463 U.S.783 (1983)], (upholding a prayer in the state legislature). Indeed, Edwards v. Aguillard recognized that Stone—along with Schempp and Engel—was a consequence of the ‘particular concerns that arise in the context of public elementary and secondary schools.’ 482 U.S., at 584-585. Neither Stone itself nor subsequent opinions have indicated that Stone’s holding would extend to a legislative chamber, see Marsh v. Chambers, supra, or to capitol grounds” (Ibid., pp. 690-691).

Chief Justice Rehnquist concluded:

  • “The placement of the Ten Commandments monument on the Texas State Capitol grounds is a far more passive use of those texts than was the case in Stone, where the text confronted elementary school students every day. Indeed, Van Orden, the petitioner here, apparently walked by the monument for a number of years before bringing this lawsuit. The monument is therefore also quite different from the prayers involved in Schrempp and Lee v. Weisman. Texas has treated her Capitol grounds monuments as representing the several strands in the State’s political and legal history. The inclusion of the Ten Commandments monument in this group has a dual significance, partaking of both religion and government. We cannot say that Texas’ display of this monument violates the Establishment clause of the First Amendment” (Ibid., pp. 691-692).

Justice Scalia was much closer to God’s principles. He wrote that he “would prefer to reach the same result by adopting an Establishment Clause jurisprudence that is in accord with our nation’s past and present practices, and that can be consistently applied—the central relevant feature of which is that there is nothing unconstitutional in a State’s favoring religion generally, honoring God through public prayer and acknowledgment, or in a nonproselytizing manner, venerating the Ten Commandments” (Ibid., p. 692).

Justice Thomas’ concurrence was, according to the Constitution, the correct resolution. Justice Thomas was correct in asserting that the Establishment Clause does not restrain the States and should not have been incorporated against the states. He pointed out the Court should adopt the original meaning of the word “establishment”—that the “Framers understood establishment [to] involve actual legal coercion” and that “government practices that have nothing to do with creating or maintaining … coercive state establishments” simply do not “implicate the possible liberty interest of being free from coercive state establishments” (Ibid., pp. 693-694).

Justice Thomas then first points out the display in the case is not coercive; and, therefore, it is constitutional. He says, “All told, this Court’s jurisprudence leaves courts, governments, and believers and nonbelievers alike confused—an observation that is hardly new.” Amen! As to confusion, he first cites and summarizes cases where the slightest public recognition of religion have been held to be an establishment of religion (e.g., a sign at a courthouse alerting the public that the building was closed for Good Friday and containing a 4-inch high crucifix; a cross erected to honor World War I veterans on a rock in the Mohave Desert Preserve—that is, a cross in the middle of a desert establishes a religion—etc.) (Ibid., pp. 694-695).

Second, he states:

  • “in seeming attempt to balance out its willingness to consider almost any acknowledgment of religion an establishment, in other cases Members of this Court have concluded that the term or symbol at issue has no religious meaning by virtue of its ubiquity or rote ceremonial invocation…. But words such as ‘God’ have religious significance. For example, just last Term this ‘Court had before it a challenge to the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, which includes the phrase ‘one Nation under God.’ The declaration that our country is ‘one Nation under God’ necessarily ‘entails an affirmation that God exists.’ [Elk Grove Unified School Dist. v. Newdow, 542 U.S. 1, 48, (2004)](Thomas, J., concurring in judgment). This phrase is thus anathema to those who reject God’s existence and a validation of His existence to those who accept it. Telling either nonbelievers or believers that the words ‘under God’ have no meaning contradicts what they know to be true. Moreover, repetition does not deprive religious words or symbols of their traditional meaning. Words like ‘God’ are not vulgarities for which the shock value diminishes with each successive utterance.
  • “Even when this Court’s precedents recognize the religious meaning of symbols or words, that recognition fails to respect fully religious belief or disbelief…. [Justice Thomas continues his criticism. then he concludes:] Finally, the very ‘flexibility’ of this Court’s Establishment Clause precedent leaves it incapable of consistent application…. The inconsistency between the decisions the Court reaches today in this case and in McCreary County v. American Civil Liberties Union of Ky. … only compounds the confusion.
  • “The unintelligibility of this Court’s precedent raises the further concern that, either in appearance or in fact, adjudication of Establishment Clause challenges turns on judicial predilections…. The outcome of constitutional cases ought to rest on firmer grounds than the personal preferences of judges.
  • “Much, if not all, of this would be avoided if the Court would return to the views of the Framers and adopt coercion as the touchstone for our Establishment Clause inquiry” (Ibid., pp. 695-698).

Justice Breyer, the lone liberal who joined with the majority in Van Orden, states that this is a borderline case where none of the Court’s various tests for evaluating Establishment Clause questions can substitute for the exercise of legal judgment. He points out that the display here, taken in context, communicated not only a religious, but also a secular moral message and a historical message. He pointed out that the views of people of several faiths with ethics based motives went into finding a sectarian text. Then he stated:

  • “The physical setting of the monument … suggests nothing of the sacred.” That setting “does not readily lend itself to meditation or any other religious activity,” but “it does provide a context of history and moral ideals.” Since the monument went unchallenged for 40 years, “those 40 years suggest more strongly than can any set of formulaic tests that few individuals, whatever their system of beliefs, are likely to have understood the monument as amounting, in any significantly detrimental way, to a government effort to favor a particular religious sect, primarily to promote religion over nonreligion, to ‘engage in’ any ‘religious practic[e],’ to ‘compel’ any ‘religious practice,’ or to work ‘deterrence of any religious belief.’ Those 40 years suggest that the public visiting the capitol grounds has considered the religious aspect of the tablets’ message as part of what is a broader moral and historical message reflective of a cultural heritage” (Ibid., pp. 698-703).

Justice Stevens, joined by Justice Ginsburg, dissented. To analyze that dissent from a biblical perspective could be the subject of a book, and not a short one. The author will make only a few observations. Stevens is totally blind to truth. In belittling the obvious endorsement of the “divine code of the ‘Judeo-Christian’ God,” he betrays the fact that he does not even know that the Jewish religion and Christianity worship different Gods. The Jewish religion rejects Jesus Christ, God the Son, thereby rejecting God. He should know this since he “learned to recite the King James version … long before [he] understood the meaning of some of its words.” Many, including this author, find the words of the King James Version much easier to understand than the mumbo-jumbo being penned as law by liberal writers of Supreme Court opinions. He does not understand that the Jewish religion had nothing to do with the founding of this nation, the securing of religious liberty in America, and the blessings that God has bestowed upon America. Justice Stevens states that “[t]he adornment of our public spaces with displays of religious symbols and messages undoubtedly provides comfort, even inspiration to many individuals who subscribe to particular faiths. Unfortunately, the practice also runs the risk of ‘offend[ing] nonmembers of the faith being advertised as well as adherents who consider the particular advertisement disrespectful’” (Ibid., pp. 707-708). Obviously, he cares nothing for those who are offended by the attempt to remove the monument, for those offended that the Court relegates the monument to an historical monument with a secular purpose, allowed there because being there for 40 years with no complaints has proven that it is not considered by most to be a government endorsement of religion. With his beliefs, he would have been among those who desired to kill and eventually crucified the Savior because they were offended by what he said:

  • “Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God” (Jn. 10.31-33).

And, most egregiously, he knows nothing of, much less cares about, what the Sovereign of the universe, the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings, thinks or feels about the monument and this nation’s rejection of the headship of Jesus Christ over nations. Why cannot such a man understand the words of the King James Version of the Bible? Because he is either lost or he is a spiritual baby. He has chosen, as did this author until 1982, to either remain a child of the devil or to remain ignorant of biblical principles, at least as of the writing of his dissent in McCreary.

  • “Jesus answered them [the Pharisees, a Jewish religious sect], Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God” (Jn. 8.34-47).

[Skipping over a lot of the opinion.] Justice Stevens quotes the Fraternal Order of Eagles, the group which donated the monument:

  • “[I]n searching for a youth guidance program, [we] recognized that there can be no better, no more defined program of Youth Guidance, and adult guidance as well, than the laws handed down by God Himself to Moses more than 3000 years ago, which laws have stood unchanged through the years. They are a fundamental part of our lives, the basis of all our laws for living, the foundation of our relationship with our Creator, with our families and with our fellow men. All the concepts we live by–freedom, democracy, justice, honor–are rooted in the Ten Commandments.
  • “The erection of these monoliths is to inspire all who pause to view them, with a renewed respect for the law of God, which is our greatest strength against the forces that threaten our way of life” (Van Orden., pp. 714-715).

Justice Stevens then continues to show his lack of education. Skipping over much other foolishness, one comes to the following:

  • “The desire to combat juvenile delinquency by providing guidance to youths is both admirable and unquestionably secular. But achieving that goal through biblical teachings injects a religious purpose into an otherwise secular endeavor. By spreading the word of God and converting heathens to Christianity, missionaries expect to enlighten their converts, enhance their satisfaction with life, and improve their behavior. Similarly, by disseminating the ‘law of God’–directing fidelity to God and proscribing murder, theft, and adultery–the Eagles hope that this divine guidance will help wayward youths conform their behavior and improve their lives. In my judgment, the significant secular byproducts that are intended consequences of religious instruction–indeed, of the establishment of most religions–are not the type of ‘secular’ purposes that justify government promulgation of sacred religious messages.
  • “Though the State of Texas may genuinely wish to combat juvenile delinquency, and may rightly want to honor the Eagles for their efforts, it cannot effectuate these admirable purposes through an explicitly religious medium. See Bowen v. Kendrick, 487 U.S. 589, 639-640, 101 L. Ed. 2d 520, 108 S. Ct. 2562 (1988) (Blackmun, J., dissenting) (‘It should be undeniable by now that religious dogma may not be employed by government even to accomplish laudable secular purposes.’). The State may admonish its citizens not to lie, cheat, or steal, to honor their parents, and to respect their neighbors’ property; and it may do so by printed words, in television commercials, or on granite monuments in front of its public buildings. Moreover, the State may provide its schoolchildren and adult citizens with educational materials that explain the important role that our forebears’ faith in God played in their decisions to select America as a refuge from religious persecution, to declare their independence from the British Crown, and to conceive a new Nation. See Edwards, 482 U.S., at 606-608, 96 L. Ed. 2d 510, 107 S. Ct. 2573 (Powell, J., concurring). The message at issue in this case, however, is fundamentally different from either a bland admonition to observe generally accepted rules of behavior or a general history lesson.
  • “The reason this message stands apart is that the Decalogue is a venerable religious text. As we held 25 years ago, it is beyond dispute that ‘[t]he Ten Commandments are undeniably a sacred text in the Jewish and Christian faiths.’ Stone v. Graham, 449 U.S. 39, 41, 66 L. Ed. 2d 199, 101 S. Ct. 192 (1980) (per curiam). For many followers, the Commandments represent the literal word of God as spoken to Moses and repeated to his followers after descending from Mount Sinai. The message conveyed by the Ten Commandments thus cannot be analogized to an appendage to a common article of commerce (‘In God we Trust’) or an incidental part of a familiar recital (‘God save the United States and this honorable Court’). Thankfully, the plurality does not attempt to minimize the religious significance of the Ten Commandments. Ante, at 690, 162 L. Ed. 2d, at 619 (‘Of course, the Ten Commandments are religious–they were so viewed at their inception and so remain’); ante, at 692, 162 L. Ed. 2d, at 620 (Thomas, J., concurring); see also McCreary County v. American Civil Liberties Union of Ky. post, at 909, 162 L. Ed. 2d 729, 125 S. Ct. 2722 (Scalia, J., dissenting). Attempts to secularize what is unquestionably a sacred text defy credibility and disserve people of faith” (Ibid., pp. 715-717).

