Tag Archives: First Amendment

Introduction to History of the First Amendment


A Publication of Churches Under Christ Ministry



Jerald Finney
Copyright © February 22, 2018


Christians, except for a small minority who have ferreted out the truth, and secularists have accepted the brand of historical revisionism presented them by those they trust.[1] Revisionists revise in spite of the fact that he truth is available. This study presents accurate historical facts which are readily available through honest research. See [2] for link to some resources which verify this.   Both Christian revisionists (such as David Barton and Roger Federer) and secular revisionists (such as Leo Pfeffer,[3]) have distorted the true history of the First Amendment; “Christian” revisionism through manipulation of selected facts taken out of context and other dishonest devices and secular revisionism, although much more honest and accurate in reporting historical fact, through their inability to properly analyze because they leave God and the spiritual out of the equation.[4]

Revisionists, both “Christian” and secular, work on the lowest level, at the public level. They disseminate books, articles, videos, and public media interviews. They select facts out of context which support their agenda. Their adherents trust and believe them. Few followers have time to check out what they are being told. Even though legal and historical scholars have published the truth, their works remain obscure; the general public has neither the time nor inclination to examine the truth of what they are being fed. This study is based upon undeniable historic fact. Anyone can discover and verify these facts, if they have the time.

Secular revisionists such as Leo Pferrer have been very instrumental in the development of First Amendment law at the highest level—in the courts. Although Pfeffer’s work, unlike that of Christian revisionists, was for the most part factually accurate, he simply did not get it even though he did mention God. On the other hand, Christian revisionists, usually knowingly, present a factually false view of history. See [5] for link to a book which explains “Christian” revisionism. They have disseminated their history to the general public so successfully that the general Christian population who is interested in history as well as many politicians all the way up to Presidents of the United States have accepted and continued to disseminate the accepted “Christian” view of history. “Christian” revisionism has been published in briefs, memorandums of law, etc. in court cases all the way up to the Supreme Court. To present lies to such studied authorities is discrediting to Christianity in general. Although some “Christian” revisionists have now been exposed before the public in general, blind Christians continue to follow their teachings.[6] After all, most Christians believe that other “Christians” would not lie to them.

Religious freedom without persecution or “heretics” was historically rare, almost non-existent before the founding of the colony or Rhode Island. God’s people have always, regardless of persecution, come together as local churches, preached the Gospel, and helped their fellow man. Paul wrote in the midst of persecution:

  • “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;”[7]
  • “We, having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak.”[8]

In the preceding verse, Paul quoted a portion of Psalm 116.10 which says in its entirety, “”I believed, therefore have I spoken: I was greatly afflicted:” Tied up in the liberty given believers by Christ is speaking (“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”[9]), and associating or meeting together (“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is;”[10]). Furthermore, God gave mankind the Bible, which in certain times past, was banned and burned. The First Amendment was written and ratified with the intent of protecting God’s churches, the exercise of religion by the dissenters in the colonies, the preaching of the Gospel, the coming together to worship God, the dissemination of literature, mainly the dissemination of God’s Word, and the right to petition the civil government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment was the culmination of a long spiritual warfare between established churches and dissenters, mainly the Baptists. God’s power moved mightily during that period of conflict. Many believers suffered persecution. The roots of the struggle in America were embedded in New England, spread to the south, to Virginia, and then to the new nation.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

True historical facts prove that the religion clause of the First Amendment is a legal statement of the principle of religious freedom, or soul liberty, or separation of church and state which conforms to biblical principles. Bible-believing Christians, based upon their spiritual beliefs, fought the fight which resulted in the First Amendment. They made the spiritual Bible-based arguments and practiced their faith despite persecution. Their efforts and arguments gradually convinced others.

Many of the early colonists were Protestants who thought Luther and/or Calvin were correct in their belief that church and state should be united. Others, the Anglicans, brought the state-church concepts of union of church and state of England to the colonies. 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,’ says: ‘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….
  • “The Reformation which began with Martin Luther corrected many errors of faith and practice among those who came out of the corrupt and apostate church, but not all. 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.”[11]

At times, persecuting established churches became persecuted churches when they moved to other colonies controlled by another church/state establishment. When that happened, the persecutors generally became dissenters seeking religious tolerance or religious freedom.

Beating of Obadiah Holmes for “heresy” by the Puritans in Massachusetts.

The First Amendment to the Constitution resulted from “a factual relationship that was rapidly solidifying when the Constitution was amended by the Bill of Rights.” The First Amendment was the final product of a long struggle by men who believed strongly in the God of the Bible and who were willing to die rather than bow down to false religion. Their spirit was fused into the ordering of the affairs of the United States. “A wall of separation which would bar that spirit from making itself felt in secular concerns can never be built, because it would have to bisect the human heart.”[12] William H. Marnell correctly observed that:

  • “[t]he First Amendment was not the product of indifference toward religion. It was not the product of the deism which prevailed in the Enlightenment, however much the spirit of deism may have been present in certain of the Founding Fathers. Above, all, it was not the product of secularism, and to translate the spirit of twentieth-century secularism back to eighteenth-century America is an outrage to history. The First Amendment was rather a logical outcome of the Reformation and its ensuing developments. It was so far removed from secularism as to be the product of its exact opposite, the deep-seated concern of a people whose religious faith had taken many forms, all of them active, all of them sincerely held. It was so far removed from indifference toward religion [specifically Christianity] as to be the result of its antithesis, the American determination that the diversity of churches might survive the fact of political action.”[13]
Puritans hung 4 Quakers for returning to Massachusetts after being banished for their religious beliefs.

The dissidents in the colonies, chiefly the Baptists, were able to gain a foothold, and they played it for all it was worth. The Baptist theology of the founding era, initially under the leadership of Roger Williams and John Clarke, successfully challenged the doctrines of the established churches concerning the relationship of church and state. Among the results were the establishment of the first civil government in history of any lasting significance with religious liberty, the government of the colony of Rhode Island, and later the First Amendment to the United States Constitution which required religious freedom for churches and freedom of conscience for individuals. The First Amendment allowed churches to operate under God without persecution. The First Amendment did not apply to the states.

Primarily due to the efforts of our Baptist forefathers, a time came, as Baptist pastor and historian John Callender said in 1838, when

  • “[e]xperience has dearly convinced the world, that unanimity in judgment and affection cannot be secured by penal laws….
  • “Indulgence to tender consciences, might be a reproach to the Colony [of Rhode Island], an hundred years ago, [that is in 1738, one hundred years before Callender wrote this], but a better way of thinking prevails in the Protestant part of the Christian church at present. It is now a glory to the Colony, to have avowed such sentiments so long ago, while blindness in this article happened in other places, and to have led the way as an example to others, and to have first put the theory into practice.
  • “Liberty of conscience is more fully established and enjoyed now, in the other New-English Colonies; and our mother Kingdom grants a legal toleration to all peaceable and conscientious dissenters from the parliamentary establishment. Greater light breaking into the world and the church, and especially all parties by turns experiencing and complaining aloud of the hardships of constraint, they are come to allow as reasonable to all others, what they want and challenge for themselves. And there is no other bottom but this to rest upon, to leave others the liberty we should desire ourselves, the liberty wherewith Christ hath made them free. This is doing as we would be done by, the grand rule of justice and equity; this is leaving the government of the church to Jesus Christ, the King and head over all things, and suffering his subjects to obey and serve him.”[14]

By the time the First Amendment was added to the United States Constitution, only New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut had established churches. In 1833 Massachusetts became the last state to disestablish.

