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Analysis of “Jefferson’s Virginia Statute & How Courts Twisted Meaning of First Amendment to make Government Hostile to Religious Liberty” on American Minute by Bill Federer

Click here to go to homepage with links to all analyses of “An American Minute by Bill Federer” Challenged

For a documented history of the spiritual warfare in America that started in the colonial period and continues to this day, see The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus/Christian Revisionism on Trial.

The real problem in America is that the United States Supreme Court removed God all civil government matters. To understand how that happened, see Section V of God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application, p. 194, available in online PDF.

Jerald Finney
January 18, 2023

This article challenges Bill Federer’s American Minute publication: Jefferson’s Virginia Statute & How Courts Twisted Meaning of First Amendment to make Government Hostile to Religious Liberty.

CONTENTS:

Introduction
A. Challenge to Bill Federer’s understanding of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom
B. Challenge to Federer’s contention that religion was left up to the states
C. Challenge to Federer’s understanding of how the courts twisted the meaning of the First Amendment to make government hostile to religious liberty
Conclusion

Introduction

As is the case with all Christian Revisionist publications, Jefferson’s Virginia Statute & How Courts Twisted Meaning of First Amendment to make Government Hostile to Religious Liberty ignores a significant portion of the spiritual warfare in the colonies which resulted in the adoption of the First Amendment, the period from the early 1630s until the incomplete Virginia portion of the conflict starting in 1760s (leaving out relevant Virginia history before then, and after the passage of the Virginia Statute for Religious Liberty). The warfare began in the Calvinist New England colonies and spread to other colonies. Christian Revisionists do not want to open what to them is a can of worms, the truth about the New England Calvinist church/state theology and the accompanying persecutions of dissenters by a controlling Calvinist establishment (union of church and state).

That is why Christian (Calvinist) historical revisionists falsely claim that the movement toward religious freedom in America started with the American Revolution and that the Virginia Statute for Religious Liberty birthed religious freedom in America. This is not new. In the late 1980s, I began to realize that their histories left blank the colonial history after the first few years of the Jamestown and New England settlements in the early 1600s until the Virginia persecutions of dissenters immediately prior to the Revolution (1760s) and forward.

Calvinist revisionists have always sanitized their Christian Revisionist histories of Puritan New England, by leaving out significant historical facts, by praising the Puritan Calvinists, and by reaching untenable conclusions (such as their partially true claim, “The Puritans came to New England for religious liberty” leaving out a significant fact, “for themselves only.”).

Revisionists never get into the Calvinist theology which denies religious liberty and calls for harsh and strict enforcement, by the church/state alliance, of all Ten of the Commandments and many moral, not criminal, matters. Had Calvinist theology prevailed, America would not have religious liberty; there would be no First Amendment. Never do they report the persecutions of dissenters by the original Calvinist church/state alliances. Never do they mention books, tracts, speeches etc. written by persecuted dissenters like Roger Williams, Isaac Backus, and others. For example, The Bloudy Tenent of Persection for Cause of Conscience by Roger Williams, published in 1644, chronicled the persections of dissenters in New England; and, equally important, it exposed (and continues to expose to those who read it) the Puritan theology for what it was and is.  The writings of Williams, and their actions, were preeminent in the battle for religious liberty in American.

The original New England Calvinist histories revised history as it occurred. That same revisionism continues until this day.  I explain this in some detail in The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus/Christian Revisionism on Trial (This book also exposes the motives and techniques of Calvinist revisionists). When one knows the the whole story, this Amerian Minute, Jefferson’s Virginia Statute & How Courts Twisted Meaning of First Amendment to make Government Hostile to Religious Liberty is another easily dissected bit of revisionism.

Other revisions are on display in Federer’s article. Christian Revisionists are experts in the use of soundbites. For example, they say, “Separation (or complete separation) of church and state is not in the Constitution.” Those words are not there, but the law meant for complete separation of church and state is, the First Amendment. An honest historical review and analysis proves this beyond any doubt. To support the soundbite, revisionists select quotes and facts completely out of context. They leave out portions of history, caselaw, that disprove their conclusions and soundbites and shine light on their theologies.

They say that the First Amendment “left religion under the control of the states” and try to prop up that statement with more inaccuracies. By the time of the adoption of the First Amendment, most of the colonies which had established churches had abandoned one church establishment in favor of multiple church establishment and this carried over to statehood. Three more states followed suit soon thereafter. Two more, Virginia and West Virginia forbade incorporation (establishment of churches). Rhode Island had never allowed union of church and state. in 1833 Massachusetts become the last state to do away with state mandated establishment. Every state now allows churches a choice: (1) become an earthly entity by combining with state government (establish) through incorporation or some other statutory means, or (2) remain a spiritual entity totally separate from civil government.

Below is a more complete analysis of the revisionism in Jefferson’s Virginia Statute & How Courts Twisted Meaning of First Amendment to make Government Hostile to Religious Liberty.

A. Challenge to Bill Federer’s understanding of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom

Let us first look at Federer’s comments on the Virginia Statute for Religious Liberty in this American Minute; second, let us look at a summarized version of the relevant history for the truth of the matter.

Federer begins by praising religious freedom, the Virginia Statute for Religious Liberty, and the First Amendment. He states out of context and unanalyzed quotes and conclusions to show that the movement toward religious freedom in America started with the American Revolution and that the we owe the Amendment and our religious freedom to the Virginia Statute for Religious liberty which “preceded the First Amendment by five years.” Nothing could be further from the truth. As will be shown below, the First Amendment and its protections for religion, soul liberty, press, association, speech, and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances was the product of spiritual warfare that was continued from the Old World long before the colonization of America and continued in the colonies under different circumstances.

As truthful documented historical research shows, the Virginia Statute for Religious Liberty, authored by Thomas Jefferson in 1779 and passed in 1786, was just one brick in the brick road that led to the adoption of the First Amendment.

Federer states that the American Revolution brought a need to work together amongst all the colonists. He says, “Like dropping a pebble in a pond and the ripples go out, individual States began to expand religious liberty at their own speeds: [he lists those to whom religious liberty extended, to include atheists.].” First, there were colonies, not states, at that time. The dissenters in each colony had already made much progress in their fight for religious liberty. One colony had won that battle with its founding in the 1630s, the colony of Rhode Island. The pebble had been dropped in the pond in the early 1630s with the arrival of Roger Williams in Congregational (Puritan) Massachusetts.