Sadly, Justice Stevens betrays his total lack of understanding of truth and wisdom. He does not understand that combating juvenile delinquency is a spiritual, not a secular battle, meant to be done by parents, operating under the principles of God laid down in the Bible. Juvenile crime should be punished, and some juvenile crime undoubtedly falls under the God-given criminal jurisdiction of the state; but in normal situations, the secular state many times assumes jurisdiction over the juveniles in this nation, a jurisdiction that God gave to parents. God wants parents to bring up the children whom He has placed in their care according to principles in the Word of God:

  • “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.  It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward” (Ps. 127.1-3). “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ep. 6.4).

The federal government has taken jurisdiction in many areas against God’s desires. The state has redefined the law, the role of the state, morality, the goals of individuals both male and female, marriage, the family, the roles of parents, and the roles of children. The United States is a society predominantly guided by the principles of the god of this world. Children are indoctrinated in secularism in the public schools, and by the secular media. The state attempts, successfully for the most part, to teach “Christians” to keep their “religion” behind the four walls of their “church,” and that the communication of religious beliefs has no place in the public square. The state tells the corporate 501(c)(3) religious organizations what they can say, and those organizations, even though they contracted with the state and agreed that the state would have jurisdiction over them in certain matters, fight against the state telling them what to do. Intelligent but unwise men tell us that a secular education will better prepare us to “choose our religion.” Most Americans are led by selfishness, greed, and ungodly ambition. We see the results—the ever-deteriorating condition of this nation.

The foolishness of Justice Stevens continues for twenty more pages in the opinion.

Justice Souter, joined by Justice Stevens and Justice Ginsburg, also dissent. Here is just one exemplary statement from that dissent:

  • “Thus, a pedestrian happening upon the monument at issue here needs no training in religious doctrine to realize that the statement of the Commandments, quoting God himself, proclaims that the will of the divine being is the source of obligation to obey the rules, including the facially secular ones. In this case, moreover, the text is presented to give particular prominence to the Commandments’ first sectarian reference, ‘I am the Lord thy God.’ That proclamation is centered on the stone and written in slightly larger letters than the subsequent recitation. To ensure that the religious nature of the monument is clear to even the most casual passerby, the word ‘Lord’ appears in all capital letters (as does the word ‘am’), so that the most eye-catching segment of the quotation is the declaration ‘I AM the LORD thy God.’ App. to Pet. for Cert. 21. What follows, of course, are the rules against other gods, graven images, vain swearing, and Sabbath breaking. And the full text of the fifth Commandment puts forward filial respect as a condition of long life in the land ‘which the Lord they God giveth thee.’ See ibid. These ‘words … make [the] … religious meaning unmistakably clear’” (Van Orden., pp. 738-739).

Obviously, these justices are in the dark about the sovereignty of the one and only God, His rules for nations, for judges, for other civil government officials, and the consequences of rejecting God as Sovereign.

In McCreary, the other 2005 Ten Commandments case, where is the “establishment of religion?” There is none. There is only an establishment of religion. Again, the Court’s main underlying statement was that these liberal justices choose not to recognize the principles of the true God. Justice Souter, delivered the majority opinion, joined by the three other liberals—Stevens, Ginsburg, and Breyer—and by O’Connor, the “moderate” swing vote.

The majority decided the case based upon the Lemon test, finding that the Ten Commandments monument at issue had no secular purpose. The monument considered was the third monument the counties erected. The counties made changes for the second and third monuments in an attempt to bring the display into accord with Supreme Court jurisprudence. The first monument displayed the Ten Commandments in isolation. The second monument included the statement of the county government’s purpose expressly set out in the county resolutions and juxtaposed the Commandments to other documents whose references to God were highlighted as their sole common element. The third display placed the Commandments in the company of other documents deemed significant in the historical foundation of the American government. The county cited several new purposes for the display, including a desire to educate County citizens as to the significance of the documents displayed. The attempt failed.

The majority noted that the county placed the monument, which, unlike the monument in the Texas case, displayed an abridged text of the King James Version of the Ten Commandments, in a high traffic area of the courthouse. The commandments were hung in a ceremony in which the presiding officer, a judge who was accompanied by the pastor of his church, called them “good rules to live by,” and recounted the story of an astronaut who became convinced “there must be a divine God” after viewing the Earth from the moon. The judge’s pastor called the Commandments “a creed of ethics” “and told the press that displaying the Commandments was ‘one of the greatest things the judge could have done to close out the millennium’” (McCreary County…, 545 U.S. 844 at 851).

The majority concluded, under Lemon, that the alleged secular purpose of the monuments were only a sham, and secondary to a religious objective. The majority noted:

  • “The touchstone for our analysis is the principle that the ‘First Amendment mandates governmental neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion.’… Manifesting a purpose to favor one faith over another, or adherence to religion generally, clashes with the ‘understanding reached … after decades of religious war, that liberty and social stability demand a religious tolerance that respects the religious views of all citizens…. By showing a purpose to favor religion, the government sends the … message to … nonadherents ‘that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community, and an accompanying message to adherents that they are insiders, favored members…” (Ibid., p. 860).

The Court teaches that this nation regards all beliefs to be equal and that a statement that acknowledges a belief in God, at least in this case, will not be tolerated because some people will be offended. Obviously, the Court was, as it had been for some time, manifesting that this is a pluralistic nation where all “religions” and all religious beliefs will be treated equally. The principles of God no longer have a place in the jurisprudence of this nation. The Court does not recognize the sovereign God.

The majority took Stone as the initial legal benchmark.

  • Stone stressed the significance of integrating the Commandments into a secular scheme to forestall the broadcast of an otherwise clearly religious message … and for good reason, the Commandments being a central point of reference in the religious and moral history of Jews and Christians. They proclaim the existence of a monotheistic god (no other gods). They regulate details of religious obligation (no graven images, no sabbath breaking, no vain oath swearing). And they unmistakably rest even the universally accepted prohibitions (as against murder, theft, and the like) on the sanction of the divinity proclaimed at the beginning of the text. Displaying that text is thus different from a symbolic depiction, like tablets with 10 roman numerals, which could be seen as alluding to a general notion of law, not a sectarian conception of faith. Where the text is set out, the insistence of the religious message is hard to avoid in the absence of a context plausibly suggesting a message going beyond an excuse to promote the religious point of view. The display in Stone had no context that might have indicated an object beyond the religious character of the text, and the Counties’ solo exhibit here did nothing more to counter the sectarian implication than the postings at issue in Stone” (Ibid., pp. 868-869).

The majority emphasizes that it must be neutral regarding religion. It attempts to explain “establishment of religion” as follows:

  • “The prohibition on establishment covers a variety of issues from prayer in widely varying government settings, to financial aid for religious individuals and institutions, to comment on religious questions. In these varied settings, issues of interpreting inexact Establishment Clause language, like difficult interpretative issues generally, arise from the tension of competing values, each constitutionally respectable, but none open to realization to the logical limit” (Ibid., p. 875).

Left-wing mumbo-jumbo at its best, but at least letting us know that the Court and the other branches of the federal government can, with enough liberals and “moderates,” reconstruct the Constitution into whatever form it so desires, completely ignoring history and logic and totally discounting God.

The Court then speaks of interpretive problems, presented by conflicts between the two religion clauses in the First Amendment. These problems occur only when one begins to twist meanings, when one has no standard upon which to base his principles, when one uses a different standard than the standard used to formulate that which he is judging, when one has no knowledge of the true history and intent of that which he is judging, and when one has no knowledge of God and the sovereignty of God.

The majority then criticizes the dissent, and is somewhat right about the point criticized. The dissent “identifies God as the God of monotheism, all of whose three principal strains (Jewish, Christian, and Muslim) acknowledge the religious importance of the Ten Commandments.” Thus, the dissent would assert that “rigorous espousal of a common element of this common monotheism, is consistent with the establishment ban” (Ibid., p. 878). The majority points out that the dissent [like the majority] fails to take into account the “full range of evidence showing what the Framers believed.” The dissent, as does the majority, cites selected historical quotes and facts from the founding era and revises the history of the founding era to support its position. The majority was as guilty as the dissent when it explained:

  • “… The dissent is certainly correct in putting forward evidence that some of the Framers thought some endorsement of religion was compatible with the establishment ban; the dissent quotes the first President as stating that ‘[n]ational morality [cannot] prevail in exclusion of religious principle,’ for example, … and it cites his first Thanksgiving proclamation giving thanks to God…. Surely if expressions like these from Washington and his contemporaries were all we had to go on, there would be a good case that the neutrality principle has the effect of broadening the ban on establishment beyond the Framers’ understanding of it (although there would, of course, still be the question of whether the historical case could overcome some 60 years of precedent taking neutrality as its guiding principle).
  • “But the fact is that we do have more to go on, for there is also evidence supporting the proposition that the Framers intended the Establishment Clause to require governmental neutrality in matters of religion, including neutrality in statements acknowledging religion. The very language of the Establishment Clause represented a significant departure from early drafts that merely prohibited a single national religion, and the final language instead extended [the] prohibition to state support for ‘religion’ in general.
  • “The historical record, moreover, is complicated beyond the dissent’s account by the writings and practices of figures no less influential than Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Jefferson, for example, refused to issue Thanksgiving Proclamations because he believed that they violated the Constitution. See Letter to S. Miller (Jan. 23, 1808), in 5 The Founders’ Constitution, … at 98. And Madison, whom the dissent claims as supporting its thesis, … criticized Virginia’s general assessment tax not just because it required people to donate ‘three pence’ to religion, but because ‘it is itself a signal of persecution. It degrades from the equal rank of Citizens all those whose opinions in Religion do not bend to those of the Legislative authority.’ … (internal quotation marks omitted); see also Letter from J. Madison to E. Livingston (July 10, 1822), in 5 The Founders’ Constitution, … (‘[R]eligion & Govt. will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together’); Letter from J. Madison to J. Adams (Sept. 1833), in Religion and Politics in the Early Republic 120 (D. Dresibach ed. 1996) (stating that with respect to religion and government the ‘tendency to a usurpation on one side, or the other, or to a corrupting coalition or alliance between them, will be best guarded against by an entire abstinence of the Government from interference’)” (Ibid., pp. 877-879).