Baptists wanted religious freedom. Some probably could foresee the ideal of a church under God, a civil government under God, with neither church nor state over the other. But few knew how to have a civil government under God without establishing a church. Why? Fifteen hundred years of history had witnessed “Christian” establishments made up of church-state or state-church unions. Therefore, one should not be too hard on those early Protestants in America who continued those unions, since, according to Isaac Backus:

  • “[many things] prove that those fathers [the leaders of the Puritans in Massachusetts] were earnestly concerned to frame their constitution both in church and state by divine rule; and as all allow that nothing teaches like experience, surely they who are enabled well to improve the experience of past ages, must find it easier now to discover the mistakes of that day, than it was for them to do it then. Even in 1637, when a number of puritan ministers in England, and the famous Mr. Dod among them, wrote to the ministers here, that it was reported that they had embraced certain new opinions, such as ‘that a stinted form of prayer and set liturgy is unlawful; that the children of godly and approved Christians are not to be baptized, until their parents be set members of some particular congregation; that the parents themselves, though of approved piety, are not to be received to the Lord’s Supper until they be admitted set members,’ &c., Mr. Hooker expressed his fears of troublesome work about answering of them, though they may appear easy to the present generation.”[15]

This chapter will succinctly summarize the true history of religious liberty in America, initially pointing out some of the misleading teachings of secular and Christian revisionists. Ultimately, Christians can accomplish nothing with lies.[16]


Endnotes

[1] Influential Christian revisionists include non-scholars such as David Barton and Roger Federer. Secular revisionsts include scholars such as Leo Pfeffer. Pfeffer’s book Church, State and Freedom, was called a “masterpiece” and the ultimate sourcebook for the history of the evolution of the all-American principle of  separation of church and state. Pfeffer was an American Jewish lawyer, constitutional scholar, and humanist who was active in movement for religious freedom in the United States, and was one of leading legal proponents of the separation of church and state.

[2] List of Scholarly Resources which Explain and Comprehensively Document the True Histor of Religious Freedom in America.

[3] Leo Pfeffer, Church, State, and Freedom (Boston: The Beacon Press, 1953), pp. 81-93.

[4] Influential constitutional “scholars” such as Leo Pfeffer, since they have no concept of God or His sovereignty, have removed the most important aspect of debate from the equation—the spiritual aspect. Pfeffer, misrepresents spiritual matters because he does not understand them. He relegates the spiritual to the merely “ideological.” He attributes Madison’s positions on the issue of separation of church and state to his reliance on John Locke, and quotes Locke; then, even though Locke, in the quotes cited by Pfeffer, talks of government interference with the care and salvation of souls which belongs to God, Pfeffer never mentions God in his discussion but rather emphasizes Locke’s “social contract theory.” He overemphasizes the influence of rationalism and deism in gaining the First Amendment. He falsely proclaims that the “first four presidents of the United States were either Deists or Unitarians.” He asserts that the Great Awakening “emphasized an emotional, personal religion” which appealed directly to the individual, stressing the rights and duties of the individual conscience and its answerability exclusively to God.[4] He, like all secular scholars, simply did not get it even though he did mention God. He had no choice but to mention God, since a controversy over what God taught in the Bible was at the center of the controversy. He simply did not and could not examine that controversy. Lost men and saved men who were spiritually ignorant have led the way in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

[5] The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus/Christian Revisionists on Trial….

[6] See Exposing Catholic/Calvinist/Reformed Historic Revisionism.

[7] 2 Co. 4.8-9.

[8] 2 Co. 4.13.

[9] Mk. 16.15.

[10] He. 10.25a.

[11] Charles F. James, Documentary History of the Struggle for Religious Liberty in Virginia (Harrisonburg, VA.: Sprinkle Publications, 2007; First Published Lynchburg, VA.: J. P. Bell Company, 1900), pp. 14-15.

[12] 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.  xii-xiii.

[13] Ibid.

[14] John Callender, The Civil and Religious Affairs of the Colony of Rhode-Island (Providence: Knowles, Vose & Company, 1838), pp. 108-109.

[15] Isaac Backus, A History of New England With Particular Reference to the Denomination of Christians called Baptists, Volume 1 (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers, Previously published by Backus Historical Society, 1871), pp. 37-38.

[16] Read James R. Beller, The Coming Destruction of the Baptist People: The Baptist History of America (St. Louis, Missouri: Prairie Fire Press, 2005) and James R. Beller, America in Crimson Red: The Baptist History of America (Arnold, Missouri: Prairie Fire Press, 2004) for a thorough discussion of the theology behind the lies of the Christian nationalists, whom Beller calls catholic Reformed, and a discussion of Christian nationalists other than Peter Marshall and David Manuel.

The History and Meaning of “Establishment of Religion” in America

A Publication of Churches Under Christ Ministry


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Jerald Finney
December 18, 2017


This article will succinctly answer several questions:

  1. What did “establishment or religion” mean in the colonies?
  2. What did “establishment or religion” mean at the time of the adoption of the First Amendment?[i]
  3. What happened with the remaining forced religious establishments after the adoption of the First Amendment?
  4. What does “establishment or religion” mean today?

Contents

I. Introduction: Meaning of “Establishment of Religion”
II. The Path to Multiple Establishments in the American Colonies
III. State Establishments
IV. Conclusion


I. Introduction: Meaning of “Establishment of Religion”


First Amendment Religion Clause

To understand these issues, one must first define “establishment of religion” and understand the meaning of “law ‘respecting’ an ‘establishment of religion.” At the adoption of the First Amendment, “No law respecting” meant “no law concerning or touching the subject of.” That still leaves unresolved the meaning of “establishment of religion.” Prior to colonization and for some time thereafter, “establishment of religion” meant one officially recognized church which worked with, over, or under the state, the civil government. The original meaning of “establishment of religion” which existed prior to and at the founding of America, was replaced by a “multiple establishment” understanding long before the adoption of the First Amendment. “The evidence demonstrates that by an establishment of religion the framers meant any government policy that aided religion and its agencies, the religious establishments.”[ii]

“After the American Revolution, seven of the fourteen states that comprised the Union in 1791 required establishments of religion by law. The other states which originally had established churches, had already done away with forced establishment in favor of chosen establishment and they all provided for multiple establishment. No state maintained a single or preferential establishment of religion. An establishment of religion meant to those who framed and ratified the First Amendment what it meant to the states: support of religion on a nonpreferential basis. It was specifically this support on a nonpreferential basis that the establishment clause of the First Amendment sought to forbid.”[iii]

In 1833, Massachusetts became the last state to replace forced establishment of religion with establishment of religion by choice. The First Amendment forbade establishment of religion in federal jurisdiction.