Williams, a brilliant and charismatic man, was earmarked to be a pastor and leader. However, he took issue with the ecclesiocratic (falsely called theocratic) union of church and state in Massachusetts and the legislation of all Ten of the Commandments. The Congregationalists tried to persuade him that he was wrong on that and some other matters, but he refused to budge from the truths of the Word of God. As a result, he was sentenced to banishment to England. Instead, he with some followers left in the middle of New England winter and went to what was to become the colony of Rhode Island. There he founded the first civil government in the history of the world with complete religious liberty. Then came others. Dr. John Clark and some men who came with him from England also ended up in Rhode Island shortly after Williams and his followers arrived there. Clarke shared Williams’ views on the relationship of church and state. Every American would do well to read their writings and history which are still available today for the interested student with an open mind.

Williams and Clark wrote and published books exposing the truth about the Puritan theology and the persecutions of the dissenters against the established church in the New England colonies. And there were others in this fight which continued up until the adoption of the First Amendment.

The opposing parties in the spiritual warfare were from different lines. On one side were the Calvinists, the persecutors, and on the other side were the “dissenters,” mainly the Baptists. The Baptists were in the line that came through the first churches and Antioch. The Calvinist line came from Alexandria and Rome. The former were used by God to meticulously preserve Scripture always stood for Bible truth; for example, believer’s baptism and separation of church and state. The latter revised Scripture and important Bible truths to fit their theology; for example, they instituted infant baptism and, with the marriage of some of the churches to the state under Emperor Constantine, union of church and state. The latter began with Catholicism and continued with Protestantism in the Old World and into the colonies. The colonial establishments (unions of church and state) in New England traced their origins back to the theology of John Calvin. Calvin’s church/state theology, as were other Protestant theologies regarding the relationship between church and state, was a modification of the theology of Augustine.

Calvinists incorrectly apply the principles of the “theocracy” of Israel to Gentile nations. “Theocracy” was a term used by Josephus to define the union of religion and state under God in Israel. According to the Old Testament, all nations were Gentile until God called out Israel. In Israel, and Israel only, God was directly over both the state and the religion. In Israel, the religion and state were to work together, under God; He was the lawgiver, judge, and king, over the nation and the Jewish religion. Israel was the only theocracy God ever ordained. God’s Abrahamic, Mosaic, Palestinian, and Davidic covenants were to Israel only. Gentile nations, as ordained by God, were to continue under the covenants given to Adam (Genesis 3:14-19) and Noah (Genesis 9:1-7). Of course, the Bible makes clear that God is Supreme over all nations, but God’s treatment of  Israel and Gentile nations is distinct, as is the God-ordained relationship between church and state.

Those “Christians” who support union of church and state spiritualize much of the Bible instead of believing all of it. They contend that the church replaced Israel, and that the principles for the theocracy of Israel apply to the church and Gentile nations. They “Judaize” the church and the state. The Bible is very clear: God made “everlasting” promises to the nation Israel, promises which he did not make to Gentile nations. Gentile nations like America were never under the law, as was Israel. Gentile nations are judged by God based primarily upon their treatment of Israel as well as their morality.

No Gentile nation can be a theocracy, since God only ordained one theocracy, the nation Israel. He did so for specific purposes. Catholic and Calvinist theologians call their unauthorized unions of church and state (not God and state) “theocracy.” Their churches have always worked hand in hand with the states they unite with: the church over the state, the state over the church, or partners working together for the same goals. When, as in the Old World and in most of the colonies, at first, one particular church united with the state the established church/state severely persecuted dissenting believers.

Church/state unions, before the advent of multiple establishments in America, enforced all Ten of the Commandments and persecuted those who would not bow down to the official alliance; in this way they were like the Jewish religion and state which originally worked hand in hand, under God. As we know, Israel asked for a king, like the other nations, to lead and judge her. They were not satisfied with God’s direct lawgiving, leadership, and judgment of the nation. God always gives the people what they want, even if it is against His will. All this is covered in some detail in God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application ,available in online PDF.

Thankfully, the Judaizers in America lost the battle on the national level with the adoption of the First Amendment. They partially won on the state level, with most of the colonies, and then states which had not done so during the colonial period, doing away with forced establishment, but allowing churches to choose to establish by contracting with the states for corporate status or other legal status. Sadly, most churches chose to betray God.

By the time the First Amendment was added to the United States Constitution, only New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut had mandatory establishment of churches. In 1833, Massachusetts became the last state to do away with required establishment. In almost all the states after 1833, establishment was voluntary. A couple did not allow church incorporation for a long time thereafter. A couple did not allow church incorporation. A church could and can choose to either remain separate from civil government or to combine or unite with civil government through non-profit corporation status, charitable trust status, or some other statutory manner. Of course, any church could choose to become established unlike in Europe to that point where only one church could establish and dissenting believers were persecuted. See, for a relatively concise history, see The History and Meaning of “Establishment of Religion” in America; see also, What Is an Established Church?

I chronicle the documented historical facts of this history in much more detail in in The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus; see also Section IV of God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application ,available in online PDF.

Federer, and other revisionists on the Calvinistic side of these matters, seek to cover up this complete history. Their ultimate goal is to set up both state and federal government ecclesiocracies which they call theocracies. Their ultimate goal is union of church and state with the two as equal partners, the church over the state (as in the New England colonies, Germany under Lutheranism, Geneva under Calvinism), or the state over the church (the southern colonies, England). See The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus for much more on this.

The American Revolution and the Virginia Statute for Religious Liberty were pieces of the puzzle that led to the adoption of the First Amendment, but only pieces, and not the largest pieces to be sure.

B. Challenge to Federer’s contention that religion was left up to the states

Next, Federer goes to the state level. The point he tries to make is that control of religion was left up to the states. He asserts that the people of the states are to decide the level of religious freedom and that control of religion was left to the states. Again, inaccurate conclusions. He also incorrectly states that all the states supported, financially aided, both the church and the government. That is not true. Rhode Island originally did not allow incorporation of churches and church and state were entirely separate. After the war for religious freedom was over in Virginia, Virginia did not allow incorporation of churches until 2002. See, Fallwell v. Miller, 203 F. Supp. 2d 624 (W.D. Va. 2002). Nor did West Virginia permit church incorporation. Article VI, Section 47 of the West Virginia Constitution explicitly states: “No charter of incorporation shall be granted to any church or religious denomination.” However, most states originally, and all now, allow union of church and state through various statutory means: incorporation, charitable trust, business trust are examples.

Every state Constitution has provisions which protect all, or almost all, the freedoms embodied in the First Amendment. They all protect religious freedom, soul liberty, speech, association and press. Every state allows churches the choice of remaining totally outside government statutory status and control. To see this for yourself online google, “Constitution of [name of state].”

Here is an example of what you will find. Indiana law recognizes that churches should be free to organize under Christ and Christ alone; and protects the soul liberty of the citizens of Indiana. The Preamble to the Indiana Constitution states:

“TO THE END, that justice be established, public order maintained, and liberty perpetuated; WE, the People of the State of Indiana grateful to ALMIGHTY GOD for the free exercise of the right to choose our own form of government, do ordain this Constitution.”