From the above portion of the opinion, one can see that the Founders, or at least a significant number of them, recognized that God was over nations. Too bad they did not memorialize this in the text of the Constitution. Even then liberal government officials, including liberal judges, would have eventually revised the Constitution, but such illegal actions would have been obvious and would have logically left the officials engaging in such conduct open to impeachment.

Since the Constitution did not declare that God and His principles were to be the guiding light for the nation—that is, that this was to be a nation under God whose goal was the glory of God—the majority was able to declare:

  • “The fair inference is that there was no common understanding about the limits of the establishment prohibition, and the dissent’s conclusion that its narrower view was the original understanding, … stretches the evidence beyond tensile capacity. What the evidence does show is a group of statesmen, like others before and after them, who proposed a guarantee with contours not wholly worked out, leaving the Establishment Clause with edges still to be determined. And none the worse for that. Indeterminate edges are the kind to have in a constitution meant to endure, and to meet ‘exigencies which, if foreseen at all, must have been seen dimly, and which can be best provided for as they occur’” (Ibid., p. 879).

Their conclusion is therefore that one can know nothing for certain. There is no truth. All the Founding Fathers left us was a guarantee with no fixed meaning—the Constitution means what the ruling majority on the Court says it means. This is the ultimate consequence brought by a document that was a blend of enlightenment and biblical principles. Every nation in history, and every nation before the return of Christ, will eventually, if not initially, be ruled by the unregenerate. America experienced a temporary period of time when the majority of Americans honored the Word of God. That time is long gone and will never return.

As Justice Scalia wrote in the minority opinion:

  • “What distinguishes the rule of law from the dictatorship of a shifting Supreme Court majority is the absolutely indispensable requirement that judicial opinions be grounded in consistently applied principle. That is what prevents judges from ruling now this way, now that–thumbs up or thumbs down–as their personal preferences dictate. Today’s opinion forthrightly (or actually, somewhat less than forthrightly) admits that it does not rest upon consistently applied principle. In a revealing footnote, … the Court acknowledges that the ‘Establishment Clause doctrine’ it purports to be applying ‘lacks the comfort of categorical absolutes.’ What the Court means by this lovely euphemism is that sometimes the Court chooses to decide cases on the principle that government cannot favor religion, and sometimes it does not. The footnote goes on to say that ‘[i]n special instances we have found good reason’ to dispense with the principle, but ‘[n]o such reasons present themselves here.’ … It does not identify all of those ‘special instances,’ much less identify the ‘good reason’ for their existence’” (Ibid., pp. 890-891).

Liberals will not and cannot apply biblical principle. Even conservatives cannot apply biblical principle, as Justice Scalia’s dissent shows.

Justice O’Connor wrote a concurring opinion. She totally misses the point, because she does not have a grasp of history and because she understands neither the sovereignty of God nor biblical principles such as separation of church and state. She said, for example, “the goal of the Clauses is clear: to carry out the Founders’ plan of preserving religious liberty to the fullest extent possible in a pluralistic society” (Ibid., p. 882). What a perversion of truth. As has been shown in Section IV of God Betrayed which is reproduced on this website, the Founders lived in a society wherein religious liberty came about as a result of forces which differed on biblical interpretation. The correct interpretation won out as far as freedom of conscience and religious liberty was concerned.

These liberal and “moderate” justices, with their closed secular education, will probably never seek to open their minds and understand the true message that God desires a nation and its leaders to choose to send—that He is the Sovereign of all governments; that the United States chooses to be guided by His principles; that He wants a nation to proclaim to the world that it is a nation that will be guided by the principles of the Bible; that He as Sovereign gives individual, family, church, and civil governments the choice of whom they will serve. In order to understand that, they would first have to be born again and then continue in God’s Word. The confusion will continue to grow, the state will continue its illogical and God-defying ways, tyranny will continue to increase, and God’s prophecies that He laid out for all who have an open mind to read and study will come about. The lost and the unknowledgeable saved always far outnumber the Christians.

Justice Scalia was joined in the minority opinion by Chief Justice Rehnquist, Justice Thomas, and Justice Kennedy. He writes, “I shall discuss, first, why the Court’s oft repeated assertion that the government cannot favor religious practice is false; second, why today’s opinion extends the scope of that falsehood even beyond prior cases; and third, why even on the basis of the Court’s false assumptions the judgment here is wrong” (Ibid., p. 885).

His first point should have been that the one true God, the God of the Old and New Testaments, desires to be recognized as Sovereign over the nation. This portion of the opinion demonstrates that the Founders leaving this issue unresolved is speeding the nation more quickly toward God’s final judgment. He quotes selected historical facts to support his position—most of those facts would point to the recognition of a sovereign God over the nation and not to the interference with freedom of religion and conscience by the state; that is, not to the conclusion that government can favor religious practice.

Overall, although Justice Scalia makes some valid points which are much closer to the truth by far than the majority, he interjects truth with egregious falsity. At times he is off base, and at other times he dances around the truth, but never quite touches it. He is wrong to seemingly equate Christianity, Judaism, and Islam because they all are “monotheistic” and “believe the Ten Commandments were given by God to Moses,” and are “divine prescriptions for a virtuous life.” He does not understand that this nation owes its religious freedom to Christian dissenters, mainly Baptists, and to neither the Jewish religion, whose leaders were responsible for crucifying the giver of liberty even though Christ laid down His life for every sinner, nor the false theocratic and brutal Islamic religion. (Note. Christ laid down His life for the sins of every individual. Neither the Jewish religious leaders nor the Romans took His life. But, at the same time, the Jewish nation rejected the Messiah and was responsible for His crucifixion, and America, as a nation, should support Israel and oppose her enemies. (See Section I of God Betrayed which is reproduced on this website.)).

He was close to truth when he wrote:

  • “Historical practices thus demonstrate that there is a distance between the acknowledgment of a single Creator and the establishment of a religion. The former is, as Marsh v. Chambers put it, ‘a tolerable acknowledgment of beliefs widely held among the people of this country.’ … The three most popular religions in the United States, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam–which combined account for 97.7% of all believers–are monotheistic. See U. S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2004-2005, p 55 (124th ed. 2004) (Table No. 67). All of them, moreover (Islam included), believe that the Ten Commandments were given by God to Moses, and are divine prescriptions for a virtuous life. See 13 Encyclopedia of Religion 9074 (2d ed. 2005); The Qur’an 104 (M. Haleem transl. 2004). Publicly honoring the Ten Commandments is thus indistinguishable, insofar as discriminating against other religions is concerned, from publicly honoring God. Both practices are recognized across such a broad and diverse range of the population–from Christians to Muslims–that they cannot be reasonably understood as a government endorsement of a particular religious viewpoint” (McCreary, 545 U.S. at 894).

Justice Scalia was wrong, according to the Word of God. He was wrong to bring false religions such as Judaism and Islam into the equation. His first sentence immediately above is correct when applied only to Christianity. Theocracy with persecution (as perverted by Jewish religious leaders) is the rule for Judaism, and counterfeit theocracy of the god of this world with persecution is the rule for Islam. He does not understand that Judaism and Islam, unlike the Baptists in the founding era, reject “the way, the truth, and the life” (See, e.g., Jn. 14.6).  He obviously does not understand that the Jewish religion rejected God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and that the God of Islam is nothing more than an idol. He does not understand the purpose of the Commandments. “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Ga. 3.24).  “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Ro. 3.23). “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Ro. 6.23). Pursuant to Jesus Christ, the only way to a pious or godly life and eternal life is through Him. Both Judaism and Islam, contrary to the beliefs of those who were responsible for giving us the First Amendment, deny that He is the only way, the only truth, and the only life.

Justice Scalia relies on official acts and proclamations of civil government and its officials. He writes:

  • “‘[R]eliance on early religious proclamations and statements made by the Founders is … problematic,’ Justice Stevens says in his criticism in the Van Orden and , ‘because those views were not espoused at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 nor enshrined in the Constitution’s text.’ … But I have not relied upon (as he and the Court in this case do) mere ‘proclamations and statements’ of the Founders. I have relied primarily upon official acts and official proclamations of the United States or of the component branches of its Government, including the First Congress’s beginning of the tradition of legislative prayer to God, its appointment of congressional chaplains, its legislative proposal of a Thanksgiving Proclamation, and its reenactment of the Northwest Territory Ordinance; our first President’s issuance of a Thanksgiving Proclamation; and invocation of God at the opening of sessions of the Supreme Court. The only mere ‘proclamations and statements’ of the Founders I have relied upon were statements of Founders who occupied federal office, and spoke in at least a quasi-official capacity–Washington’s prayer at the opening of his Presidency and his Farewell Address, President John Adams’ letter to the Massachusetts Militia, and Jefferson’s and Madison’s inaugural addresses. The Court and Justice Stevens, by contrast, appeal to no official or even quasi-official action in support of their view of the … –only James Madison’s Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, written before the Federal Constitution had even been proposed, two letters written by Madison long after he was President, and the quasi-official inaction of Thomas Jefferson in refusing to issue a Thanksgiving Proclamation…. The Madison Memorial and Remonstrance, dealing as it does with enforced contribution to religion rather than public acknowledgment of God, is irrelevant; one of the letters is utterly ambiguous as to the point at issue here, and should not be read to contradict Madison’s statements in his first inaugural address, quoted earlier; even the other letter does not disapprove public acknowledgment of God, unless one posits (what Madison’s own actions as President would contradict) that reference to God contradicts ‘the equality of all religious sects.’ See Letter from James Madison to Edward Livingston (July 10, 1822), in 5 The Founders’ Constitution 105-106 (P. Kurland & R. Lerner eds. 1987). And as to Jefferson: The notoriously self-contradicting Jefferson did not choose to have his nonauthorship of a Thanksgiving Proclamation inscribed on his tombstone. What he did have inscribed was his authorship of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, a governmental act which begins ‘Whereas, Almighty God hath created the mind free….’ Va. Code Ann. §57-1 (Lexis 2003)” (McCreary, pp. 895-896).

The Constitution did not require those acts and proclamations, but allowed them. So long as God and His Word were at least respected by the majority, God and His Word were uplifted. God and His Word presently are respected and followed by only a very small minority of the population.

Justice Scalia then analyzes the majority opinion showing how it is logically inconsistent with the facts and the law, how the majority changes the Lemon test in order to arrive at the desired result (Ibid., pp. 900-903), how the displays were constitutional “even accepting the Court’s Lemon-based premises” (Ibid., pp. 903-908), and how “the Courts conclusion that the Counties exhibited the Foundation’s Displays with the purpose of promoting religion is doubtful” (Ibid., pp. 908-912).

V. Conclusion

Declarations within the Constitution that God and His principles are to be honored by the nation, and that the goal of the nation is to glorify God would have served useful purposes. The document itself would have glorified God and pointed people to truth. But eventually, just as unbelieving men have attacked God, the Bible, and truth, so would they have attacked God and such a Constitution. Inevitably, lost men would have prevailed, albeit not as quickly and easily as they have under the present Constitution, and the nation would have rejected the fact of the sovereignty of God. The nation would someday have been where it is today. God gave man free will to make his own choices. No man can be forced to honor God. Most men and all nations prior to Armageddon (all includes the United States) reject and will reject God.