II. The Path to Multiple Establishments in the American Colonies


Establishment by choice and the free exercise of religion (soul liberty) took different paths in America. Almost all the colonies started out with single establishments of religion. Due to a variety of factors, by the time of the adoption of the First Amendment, all state establishments, whether by force or choice, were general or multiple establishments.

In the conventional sense, before the colonization of America as well as in most of the original colonies when founded, an establishment of religion meant the legal union of government and a single church or denomination such as Catholicism (numerous European countries), Calvinism (Geneva), Presbyterianism (Scotland), Lutheranism (Germany), or the Church of England.

With the founding of the colonies, conventional establishments existed in the southern colonies of Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. In 1778, South Carolina created an establishment or religion endorsed by William Tennent. “He called it a ‘general establishment’ because it recognized and nurtured the legal equality of all Protestants without preferring one denomination over others.” These general establishments were replaced by multiple establishment.

New England, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut at first had single establishments, Congregationalism. Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire were founded and ruled by the Puritans, who came to American for freedom of religion “for themselves only.” The Puritans felt that they were the right people, at the right place, at the right time to establish a “city on a hill” to light the world, to show the world the rightness and resulting blessings of doing things God’s way (according to their Calvinist theology). Their experiment was well on its way to self-destruction by 1660. Gradually, the exclusive establishments in these New England colonies were replaced by multiple establishments.

Persecutions of “heretics,” those whose conscience prohibited them from bowing down to the colonial establishments were well documented. Those who supported establishment of their church were persecuted when in a colony with another established church. For example, Anglicans in New England were persecuted when they went to Massachusetts, and Presbyterians and others were persecuted to one extent or another in Virginia and other southern colonies. However, in opposing the persecuting establishment, they never favored complete separation of church and state and combined church and state when in the majority or in control.

A minority remnant of the Baptists were the only ones who consistently stood against union of church and state. That most Baptists by that time did not oppose total separation of church and state became clear when most of them sought certificates and compromised on the issue when the move toward multiple establishments had taken force.

Among those who stood their ground and led the fight against any establishment were Roger Williams, Dr. John Clarke, Isaac Backus, and John Leland. In New England, Roger Williams, Dr. John Clarke, and later, Isaac Backus wrote extensively against establishment and chronicled the persecutions which continued until the eve of the American Revolution and after, to a lesser extent.[iv] On the eve of the American Revolution, in 1774, eighteen Baptists were jailed in Warwick, Massachusetts for refusing to pay taxes in support of the town’s Congregational minister. To be exempted from paying the ministerial tax, a Baptist had to obtain a certificate that he regularly attended a church of his own denomination. For a copy of the certificate, he had to pay a tax of four pence. Isaac Backus, and some of his followers opposed the tax and the certificate and maintained that they were persecuted by the Congregational majority. John Adams, a Congregationalist (Puritan) leader stated that the establishment was “but a slender one” that did not infringe religious liberty.

In 1774, Baptists still paid ministerial taxes in Virginia and other colonies for building churches and were imprisoned for preaching in unlicensed Houses, preaching without Anglican ordination, and for other infractions.  Virginia Baptists were beaten by mobs, fined, and imprisoned for their religious beliefs which prevented them from obeying the laws of the established Anglican Church, preaching. The Virginia establishment originated with the colonies first charter in 1606.

Rhode Island not only never had an establishment of any kind, but also commanded complete religious freedom of soul liberty for all. Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey had no establishment of religion, but did not allow completed religious freedom for all. For example, Pennsylvania did not grant freedom of religion to Catholics.

In New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire, the pattern of establishment was diversified and unique. New York was the first example of an establishment very different from the European type, a general establishment without preference to one church over others.


III. State Establishments


The First Amendment, which until 1947 applied only to the federal government, forbade establishment of religion and guaranteed soul liberty at the national level only. After the First Amendment was adopted, states which still had laws requiring establishment gradually amended their constitutions to do away with the requirement that churches be “established.” All state constitutions allow churches to became established, but also provide that a church can make the choice not to become established. State constitutional provisions regarding church and state do not require establishment and also mandate soul liberty or the free exercise of religion.

A remnant of the Baptists continued to stand against any kind of establishment, including establishment by incorporation until all states had done away with forced establishment. John Leland was notable Baptist preacher, writer, and activist against union of church and state during a period starting in the 1780’s in Virginia and later in Massachusetts and Connecticut. The efforts and writings of earlier Baptist leaders, especially those of Isaac Backus, continued their influenced during this period. Most Baptists had already been severed from their roots and betrayed God and their historic Baptist forefathers who had stood against the establishment to the death.[v]

New Jersey (1776), Pennsylvania (1776), New York (1777), and Delaware (1776 and 1792) made clear in their Constitutions that there would be no coerced establishment of religion.

North Carolina, by its constitution of 1776, became the first southern state to enact preferential establishment. “In Maryland, Georgia, and South Carolina, ‘an establishment of religion’ meant very much what it did in the three New England states that maintained multiple establishments. However, those three southern states merely permitted but did not create establishment.”[vi]

In six other states, pro-establisment parties were forced to make concessions to the growing sentiment against any forced establishments. Four other states replaced single establishments by authorizing multiple establishments, and two substituted multiple establishments for dual ones. “The evidence relating to each of these six proves that an …an establishment of religion was not restricted in meaning to a state church or to a system of public support of one sect alone; instead, and establishment of religion meant public support of several or all churches, with preference to none.”[vii]

Three of these states—Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut—were in New England. The 1780 Massachusetts Constitution allowed for the possibility that a Baptist or some other minority minister might be elected by a town and receive the taxes of his congregation. This happened in several towns where the Baptists became the majority. In those towns, the Baptist ministers, by law, were supposed to receive their salaries from the town treasuries. As the Reverend John Leland pointed out, in towns where Baptists formed a majority, they might “tax all in the town or precincts to part with their money for religious uses,” thereby violating Baptist principles.[viii] A minority of Baptists stood on Bible principles and followed Isaac Backus in refusing to compromise their beliefs; but a majority followed men such as Hezekiah Smith and compromised on the important doctrine of separation of church and state. The conflicts continued until 1833, when Massachusetts became to last state to do away with required establishments.