The Indiana Constitution in Article I, Bill of Rights, states:

Section 1. Inherent Rights. WE DECLARE, That all people are created equal; that they are endowed by their CREATOR with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that all power is inherent in the people; and that all free governments are, and of right ought to be, founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety, and well-being. For the advancement of these ends, the people have, at all times, an indefeasible right to alter and reform their government.

Section 2. Right to Worship. All people shall be secured in the natural right to worship ALMIGHTY GOD, according to the dictates of their own consciences.

Section 3. Freedom of Religious Opinions. No law shall, in any case whatever, control the free exercise and enjoyment of religious opinions, or interfere with the rights of conscience.

Section 4. Freedom of Religion. No preference shall be given, by law, to any creed, religious society, or mode of worship; and no person shall be compelled to attend, erect, or support, any place of worship, or to maintain any ministry, against his consent.

Section 5. No Religious Test or Office. No religious test shall be required, as a disqualification for any office of trust or profit.

Section 9. Freedom of Thought and Speech. No law shall be passed, restraining the free interchange of thought and opinion, or restricting the right to speak, write, or print, freely, on any subject whatever: but for the abuse of that right, every person shall be responsible.”

State church non-profit incorporation statutes were carried over from the colonial period when establishment or incorporation of churches was the norm in almost all the colonies. Isaac Backus, John Leland and their followers fought against incorporation in the colonies and continued their fight in the early republic. However, they could not totally overcome forced establishment in the colonies and then in the states. Not all of the colonies, before becoming states, had done away with forced establishment in favor of chosen establishment. The religious freedom of those churches who now choose to remain separate from the state are now protected by both the First Amendment and corresponding state constitutional provisions. Those churches who choose to become established do so out of ignorance of the will of God as expressed in His Word or because they are Judaizers who misinterpret God’s Word to require union of church and state.

One can also suppose, from other Federer comments, that the states should legislate morality. To what extent cannot be determined from what he says. God’s Word makes clear that all crimes are sin, but not all sin is criminal. The state should criminalize only those sins which are crimes.

Then Federer asks, “What things did change?” In his brief explanation, he considers George Hagel’s dialectic; Charles Darwin’s theory that species could evolve; Spencer who “proposed that the theory of evolution could influence other areas of academia, including law,” Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. who developed a theory of “legal realism,” how it took some years for “them to come around to the view that the law was flexible, responsive to changing and economic climates; the development of the “case precedent” method as a means to change the Constitution; the use of the 14th Amendment and Commerce Clause as tools to take jurisdiction away from the states over various issues; the changing the definition of a few words within the Constitution so as to change the views of the majority of the people. Sounds like a tactic of the Christian Revisionists. Ever hear Christian Revisionists say that “complete separation of church and state is not found in the Constitution” or “separation of church and state is not found in the constitution.” One can also ask, on the matters on historical fact and Bible interpretation, what things have Catholics, Protestants (such as Calvinists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Anglicans) left out, added to, selectively quoted and spiritualized in effecting their changes?

Federer states, “The broadening of the definition of religion by the federal government after Hugo Black’s opinion which took religion out of the states’ jurisdiction and put under Federal jurisdiction.” This is not accurate–see the next section for explanation. What the court proceeded to do was to remove God from practically all civil government matters on the city, county, state, and federal level. State laws combining church and state were still in effect. All, or almost all, of the freedoms protected by the First Amendment were also protected by the Constitutions of every state. The preambles to most of the state constitutions still explicitly reverenced the God of the Bible, something not true of the United States Constitution.

 C. Challenge to Federer’s understanding of how the courts twisted the meaning of the First Amendment to make government hostile to religious liberty

The next question Federer asks is, “How did meaning of the First Amendment get twisted to make government hostile to religious liberty?” Then he incorrectly states, “Below is an extended explanation of its evolution.” What he follows with is not an explanation and it is not extended.

First, Federer does not ask the right question. The Supreme Court did twist the meaning of the religion clause of the Amendment for the purpose of removing God and any reference to or reverence for God from practically all civil government matters on, not only the federal, but also on the city, county, and state levels. The First Amendment originally applied only to the federal government. Therefore, the right question is actually twofold: (1) Has the Supreme Court done away with the original meaning and application of the First Amendment? (2) Has the Supreme Court added to the jurisdiction and meaning of the First Amendment.

Second, Federer does not answer the question he raises. This challenge will answer the right question after first examining pages 40-50 of Federer’s American Minute.

I start with an analysis of pages 40-50 of Federer’s Jefferson’s Virginia Statute & How Courts Twisted Meaning of First Amendment to make Government Hostile to Religious Liberty because, on those pages, he most strikingly reveals the primary error of his, and other “Christian” revisionists’—their misunderstanding of the difference between separation of church and state and separation of God and state. The First Amendment dealt with the relationship between church and state (establishment clause), soul liberty (the free exercise clause), and related freedoms: speech, press, assembly, and the petitioning of the government for a redress of grievances, all of which were denied dissenters by the original colonial establishments. Dissenters in the colonies, starting in the 1630s, fought the established churches, in the face of severe persecution, for freedom of religion, soul liberty, speech, press, assembly, and the right to petition their colonial governments for “a redress of grievances” They won the war with the adoption of the First Amendment. The establishments (the Judaizers) lost.

Federer correctly concludes that “the First Amendment was never intended to insulate our public institutions from any mention of God, the Bible or religion.” He also concludes, “When such insulation occurs, another religion, such as secular humanism, is effectively established.” (page 40) Yes to that also. He then offers quotes, conclusions, etc.

He quotes Ronald Reagan and others regarding the fact that the Constitution “was never meant to prevent people from praying” but was meant to protect their freedom to pray” or “to prevent those who believe in God from expressing their faith.” That is true.