Application of the First Amendment to the States: 1868-1947

Jerald Finney
Copyright © January 16, 2012

Click here to go to links to all Chapters in Section V.

Note. This is an edited version of God Betrayed, Section V, Chapter 3.

Application of the First Amendment to the States: 1868-1947

The Supreme Court used the Fourteenth Amendment to open the door for the federal government to get into state government affairs. Since state governments had illegally gotten into the affairs of individual, family, and church governments, the United States Supreme Court was able to intercede into those governments. The purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment, which was ratified after the Civil War, was to protect the status of Black Americans and insure their freedom, but it has been used for other purposes with no regard for its intent.  The Fourteenth Amendment says, in relevant part:

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws” (U.S. CONST. amend. XIV, § 1).

Although the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in 1868, the complete sovereignty of the states in matters of religion was not challenged until well into the twentieth century. When that challenge came, the constitutional prohibition of an establishment of religion was expanded into a prohibition of the reading of the Bible, the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in public schools, posting the Ten Commandments in public schools of America, and many other prohibitions intended to remove all vestiges of God over civil government. Endless debates continue concerning the limitations imposed by the First Amendment by the Supreme Court through the Fourteenth Amendment. One thing is certain—only a view that allows the Supreme Court to invoke the philosophies and beliefs of the majority on the Court and impose them on the American people can explain the perversion by the Court of the fundamental law of America.

Two “distinct and totally divergent trends” in Supreme Court Fourteenth Amendment jurisprudence emerged. Initially, after the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Court declared unconstitutional laws passed to uphold the rights of Negroes. At the same time, the Court relied upon the Fourteenth Amendment to control state legislative power over corporations. The Court extended “to corporations by a series of ever widening interpretations of the amendment a measure of freedom from state regulation that accorded with the spirit of the times but hardly with the spirit of the men who framed the amendments and the American people who adopted them.” Thus the amendment became the “Magna Charta of corporation freedom … while its application to its real purpose, the achievement of legal equality for all Americans, was lulled to a fitful slumber” (William H. Marnell, The First Amendment: Religious Freedom in America from Colonial Days to the School Prayer Controversy (Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1964), p. 144). However, the incorporation of the First Amendment into the Fourteenth would be almost eighty years in the future.

The first instance where the Supreme Court may have applied the First Amendment to the states through the Fourteenth was in 1871. The case involved a dispute between majority (who disbelieved in slavery) and minority (who supported slavery) membership in a Presbyterian Church in Louisville, Kentucky, each claiming the exclusive use of the property held and owned by that local church (Watson v. Jones, 80 U.S. 679, 728 (1871)). The Court stated, “The full and free right to entertain any religious belief, to practice any religious principle, and to teach any religious doctrine which does not violate the laws of morality and property, and which does not infringe on personal rights, is conceded to all. The law knows no heresy, and is committed to support no dogma, the establishment of no sect” (Ibid. at 728). “The statement is not explicit, but in its context this is obviously a declaration of religious freedom for minorities. For over seventy years, the Fourteenth Amendment would be applied for the protection of minority freedom” (Marnell, pp. 145-146).

In 1879, an opinion delivered by Supreme Court Justice Stephen J. Field

“at least intimated that the Fourteenth Amendment was applicable to the protection of religious liberty. He stated, ‘In our country hostile and discriminating legislation by a statute against persons of any class, sect, creed or nation, or whatever form it may be expressed is forbidden by the Fourteenth Amendment’ (Ho Ah Kow v. Numan, 12 Fed. Cas. No. 6546, pp. 252, 256. In 1885 he expanded this doctrine: ‘The Fourteenth Amendment … undoubtedly intended not only that there should be no arbitrary deprivation of life or liberty, or arbitrary spoliation of property, but that equal protection and security should be given to all under like circumstances in the enjoyment of their personal and civil rights…’ (Barber v. Connolly, 113 U.S. 27, 31). His point of view was shared in various dissenting opinions by Justice John M. Harlan (1833-1911), but the Supreme Court majority continued to … disregard its possible applicability to cases involving religion” (Ibid., pp. 148-149. See also, Spies v. Illinois, 123 U.S. 166 (1887) and in in re King, 46 F. 905, 912 (a circuit court opinion) for evidence of this viewpoint.).

It took fifty more years for a majority of the Court to imply that the Fourteenth Amendment gave religious liberty to the citizens of the states. In 1923 the Supreme Court in Meyer v. State of Nebraska took another step toward incorporation of the First Amendment into the Fourteenth:

“Defendant, state of Nebraska, enacted a statute that [criminalized] the teaching of languages other than English to any child [in a private, denominational, parochial or public school] who had not completed the eighth grade. Plaintiff teacher was tried and convicted for teaching German to a child who had not yet passed the eighth grade. The state supreme court affirmed the judgment. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the statute was arbitrary and unreasonable and infringed on the liberty guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. [The issue was whether a Nebraska state ‘statute as construed and applied unreasonably infringed upon the liberty guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution: ‘No state … shall deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law.’] The Court stated that education and acquisition of knowledge were matters of supreme importance that should be diligently promoted. The Court held that the liberty guaranteed by U.S. Const. amend. XIV protected plaintiff’s right to teach and the right of parents to engage plaintiff to teach their children” (Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, 397; 43 S. Ct. 625, 626; 67 L. Ed. 1042; 1923 U.S. LEXIS 2655; 29 A.L.R. 1446 (1923)(edited)).

The Court “gave an oblique rather than a direct guarantee to religious freedom from state action” (Marnell, p. 150). In defining the liberty guaranteed the Court stated:

“While this Court has not attempted to define with exactness the liberty thus guaranteed, the term has received much consideration and some of the included things have been definitely stated. Without doubt, it denotes not merely freedom from bodily restraint but also the right of the individual to contract, to engage in any of the common occupations of life, to acquire useful knowledge, to marry, establish a home and bring up children, to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, and generally to enjoy those privileges long recognized at common law as essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men…. The established doctrine is that this liberty may not be interfered with, under the guise of protecting the public interest, by legislative action which is arbitrary or without reasonable relation to some purpose within the competency of the State to effect. Determination by the legislature of what constitutes proper exercise of police power is not final or conclusive but is subject to supervision by the courts” (262 U.S. at 397-400). [Emphasis mine.]

What was not addressed in Meyer “was the fact that training in this school had religious connotations; indeed, Meyer based his defense upon that fact. On the basis of the precedent set in Meyer … there came two years later a finding, much better known…” (Marnell, p. 151).  In Pierce v. Society of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, 268 U.S. 510, 534-535; 45 S. Ct. 571, 573; 69 L. Ed. 1070; 1925 U.S. LEXIS 589; 39 A.L.R. 468 (1925), the Court held that Oregon Compulsory Education Act of 1922, which practically construed required all normal children between ages of 8 and 16 years to attend public schools. The issue in the case was the constitutional right of religious organizations to operate a religious-oriented, alias parochial, school in the face of a contrary state statute affirmed by the voters. The Court held that the Act violated the Fourteenth Amendment in that it deprived parents and children of their rights in matter of selection of schools and … destroys private schools and diminishes the value of their property. The Court said:

“Under the doctrine of Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, we think it entirely plain that the Act of 1922 unreasonably interferes with the liberty of parents and guardians to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control. As often heretofore pointed out, rights guaranteed by the Constitution may not be abridged by legislation which has no reasonable relation to some purpose within the competency of the State. The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the State to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations” (Marnell, p. 153 citing 268 U.S. at 534-535; 45 S. Ct. at 573).

Meyer and Pierce gave parochial schools their legal guarantee of existence. “[T]he Court protected a religious minority in the exercise of a right which could hardly be said to have a common border with the corresponding right of the majority” (Ibid., p. 154).

Little by little, the Court used the Fourteenth Amendment to secure the rights of Americans against state infringement, although the Court, in 1937, restricted application of the Fourteenth Amendment to fundamental liberties which included freedom of thought and speech (Palko v. State of Connecticut, 309 U.S. 319 (1937)). In Gitlow a New York Statute prohibited language advocating, advising, or teaching the overthrow of organized government by unlawful means (Gitlow v. New York, 268 U.S. 652, 664-665 (1925)). Although the constitutionality of the statute and the conviction were upheld, the Court stated, “For present purposes we may and do assume that freedom of speech and of the press—which are protected by the First Amendment from abridgment by Congress—are among the fundamental personal rights and ‘liberties’ protected by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment from impairment by the States (Ibid., p. 666). “It was widely inferred that freedom of speech and of the press carried as an inevitable corollary freedom of religion” (Marnell, p. 155). Justice Cordoza, in a concurring opinion in Hamilton, a case which upheld a law requiring military training at a state university, stated, “I assume for present purposes that the religious liberty protected by the First Amendment against invasion by the nation is protected by the Fourteenth Amendment against invasion by the states” (Hamilton v. University of California, 293 U.S. 245, 265 (1934)).

In 1938 the Court, in a case involving a Jehovah’s Witness arrested convicted, and fined for distributing religious tracts without a permit, held that the ordinance requiring a permit was unconstitutional, ruling that “it strikes at the very foundation of the freedom of the press by subjecting it to license and censorship (Lovell v. City of Griffin, 303 U.S. 444 (1938)). Liberty of circulating is as essential to that freedom as liberty of publishing; indeed, without the circulation, the publication would be of little value” (Ibid., pp. 451, 452).

Soon thereafter, Jehovah’s Witnesses in Connecticut were arrested, tried, and convicted for violating an ordinance requiring approval by a certain public official before one could solicit funds for “any alleged religious, charitable, or philanthropic cause.” The Supreme Court reversed the state court stating:

“We hold that the statute, as construed and applied to the appellants, deprives them of their liberty without due process of law in contravention of the Fourteenth Amendment…. The First Amendment declares that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The Fourteenth Amendment has rendered the legislatures of the states as incompetent as Congress to enact such laws. The constitutional inhibition of legislation on the subject of religion has a double aspect. On the one hand, it forestalls compulsion by law of the acceptance of any creed or the practice of any form of worship. Freedom of conscience and freedom to adhere to such religious organization or form of worship as the individual may choose cannot be restricted by law. On the other hand, it safeguards the free exercise of the chosen form of religion. Thus, the Amendment embraces two concepts—freedom to believe and freedom to act. The first is absolute, but, in the nature of things, the second cannot be. Conduct remains subject to regulation for the protection of society. The freedom to act must have appropriate definition to preserve the enforcement of that protection. It is equally clear that a State may, by general and nondiscriminatory legislation, regulate the times, the places, and the manner of soliciting upon its streets, and of holding meetings thereon, and may in other respects safeguard the peace, good order, and comfort of the community without unconstitutionally invading the liberties protected by the Fourteenth Amendment….
“It will be noted, however, that the Act requires an application to the secretary of the public welfare council of the State; that he is empowered to determine whether the cause is a religious one, and that the issue of a certificate depends upon his affirmative action. If he finds that the cause is not that of religion, to solicit for it becomes a crime. He is not to issue a certificate as a matter of course. His decision to issue or refuse it involves appraisal of facts, the exercise of judgment, and the formation of an opinion. He is authorized to withhold his approval if he determines that the cause is not a religious one. Such a censorship of religion as the means of determining its right to survive is a denial of liberty protected by the First Amendment and included in the liberty which is within the protection of the Fourteenth” (Cantwell v. Connecticut, 310 U.S. 296, 303-304, 305 (1940)).