New Hampshire’s establishment of religion after the Revolution did not significantly differ from that of Massachusetts. Article VI of its 1784 Declaration of Rights created a multiple establishment. The majority of New Hampshire’s Baptists, sometimes sought the incorporation of their churches, as in Massachusetts, to insure tax exemption of their congregants from a local Congregational church. But, says William G. McLoughlin, most of the petitions to incorporate “seemed to originate from the Baptists’ desire to enable their congregations to levy religious taxes on their own members which could be binding in law,” the Baptists as well as Congregationalists also accepted from the state ministerial lands regardless of the demands of some of them for a separation of church and state.[ix] The establishment of religion in New Hampshire fell victim to state politics, not to the drive to separate church and state because of the principle of voluntarism. “Voters, increasingly non-Congregationalist, rallied around the Democrats’ condemnation of the tax system as having promoted an establishment of religion that supposedly favored the prevailing denomination at the expense of the religious liberty of others.” The Democrats passed a Toleration Act in 1919 that ended the system of tax support for religion.[x]

In 1784, Connecticut passed its Toleration Act which allowed certain Protestant denominations to publicly worship “in a way agreeable to their consciences” and be exempted from taxes if they produced certificates. Due to continuing protests and changes in the law which did not satisfy many dissenters who continued to protest, a law was passed that allowed nonconformists to write their own certificates attesting membership in a different religious society which they supported, thus exempting them for the support of the town church. John Leland, in a tract describing the evils of an establishment of religion, did not doubt that Connecticut had one, even though one’s contribution to religion went to the church whose worship one attended.[xi] The battle in Connecticut continued. In 1802 the Baptists in petitioned the legislature to repeal the system of compulsory religious taxes; held a statewide convention remonstrating against Connecticut’s establishment because it favored the Congregationalists and because religion should be left to voluntary support, petitioned the government in 1804 because the required certificates did not apply to the Congregationalists as well as others. The consistent argument of the Baptists, except for a minority led by Isaac Backus, was that the existing church-state relationship preferred Congregationalism and that private donations should be the only source of support to religion, despite Baptist participation in the establishment’s largess. In 1816, Connecticut received a windfall repayment from the United States for its costs incurred in the War of 1812 and divided 6/7 of it among the denominations and the Baptists accepted their share. The Baptists, except for a remnant who stood for complete separation of church and state, compromised when it became “practical.” In 1818, Connecticut provided that no one could be compelled to support any religious society, yet allowed any religious society to tax itself and privately collect the assessment from each member. As with every state, Connecticut provided for voluntary incorporation by churches.

“Maryland’s constitution of 1776 ended the former supremacy of the Episcopalian church, which had an exclusive establishment during the colonial period; but allowed the legislature to legislate multiple or nonpreferential establishment of “Christian,” to include Roman Catholic churches. In 1810, Maryland amended its constitution to remove any taxation for support of any religion. Churches could still incorporate under state law, but no religious taxes were to be collected from anyone.

When the First Amendment was adopted, South Carolina’s constitution permitted multiple establishment and collection of taxes for religious support of the established churches. Under the constitution of 1778, all Protestant denominations were treated equally. “Any religious society of a Protestant denomination might therefore be incorporated and become ‘a church of the established religion of this State’ on condition of subscribing to articles of faith: a belief in God, a promise to worship him publicly, profession of Christianity as ‘the true religion’ and reliance on the Scriptures as divinely inspired.” No one was required to pay toward any church that he did not “freely join.” This was the first religious establishment ever that “did not exact religious assessments.” [xii] The 1790 South Carolina constitution did away with religious taxes altogether, but still allowed incorporation of churches.

The Baptists led the fight for religious liberty in Virginia. Many were abused and jailed for their refusal to bow down to the established church/state in Virginia. They influenced statesmen like Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and James Madison to fight for religious liberty in Virginia. The result was the 1776 Virginia Bill for Religious Liberty.

Although Virginia still had single establishment before 1776, no state or colony had a statute that included every religion. Three of the states with multiple establishments authorized by law established Protestantism and three established Christianity. The establishments of all six included all denominations and sects with a sufficient number of members to form a church. Protestantism was synonymous with religion because Jews and Roman Catholics were nonexistent or too few to make a difference; “and where Christianity was established, as in Maryland which had many Catholics, Jews were scarcely known.” “Clearly the provisions of these six states show that to understand the American meaning of “an establishment of religion” one cannot adopt a definition based on European experience.”[xiii]

Georgia’s constitution of 1777 permitted multiple establishment without exception, thereby replacing the exclusive establishment of the Anglican church. The establishment of religion meant government tax support of all churches, with preference for none. The 1789 constitution permitted multiple establishments. In 1798, Georgia finally guaranteed nonpreferential establishment of religion and that no person should be “obliged to pay tithes, taxes, or any other rate, for  … any place of worship, or for maintenance of any minister or ministry, contrary to what he believes to be right, or hath voluntarily engaged.”

Vermont became the fourteenth state in 1791 and had a multiple establishment. Due largely to the stand of Baptists in Vermont, that state repealed all laws concerning taxation for religion, thus doing away with forced union of church and state.


IV. Conclusion


Every church has a choice – either under God only or under man (civil government).

As establishment became available to all churches,  many or the majority of churches incorporated. Today the overwhelming majority of churches, to include Baptist churches, incorporate in order to obtain perceived temporal earthly benefits for the state governments After the addition of 26 United States Code §§ 501(c)(3) and 508, churches sought benefits from the federal government as well by obtaining “tax exempt” status.

All church state establishments which have ever existed came about as a result of a civil government law which combined church and state. In all cases, a church or churches combined with the state under man’s law for perceived benefits from the state. That is the case in America. Even today, one of the reasons for choosing such arrangements is financial. All reasons given by churches for joining with the state are based upon man’s temporal, fleshly, earthly and legal reasoning. All such reasons, by their very nature, circumvent God’s eternal, spiritual, heavenly, and Biblical principles for His churches. [xiv]


Endnotes

[i] See, for list of source authorities, List of Scholarly Resources Which Explain and Comprehensively Document the True History of Religious Freedom in America.

[ii] Leonard W. Levy, The Establishment Clause/Religion and the First Amendment (London: MacMillan Publishing Co., 1986), p. xiv.

[iii] Id., p. xvi.

[iv] See, e.g., Isaac Backus. A History of New England With Particular Reference to the Denomination of Christians Called Baptists, Volumes 1 and 2 (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock, Previously Published by Backus Historical Society, 1871)(originally published in the late 1700’s); Williams, Roger and Underhill, Edward Bean. The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution for Cause of Conscience Discussed and Mr. Cotton’s Letter Examined and Answered. London: Printed for the Society, by J. Haddon, Castle Street, Finsbury, 1848 (Reprint)(originally published in 1644); Clarke, John. Ill News from New-England or A Narative of New-Englands Persecution. Paris, Ark.: The Baptist Standard Bearer, Inc., Reprint: 1stprinted in 1652; List of Scholarly Resources Which Explain and Comprehensively Document the True History of Religious Freedom in America.

[v] See, for more information, A Brief History of the First Amendment. That brief article gives links to more resources for the interested student.

[vi] Levy, The Establishment Clause/Religion and the First Amendment, p. 47.

[vii] Levy, p. 26.

[viii] “The Yankee Spy” (1794), in L.F. Greene, ed., The Writings of John Leland (New York, reprint 1969), pp. 225, 227, cited in id., p. 40. John Leland (May 14, 1754 – January 14, 1841) was an American Baptist minister who preached in Virginia,, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, as well an outspoken abolitionist. He was an important figure in the struggle for religious liberty in the United States.

