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First Amendment intended Freedom for the Christian Religion

This article will examine the purpose and history of the First Amendment and offer proof that one of its primary intents was to protect freedoms for the exercise of the Christian Religion.  In order to understand the intent of the framers – the representatives of the people – in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution, we will explore history and laws.  It is not reasonable or logical to search for the truth in a vacuum; nor to suppose if we read a few hundred pages we can understand the scope of this topic.

“In a vacuum” implies isolation, with little or no interaction with others.  The point is in order to find the truth, we must put aside our preconceptions and sincerely gather, then examine the facts.  The First Amendment was not designed by a few isolated men; it was directly written with past religious events, statutes, and political environments in mind.  It was passed with the understanding and in connection to previous colonial and state constitutions, laws and lessons, by educated and experienced persons.

This exhaustive article will be divided into two parts and five sections: Part One: Amendment cited; Establishment Clause; Free Exercise of Religion and Christianity; Related or Influencing Documents Timeline of Historical Events and Laws (Part Two due to length).  I would have preferred that we had first taken the appropriate tens of hours to learn or refresh our knowledge of significant parts of history that have affected or influenced the First Amendment, including examining the legislators, their influencers, and articles of all the state constitutions as they related to the Amendment, and then looked at related documents in the same fashion, all leading to a conclusion.  However, due to wisdom, a Summary of the Findings will be presented first, followed by the sections and enormous evidence.



Originally the Bill of Rights applied only against the federal government, meaning that the States had the right to make an established religion, as long as they did not require an individual to take part in it.  The State could support religious schools but could not require parents send their children there.  However, after the Fourteen Amendment, which came about 80 years after the First Amendment, the States were required to ensure more freedoms to the individuals, in a manner similar to the federal government.

And as decades and generations went by, about 200 years after the Declaration of Independence and the Christian support and practice of the States, the Supreme Court began incorporating nearly all of the Bill of Rights through the Fourteenth Amendment.  And though the First Amendment is not repealed or changed by meaning or law, the Supreme Court does as it will in changing its meaning and law incorrectly through the raising of as false “Wall” and a misapplied 14th Amendment.

Additionally, there are several things here that get improper weight.  For insist, the “Establishment of religion” clause often overshadowing the “Free Exercise thereof” clause, the intent of certain founders and writers over that of the State Legislatures and the people, the last 50 years of Supreme Court decisions vs the first 200 years, and the rights of atheists and non-Christians over the rights of Christians.

Because the nature of change in the society, the people allowed their representatives in their states to allow Congress to amend the Constitution – such as in the appropriate cases of slavery or women rights in voting.  However, they did not allow or move Congress, nor the Supreme Court to change amendments by interpretation without amending.   And there was not a problem for 200 years, and even a for about 100 years after the 14th amendment with the application of the First Amendment.

Slowly, society corrected punishments against sodomy and interracial marriage; but as with many non-Christian leaders and judges, they used those campaigns to push forth ungodly ones – such as same-sex marriage.   In the same manner amendments were misapplied and interpreted; the Bible was also misused in its stance against homosexually.  More so, biased and false research of Alfred Kinsey was used to change bad criminal laws and penalties.  Instead of creating legislation just saying it is not the will of the people to prosecute homosexuals for sodomy, or anyone for fornication, or mothers for abortions, or individuals for smoking marijuana; and that these issues should be debated, handled and influenced logically, spiritually, parentally, pastorally, through discussions, sermons, education, debates and consciousness, but not by the government without the consent of the people.  The government always moved by radical organizations and movements first began to overturn bad laws, and then, typically, enacted worst ones.