For the first time, the Court explicitly held that the Fourteenth Amendment secures the religious guarantees of the Bill of Rights against state infringement. Prior to Cantwell, the few religion-clause cases decided by the Court involved actions against the federal government. After Cantwell, the majority of religion clause cases going to the Supreme Court were aimed at state actions.

Next came two flag-salute cases, Minnersville School District v. Gobitis, 310 U.S. 586 (1940) and West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943). Barnette reversed Minnersville which upheld a state law that required all public school students to salute the American flag. Jehovah’s Witnesses refused to do so based upon a literal interpretation of Exodus 20.4, 5—they considered the flag an “image.” Minnersville held that the promotion of national cohesion through the compulsory flag salute was an interest more important than the preservation of religious freedom.

Barnette held that the required flag salute was a violation of the first and Fourteenth amendments in the case of students with a conscientious objection to it grounded upon religious belief. Justice Jackson, writing for the majority stated:

“The freedom asserted by these appellees does not bring them into collision with rights asserted by any other individual. It is such conflicts which most frequently require intervention of the State to determine where the rights of one end and those of another begin. But the refusal of these persons to participate in the ceremony does not interfere with or deny rights of others to do so. Nor is there any question in this case that their behavior is peaceable and orderly. The sole conflict is between authority and rights of the individual….
“To sustain the compulsory flag salute we are required to say that a Bill of Rights which guards the individual’s right to speak his own mind, left it open to public authorities to compel him to utter what is not in his mind….
“The problem is whether under our Constitution compulsion as here employed is a permissible means for its achievement…. Ultimate futility of such attempts to compel coherence is the lesson of every such effort from the Roman drive to stamp out Christianity as a disturber of its pagan unity, the Inquisition, as a means to religious and dynastic unity, the Siberian exiles as a means to Russian unity, down to the fast failing efforts of our present totalitarian enemies. Those who begin coercive elimination of dissent soon find themselves exterminating dissenters. Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard” (West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 at 630, 634, 641 (1943)).

The above assertions of the court were biblically correct, but the societal context as compared to that of the founding of the nation had been changed considerably in an unconstitutional and unbiblical manner. For example, the education of the majority of children had been placed in the hands of a public school system. Justice Jackson noted:

“These principles [in the Bill of Rights] grew in soil which also produced a philosophy that the individual was the center of society, that his liberty was attainable through mere absence of governmental restraints, and that government should be entrusted with few controls and only the mildest supervision over men’s affairs. We must transplant these rights to a soil in which the laissez-faire concept or principle of non-interference has withered at least as to economic affairs, and social advancements are increasingly sought through closer integration of society and through expanded and strengthened governmental controls. These changed conditions often deprive precedents of reliability and cast us more than we would choose upon our own judgment. But we act in these matters not by authority of our competence but by force of our commissions” (Ibid., pp. 639-640).

The court also examined the question of power of the civil government versus individual liberty, and then discussed whether the proper place to address the issue was within the legislature:

“The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One’s right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections” (Ibid., p. 638).

As to this assertion, the Court can and does hand down decisions which make law and which go beyond interpretation of the Constitution. Some such decisions are within the Constitutional powers of the Court, but some are not. As it has turned out, many decisions of the Court were correct when judged by the highest law, the Bible, while others were contrary to the principles of the highest law and will contribute to the ultimate destruction of the nation. It is important to note that not just the Court, but all branches of civil government, both state and national, as well as individual government, family government, and church government have steadily declined toward chaos as man acts according to his nature without the proper standards (doing that which is right in his own eyes).

The 19th Century Supreme Court Interpretation of “Separation of Church and State”

Jerald Finney
Copyright © January 14, 2012

Click here to go to links to all Chapters in Section V.

Note. This is a modified edition of Section V, Chapter 2 of God Betrayed. The author makes some controversial statements regarding not only civil court jurisprudence but also some biblical principles. An honest study of the Word of God brought him to his conclusions. He invites anyone to show him where he is wrong as to his biblical pronouncements. If anyone can do so, then he will publicly repent and recant. Likewise, if anyone finds that their presuppositions were wrong, he invites them to repent and recant. How can anyone ever hope to get his individual, family, church, and state government correct without being willing to embrace and promote new light when it comes his way?

The 19th Century Supreme Court Interpretation of “Separation of Church and State”

The religion clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or preventing the free exercise thereof.” What did the authors of this clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States mean? What was meant by “religion” and “the free exercise of religion” or “freedom of religion?” Was the First Amendment intended to create “separation of church and state?” If so, what was meant by “separation of church and state?” Many Christians have addressed this issue, and most of their debating points have been off base, as have the arguments of secularists. This author traced the history of the First Amendment in Section IV of God Betrayed which is reproduced on this website. Historically, the purpose of the First Amendment was to separate church and state (keep the federal government out of church and churches out of civil government—i.e., the meaning was that the church was not to work under, hand and hand with, or over the federal government.).

The Supreme Court, in the nineteenth century, started out reasonably – not historically or biblically – well on this issue; but in the mid-twentieth century, although not yet removing the original meaning of the First Amendment separation of church and state, the Court moved into another area adding a completely perverted twist to the meaning of “separation of church and state,” thereby turning the First Amendment religious clause into a tool that would be used to remove God from any state activity.

The nineteenth Century Court could have done much better had it gone directly to a complete and non-revised history of relevant facts and to the Bible and not to the views of the “Christian” world for its guidelines. In the nineteenth century, the Supreme Court defined “religion,” “the free exercise of religion,” “freedom of religion,” and “separation of church and state” much differently than does our modern Supreme Court. In 1879, the Court wrote in its opinion in Reynolds v. United States:

“The word ‘religion’ is not defined in the constitution. We must go elsewhere, therefore, to ascertain its meaning, and nowhere more appropriately, we think, than to the history of the times in the midst of which the [First Amendment to the United States Constitution] was adopted. The precise point of inquiry is, what is the religious freedom which has been guaranteed” (Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. 145, 162 (1879))? (Bracketed material added by author.].

According to the Court, “religion” meant “Christianity” and “freedom of religion” meant freedom to practice the one true religion, “Christianity,” or any imposter of the true religion as long as such practice did not violate or conflict with the moral or social laws of Christianity.

The Reynolds Court referred, as did the mid-twentieth century Court (See Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1, 67 S. Ct. 504, 91 L. Ed. 711, 1947 U.S. LEXIS 2959; 168 A.L.R. 1392 (1947)), to an obscure letter written by Thomas Jefferson. Regarding the First Amendment religion clause:

“Mr. Jefferson afterwards, in reply to an address to him by a committee of the Danbury Baptist Association (8 id. 113), took occasion to say: ‘Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God; that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship; that the legislative powers of the government reach actions only, and not opinions,—I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and state. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore man to all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.’ Coming as this does from an acknowledged leader of the advocates of the measure, it may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the amendment thus secured. Congress was deprived of all legislative power over mere opinion, but was left free to reach actions which were in violation of social duties or subversive of good order” (Reynolds, 98 U.S. at 164).

According to Jefferson, the laws of government could reach actions, but not opinions. What actions could government reach? He desired that those laws should not reach, but rather should restore, the natural rights of man. And “[man] has no natural right in opposition to his social duties” (Ibid.)?

What is the origin of man’s “natural rights” and his “social duties” which cannot oppose one another? Jefferson signed the Declaration of Independence which stated, “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…. We, therefore, [appeal] to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions” (The Declaration of Independence para. 2, 32 (U.S. 1776)).  The Declaration referred to “the separate but equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitles them” (Ibid., para. 1).  Thus, according to Jefferson and the other signers of the Declaration of Independence, man’s “natural rights” come from God.

What defined man’s social duties? What was to tell us the meaning of good order? What actions violated social duties and subverted good order? From Reynolds one can certainly conclude that the Mormon religion, the ways of the Asiatic people, and the ways of the African people were not to be the guide America (98 U.S. at 164). Instead, social duties and good order were to be defined by looking at the laws of the northern and western nations of Europe, especially England (Ibid., pp. 164-65). In England the ecclesiastical (church) courts punished polygamy, and presided over testamentary causes and the settlement of the estates of deceased persons (Ibid., p. 165). Marriage was declared to be a “sacred obligation,” and a “civil contract … regulated by law” (Ibid. This last statement of the Court concerning marriage was flawed. Contract law is based upon enlightenment, not biblical, principles. Marriage as defined in the Bible is a covenant between God, man, and woman. Marriage, according to Enlightenment thought, is a contract between two equal people and the state; the state, not God, is alleged to be the controlling party to marriage. The contract clause—Article 1, Section 10 of the United States Constitution—was ultimately used to reconstruct marital law, family law, criminal law, and other areas of the law including relationship of church and state according to enlightenment principles of contract law. See Section VI of God Betrayed which is published in this blog in edited form.).

What did Jefferson mean by “separation between church and state?” The Reynolds Court stated:

“’[T]o suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion, and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency, is a dangerous fallacy which at once destroys all religious liberty. [I]t is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order.’ In these two sentences is found the true distinction between what belongs to the church and what to the state” (Ibid., p. 163). [Emphasis mine.]

The Court did not correctly articulate what belongs to a church and what to the state. Sections I through IV of God Betrayed explain the jurisdictions of church and state according to the Word of God. Nonetheless, the court is correct in asserting that church and state have different jurisdictions.

The Court went on to further clarify the intended meaning of the phrase by explaining that “the scope and effect of the [First Amendment religion clause] was to deprive Congress of all legislative power over mere opinion, while leaving Congress free to reach actions which were in violation of social duties or subversive of good order” (Ibid., p. 164). The Court referred to Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptist Association as quoted above. They could have reinforced this with the Virginia Act for Religious Liberty, drafted by Jefferson and made law in Virginia in 1786 (quoted on pages 281-282 of God Betrayed which is reproduced on this website in the chapter entitled “To Virginia”), with James Madison’s famous “Memorial and Remonstrance” (quoted on pages 278-279 of God Betrayed and reproduced on this website in the chapter entitled “To Virginia”), and with other historical facts.

Reynolds held that laws criminalizing polygamy did not violate the First Amendment even though the offender practiced polygamy because of his religious beliefs (Ibid.).  The Court said that the act of polygamy violated social duties and subverted good order (Ibid., pp. 164-167). True enough, but still not proper authority to criminalize polygamy, since the Bible made clear that God intends marriage to be under Him only, not under the state.