[ix] William G. McLoughlin, New England Dissent 1630-1833: The Baptists and the Sepration of Church and State (Cambridge, Mass., 1971, 2 vols.), II, pp. 874, 886, cited in Levy, The Establishment Clause/Religion and the First Amendment, p. 40.

[x] Levy, p. 40.

[xi] John Leland, “The Rights of Conscience Inalienable,” in Writings of John Leland, p. 186.

[xii] Levy, p. 50-51.

[xiii] Levy, p. 60-61.

[xiv] See, for a complete understanding of church incorporation and church 26 United States Code §§ 501(c)(3) and 508 status, Separation of Church and State: God’s Churches – Spiritual or Legal Entities?


 

What is the history of the First Amendment?

A Publication of Churches Under Christ Ministry


Click here to go to All Written Course Segments
Click here to go to General Questions Answered
Click here To Go to Links to All 5 Minute Youtube Course Segments


Jerald Finney
Copyright © December 18, 2017


The First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The history of the First Amendment is a history of persecution of those who stood against state “establishment of religion.” The established churches persecuted those true born again believers and others who stood against union of church and state and establishment of religion. In general, those believers who adhered to the apostolic doctrines and stood against union of church and state and its dogmas can be referred to as historic Baptists. Their unrelenting stand resulted in the adoption of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The religion clause of the First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” legislates the Bible principles of separation of church and state and “soul liberty.” This brief article presents the history of the First Amendment in a nutshell. See Endnote for links to more detailed histories.

zzChristians, since the beginning of the church age, have, generally speaking, always been persecuted to one degree or another. They were persecuted because they obeyed God rather than men (man’s law) when man’s law required them to disobey God’s law. Of course, Americans have yet to suffer more than some inconveniences which, to this point cannot be called persecution; but Christians are, this very day, being severely persecuted in many countries.

Jesus Christ was crucified since He came to lay down his life for the sins of the world. After the crucifixion of Christ, the Jews persecuted the Christians. All the apostles except John, who was persecuted but not killed, were martyrs as were many other Christians. Roman Emperors, off and on, persecuted Christians.

In the early fourth century some of the pastors or bishops went to Rome, at the invitation of Emperor Constantine, and agreed to unite church and state, to make “Christianity” the official religion of the Roman Empire. Not long after that, the official church/state establishment began to viciously persecute dissenters, those labeled to be “heretics” by the establishment. For over a thousand years thereafter, established churches persecuted dissenters.

Augustine early on developed the Catholic theology that was the basis for the brutal torture and murder of at least 50 million people labeled to be “heretics” by Catholic/state establishments. The Protestants—Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, the Church of England etc.—continued the persecutions as they accepted and implemented Augustine’s church state theology.

The persecution by established churches continued in the colonies, mainly under the Puritans in New England and the Anglicans in the South. The Catholic Church had no or insignificant influence in the American colonies and the early Republic since Catholics were few and far between. Had the Puritans and Anglicans had their way there would never have been a First Amendment; church/state establishment of one most powerful church would have been enforced by man’s law in America.

Due to the circumstances of colonization, the persecution in the colonies was severe at times, but not as severe as it had been in the Old World. Forces came together in the colonies which gradually eroded the power of the establishments. Generally speaking, the establishment of one church gave way to the establishment of multiple churches.

A theological warfare went on in the colonies between the dissenters, mainly the Baptists, and the established churches. The Baptists were the primary foes of establishment, of “union of church and state” which, as always, came about through man made law. Men such as Roger Williams, Dr. John Clarke, Isaac Backus, and John Leland fought and wrote extensively against establishment and Protestant theology. Many Baptists and others labeled “heretic” by established churches were persecuted.

As a result of Baptist efforts in the colonies, from the early 1630’s to the adoption of the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the First Amendment was adopted. The spiritual warfare in the colonies gradually eroded the concept of the establishment of only one church. By the time the Constitution and First Amendment were adopted, only seven states still had forced “multiple establishment” (more than one established church). The other states had already moved to choice—churches could choose whether to become established under the law of the state.

The continuing efforts of Baptists after that led to Massachusetts being the last state to do away with forced establishment. Since that time, all states, though their constitutions, provide every church a choice: remain under God only or become established, that is, submit to the law of man. In 1954, the federal government passed into law 26 United States Code §§ 501(c)(3) and 508. Since passage of that law, a churches chooses either to remain non-taxable under the First Amendment or to establish under 501(c)(3) and 508 federal tax exempt law.


 Endnote

Click the above for information on this book.

More thorough histories:

An Abridged History of the First Amendment. Online only.

The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus/A Case of Premeditated Murder: Christian Revisionists on Trial (The History of the First Amendment).

EXPOSING CATHOLIC/CALVINIST/REFORMED HISTORIC REVISIONISM

See LIST OF SCHOLARLY RESOURCES WHICH EXPLAIN AND COMPREHENSIVELY DOCUMENT THE TRUE HISTORY OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN AMERICA

Section IV of God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application. Section I, II, and III of God Betrayed and some other sections to a lesser degree, also offer insights as to the spiritual warfare in the colonies which resulted in the adoption of the First Amendment.


What is a First Amendment Church?


A Publication of Churches Under Christ Ministry


Click here to go to All Written Course Segments
Click here to go to General Questions Answered
Click here To Go to Links to All 5 Minute Youtube Course Segments


Jerald Finney
Copyright © December 1, 2017


The First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

A First Amendment church complies with the Bible principle of separation of church and state. Since the First Amendment is a law which recognizes and applies the Bible principle of separation of church and state, a church who remains under the First Amendment only also complies with Bible principles concerning the relationship of church and state. See Is Separation of Church and State Found in the Constitution? A church who remains under the First Amendment only is not a legal entity. That is, she remains under God only and has no ties to the legal system. She is a spiritual entity only. See Is a church a spiritual or a legal entity? 

Knowing the true history of the First Amendment helps one to understand this. See What is the history of the First Amendment? for a brief outline of that history. See Endnote for links to resources for more thorough studies.

Catholic/Calvinist/Reformed theology, which persecuted heretics, as outlined in the above history, still has not changed. The thing that has changed is that they no longer have an establishment over which they have control. Thus, they no longer have the power to kill those who do not bow down to the church/state union. They are working tirelessly to regain their power. Like all satanic efforts, they use deceit, lies, craft, and so forth, to work toward their goal of union of church and state. History proves that all church/state unions have always resulted in corruption of the church, the state, and the people, except for a remnant. They work from the highest academic levels down to the political level, the church level, and finally to the lowest level – the level of the individual (saved and lost religious person).

Since they follow Catholic/Calvinist/Reformed lies, most “Christians” believe that there never was any persecution in America. They are also led to believe, against solid facts which honest research readily discovers. Secular scholars and some Christian scholars know the true history (see List of Scholarly Resources Which Explain and Comprehensively Document the True History of Religious Freedom in America). The “Christian” landscape is dominated by revisionist history. I explain this in The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus/A Case of Premeditated Murder/Christian Revisionists on Trial/The History of the First Amendment.