He then gives a list of quotes out of context and without any analysis [Bold comments in brackets are mine):

  • The ACLU agenda which includes elimination of prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of ‘separation of church and state.” [For a look at an analysis of ACLU, look up “American Civil Liberties Union” in God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application ,available in online PDF.]
  • A comment from Judge Richard Suhrheinrich stated in ACLU v Mercer County, 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, December 20, 2005: “The ACLU makes repeated reference to ‘the separation of church and state.’ This extra-constitutional construct has grown tiresome. The First Amendment does not demand a wall of separation between church and state. Our nation’s history is replete with governmental acknowledgment and in some case, accommodation of religion.” [This is a 6th Circuit case. To understand its significance would require a study of the facts, procedural history (was it overturned by the Supreme Court, etc.) of the case.]
  • A statement from In Committee for Public Education & Religious Liberty v. Nyquist, 413 U.S. 756, 760 (197): “This Nation’s history has not been one of entirely sanitized separation between Church and State. It has never been thought either possible or desirable to enforce a regime of total separation.”
  • A statement from the Supreme Court in Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971): “Our prior holdings do not call for total separation between church and state; total separation is not possible in an absolute sense.”
  • Supreme Court statement in Lynch v Donnelly, 1984: “The Constitution does not ‘require complete separation of church and state’… The concept of a ‘wall’ of separation is a … figure of speech … but the metaphor itself is not a wholly accurate description of the practical aspects of the relationship that in fact exists between church and state.”
  • A U.S. Supreme Court decision, McCullum v Board of Education, statement: “Rule of law should not be drawn from a figure of speech.” [referring to “separation of church and state.]
  • Associate Justice William Rehnquist wrote in the U.S. Supreme Court case Wallace v. Jafree, 1985, dissent, 472 U. S., 38, 99: “The ‘wall of separation between church and state’ 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. It is impossible to build sound constitutional doctrine upon a mistaken understanding of Constitutional history … The establishment clause had been expressly freighted with Jefferson’s misleading metaphor for nearly forty years … There is simply no historical foundation for the proposition that the framers intended to build a wall of separation … Recent court decisions are in no way based on either the language or intent of the framers … But the greatest injury of the ‘wall’ notion is its mischievous diversion of judges from the actual intentions of the drafters of the Bill of Rights.” [Notice that this is in the dissent. The majority disagreed. History disagrees. Other Supreme Court decisions, especially 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). I explain Everson and its supreme importance to a correct analysis of the matter of “separation of church and state” below.]
  • He continues with similar quotes from other Supreme Court Justices concerning “separation of church and state.”
  • A quote from President Reagan concerning criticism of the ACLU for his 1983 proclamation of the year of the Bible.
  • He states (page 46), “There is freedom for all religions in America, but sharia Islam is not just a religion; it is also a political and military system which feels it has a divine mandate to subdue or eliminate all other religions.” “Groups hostile to the Judeo-Christian values of America’s founders, such as aggressive LGBT activists or the fundamental Islamist brotherhood, endeavor to use the newly evolved “broad definition of religion” to take liberties away from the majority of Americans — liberties the First Amendment, as well as Jefferson’s Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, were intended to guarantee?”
  • An example of broadening a definition was published by FoxNews, June 4, 2022: “California court rules a bumblebee is a fish under environmental law.”
  • He quotes President Dwight Eisenhower: “The Bill of Rights contains no grant of privilege for a group of people to destroy the Bill of Rights. A group — like the Communist conspiracy — dedicated to the ultimate destruction of all civil liberties, cannot be allowed to claim civil liberties as its privileged sanctuary from which to carry on subversion of the Government.” He follows with a similar quote from President Reagan.
  • He follows this with (page 48): “Did Jefferson, author of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, intend to outlaw the acknowledgment of God and limit students, teachers, coaches, chaplains, schools, organizations, and communities from public religious expression? Did Jefferson intend to force the Little Sisters of the Poor to violate their consciences and support abortion? Did he intend to force cake bakers or wedding photographers who believe in natural marriage to violate their consciences or be put out of business?”
  • He quotes from the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (pages 49-50). [Again, out of context as to its historical significance. See “Challenge to Bill Federer’s understanding of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom” above for correct understanding of that statute.]
  • He ends with a quote from President Reagan: “The First Amendment of the Constitution was not written to protect the people of this country from religious values; it was written to protect religious values from government tyranny.”

The above summary of the contents of pages 40-50 clearly show that Federer does not ask the right question, nor does he answer the question. I will now answer the right questions: (1) Has the Supreme Court done away with the original meaning and application of the First Amendment? (2) Has the Supreme Court added to the jurisdiction and meaning of the First Amendment.

Here are the abbreviated answers. The short answer to the first question is “No.” The short answer to the second question is that the Supreme Court twisted the meaning of the religion clause of the Amendment for the purpose of removing God and any reference to or reverence for God from practically all civil government matters on not only the federal, but also on the city, county, and state levels. The First Amendment originally applied only to the federal government.

What follows in this section is a nut-shell view of relevant First Amendment history and meaning, and an analysis of United States Supreme Court First Amendment jurisprudence. I will show how the Supreme Court, in 1947, correctly upheld the original meaning of the First Amendment while also adding a new twist, thereby laying a foundation for the future removal by the Court of God, the God of the Bible, from practically all civil government matters. I will then give the results of that twisting. For much more detail, see The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus/Christian Revisionism on Trial; and God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application ,available in online PDF.

The Anglicans arrived in 1607 in Jamestown, the Pilgrims in 1619, and the Puritans in 1629. By 1660, the Puritan experiment was falling apart. Persecuted dissenters fought a spiritual warfare against the colonial establishments in New England and other colonies. That warfare eventually led to victory for the dissenters: the First Amendment to the United States Constitution was a law which set in concrete the Bible principles of complete separation of church and state, and freedom of speech, press, assembly, and the right to petition the government from a redress of grievances. See, Section IV of God Betrayed. and Part II of The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus.

The courts have never addressed the foundational principles for church and state—those expressed in God’s Word. That was to be expected, even in the early Republic, since there were many diverse Biblical interpretations, as the history of the colonial period and the early republic proves. However, the Supreme Court has recognized that, according to American history, the First Amendment was meant to separate church and state—to keep the state out of church and the church out of state. In Section V of God Betrayed available in online PDF I explain the 19th Century Supreme Court interpretation of “separation of church and state,” the application of the First Amendment to the States: 1868-1947, and Separation of God and state (how the United States Supreme Court removed God from practically all civil government matters while still recognizing that the First Amendment was meant to create a two-way wall of separation between church and state): 1947-2007.

Because the population was predominantly Christian, or at least honored God and His Word, American civil government, to a great degree, initially operated partially, and probably predominantly, according to principles in the Word of God. Many Presidents, Congressmen, Legislators, Judges to include Supreme Court Justices, and the majority of Americans in the nineteenth century were either Christian or at least had a reverence for the Bible and Christianity. In 1892, the Court declared that this nation would go by the principles of Christianity, not by the principles of other religions which the Court called imposters of the true religion. See, Rector, Etc., of Holy Trinity Church v. United States, 143 U.S. 457, 12 S. Ct. 511 (1892).

God was honored by almost all civil government organizations and officials in their public proclamations, speeches, and prayers. Official prayers were given in Jesus’ name. God was recognized by leaders and judges who acknowledged that only the God of the Bible could bring blessings and curses to the nation. God was honored at all levels of government, but the church and state, according to the First Amendment were to be separate on the federal level, neither meddling in the affairs of the other. Among the myriad examples of this reverence for God is the Thanksgiving Day Proclamation of President George Washington who agreed with other Founding Fathers that church and state should be separate:

  • “Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly implore his protection and favor, and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to ‘recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanks-giving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.
  • “Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November, next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His [many blessings before becoming a nation, during the late war, etc.]….
  • “And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions….”