The same was the case with the First Amendment being overshadowed and misused under the 14th amendment.  The Supreme Court has made their use of the 14th Amendment unconstitutional in that they misuse the Establishment Clause and overstep the Free Exercise of Religion Law since about 1948.  They at first agreed this is a Christian Nation, then did not care.  They forgot the wisdom of previous Presidents and Justices.  But they are not alone in this epic crushing of religion in America – the people, legislatures and Christian denominations all took part with negligence and or willful lawsuits against each other and State laws.  These all set up the once very small minority of agonistics, non-Christians and jealous Christians to file suits against neutral prayer, bible reading and even the posting of the commandments.  Now, instead of few individuals (<1%) of society homeschooling or finding appropriate schools, they move entire public-school districts and states against the once >90% Christian children.  A move only possible with the help of doctrines of demons and evil spirits playing and moving men (1 Timothy 4:1).

A Few thoughts by Ben, Presidents and Justices

1785: Future president James Madison (future chief drafter of the Bill of Rights and Constitution) to the “General Assembly of …Virginia:” “We… citizens… hold… that religion or the duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction… It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage and such only as he believes to be acceptable to Him… Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe… the preservation of a free Government requires not merely, that (it) …separate each department of power (of government)… but more especially that neither of them be suffered to overleap the great Barrier which defends the rights of the people… The People who submit to it are… slaves… The free men of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise… They saw all the consequences in the principle…. Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other Sects? …the Bill violates the equality which ought to be the basis of every law… Above all are they to be considered as retaining an ‘equal title to the free exercise of Religion according to the dictates of Conscience.’  …If this freedom be abused, it is an offense against God, not against man… the establishment proposed by the Bill is not requisite for the support of the Christian Religion… During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial… A just Government… will be best supported by protecting every Citizen in the enjoyment of his Religion with the same equal hand which protects his person and his property… the bill is adverse to the diffusion of the light of Christianity.  The first wish of those who enjoy this precious gift ought to be that it may be imparted to the whole race of mankind… (but by) the Will of the Legislature… they may sweep away all our fundamental rights… (which are) sacred…”

1787: Benjamin Franklin, moving for Prayers before the Constitutional Convention said, “I see of this Truth – that God governs …the Affairs of Men…  without His concurring Act, we shall succeed in this political Building no better than the Builders of Babel.”

1788: objections to Constitution: it did not safely enough secure “Religious Liberty”

George Washington’s Farewell Address (1796): “…the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all… There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in governments of a monarchical cast, patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And there being constant danger of excess… It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another.  The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism…’

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.’

“Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it – It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and at no distant period, a great nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence… Can it be that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a nation with its virtue…?”

1798: President John Adams: “…Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any  other… (The Works of John Adams, 1854).”

1829: Supreme Court Justice John McLean, twice the Republican presidential nominee, president of the American Sunday School Union, wrote, “Our mission of freedom is not carried out by brute force, by canon (church) law, or any other law except moral law and those Christian principles which are found in the Scriptures.” (Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the U.S.; B. Morris, 1864).

1954: Chief Justice Earl Warren: “…I believe no one can read the history of our country without realizing that the Good Book and the spirit of the Saviour have from the beginning been our guiding geniuses… Whether we look to the first Charter of Virginia… or the Charter of New England… or to the Charter of Massachusetts Bay… or to the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut… the same objective is present: a Christian land governed by Christian principles… I believe the entire Bill of Rights came into being because of the knowledge our forefathers had of the Bible and their belief in it: freedom of belief, of expression, of assembly, of petition, the dignity of the individual, the sanctity of the home, equal justice under law, and the reservation of powers to the people… I like to believe we are living today in the spirit of the Christian religion…” (Time, February 15, 1954; ‘Religion: Breakfast in Washington’)

Our People and our Congress have the right and duty to correct this direction of pushing away the correct position of Christianity in America.  Perhaps Education can be better corrected with vouchers for both tax and non-taxpaying residents of the United States.  Let the people EITHER choose how to best use their tax dollars for the EDUCATION of their own children – in the private or public school of their choice, and let those institutions and buildings unsupported due to their religion, lack of religion, educational accomplishments or lack thereof, fall to ground in bankruptcy it need be; OR allow creationism, the Christian history of America and other such former fundamental lessons be taught beside their counterparts of evolution and secularism.  WE are a Government of the people and we the people have the right and duty to petition are representatives for the appropriate changes.