In the Old World, “establishment” meant union of one church with state. The fight against establishment tyranny in the American colonies and early Republic resulted in another type of establishment – multiple establishments. That continues to this day, but it is now a choice whether to be established or not. Establishment is still possible, if one looks at the meaning of establishment to include any union of church and state made possible by the law of man, the law of a civil government.

Most churches in America choose to incorporate under state law to get “perceived benefits.” Most choose 501c3 or 508 federal tax exempt status. They decide to unite with the state and federal governments under laws made by man. Those man-made laws control many aspects of the existence and operation of a church. Modern American establishment does not give a church or churches power over the state.

Why do churches unite with the state and become legal entities (established churches)? For the love of money and earthly power. They think that more people will join their churches when civil government organizes them like a business. They also want to be able to hold property, insurance, and bank accounts in the name of the church. They want to be able to contract with pastors and pay them a salary instead of taking care of the pastor’s financial needs in a Bible way. They have been scared by “Christian” lawyers who make various false legal reasons. For more understandings on this, see Online version of Separation of Church and State: God’s Churches – Spiritual or Legal Entities? Chapters 9-13 or PDF of 2nd Edition of Separation of Church and State: God’s Churches – Spiritual or Legal Entities? Chapters 6-10.

Most so-called-Christians cannot think spiritually or Biblically. They think according to the principles of the god of this world. They think that they need the tax-exemption so they will bring in more money to the corporation for man-made buildings and business programs (day-care centers, schools, Bible Colleges, and so forth). They try to serve God and mammon. They do not know or apply Bible principles for churches which clearly teach, among other things, separation of church and state, that God desires His churches to be spiritual entitles only. They surely do not understand that “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Lk. 16.13). They give lip service to God, but dishonor and grieve Him by serving another master.

In conclusion, churches have a choice. Most choose mammon. For those churches who choose God, the First Amendment as well as corresponding state constitutional provisions guarantee that a church can choose to remain under God only, completely separate from state and federal civil government. When a church does so, she is a First Amendment church.


 

Endnote

Click the above to go to the article, “Is Separation of Church and State Found in the Constitution?

Honest research verify these teachings. See the resources which accompany this posting to verify this:

List of Scholarly Resources Which Explain and Comprehensively Document the True History of Religious Freedom in America

Is a church a spiritual or a legal entity?

Is Separation of Church and State Found in the Constitution?

The History of the First Amendment

An Abridged History of the First Amendment

The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus/A Case of Premeditated Murder/Christian Revisionists on Trial/The History of the First Amendment
This book examines not only the history of the First Amendment but also the Catholic/Calvinist/Reformed tactics and motives for killing “heretics” and lying about history and other matters as they attempt to reestablish their establishment theology.

God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application
This book examines all aspects of the issue of separation of church and state

OPBC Street Preachers Actions against University of Minnesota Peace Officer who acted unlawfully

April 18, 2015 encounter with unlawful police officer in Dinkeytown, Minnesota and subsequent actions by the offended parties

Jerald Finney
October 30, 2015

Note the 103114 Update below

DinkytownThe actions chronicled in this article were made necessary by the unlawful actions of a University of Minnesota police officer. See the bias, arrogance, abuse, and lack of legal knowledge of the peace officer at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lh4h8q_WbkY.

Freedom of speech as guaranteed by the United States Constitution, First Amendment, the Minnesota Constitution, and the city of Minneapolis Charter and Code of Ordinances is especially important in this situation. To understand why, go to Luciferianism, Enochian Magick, Aliester Crowley & Dinkytown Witches.

Preaching to Satanists in Dinkeytown on October 31, 2015. Click image to go to the Youtube video.
Preaching to Satanists in Dinkeytown on October 31, 2015. Click image to go to the Youtube video.

On April 18, 2015, OPBC men went to Minneapolis MN to preach in the public forum. Some were assaulted. A peace officer came and told them to leave in 5 minutes or be arrested, thereby violating their civil rights (First Amendment speech rights). The men of  OPBC understand the limits of the law concerning street preaching; they know that freedom of speech does not allow them to criminal trespass, obstruct highways, passageways, and doorways, to assault anyone, etc. But they also know that their speech cannot be suppressed by the police or anyone else based upon false pretext. The law on this is available on various resources linked to on this site. See, e.g., other information on this webpage, Tract, Street Preaching in America: Is it Legal?; For greater understanding of the free speech rights of Americans in the public forum click left click here and read the brief of Jerald Finney in the Steve Drake case; or the October 28, 2015 United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit case, Bible Believers vs. WAYNE COUNTY, MICHIGAN; BENNY N. NAPOLEON, in his official capacity as Sheriff, Wayne County Sheriff’s Office; DENNIS RICHARDSON, individually and in his official capacity as Deputy Chief, Wayne County Sheriff’s Office; MIKE JAAFAR, individually and in his official capacity as Deputy Chief, Wayne County Sheriff’s Office (this case answers all questions in favor of the street preachers of Old Paths Baptist Church, and repeats long-standing First Amendment law.)

Old Paths Baptist Church will make a sincere effort to handle this matter without the need for court intervention. The men of OPBC will be returning to street preach at Dinkeytown and want to make sure the officers know the law so that they can properly perform their duties according to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and the Constitution of Minnesota. OPBC does not want to cause unnecessary expense to individual police officers, the University of Minnesota Police Department, the mayor and city council of Minneapolis, and the taxpayers of the city of Minneapolis. If court action is necessary, attorneys licensed in Minnesota are ready to handle the case.

As of April 18, 2015 at 9:55 p.m., e-mails have been sent to Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges, Minneapolis City Attorney, and Chief of Police Junee Harteau. The e-mail to the city attorney (the other e-mails were modified for the particular office) stated as follows (in red):

041815
From Jerald Finney
jerald.finney@sbcglobal.net
512-785-8445

RE: Violation of Civil Rights of Street Preachers by Minneapolis Police

To City Attorney of Minneapolis, MN.:

I am writing this note as a member of and on behalf of men whose civil rights were blatantly violated by the Minneapolis Police on April 18, 2014. The men are members of the church I also belong to, Old Paths Baptist Church in Northfield, MN. I write this as a member of the church, not as a legal representative at this point, although I am an attorney who now practices in Texas. I plan to move to Northfield as soon as I can.

Should legal action be required, the men already have talked to an organization which will provide legal assistance in Minnesota. I write this in hopes that this matter can be resolved without civil suit and without getting an attorney involved. Suing in federal court for the gross violations of the Minneapolis police can only cost the taxpayers of Minneapolis a lot of money for a hopeless cause. The story of the men whose rights were violated is all on DVD. It will be online on my website and also on facebook very soon. The law is clear as to the rights of people to preach, teach, speak, etc. on the public forum. The police, as I understand it, threatened the preachers with arrest for disorderly conduct and hate speech, if they did not leave in 5 minutes. The police did no investigation; they just threatened the street preachers. The street preachers know all about the law involved.