Mr. Justice Field, who was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, more clearly explained why, according to the Court, bigamy and polygamy are actions which violate social duties and subvert good order and why laws against bigamy and polygamy are constitutional:

“Bigamy and polygamy are crimes by the laws of all civilized and Christian countries. They are crimes by the laws of the United States, and they are crimes by the laws of Idaho. They tend to destroy the purity of the marriage relation, to disturb the peace of families, to degrade woman and to debase man. Few crimes are more pernicious to the best interests of society and receive more general or more deserved punishment. To extend exemption from punishment for such crimes would be to shock the moral judgment of the community. To call their advocacy a tenet of religion is to offend the common sense of mankind. If they are crimes, then to teach, advise and counsel their practice is to aid in their commission, and such teaching and counseling are themselves criminal and proper subjects of punishment, as aiding and abetting crime are in all other cases.
     “The term ‘religion’ has reference to one’s views of his relations to his Creator, and to the obligations they impose of reverence for his being and character, and of obedience to his will. The first amendment to the Constitution, in declaring that Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or forbidding the free exercise thereof, was intended to allow every one under the jurisdiction of the United States to entertain such notions respecting his relations to his Maker and the duties they impose as may be approved by his judgment and conscience, and to exhibit his sentiments in such form of worship as he may think proper, not injurious to the equal rights of others, and to prohibit legislation for the support of any religious tenets, or the modes of worship of any sect. The oppressive measures adopted, and the cruelties and punishments inflicted by the governments of Europe for many ages, to compel parties to conform, in their religious beliefs and modes of worship, to the views of the most numerous sect, and the folly of attempting in that way to control the mental operations of persons, and enforce an outward conformity to a prescribed standard, led to the adoption of the amendment in question (The Court failed to point out that the spiritual atrocities were continued in the colonies, in the conflict between the established churches and the dissenters.)It was never intended or supposed that the amendment could be invoked as a protection against legislation for the punishment of acts inimical to the peace, good order and morals of society. With man’s relations to his Maker and the obligations he may think they impose, and the manner in which an expression shall be made by  him of his belief on those subjects, no interference can be permitted, provided always the laws of society, designed to secure its peace and prosperity, and the morals of its people, are not interfered with. However free the exercise of religion may be, it must be subordinate to the criminal laws of the country, passed with reference to actions regarded by general consent as properly the subjects of punitive legislation. There have been sects which denied as a part of their religious tenets that there should be any marriage tie, and advocated promiscuous intercourse of the sexes as prompted by the passions of its members. And history discloses the fact that the necessity of human sacrifices, on special occasions, has been a tenet of many sects. Should a sect of either of these kinds ever find its way into this country, swift punishment would follow the carrying into effect of its doctrines, and no heed would be given to the pretense that, as religious beliefs, their supporters could be protected in their exercise by the Constitution of the United States. Probably never before in the history of this country has it been seriously contended that the whole punitive power of the government for acts, recognized by the general consent of the Christian world in modern times as proper matters for prohibitory legislation, must be suspended in order that the tenets of a religious sect encouraging crime may be carried out without hindrance…” (Davis v. Beason, 133 U.S. 333, 341-43, 345 (1890). In Davis, a man was convicted of a crime under Idaho law and filed a writ of habeas corpus claiming that the law under which he was convicted violated the First Amendment “free exercise of religion” clause. The law prohibited one who belonged to a church organization that holds or teaches bigamy and polygamy as a doctrine of the church from voting or holding office.). [Emphasis mine].
“Marriage, while from its very nature a sacred obligation, is, nevertheless, in most civilized nations a civil contract [The Court was wrong in pronouncing that marriage is a civil contract. Section VI of God Betrayed deals with the fallacy that marriage is a civil contract. Although polygamy is contrary to the will of God, where does the Bible teach that polygamy should be subject to criminal sanctions?], and usually regulated by law. Upon it society may be said to be built, and out of its fruits spring social relations and social obligations and duties, with which government is necessarily required to deal” (Ibid., pp. 343-344. Although one can argue as to whether the Bible prescribes a criminal penalty for bigamy, it is certain that God’s Word commands one husband with only one wife.).
“Whilst legislation for the establishment of religion is forbidden, and its free exercise permitted, it does not follow that everything which may be so called can be tolerated. Crime is not the less odious because sanctioned by what any particular sect may designate as religion” (Ibid., p. 345).
     “Certainly no legislation can be supposed more wholesome and necessary in the founding of a free, self-governing commonwealth, fit to take rank as one of the coordinate States of the Union, than that which seeks to establish it on the basis of the idea of the family, as consisting in and springing from the union for life of one man and one woman in the holy estate of matrimony; the sure foundation of all that is stable and noble in our civilization; the best guarantee of that reverent morality which is the source of all beneficent progress in social and political improvement” (Ibid., citing Murphy v. Ramsey, 114 U.S. 15, 45. The court is right that marriage and family are important to the well-being of a nation. But, as has been pointed out, the God-given goal of a nation should be the glory of God. If the glory of God is the goal, correct marital and familial principles will follow. Nowhere in Scripture can one infer that the civil government has the authority to legislate and enforce laws dealing with marriage and familial relationships. A civil government does have the God-given authority to criminalize sexual sins which include sodomy, fornication, and adultery.).

To summarize what the Court said, the First Amendment religion clause gave us freedom of religion, freedom of conscience (Ibid., p. 342).  It separated church and state. However, when an act violated the criminal laws of the nation, the perpetrator was to be punished even if the act were in conformity with the beliefs of his sect (Ibid., pp. 341-347).  The Court declared that the criminal laws of this nation were founded on alleged “Christian” (not biblical) principles. In other words, the Court incorrectly stated that the United States looked to God for its principles (Ibid.). The Court made this clear although it did not use these exact words. For example, on page 343 of the opinion the Court said, “Probably never before in the history of this country has it been seriously contended that the whole punitive power of the government for acts, recognized by the general consent of the Christian world in modern times as proper matters for prohibitory legislation, must be suspended in order that the tenets of a religious sect encouraging crime may be carried out without hindrance.” Notice that the Court went to the views of the “Christian” world, not to the Word of God to determine the issues addressed. In other words, the Court got its principles from rules made by church-state combinations, not from the Bible. The sect which the Court referred to was the Mormon “church” and the crime designated as a practice of a sect or “religion” was polygamy and bigamy (Ibid., pp. 334-335).  Thus, according to the Court, the First Amendment gave the Mormon “church” the right to exist in America (Ibid., p. 342);  the First Amendment gave those who belonged to the Mormon “church” the right to practice what was designated by their “church” as “religion” (Ibid.); but the First Amendment did not give those who belonged to the Mormon “church” the right to put into practice the duties imposed by their sect when those duties were recognized by the general consent of the Christian world as proper matters for prohibitory legislation (Ibid., p. 343).

The Court spoke ofMaker,” of “acts recognized by the general consent of the Christian world in modern times as proper matters for prohibitory legislation,” and of “morals of a [nation’s people]” (Ibid. pp. 342-343). As correctly declared by the Court, the United States of America got its guidelines for what was criminal and for what is moral and what is immoral from looking at the “Christian world,” not by looking at the Bible. Thus, although the jurisprudence purported to be Christian, it was polluted to a degree (Ibid. pp. 341-345), since the rules the Court looked at were made by “churches” working with, over, or under the state. As is stated in these teachings, when the holy is combined with the unholy, the unholy always corrupts the holy (the holy never purifies the unholy). Bigamy was practiced by men in Israel as recorded in the Old Testament. However, no law under God in the theocracy of Israel was ever passed to criminalize bigamy. Of course the Bible teaches one man and one wife under God; but nowhere (Old and New Testament) does the Bible teach that either bigamy or polygamy, although sin in God’s eyes, should be criminalized. All crimes are also sins, but not all sins are to be criminalized according to the Word of God.

In Rector, Etc., of Holy Trinity Church: v. United States in 1892, the court stated a somewhat flawed history of Christianity within the United States:

“[The … charters of the original colonies, the Mayflower Compact, governing documents of early colonies, the Declaration of Independence, the constitutions of the various states, and the Constitution of the United States] are not individual sayings, declarations of private persons. They are organic utterances. They speak the voice of the entire people. [They declare that this is a Christian nation]. While because of a general recognition of this truth the question has seldom been presented to the courts, yet we find that in Updegraph v. Com. 11 Serg & R 394, 400, ‘It was decided that, Christianity, general Christianity, is, and always has been, a part of the common law of Pennsylvania; … not Christianity with an established church and tithes and spiritual courts, but Christianity with liberty of conscience to all men.’ [The Court was not entirely accurate in its historical assessment.] And in People v. Ruggles, 8 Johns 290, 294, 295, Chancellor Kent, the great commentator on American law, speaking as chief justice of the Supreme Court of New York, said: ‘The people of this state, in common with the people of this country, profess the general doctrines of Christianity as the rule of their faith and practice; and to scandalize the author of these doctrines is not only, in a religious point of view, extremely impious, but even in respect to the obligations due to society, is a gross violation of decency and good order…. The free, equal, and undisturbed enjoyment of religious opinion, whatever it may be, and free and decent discussions on any religious subject, is granted and secured; but to revile, with malicious and blasphemous contempt, the religion professed by almost the whole community is an abuse of that right. Nor are we bound by any expressions in the constitution, as some have strangely supposed, either not to punish at all, or to punish indiscriminately the like attacks upon the religion of Mahomet or of the Grand Lama; and for this plain reason, that the case assumes that we are a Christian people, and the morality of the country is deeply ingrafted upon Christianity, and not upon the doctrines or worship of those impostors.’ And in the famous case of Vidal v. Girard’s Ex’rs, 2 How. 127, 198, this court, while sustaining the will of Mr. Girard, with its provision for the creation of a college into which no minister should be permitted to enter, observed: ‘It is also said, and truly, that the Christian religion is a part of the common law of Pennsylvania.’
“If we pass beyond these matters to a view of American life, as expressed by its laws, its business, its customs, and society, we find everywhere a clear recognition of the same truth. [The laws, business, customs, and society of America, including the Constitution, were not entirely Christian but a blend of Christian and other thought.] Among other matters note the following: The form of oath universally prevailing, concluding with an appeal to the almighty; the custom of opening sessions of all deliberative bodies and most conventions with prayer; the prefatory words of all wills, ‘In the name of God, amen;’ the laws respecting the observance of the Sabbath, with the general cessation of all secular business, and the closing of courts, legislatures, and other similar public assemblies on that day; the churches and church organizations which abound in every city, town, and hamlet; the multitude of charitable organizations existing everywhere under Christian auspices; the gigantic missionary associations, with general support, and aiming to establish Christian missions in every quarter of the globe. 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” (Rector, Etc., of Holy Trinity Church v. United States, 143 U.S. 457 at 471-472, 12 S. Ct. 511 at 516 (1892)). [Emphasis mine. Bracketed sentence added by this author. Christopher Columbus was a Catholic, and regardless of his declarations that his journey to the New World was inspired by God, Catholicism in the part of the New World dominated by that religion has produced entirely different and substantially inferior consequences than those seen in America prior to the denunciation of God by the American government.]