See, George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation: Does It Support Union of Church and State or Separation of Church and State? for more analysis.

Honest, complete history is clear: The First Amendment was intended to erect a two-way wall between church and state, but it was never intended to separate God, and the practice of his principles, and state. See, for a concise, but complete, documented history of the First Amendment, Section IV of God Betrayed available in online PDF.

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) correctly held that the First Amendment created a two-way wall of separation between church and state. However, the Court also incorporated the First Amendment into the Fourteenth Amendment, a twist which was used in future cases to remove God and the mention of God or anything to do with God from practically all civil government matters at all levels of government—city, county, state, and federal. Everson twisted the meanings of “establishment of religion and “separation of church and state.” Eventually, the new rationale of the Court in Everson, while honoring the historical First Amendment and biblical principle of “separation of church and state,” laid the foundation for the removal of God and His principles from practically all civil government affairs in America.

After Everson, the convenient term, “separation of church and state,” was now used in cases which had nothing to do with the relationship of church and state. The new twisted “separation of church and state” concept would lead to the removal by the Court, of any vestige of God from civil government related affairs: prayers and Bible reading in public schools, posting the Ten Commandments in the public schools, in government buildings or on government property, etc.  Even when the Court would allow the mention of God, it was with the understanding that God was only historical and of no significance. God, the Ruler of the universe, the Ultimate Lawmaker, and the Judge of the Supreme Court of the Universe, gave United States Supreme Court Justices the right to rebel. Again, see Section V of God Betrayed, available in online PDF.

As stated above, Everson did not do away with the original two-way wall which the First Amendment erected between church and state. The First Amendment forbade union of church and state only on the federal level. Everson did not change that. Since Everson, the Supreme Court has not touched state laws which allow union of church and state. Thus, most, but not all churches can and do, as always since the ratification of the Constitution and First Amendment, choose to “establish”—that is, to put themselves under the authority of civil government as legal Fourteenth Amendment entities for many purposes as opposed to remaining purely First Amendment spiritual entities. Why? Because they want to be practical in the worldly or business, not Biblical, sense.

There is no reason why civil government officials, led by the principles of the god of this world, would wish to do away the ability of God’s churches to commit spiritual fornication. The prince of this world system “has organized the world of unbelieving mankind upon his cosmic principles of force, greed, selfishness, ambition, and pleasure (Matthew 4:8, 9; John 12:31; 14:30; 18:36; Ephesians 2:2; 6:12; 1 John 2:15-17).” His goal is to dethrone God (See Isaiah 14:12-17). When a church unites with the state, she joins herself to an earthly power and submits to laws which redefine the status, organization, and operation of the church. Union of a former Bible believing and practicing church with the state puts that church on a slippery slope downward to heresy and apostasy. Many basically sound American churches who chose man’s cheese above God’s principles are now apostate and the others are heretical to one degree or another; they are nothing more than businesses who, at best, honor Jesus Christ with their tongues, and possibly to a degree in their actions (see, Revelation 2:1-7), while their hearts are far from him.

Satan, I am sure, gets great pleasure from observing and pointing out to God how well his plan has worked in America where only a small remnant of local churches still honor our Lord. Most have prostituted themselves through uniting with the state through corporate, charitable trust, or some other statutory status. Some remain true to the Lord in some ways, but many are highly heretical or apostate.

For a century and a half before Everson, the 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, beginning with Everson, without the benefit of a biblical worldview, began to decide issues 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. 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.). See Section V of God Betrayed available in online PDF.

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 Christians, much less 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. Their legal arguments have not and do not honor God and His Word; they cannot since churches and Christians have not practiced Bible principle in their organization and practice. The result has been a steady downward spiral toward a totally secular state, church, 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, Godless, 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 at all) are being proclaimed by “Christian” lawyers, those lawyers and their firms are leading Bible believing pastors and church members, who have not studied the Bible and the issues, down the road to destruction. Almost all “Christian” lawyers say that churches must incorporate and give their unlearned opinions as to why. For an examination of their excuses for betraying God, see Analysis of False Reasons of Christians and Lawyers for Church Corporate, 501(c)(3) and 508(c)(1)(A) tax Exempt Status or Legal Status of Any Kind; See also, Section VI of God Betrayed available in online PDF.

Since Everson, the Supreme Court has, among other things and in the name of separation of church and state, banned school prayer (including silent meditation), eliminated graduation invocations, driven creches and menorahs from public parks, removed the Ten Commandments from display in the public schools, banned God from the public schools (the public school classroom is now based on the religion of humanism where Satan’s messages are taught to the youth of America), taken carols out of school assemblies, purged the Ten Commandments monuments, laid the groundwork for a secular pluralistic—or more accurately Satanic—state.

On the civil government front, Satan, through those who were following his principles, has been doing more than removing God from practically all civil government matters. Because of the change in Supreme Court First Amendment jurisprudence, states were now taxing to support individuals—aiding individuals through all types of social legislation. 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. 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 civil government; and, in its instructive capacity, was leading the people down the same path.

On another front, that of the church, Satan was also replacing faith in God with faith in the government. Churches have prostituted themselves with the federal and state governments. They have abandoned their Biblical First Amendment status in favor of Fourteenth Amendment status for many purposes. They have chosen to become creatures of the state, to “worship the creature more than the creator” (Romans 1:25). On the state level, through choosing corporate, charitable trust, or some other legal entity (Fourteenth Amendment) status; on the federal level through Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3) or § 508(c)(1)(A) tax exempt status. By the way, 501(c)(3) and 508(c)(1)(A), when applied to churches, are unconstitutional in violation of the First Amendment on their face. They are laws passed by Congress which respect and establishment of religion and prevent the free exercise thereof. See, Church Internal Revenue Code § 508(c)(1)(A) Tax Exempt Status and the links therein.

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.” Mark R. Levin, Men in Black: How the Supreme Court Is Destroying America (Washington DC: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2005), pp. 27-29 citing Robert Yates, “Essay No. 11,” Anti-federalist Papers first published in the New York Journal, March 20, 17 Available at www.constitution.org.