Comments and Other Nations

We have no less right than Saudi Arabia or Iran to discriminate or at least allow the free exercise thereof the Christian Religion.   The 1992 Constitution of Saudi Arabia (amended to 2005): “Article 1. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a sovereign Arab Islamic State.  Religion: Islam.  Constitution: The Holy Qur’an and the Prophet’s Sunnah (traditions). Language: Arabic. …Article 5. The system of government… monarchical… in accordance with the Book of God and the Prophet’s Sunnah…  Article 23. The State shall protect the Islamic Creed and shall cater to the application of Shari’ah…  Shura Council Law: Article 1. …Those who respond to their Lord, and establish regular prayer…”

Islamic Republic of Iran’s Constitution of 1979 (amended to 1989): “In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful… The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran sets forth the cultural, social, political, and economic institutions of Iranian society on the basis of Islamic principles and norms, which represent the earnest aspiration of the Islamic Ummah… Muslim nation… by the blood of more than 60,000 martyrs… Iranian Revolution… the Constitution will strive with other Islamic and popular movements to prepare the way for the formation of a single world community in accordance with the Qur’anic verse ‘This your community is a single community, and I am your Lord, so worship Me (21:92),’ and to assure the continuation of the struggle for the liberation of all deprived and oppressed people in the world… the aim of government is to foster the growth of man in such a way that he progresses towards the establishment of a Divine order in accordance with he Qur’anic phrase ‘And toward God is the journeying (3:28)…’ the Constitution provides for the establishment of leadership by a faqih… ‘in the hands of those who are learned concerning God and are trustworthy…’ Such leadership will prevent any deviation by the various organs of State from their essential Islamic duties… In the formation and equipping of the country’s defence forces, due attention must be paid to faith and ideology as the basis criteria… the Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran… are to be organized in conformity with this goal… the judicial system (is) based on Islamic Justice and operated by just judges with meticulous knowledge of the Islamic laws…”

Just as it is impossible to separate or put any wall between the Islamic religion and Iran, Saudi Arabia or any of the Islamic nations once part of the World Islamic Congress (1931) or the current 57 member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC, 1969) whose ‘Charter’ states, “…to be guided by the noble Islamic values of unity and fraternity… (with) commitment to the principles of the United Nations Charter… respect for diversity, preservation of Islamic symbols and common heritage and to defend the universality of Islamic religion; to advance the …popularization of knowledge in consonance with the lofty ideals of Islam to achieve intellectual excellence…”

Of course, they work with the United Nations, as long as the UN does not offend their ideas and practices.  And of course, as in America and all over the world, for the most part the ‘god’ of their corporate and political leaders is MONEY.  Nevertheless, according to the revolutionary will of the people – they embedded in their politics the Islamic creeds, not much differently than did England and France and Germany 300 or 400 years ago.  The error of the former Christian nations of Europe and the Americas is not in the will to escape Catholic or Protestant dominance – but to throw off Christianity from its laws.

As boldly and proudly as the Islamic Nations declare their allegiance to Allah and Islam, Greece does to its religion.  The Constitution of Greece (2001) states, “Article I. The form of government of Greece is that of a parliamentary republic.  Popular sovereignty is the foundation of government.  All powers derive from the People… Article 2. Respect and protection of the value of the human being constitute the primary obligations of the State…  Article 3. The prevailing religion in Greece is that of the Eastern Orthodox Church of Christ.  The Orthodox Church of Greece, acknowledging our Lord Jesus Christ as its head, is inseparably united in doctrine with Great Church of Christ in Constantinople and with every other Church of Christ of the same doctrine, observing unwaveringly, as they do, the holy apostolic and synodal canons and sacred traditions… The text of the Holy Scripture shall be maintained unaltered… Article 4. All Greeks are equal before the law… Article 5. All persons… shall enjoy full protection of their life, honour and liberty… and of religious or political beliefs… Every person’s home is a sanctuary… No home search shall be made, except …as specified by law…”

The burden is on the citizens of these nations that do not agree with their religion to teach the children or find teachers for their children according to their will as parents; but in no way do these nations deny their religious foundations and Scriptures and separate them from their society for the sake of the very few – at least not for some decades to come – before they too are non-religious – if the Lord tarries.