I am sure that you, as city attorney, are very familiar with First Amendment speech rights in the public forum. So that you know that the street preachers are also familiar with that law, you may refer to a tract which they are familiar with and which I wrote: the tract, “Street Preaching in America: Is It Legal”  is online at https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/b-messages-from-pastor/street-preaching/tract-street-preaching-in-america-is-it-legal/. More legal information on free speech rights in the public forum is linked to on the website page listed in the next paragraph, a page they are familiar with.

These men have had to deal with matters like this before. You can read some of their trials and tribulations at https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/b-messages-from-pastor/street-preaching/december-25-2013-an-unfolding-street-preaching-battle-in-northfield-minnesota/. In every case on that cite, you will find that the city police and government involved relented when the civil rights violations were brought to the attention of the city attorney, mayor, city council, Chief of Police, and police departments. The police department was instructed as to the law of speech in the public forum and thereafter ceased to violate the rights of the public speakers since they obviously did not want to waste taxpayer money for issues which are firmly entrenched in American law.

Hopefully, we will be able to resolve this matter in accordance with the law, and the police department will be educated on and thereafter do their job in these type situations (to protect peaceful public speakers who are exercising their constitutionally guaranteed freedoms from those who are so offended by protected speech that they lie, assault, etc. those who say things that upset them in public and so forth).

The street preachers have informed me that at least one of them was assaulted by an offended listener, yet the police refused to follow up on their complaint concerning the assault. The complaint was only made after the police rudely violated the civil rights of the preachers.

I will be contacting the chief of police, the city council members, and the mayor in our sincere attempts to resolve this matter in the most reasonable, lawful, and Christian manner without having to resort to legal actions which will cost your taxpayers a lot of money.

Yours Most Sincerely,
Jerald Finney

I received a response from the city attorney to the above e-mail on 041915 requesting specifics of the location of the incident. I promptly replied and included a link to the Youtube address (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lh4h8q_WbkY) of the video of the encounter with the police.

We received back an e-mail from the Minneapolis PD. The e-mail (absent phone nos. and names) was as follows (in red):

Minneapolis [e-mail address removed]; To jerald.finney@sbcglobal.net; April 19, 2015 at 1:18 PM

Dear Jerald,

We appreciate your email.

You can file a complaint against the officer online and I have attached the link to this email [link removed]. You can also call Police conduct for them to review your video at 612-673-5500.

If there is anything else we can help you with please contact us.  Thank you for emailing the City of Minneapolis.

[Name removed]

Minneapolis 311
Office [Phone number removed]

Hours: 7 am – 7 pm (Monday – Friday) 8am – 4:30pm (Saturday – Sunday)
Email [e-mail address removed]
http://www.minneapolismn.gov

Please take a moment to rate your experience with Minneapolis 311. Click on the link below to provide us with your feedback.

311 Customer Feedback Form

Pastor Jason filed a complaint on 4/20/15 and will be called Police conduct to have them review the video(s).

If need be, the e-mail addresses for the city council members and city attorney will  be obtained , letters will be e-mailed to them, etc. Hopefully, the actions already initiated will, when completed, resolve this problem.

Pastor Jason Cooley received a letter dated April 30, 2015 from the Minneapolis Office of Police Conduct Review. The following is a picture of that letter:

On October 30, 2015, I e-mailed the appropriate officials. See that letter by clicking here.

Again, as always, these actions are being taken in an effort to settle this matter without having to go to Federal Court. Such action can cost the citizens of Minneapolis (or the University of Minnesota), as well as the department and individual officer(s) involved, a considerable amount of money in attorneys’ fees alone; and all for a hopeless cause the law of which is well established in American law. Of course, should the Chief, the Mayor, the City Council members, and the city attorney fail to respond properly, they, as well as the city, may also become subject to suit.

See the bias, arrogance, abuse, and lack of legal knowledge of the peace officer at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lh4h8q_WbkY.

See the street preachers at the Magus Bookstore Dinkeytown at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dERYyn8rzwk&feature=youtu.be

Other DVD’s taken at the scene are not published online.

October 31, 2015 Update

Men of the Old Paths Baptist Church street preaching ministry preached in both Dinkeytown and outside the University of Minnesota football stadium at and after the game between Minnesota and Michigan on October 31, 2015. On November 1, 2015, I inquired on Facebook as to how it went and received a reply from Pastor Jason:

110115_ReportOnDinketownStreetPreachingOn103115

Preaching to Satanists in Dinkeytown on October 31, 2015. Click image to go to the Youtube video.
Preaching to Satanists in Dinkeytown on October 31, 2015. Click image to go to the Youtube video.

Click here to read the 10/31/15 CMRRR letter to Minneapolis officials thanking them for doing their job as regards speakers and speech in the public forum.

Again, more specifics will be added as this situation develops.

Moslem question concerning free speech in America with answers from lawyers

Jerald Finney
Copyright © 2015

MohammedCartoonLegal question asked on AVVO on May 12, 2015 from one wanting to know why drawing a cartoon of Mohammed was not the same legally as yelling “Fire” in a crowded theatre with my reply and the reply of some other lawyers with whom I agree.

Asked on AVVO on May 12, 2014 – Dallas, TX

Practice area: Constitutional

See an article on the incident referred to in the above question at: Garland, Texas, Shooting Suspect Linked Himself To ISIS In Tweets (Note. I commend the police for bravely doing their job according to the law. Two of the Muslims, according to the article, “wore body armor. They carried assault rifles. And one had declared loyalty to ISIS.”)

The following was the question:

“Why isn’t the contest to draw Mohammad in Garland Tx recently the same as yelling ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater and not protected a known hate group held a contest to draw a ‘cartoon’ of the Muslim prophet, Mohammad. In doing so, the group knew full well it would likely result in violence against those attending. In fact, only the Muslim protesting the drawing were killed as they approached the facility armed with weapons.”

The question with all answers can be seen at: Avvo/Moslem Question on Free Speech

My reply on May 12, 2014 (I did not address some of the issues raised in the question since I agreed with some other lawyer responses, some of which are below. Rather, I tried to offer some insights into the differences between certain Islamic beliefs and certain principles of freedom found in the United States Constitution.):

9The religion of Islam has entirely different principles about some matters than does the religion which was responsible for giving the United States freedom of religion, speech, assembly, press, and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. These freedoms are denied in many Muslim countries where Christians and others are persecuted and/or killed. Prior to the adoption of the Constitution and the First Amendment, all these freedoms were denied in most of the American colonies (as they had been in the Old World where Catholicism or some form of Protestantism combined with the state).

These freedoms are secured by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution which says:

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

The history of that amendment makes clear that those who were persecuted (tortured, beheaded, drowned, burnt at the stake, buried alive, imprisoned, property confiscated, banished, tortured, etc.) for their refusal to bow down to the state religion were responsible for the adoption of the First Amendment. You can read that history at: https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/contents/online-version-of-the-book-god-betrayed/the-history-of-the-first-amendment/

An abbreviated version is at: https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/contents/books/an-abridged-history-of-the-first-amendment/

[For an understanding of “Christian” and Secular historical revisionism in America see The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus by clicking here.]

