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
II. The ACLU’s attacks on the recognition of God in state affairs
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
IV. An analysis of “religion clause” cases after Everson which have systematically removed the God of the Bible from practically all civil government affairs
“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 http://www.constitution.org).
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… ,” FrontPageMagazine.com, 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 religion” became 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 http://www.scotusblog.com/movabletype/archives/2005/07/03-week/). 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).
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.