The majority of the justices at that time were Christians or at least men who respected Christianity. However, they obviously were weak spiritually since they relied upon man’s reasoning instead of the Word of God. They handed down opinions which attempted to honor God. Even though the Church of the Holy Trinity, the plaintiff in the case, was a corporation and therefore out of the perfect will of God, the Court still recognized some biblical principles in its decision. Obviously, they did not know and understand the true history of the First Amendment. They were influenced more by the theology of churches which had historically taught and practiced union of church and state than they were by historic Baptist (biblical) theology which had inspired men to stand against church-state establishments in both the Old World and in the American colonies; and consequently to be persecuted for (including being burned at the stake, drowned, drawn and quartered, drowned, buried alive, etc.) for their stand which included a stand for separation of church and state. Sadly, neither no justices (including Supreme Court Justices), nor the lawyers who argued to them, ever expressed the facts about the true foundation of the First Amendment.

The suit in Holy Trinity Church arose because the church, a corporation, hired an Englishman to serve as pastor. A federal law made it unlawful for “any person, company, partnership, or corporation” to bring in an immigrant into the United States “under contract or agreement” “to perform labor or service of any kind in the United States, its Territories, or the District of Columbia” (Ibid., p. 458, 12 S. Ct. at 511).

The Court noted that “a thing may be within the letter of the statute and yet not within the statute, because not within its spirit, nor within the intention of its makers” and that “[t]he reason of the law in such cases should prevail over its letter” (Ibid., p. 459, 461, 12 S. Ct. at 512). The Court then stated, in examining the intent of the legislature in making the law:

“Obviously the thought expressed in this reaches only to the work of the manual laborer, as distinguished from that of the professional man. No one reading such a title would suppose that Congress had in its mind any purpose of staying the coming into this country of ministers of the gospel, or, indeed, of any class whose toil is that of the brain. The common understanding of the terms labor and laborers does not include preaching and preachers; and it is to be assumed that words and phrases are used in their ordinary meaning. So whatever of light is thrown upon the statute by the language of the title indicates an exclusion from its penal provisions of all contracts for the employment of ministers, rectors and pastors” (Ibid., p. 463, 12 S. Ct. at 513).

The Court further examined the intent of the statute, then stated:

“But beyond all these matters no purpose of action against religion can be imputed to any legislation, state or national, because this is a religious people. This is historically true” (Ibid., p. 465, 12 S. Ct. at 514).

From there, the Court proceeded to give a flawed history of the nation concluding that this is a Christian nation.

Many of the quotations in Holy Trinity Church use the word “religion” in referring to Christianity. The opinion traces the Christian heritage of America, although the Court failed to point out the theological conflict that resulted in the First Amendment (Ibid., pp. 465-470, 12 S. Ct. at 514-516).  Christianity and religion were synonymous to the majority of Americans, including the majority on the Supreme Court. This had been so universally accepted as truth that the courts had seldom addressed it (Ibid., p. 470, 12 S. Ct. at 516)!

From God’s perspective as reflected in His Word, the reasoning in even these nineteenth century opinions was flawed. For example, the Court referred to Jefferson’s obscure letter to the Danbury Baptists. In that letter, Jefferson used deistic terms and enlightenment reasoning. He referred to “restoring man to all his natural rights, convinced that he has no natural rights in opposition to his social duties.” The Court referred to “the laws of all civilized and Christian countries” and not to the Bible or to God and His principles. The history given was definitely modified and revised to a degree. Although the reasoning was far better overall than that of the Court in the mid-twentieth century and thereafter—which would successfully attempt to remove God from all public affairs—it was still a compromise in God’s eyes. The holy had been mixed with the unholy, and the holy was thereby corrupted and on its way out.

A time would come during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries when the majority on the Court, and the majority of Americans, were not born-again Christians. When that happened, the failure of the Constitution to declare the sovereignty of God and the proper goal for the nation–the glory of God—and the inclusion of enlightenment principles in the Constitution (and the Declaration of Independence) would make the undermining of Christian values and the removal of the nation from “under God” much easier.

Introduction to “Religion Clause Jurisprudence”

Jerald Finney
Copyright © January 13, 2012

Click here to go to links to all Chapters in Section V.

Introduction to
Section V of God Betrayed
“Religion Clause Jurisprudence”

Pr.29.2“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn” (Pr. 29.2). “Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things” (Pr. 28.5). “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (Ps. 9.17).

“The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach” (Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1 at 18, 91 L. Ed. 711, 67 S. Ct. 504, 168 A.L.R. 1392 (1947), reh’g denied 330 U.S. 855, 91 L. Ed. 1297, 67 S. Ct. 962, p. 18).

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

With Everson, “establishment of religionbecame something entirely different from what it had been to that point. Eventually, the new rationale of the Court in Everson, all taken together, while honoring the historical First Amendment and biblical principle of separation of church and state, would lead to the removal, or the attempt to remove, any vestige of God from civil government affairs. Even when the Court would allow the mention of God, it was with the understanding that God was only historical and of no significance. God, the Ruler of the universe, the Ultimate Lawmaker, and the Judge of the Supreme Court of the universe, gave United States Supreme Court Justices freedom to rebel, albeit not without grave consequences.

Chapter 1
Introduction to “Religion Clause Jurisprudence”

Because of failure to understand, believe, and apply God’s principles, the “religious” jurisprudence in the United States has been on a slippery downhill slope of confusion and destruction since the ratification of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. At first the slope was nonexistent or slight, but starting in the mid-twentieth century the grade increased. The United States Supreme Court added new meaning to “separation of church and state,” meaning which was used to remove all vestiges of God from public life and public view.

8While upholding the original meaning of the First Amendment religion clause, the Supreme Court has supplemented the original meaning of that clause. The original meaning of the religion clause was to protect the church from state regulation and the state from church regulation.

“The constitutional inhibition of legislation on the subject of religion has a double aspect. On the one hand it forestalls compulsion by law of the acceptance of any creed or the practice of any form of worship…. On the other hand, it safeguards the free exercise of the chosen form of religion…. The interrelation of the ‘establishment’ and ‘free exercise’ clauses [according to the United States Supreme Court] has been well summarized as follows: ‘The structure of our government has, for the preservation of civil liberty, rescued the temporal institutions from religious interference. On the other hand, it has secured religious liberty from the invasion of the civil authority’” (Donald T. Kramer, J.D. Annotation: Supreme Court Cases Involving Establishment and Freedom of Religion Clauses of Federal Constitution, 37 L. Ed. 2d 1147 § 2 citing Everson).

A biblical and historical Baptist principle is that God desires separation of church and state, not separation of God and church or separation of God and state. Study Jerald Finney's writings and/or audio teachings to discover the truth about and how to apply the principle. Finney's teachings prove that the revisionist view of Separation of Church and State accepted without examination by most American
A biblical and historical Baptist principle is that God desires separation of church and state, not separation of God and church or separation of God and state. Study Jerald Finney’s writings and/or audio teachings to discover the truth about and how to apply the principle. Finney’s teachings prove that the revisionist view of Separation of Church and State accepted without examination by most American “Christians” is false and has done great damage to the cause of Christ and to America.

The First Amendment was meant to prevent “the establishment of a religion” and to “protect the  free exercise thereof.” In other words,  religion, including churches, according to the First Amendment religion clause, are to work under, hand and hand with, or over the state. The Court still upholds the “high and impregnable” wall between church and state. A wall separates two sides each from the other. This concept of separation of church and state is the principle God established for Gentile nations.

However, the twentieth century Court has added an additional aspect to the First Amendment religion clause. The Supreme Court, while proclaiming that the First Amendment guarantee of biblical separation of church and state is still in effect, also supplemented the religion clause to require separation of God and state.

History is clear about the fact that the God of the Bible was honored by the people, and especially the great majority of leaders, of America at the time of the founding of the nation and for sometime thereafter (See, e.g., Jerald Finney, God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application (Austin, TX: Kerygma Publishing Co., 2008), Section V and the many books cited therein). The people of America knew that the God of the Bible was the only true God.

The nineteenth century Supreme Court held a different view from the modern Court. The nineteenth century Court looked to historical facts to support its contention that this was a Christian nation. Although the Constitution established a nation upon a blend of enligntenment and biblical principles, the nineteenth century court selected partial facts without understanding and incorrectly contended that America was a “Christian” nation (Rector, Etc., of Holy Trinity Church v. United States, 143 U.S. 457, 12 S. Ct. 511 (1892)). When the unregenerate dominated the Court in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the Court looked to an incomplete version of historical facts and to a new twist on the First Amendment to remove God from all public affairs and to effectively declare that this is not a Christian nation. At the same time, the Court proclaimed that the original meaning of the First Amendment religion clause is still in effect.

14thAm.The Supreme Court did two things which ultimately resulted in the assurance that God and His principles would not in any way be over the United States or any state therein. First, it gradually deconstructed the intent of the Fourteenth Amendment to the point where the Court began to apply the First Amendment to state, county, and city governments.

Second, the Supreme Court redefined separation of church and state in such a way that allowed the Court to begin to separate God and state on the national, state, county, and city government levels. The twentieth century Court operated in a nation where the state got into areas where it had no God-given and/or Constitutional jurisdiction—education of children, welfare, retirement (social security), childcare, income taxation, etc. In this new environment, the Court redefined “separation of church and state” in such a way that God and state were separated, thereby ensuring the degradation of the nation into gross immorality on a national scale and the ultimate judgment of God upon the nation. God was excluded from the public life of the nation and a pluralistic nation resulted. For the Supreme Court, the term “religion” became a way to categorize spiritual matters in any way connected to “church,” to “God,” or to “a god.” Even should the Court permit a vestige of God to remain, such permission was granted in a pejorative manner which dishonored God. An example is recent Ten Commandments jurisprudence which is discussed in the articles which follow in this section.

1According to the modern Supreme Court, the civil government is to remain neutral as to “religion.” “The First Amendment reflects the philosophy that church and state should be separated. Yet it neither says nor requires that in every conceivable respect there must be a total separation of church and state. Thus, while laws giving direct aid to religion are not permitted, laws which incidentally benefit religion are not, for that reason alone, invalid…. All that is required is that the government stand neutral between one religion and another, and between religion and nonbelief, and not become excessively entangled in the affairs of religion…” (Kramer, § 2).

This neutrality toward “religion,” as defined and applied by the Court, was interpreted to be not only neutrality toward religion, but also hostility toward God. God, His authority, and His principles were deemed inapplicable to the affairs of the civil government. The Court made the decision for the nation: “God, you are out. You are at best equal to nonbelief and to the gods of all other ‘religions.’” Too bad for the nation that the nation is not the sovereign. God is the Sovereign who has allowed the nation to make its temporary and self-destructive choice.