Anytime religion and state unite, as proven by history, the result is the labeling of those who do not support and embrace the state/religion and “heretics” and their persecution and elimination. At least 50 million of such so-called “heretics” were murdered by the combination of church and state during the reign of Catholicism, and then by Protestant church state unions which adopted the church/state theology of the “mother” church (harlot). Those “heretics” believed in freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, and the other freedoms in the First Amendment. Their beliefs were based upon a literal interpretation of the Bible, not on the “spiritual” interpretations of the Catholic church which basically held that the Bible was open to interpretation by certain “spiritual” people (such as Origin, Augustine, and Thomas Aquinas). Those interpreters paganized and spiritualized, according to their preferences, the great truths of the Bible.

As to the speech issue you mention, the teachings of Islam are fundamentally different from those of those Christian “heretics” who stood against the union of church and state and for freedom of speech, press, religion, and assembly and which resulted in the freedoms in the First Amendment. Many of the Moslems who live in America have brought with them their Muslim beliefs and wish those beliefs to be applied in America. In order for that to happen, American law would have to be fundamentally rewritten.

A cross in a jar of urine is protected speech in America. Other odious depictions of Christ in movies, paintings, signs, etc. are common in America. As a believer, I detest those things, but I also believe in everyone’s right to the freedoms in the First Amendment. I don’t believe in killing anyone for their religious beliefs (as long as those beliefs do not result in murder, stealing, or some other crimes against one’s fellow man). The law protects, and rightfully so, those who express and practice their religious beliefs – even those who criticize other religions, religious leaders, etc.

This answer is not intended as and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Professional legal advice requires…

A good article on Muslim immigration and its effects is: Concerns Of Muslim Immigration Surge Into Western World Come Into Focus (050715)

Reply of Cameron Huey Workers’ Compensation Lawyer – Sacramento, CA:

Answered May 14, 2014. Contrary to popular belief, yelling “fire” in a theater is not the most recent case law on clear and present danger. Schenck v. United States has been superceded by Brandenburg v. Ohio. Hate speech has also been approved as protected by the First Amendment (Virginia v. Black upheld a cross-burning). Hate speech is now akin to viewpoint discrimination. If the “hate group” was prohibited from having a drawing contest of Muhammed, then THEY would sue for violation of free speech rights.

The Constitution doesn’t protect against people being upset. The Constitution protects the speaker’s rights. Yelling “fire” causes panic to a reasonable person. A reasonable person would not have some impulse to hurt or kill other people because their religion/beliefs/opinions are threatened. The fact that they approached the facility armed with weapons WITH THE INTENT of committing a crime against someone who was expressing free speech shows they were in the wrong.

If you want this liberal/progressive defense of free speech that Pamela Gellar and company were engaging in, I suggest you watch some of the debates between supporters of Islam and with progressive TV host Bill Maher.

This answer is not intended as and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Professional legal advice requires…

Reply of Richard Gould-Saltman Family Law Attorney – Los Angeles, CA

Answered 28 minutes ago. Because it’s not illegal to “yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theater”; it’s “illegal to FALSELY yell ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater”, which results in innocent people doing perfectly legal and reasonable things, and getting injured as a result.

Mounting an armed attack against someone who makes fun of your religion is, in the United States, neither legal nor reasonable, and isn’t innocent; it’s a crime.

This answer is not intended as and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Professional legal advice requires…

Reply of Isabel Humphrey Appeals Lawyer – Phoenix, AZ

Answered a day ago. I think the big difference is that yelling “fire!” in a crowded theater will lead reasonable people to panic and potentially be injured, whereas drawing Mohammed will lead only criminals to react in a way that will cause injury.

This answer is not intended as and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Professional legal advice requires…

Lawyers answer question about speech in the public forum in America

Jerald Finney
September 19, 2015

Click here to go directly to the AVVO page with the question below and all answers that were submitted.

Speech in the public forum is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Speech in the public forum is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

This brief article first presents a question by a person who was planning to demonstrate in the public forum in America. The question was asked on AVVO, a website where people can ask legal questions and get online answers from attorneys. Following the question is my answer which the asker names as the best answer. At the end is the link to the AVVO page where one can see the question and answers from various attorneys, including my answer.

The question was:

“I am planning a legal protest. I will be in Grove City, Ohio. I will be in a public area (sidewalk). I would like utilize my rights to the fullest extent of the law and I do not want to go to jail. Other than my 1st amendment right secured by the United States Constitution, what other laws protect me? Can you please cite case law or ORC sections? Do I need to procure a permit? I have a written statement prepared for any police officers I may encounter. It invokes my right to remain silent and refusal to answer verbal questions. Thank you ladies and gentlemen!”

My answer was:

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

“The First Amendment protects speech in the public forum. The First Amendment is the highest man-made law in America and only God’s law is higher. All lower laws (State, county, and city) are subject to the First Amendment. As you will see on some of the resources linked to below, even state constitutions, county and city ordinances usually reflect First Amendment rights.

“Speech includes the spoken word and signs you carry. Depending upon the noise ordinance of the city, you may not be allowed to use amplification (such as a megaphone).

“You cannot violate legitimate laws such as laws obstructing a highway, sidewalk or passageway, commit criminal trespass, etc., but the police may not use those laws to stop your legitimate speech. Some of the links below are to resources which tell you exactly what the Supreme Court has said about these matters.

“Police will sometimes falsely arrest people. It is a good idea to have someone videotape all your activity from beginning to end, so you will have proof of the facts. Police are trained to “constructively bend the truth” (lie). so as to cover their own illegal activities. For more on this, see the following resources:

“https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/contents/books/street-preaching-in-america-is-it-legal-tract/ (go there and click link). This goes over the hierarchy of law on this matter, including relevant Supreme Court caselaw.

“https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/miscellaneous/jerald-finney-legal-issues/ (The links to my brief in the Steve Drake case will be very helpful.)

“https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/b-messages-from-pastor/street-preaching/december-25-2013-an-unfolding-street-preaching-battle-in-northfield-minnesota/ (real life run ins with the law by those speaking in the public forum.)

“https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/b-messages-from-pastor/street-preaching/ (More helpful information.)

“I send you the above links because I don’t have room in this limited space to appraise you of your rights, how to deal with the police, etc. The resources will be very helpful to you. I have settled many problems where police try to interfere with or prevent speech in the public forum.

“It is best to alert the appropriate law enforcement agencies, the city attorney, and maybe even the mayor and city council members before the date of your speech. E-mail them and/or send certified letters RRR. Call them beforehand. Let them know that you will be speaking in the forum and that your speech is protected. Let them know that should the police interfere with your speech, falsely arrest you, etc. that the individual police person(s) who violate your rights, the police department, the chief of police, the mayor, the city council members and the city can be sued for damages.

“Some cities and their police and other peace officers know that speech in the public forum is protected in America. Others don’t and they have to be educated.”

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