The abridged history and analysis above, especially when one goes to the more comprehensive sources cited, prove that Federer  (1) asked the wrong question, a question which he did not answer; (2) is totally wrong in stating, “The First Amendment does not demand a wall of separation between church and state.” He produces statements from judges stating that that the court holdings do not call for a total separation between church and state without explaining the facts and issues in those cases. Analysis of those cases prove that the courts are not considering the relationship between a church or churches and the state; they are considering matters which were never envisioned by First Amendment “separation of church and state,” matters which separated God and state. One can go to those cases to verify what I say. Here are the links: ACLU v Mercer County, 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, December 20, 2005  (this is as Federer cited the case); Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971); McCullum v Board of Education, 333 U.S. 203, Wallace v. Jafree, 1985, dissent, 472 U. S., 38, 99 (dissent), Engel v. Vitale, 1962, dissent (as cited by Federer), Zorach v Clausen, 1952 (as cited by Federer).

“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn” (Proverbs 29:2).

Conclusion

Federer’s method, in the American Minute publications I have read, is to grab a lot of facts, including quotes, from all kinds of sources. Standing alone, the “facts” he presents sound good and even inspirational, but taken together they are disjointed, out of context, and woefully incomplete. He leaves out a lot or relevant historical material. He leaves out immediate and overall context. For example, his quotes from court cases are out of the context of the entire case and also omit the overall context of related cases, history, etc. When contextually examined, his material is inaccurate and/or misleading. He intersperses conclusions, assumptions, questions, and incomplete explanations. Under honest learned examination, his writings are incomplete, confusing, incorrect, and hard to decipher.

An honest analysis of any historical matter must include all the facts. An honest analysis of quotes seeks the truth of those quotes. An honest use of quotes from a legal case must include an analysis of the entire case to include the facts of the case, the legal arguments being made, the context of any given quote, the cases cited to support or oppose the holding, whether the quote is from a majority or dissenting opinion, and whether the case overrules or upholds precedent, and the views of the writer of the quote—was he a strict constructionist or did he embrace the “living breathing Constitution that could be changed with the winds of time?  Primarily he should look to the Word of God for God’s judgment on spiritual matters. What does God say about it?

The weapons of Christian warfare are:

  1. Truth.
  2. Righteousness: “Purity of heart and rectitude of life; conformity of heart and life to the divine law. righteousnessas used in Scripture and theology, in which it is chiefly used, is nearly equivalent to holiness, comprehending holy principles and affections of heart, and conformity of life to the divine law. It includes all we call justice, honesty and virtue, with holy affections; in short, it is true religion.”
  3. The gospel of peace.
  4. Faith.
  5. Salvation.

Ephesians 6:13-17.

American Christianity has been a victim of Christian revisionist teaching. That is why all their efforts, which have been concentrated in the political, not the spiritual, realm, have been counterproductive. After decades of fighting, the slide of America toward the judgment of God is accelerating at an alarming rate. The reason—Revisionists leaders and their pastor and church allies who have predominated the Christian landscape have led the way. God will not honor a warfare which is not fought His way and according to His principles. How in the world can “Christians” save American when they ignore the fact that they have destroyed their churches?

Analysis of “How Luther & Protestant Reformation had Political Repercussions on America” by Bill Federer

Click here to go to homepage with links to all analyses of “An American Minute by Bill Federer” Challenged

To gain a comprehensive understanding of this spiritual warfare between Federer (and other Protestants) and historic Baptists, I especially recommend: The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus.

Analysis of “How Luther & Protestant Reformation had Political Repercussions on America” by Bill Federer

Jerald Finney
October 31, 2022

Most notably, the title, “How Luther & Protestant Reformation had Political Repercussions on America,” is misleading. The article does not reveal what the title alleges it will reveal which is “How Luther & Protestant Reformation had Political Repercussions on America.” I believe that Federer’s article is a hodgepodge of facts constituting no logical analysis from which one can make conclusions as to the matter asserted in the title. Read it to see if you will agree. Click here to go to Federer’s article. Endnote [i] (click to go to the Endnote) is a summary of Federer’s article.

To do justice to all Federer’s misleading and false information related to Scripture and pre-colnial and post colonial American history, especially as related to the relationship of church and state, would require a book. See, The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus. Therefore, only the most important relevant issues raised are covered here. We are men, so let us behave like men, as Jesus, the apostles, and Christian dissenters since have done. Let us confront falsehood with truth head on.

One of Federer’s comments that Patricia Bonomi wrote that the colonists were about 98% Protestant, 2% Catholic, and 1/105% Jewish (of course this is a total misrepresentation since a significant percent were the Baptists—who led the fight for religious freedom and soul liberty in America. Baptists never have been Protestant. As unrevised history proves  religious freedom and soul liberty in America and the First Amendment were the trophies of the persecuted Baptists during the colonial period). See the authorities cited and relied on in The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus (Especially in Section II)),

Contents

  1. On Deuteronomy 28 as commented on by Federer in his article
  2. Facts (not mentioned by Federer) about Martin Luther relevant to religious freedom and soul liberty (the First Amendment) in America
  3. Endnote: Summary of Federer’s article

1. On Deuteronomy 28 as commented on by Federer in his article

Federer misquotes and misapplies Deuteronomy 28.” He writes:

“Deuteronomy 28 lists blessings and cursings. If a nation ‘shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God … all these blessings shall come on thee. ‘But if a nation does not hearken to the voice of the Lord, ‘all these curses shall come upon thee,” including: “The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low … and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed.’ {Emphasis added]

Deuteronomy 28:1-2 says: “And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.” [Federer left out the part of the verse in bold red and substituted “a nation” for “thou.”]

Notice that Federer starts his quote with a misinterpretation of Scripture. He replaces “thou” with “a nation.” When one understands Federer’s theology, one then understands why he made this replacement in or change of Scripture. In context the “thou” is Israel. God is speaking to Israel, to whom he gave the law. God never gave the law to Gentile nations, only to Israel. Gentile nations, all nations except Israel, were to proceed under the Adamic and Noahic Covenants.

  • Romans 2:14-15: “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.”

Federer then proceeds to insert “a nation” instead of “Israel” as he mentions the curses in Deuteronomy 28:63-68. He asks, “How did God judge ancient Israel when it sinned?” Here, of course, he is limiting it to Israel, but the inference is that the admonitions in Deuteronomy 28 are to all nations, and specifically to the United States of America.

Of course, God is over all nations. He is over Israel and he is over Gentile nations. However, for Gentile nations, the primary consideration is how they deal with Israel. The Old Testament deals with Gentile nations—past, present, and future—and what He looks at to bless or curse them. I explain Bible teaching on both Israel and Gentile nations in Part I, Section I, The Biblical Doctrine of Government of God Betrayed: Separation of Church and State, the Biblical Principles and the American Application.

I explain these matters in much more detail in my books, essays and other writings. Click here to go to Order Information, Free PDFs, and Free Online Versions Pages for Books by Jerald Finney. Click here to go to Written Lesson. for Basic Online Course by Jerald Finney.