At the same time, the original meaning of the religion clause is generally upheld by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court still declares that the original meaning of the First Amendment, forbidding the state to interfere in the affairs of a church and vice-versa, is still in effect. The Court still declares the “wall of separation between church and state” to be “high and impregnable.” The original intent of the First Amendment establishment clause—that the state not be over the church nor the church over the state and that people be free to exercise their religious beliefs (as long as those beliefs do not run afoul of criminal law)—has consistently been proclaimed by the Supreme Court. See, The History of the First Amendment.

1As is explained in Section VI of God Betrayed, the position of the Supreme Court which has upheld the separation of church and state has been skirted by the legislative and executive branches through laws which have lured most churches to place themselves under the civil government through legal entity status such as incorporation and 501(c)(3) and by presidential “faith based initiatives.” As far as the author has been able to ascertain, the courts have never been asked to rule on the constitutionality of such legislation and presidential actions.

Certainly many “Christian” and all secular authors have no knowledge or understanding of the Word of God. Therefore, their arguments are foolish. Many Christians and secularists correctly point out that the terms “separation of church and state,” “church,” “state,” and “separation” do not appear in the Constitution (See Leo Pfeffer, Church, State, and Freedom (Boston: The Beacon Press, 1953), p. 118 citing Edwin S. Corwin, Constitution of Powers in a Secular State, (Charlottesville, Virginia: Michie Co., 1951), p. 98). Christians use that fact to argue that church and state should work together, or that the church should be involved with the state. Admittedly, individual Christians, not churches, should, if God so directs, become involved in the civil government; and both New Testament churches and Christians should communicate their political beliefs including who to vote for based upon biblical standards applied to the beliefs of the candidates. Nonetheless, this is a poor argument for 2Christians to use because God wants separation of church and state in Gentile nations (See The Biblical Doctrine of Separation of Church and State) and because the Constitution provided for separation of church and state. The correct argument for the Christian is that the people and the leaders should place the Sovereign, that is, God over the state in the manner already explained in these studies and that God desires that every man have the religious liberty as guaranteed by the First Amendment which separates church and state.

Secularist arguments in support of a complete removal of God from all civil governmental affairs are equally invalid. For example, Leo Pfeffer, a constitutional scholar, asserted that “it was inevitable that some convenient term [‘separation of church and state’] should come into existence to verbalize a principle so clearly and widely held by the American people.” I question whether the overwhelming majority of Americans clearly and widely can or could intelligently discuss the subject now or when Pfeffer wrote. In support of this argument, he asked, “Who would deny that ‘religious liberty’ is a constitutional principle [even though] that phrase is not in the Constitution” (Pfeffer, p. 119)? His writings and advocacy as a lawyer, including his advocacy before the Supreme Court, make clear that his idea of religious liberty—to remove God from state affairs—was entirely different from the biblical principle. He had absolutely no spiritual understanding. He was used by the god of this world to advocate for a “Godless” civil government.

1Thus, one reason for America’s rapid slide downhill has been the lack of knowledge and understanding of biblical principles—this can be related to the fact that the Constitution itself was a blend of biblical and enlightenment principles. Even though some biblical principles were inherent in the structure of the Constitution and the First Amendment provided for religious liberty and separation of church and state, the Constitution did not declare that the goal of the nation was the glory of God. The Constitution did not declare that God, and specifically the Lord Jesus Christ, was Sovereign over the nation. The nation was not, according to its highest statement of law, required to turn to the principles of the Bible in deciding its questions of law, to recognize God in its official prayers and organic utterances, or to point out that the God of the Bible, the Lord Jesus Christ, was the Sovereign over all institutions including individual, family, nation, and church. Since the body of the Constitution made no mention of God, and since certain enlightenment principles were embodied into the Constitution, the document itself is of little help to those who support biblical principles and argue that this nation as founded was a “Christian” nation, or a nation under God. This can be discerned from numerous Supreme Court opinions as exemplified infra in this section.

The Constitution, while separating church and state, also failed to declare that God was to be over the state. In the early history of the new nation, many referred to the need for  religion, or even “God” to be  involved in the state. The New York Methodist church in 1808 promoted the spread of the Gospel over the entire earth, and fought humanism with Scriptural truth and holy living. Christians used their vote to elect Christians who would uphold their Christian ideas.

“The Rev. John Mason preached that ‘the principles of the gospel are to regulate [people’s] political as well as their other conduct.’ He scoffed at the idea that ‘religion has nothing to do with politics!’ asking rhetorically, ‘Where did you learn this maxim?’ To the contrary, he offered, ‘the Bible is full of directions for your behavior as citizens,’ citing in example Col. 3:17 ‘And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, to do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.’ Other New York ministers expressed similar sentiments to their congregations, representing civil government as a ‘subsidiary’ to God’s grand design of preparing saints for the future and ‘the civil magistrate as God’s officer.’ …
2“[Thomas Jefferson stated ‘The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbors to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pockets, nor breaks my leg.’]. Mason wrote: ‘This is nothing less than representing civil society as founded in Atheism. For there can be no religion without God. And if it does me or my neighbor no injury, to subvert the very foundation of religion, by denying the being of God, then religion is not one of the constituent principles of society, and consequently society is perfect without it’” (Mark Douglas McGarvie, One Nation Under Law: America’s Early National Struggles to Separate Church and State (DeKalb, Illinois: Northern Illinois University Press, 2005), pp. 124-125).

It is disputed whether Jefferson advocated public abstention in matters of religion, but many clergymen felt that he was atheistic.

  • “Public abstention amounted to the denial of a single religious truth; and once a government rejects the idea of one religious truth, it is rendered unable to act upon any religious doctrine in constricting the laws, values, and policy aims of that society. But the idea that any God could himself, or herself or itself, be relativistic is absurd—how can any true living God accept all suggestions of his, her, or its own existence as merely speculative or one of many unprovable theories? If God could not accept religious relativism, how could America? The advocacy of religious relativism is logically inconsistent with the acceptance of any true, living God. Accordingly, the ministers insisted that when a government assumed such a position, it rejected the existence of God as well as God’s role in governing” (Ibid.).

21Generally speaking, the people of the United States, against an increasing current of liberalism, have determined the course of the nation. As long as the nation had a predominantly Christian population, God was honored to a degree in the public life of the nation, although Christian values, even in the early life of the new nation, were gradually being undermined by non-Christian principles in the legal arena. America, with all its faults, to an extent proceeded “under God” for over a hundred and fifty years even though the nation’s highest law, the Constitution, had, on its face, been about “the happiness of man” and not the “glory of God” from the beginning—this fact is apparent from a facial reading of the document as well as from a study of history before, during, and after ratification.

Great revivals occurred at the time the Constitution was ratified and for some time thereafter, and multitudes were saved. As a result, the nation was saturated with Christians, and the integrity of the nation was thereby preserved to an extent. On the other hand, the legal system began to apply enlightenment principles to redefine marriage, the family, the church, criminal law, and the law in general. Although an examination of this movement is beyond the scope of this book, it is important to have at least a rudimentary understanding of the context in which future First Amendment jurisprudence unfolded.

Because the population was predominantly Christian, or at least honored the Bible and God to an extent, American civil government, to a great degree, initially operated under God. Many Supreme Court justices and the majority of Americans in the nineteenth century were either Christian or at least had a reverence for the Bible and Christianity. In 1892, the Court declared that this nation would go by the principles of Christianity, not by the principles of other religions which the Court called imposters of the true religion (Rector, Etc., of Holy Trinity Church v. United States).  God was honored by some, if not most, civil government organizations and officials in their official public proclamations, speeches, and prayers. Official prayers were given in Jesus’ name. God was recognized by leaders and judges who acknowledged that only the God of the Bible could bring blessings and curses to the nation. Among the myriad examples is the Thanksgiving Day Proclamation of President George Washington:

  • 1“Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly implore his protection and favor, and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to ‘recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanks-giving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.
  • “Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November, next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His [many blessings before becoming a nation, during the late war, etc.]….
  • “And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions…” (Norman Cousins, In God We Trust (Kingsport, Tennessee: Kingsport Press, Inc., 1958), pp. 71-72; quoted only in part. Notice that even President Washington included the purpose of the nation as being the “safety and happiness” of the people.). [Emphasis mine to show enlightenment influence.]

Things have changed. Although the First Amendment to the Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law regarding an establishment of religion or preventing the free exercise thereof,” the civil government, contrary to the mandate of that amendment, through laws passed by Congress and approved by the President, controls and even defines the corporate 501(c)(3) religious organization and undermines such organizations with the promotion and support of most and participation by some “Christians.”

6The Supreme Court has not had to attack the churches to subjugate them to the civil government. Most churches have taken themselves from under the jurisdiction of God and placed themselves under the civil government through incorporation and Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) § 501(c)(3) status. Churches have done this even though the federal government acknowledges that churches are different from “religious organizations” and that the civil government has no requirement for a church to be under the state—a church can only voluntarily place itself under the state. Satan would much prefer that churches come to him willingly. Regrettably, most Christians are members of a corporate 501(c)(3) church (This aspect of civil government control of churches is covered in Section VI of God Betrayed which is reproduced on this blog.). Many Christians in incorporated 501(c)(3) religious organizations are discovering the truth, but have no knowledge about how to disentangle their churches from the state; others simply ignore the issue and continue in their polluted state.

Why have some “Christians,” as well as the Supreme Court and other branches of government, not recognized that a church is to be entirely under God and that the civil government has limited jurisdiction under God? The answers to these questions are very simple: Some “Christians” and Supreme Court justices and other civil government leaders and officials have no understanding of biblical principles or of the history of their nation concerning government (which includes the all-powerful government of God, self-government, family government, civil government, and church government), church, separation of church and state, and the proper relationship between God and state and God and His churches. They simply do not understand that God is the Sovereign over all, that God gives all civil governments the choice of whether to recognize His sovereignty and operate under His rules, and the consequences of the choices made. They have been deceived by false secular and “Christian” teaching in those areas. As a result, even “Christians” advance secular principles and arguments rather than God-honoring biblical principles and arguments.

1Co.2.14Since man does not gravitate towards God’s principles, but rather toward Satan’s principles, the Christian population of the nation decreased steadily and is now a very small remnant. A Christian population honored God individually and as a nation, to a degree, regardless of the wording of the Constitution. A Christian population applied a more biblical interpretation and understanding of the First Amendment. A non-Christian population seeks the lowest level. America is rapidly sinking to that level and is now near rock bottom.

Much of the writing concerning the First Amendment is confusing and certainly untrue since the understanding of the history of the amendment has been revised by both secular and Christian writers. Generally, either nothing is said about, or lies and revisions are dissiminated about, the power of God, His principles, and the warfare between those principles and the false versions of those principles in the theologies of many “churches” and denominations and in the revised histories of colonial America and the United States. When God and His principles are left out, revised, and/or lied about in the discussion of anything (as is almost always the case), the path is only downward toward judgment. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding” (Pr. 9.10). “[T]he foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Co. 1.25). “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Co. 2.14). “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain” (1 Co. 3.19-20).