  1. Facts (not mentioned by Federer) about Martin Luther relevant to religious freedom and soul liberty (the First Amendment) in America

Many of the early colonists were Protestants who thought Luther, Calvin, or the Church of England was correct about union of church and state. Dissenters, predominantly Baptists, believed in and fought for separation of church and state. Historic Baptists had never come out of Catholicism or Protestantism since they never joined with them. The First Amendment was primarily the result of a spiritual warfare between those holding opposing Scriptural interpretations, the established churches versus the dissenters, primarily the Baptists. The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus, page 92.

The theological turmoil that resulted from the Reformation continued in the new world, and out of that storm emerged a separation of church and state that had never before existed of any lasting influence in any nation in the history of the world. The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus, page 107.

The atrocities and heresies of the Catholic church eventually led to an effort to reform that church from within. Among the greatest of the reformers were Martin Luther, who started the Lutheran church (which became the state-church of Germany), and John Calvin, founder of the Presbyterian church (which became the state-church of Scotland). The Reformed churches became Christian Revisionists working contemporaneously with their Catholic Revisionist predecessors.

During this period of reformation, there existed those who dissented from Catholic and Reformation theology. In early sixteenth century Germany, two currents flowed in opposite directions. One, fostered by the established church, was toward a state-church. The other, promoted by dissenters, was toward separation of church and state. When a Protestant church became an established church, it continued the persecution practiced by its harlot mother.

“Both the Lutheran and Presbyterian Churches brought out of their Catholic Mother many of her evils, among them her idea of a State Church. They both soon became Established Churches. Both were soon in the persecuting business, falling little if any, short of their Catholic Mother.” J. M.Carroll, The Trail of Blood, Distributed by Ashland Avenue Baptist Church, 163 N. Ashland Avenue, Lexington KY 40502, 606-266-4341, Copyright 1931 p. 33.

Martin Luther wrote:

  • “It is out of the question that there should be a common Christian government over the whole world. Nay, over even one land or company of people since the wicked always outnumber the good. A man who would venture to govern an entire country or the world with the Gospel would be like a shepherd who would place in one fold wolves, lions, eagles, and sheep together and let them freely mingle with one another and say, ‘Help yourselves, and be good and peaceful among yourselves. The fold is open, there is plenty of food, have no fear of dogs and clubs.’ The sheep forsooth would keep the peace and would allow themselves to be fed and governed in peace; but they would not live long nor would any beast keep from molesting another. For this reason, these two kingdoms must be sharply distinguished and both be permitted to remain. The one to produce piety, the other to bring about external peace and prevent evil deeds. Neither is sufficient to the world without the other.” Philip Hamburger, Separation of Church and State (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2002), p. 22, citing Works of Martin Luther, Volume 4 (Philadelphia: A. H. Holman Co., 1931), p. 265.)

“When Luther was expecting excommunication and assassination, he pleaded that:

  • “Princes are not to be obeyed when they command submission to superstitious error, but their aid is not to be invoked in support of the word of God.
  • “Heretics, he said, must be converted by the Scriptures, and not by fire. With passion, he asserted: “I say, then neither pope, nor bishop, nor any man whatever has the right of making one syllable binding on a Christian man, unless it be done with his own consent. Whatever is done otherwise is done in the spirit of tyranny…. I cry aloud on behalf of liberty and conscience, and I proclaim with confidence that no kind of law can with any justice be imposed on Christians, except so far as they themselves will; for we are free from all.” Leo Pfeffer, Church, State, and Freedom. (Boston: The Beacon Press, 1953), p. 21, citing Acton, “The Protestant Theory of Persecution,” in Essays on Freedom and Power, p. 92, and Wace, Henry, and Bucheim, C. A., Luther’s Primary Works, Lutheran Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1885, pp. 194-195, quoted in Noss, John B., Man’s Religions, New York, The Macmillan Co., 1949, p. 92.

Nonetheless, Luther later, when he had made an effective alliance with the secular power, advocated that the magistrate, who does not make the law of God, enforce the law of God. According to Luther:

  • “The law is of God and from God. The State is the law-enforcing agency, administering a law of God that exists unchangeably from all eternity….
  • “The need for a state arises from the fact that all men do not hear the word of God in a spirit of obedience. The magistrate does not make the law, which is of God, but enforces it. His realm is temporal, and the proper ordering of it is his responsibility. Included in the proper ordering the maintenance of churches where the word of God is truly preached and the truly Christian life is taught by precept and example. In his realm, subject to the law of God, the Prince is supreme, nor has man the right to rebel against him. But if the Prince contravenes the law of God, man may be passively disobedient, in obedience to a higher and the only finally valid law.” 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. 13-14.
  • “Heretics are not to be disputed with, but to be condemned unheard, and whilst they perish by fire, the faithful ought to pursue the evil to its source, and bathe their hands in the blood of the Catholic bishops, and of the Pope, who is the devil in disguise.” Pfeffer, p. 21, quoting Acton, pp. 102-103; see also Verduin, The Anatomy of a Hybrid, pp. 158-160, 163-168, 186-198; Leonard Verduin, The Reformers and Their Stepchildren (Grand Rapids, Wm. B. Erdsmans Pub. Co., 1964) and Thomas Armitage, The History of the Baptists, Volumes 1 and 2 (Springfield, Mo.: Baptist Bible College, 1977 Reprint).

Luther espoused that coercion by the state to achieve religious unity was justifiable. This was an expansion of Erastian philosophy—“the assumption of state superiority in ecclesiastical affairs and the use of religion to further state policy.” Erastianism … pervaded all Europe, with the exception of Calvin’s ecclesiocratic Geneva, after the Reformation. Pfeffer, pp. 23-24. Erastianism achieved its greatest triumph in England. See Ibid., pp. 24-25 for a concise history of Erastianism in England.

Luther’s position resulted in persecution of dissenters such as Anabaptists who believed in believer’s baptism. Opposition to a state-church follows logically from the thinking behind believer’s baptism.

“Believer’s baptism [was] the key to religious thought of the Anabaptists. Infant baptism implies that a child may be admitted into the Church without his understanding or personal consent. Such a church must be a formal organization, with sponsored membership possible for those whose years permit neither faith nor understanding. Adult baptism implies a different concept of the Church. The anabaptized are the elect of a visible church which is essentially a religious community of the elect. But obviously such a church could in no sense be a State Church. The Prince could neither bring it into being, regulate it, nor enforce membership in it; indeed, any connection between the State and such a church could only be injurious to the Church. Adult baptism on the surface is remote from the concept of a separated Church and State, yet such separation is implicit in the rationale of Anabaptism. The call to such a church can never come from the palace of the Prince; it must come from the Kingdom of Heaven….” [Emphasis mine.] Marnell, pp. 18-20.

The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus, page 24-27.

“Thus, before the close of the Sixteenth Century, there were five established Churches—churches backed up by civil governments—the Roman and Greek Catholics [the Greek Catholics separated from the Roman Catholics in the ninth century] counted as two, then the Church of England; then the Lutheran, or Church of Germany, then the Church of Scotland now known as the Presbyterian. All of them were bitter in their hatred and persecution of the people called Ana-Baptists, Waldenses and all other not established churches, churches which never in any way had been connected with the Catholics…. Many more thousands, including both women and children were constantly perishing every day in the yet unending persecutions. The great hope awakened and inspired by the reformation had proven to be a bloody delusion. Remnants now [found] an uncertain refuge in the friendly Alps and other hiding places over the world.” Carroll, p. 34 cited in The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus, page 29.

Many of the early colonists were Protestants who thought Luther, Calvin, or the Church of England was correct about union of church and state. Dissenters believed in and fought for separation of church and state. The First Amendment was primarily the result of a spiritual warfare between those holding opposing Scriptural interpretations, the established churches versus the dissenters, primarily the Baptists.

  • “Of the Baptists, at least, it may be truly said that they entered the conflict in the New World with a clear and consistent record on the subject of soul liberty. ‘Freedom of conscience’ had ever been one of their fundamental tenets. John Locke, in his ‘essay on Toleration,’ said, ‘The Baptists were the first and only propounders of absolute liberty, just and true liberty, equal and impartial liberty.’ And the great American historian, Bancroft, says: ‘Freedom of Conscience, unlimited freedom of mind, was from the first a trophy of the Baptists.’ Vol. II., pages 66, 67.
  • “The history of the other denominations shows that, in the Old World, at least, they were not in sympathy with the Baptist doctrine of soul liberty, but in favor of the union of Church and State, and using the civil power to compel conformity to the established church….
  • “… It was left to the sect once ‘everywhere spoken against’ to teach their Protestant brethren the lesson of soul liberty, and this they did in the school of adversity in the New World.” Charles F. James, Documentary History of the Struggle for Religious Liberty in Virginia (Harrisonburg, Virginia: Sprinkle Publications, 2007; first published in Lynchburg, Virginia: J. P. Bell Company, 1900), pp. 14-15 cited in The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus, page 92.


Endnote

Endnote [i] Summary of Federer’s article:

  1. Luther’s 95 “theses” in 1517 which began the Reformation.
  2. His summon to trial in 1521 before the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.
  3. Charles V’s dismissal of Luther’s theses as “an argument between monks.”
  4. The order to recant and Luther’s refusal to do so.
  5. Luther’s being kidnapped and hid by Frederick III.
  6. the Catholic and Orthodox church split in 1054; the Papal Schism in 1378-1417;
  7. the burning and burial of John Wycliffe for “attempting a translation of the Scriptures;”
  8. the general prologue of Wycliffe’s 1384 translation of the Bible; Jan Hus (1369-1415) shared Scriptures translated into the Czech language, his burning at the stake for being a heretic;
  9. Luther, unlike Wycliffe and Huss lived after the invention of the printing press;
  10. Johannes Gutenberg (100-1468) invented the western world’s first moveable-type printing press and the first significant book printed, the Bible;
  11. comments by Pope Pius II and Victor Hugo about Gutenberg and his invention; and Martin Luther’s account of how he came to an interpretation of the meaning of the expression “the justice of God” and its relationship with the statement “The just shall live by faith” and how he was “reborn,” etc.;
  12. the German Peasants’ War in 1524;
  13. the 1527 sacking of Rome and imprisonment of Pope Clement VII the same Pope who refused to annul the marriage of Henry VIII and Charles V’s aunt Catherine of Aragon leading Henry to break away from Rome and start the church of England. He failed to mention that Henry set himself up as head of the Church of England
  14. Charles V oversaw the Spanish colonization of the Americas and began the Counter-Reformation, and a few other facts;
  15. Spain used gold from the New World to push back the Muslim Ottoman invasion of Europe, a few facts related thereto, and a misquote and misapplication of Deuteronomy 28 (See below for more on this);
  16. some of Martin Luther’s references of Deuteronomy 28 as applied to the Turk being the “rod of wrath of the Lord our God,” the Turk’s god being the devil, how the fight against the Turks must begin with repentance and reformation of their lives, how (the church should) drive men to repentance and how, etc.
  17. Charles V’s attempt to unite the Holy Roman Empire against the Muslims and his agreeing to a truce recognizing the Protestants, the truce between the Protestant and Catholic territories in Nuremberg in 1532;
  18. that “the Lutheran movement was, for the first time, officially tolerated and could enjoy a place in the political sun of the Holy Roman Empire;
  19. a comment of John Calvin on the Islamic threat;
  20. a list of notable Protestant reformers;
  21. that some Protestant reformers refused to help against the Muslim invasion;
  22. a treaty by Charles V which ceased the religious struggle between Catholics and Protestants and which allowed each king to decide what was to be believed in his kingdom;
  23. the rest of the secluded life of Charles V;
  24. that Luther “penned an indefensible anti-semetic work that contributed to future Jewish persecutions;
  25. that in the two centuries following Luther, many migrated to other countries for conscience sake, many to America;
  26. that Luther influenced John Wesley and George Whitefield who preached the Great Awakening in Colonial America and a statement of Wesley on how a reading from the Epistle to the Romans led him to trust Christ alone for salvation (see The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus for the story of the Great Awakening preached by Whitefield and its influence on the road to separation of church and state in America);
  27. that Patricia Bonomi wrote that the colonists were about 98% Protestant, 2% Catholic, and 1/105 Jewish (of course this is a total misrepresentation since a significant percent were the Baptists—who led the fight for religious freedom and soul liberty in America. Baptists not and never have been “Protestant. See The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus);
  28. that the signers of the Declaration were predominantly Protestant (another representation meant to mislead—see The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus);
  29. a misleading statement by Edmund Burke in an address to Parliament (a statement that shows that Burke had no understanding of the facts about the spiritual warfare in the Northern Colonies. See The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus);
  30. a statement of Samuel Adams, “This day, I trust the reign of political Protestantism will commence.” Of course if Protestantism had prevailed, there would have been no separation of church and state, religious freedom, and First Amendment in America. See, The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus);
  31. statements of John Adams and Robert D. Woodberry of the National University of Singapore. Woodberry said that nations where “Protestant missions” became more prosperous, etc.;
  32. a statement of Luther concerning that schools should explain the holy Scriptures, that “every institution where men are not increasingly occupied with the Word of God must become corrupt;
  33. and finally, the article ends with: “Luther, who died in 1546, wrote: “If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that one point.”