In wisdom, we should simply follow that which our founders gave us… the pure Bill of Rights… even with an equal powered 14th amendment… all of which grants NEITHER an established Religion in the United States or any State thereof; BUT which protects the “Free Exercise of RELIGION” in public and private places – no less than was the nature of our Country for over 300 years since English and Spanish Christians entered our lands.

Our Laws still legally Discriminate

Nevertheless, DO NOT suppose we are not a discriminating people by laws.   We may be ‘created equal’ but we are not treated equally under the U.S. laws.  We rightfully discriminate against murders, thieves and rapists; we also discriminate against individuals in taxation, but also with favor in government contracts and loopholes and reduced taxes even in time of war – such as to make multimillionaires and billionaires who care not even to protect the One most discriminated against in America – GOD ALMIGHTY; or more precise: “The One who sits on the Throne and the Lamb…”.

We the people, legally – for better and worse – through the laws of our legislatures discriminate: through credit and credit scores that favor the rich, lobbyists that work for the rich, decreased taxes on the rich since J.F.K and Ronald Reagan, political and economic powers in the hands of the rich, multi-global corporations headquartered in America that get tax favors and those owners get government contracts and favors and levered through government central banks, punishments for white collar executives stealing $2 million is less than armed robbery for $200, penalties vary by the States on many crimes, medical vs. non-medical marijuana, selling of tobacco and alcohol, age of voting, age of drinking, age of driving, age of military combat, high-incomed medical professionals through Medicaid and Medicare which doubles inflation on average at a cost to taxpayers, > 85% of the Stock Market is owned by the top 1.5%, multi-million dollar tax rebates to the rich through corporations, ‘carried interest’ loopholes, hedge funds and derivatives, non-monetary commodity trading, 1031 & 1035 exchanges…

Some states have vehicle inspection stickers and other do not, speed limits defer, marriage age limits defer by states, and the government discriminates for the rich with ‘valuation discounts,’ ‘step-up basis’ on stock inheritances, overseas earnings and tax breaks for the super-rich, stock buyback plans, lobbying, lobbying, lobbying – Congress, corporations making billions in profits – paying < 2% in adjusted taxes, trillions of dollars through central banks that enable multi-billion-dollar mega-mergers and acquisitions for the super-rich, interpretation of laws – slaves legal and not equal for 200 years in America, how we back debt – Gold, God or Federal (private central banks) Reserve, and a Federal Reserve that is $23 trillion in debt and Congress simply Legally increases the Debt ceiling every year.  And so on and so on and OF COURSE we discriminate – just not for Christianity anymore.   There is absolutely no possible way we would have 99% of the billionaires we have in America without being $23 trillion in debt and lowering taxes that once reached 95% on annual incomes above $10 million.



SECTION I: The Bill of Rights (articles 3 – 12): transmitted the States 9/25/1789
 and ratified 12/15/1791

“Article the third”- First Amendment (1789; ratified 1791)

“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.”

“Article the twelfth” – Tenth Amendment (1789; ratified 1791)

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.  “

The 13th amendment, against “slavery (and) involuntary servitude,” was not passed until 1866; and the 14th amendment was not adopted until July 1868: “…No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law…”

see appendix section: Intent of the Fourteenth Amendment as published in the Congressional Record

SECTION II: Establishment Clause

What is says: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

What some say it means but are not entirely correct: Legal Information Institute of Cornell Law School: “The First Amendment’s Establishment Clause prohibits the government from making any law ‘respecting an establishment of religion.” This clause not only forbids the government from establishing an official religion, but also prohibits government actions that unduly favor one religion over another.  It also prohibits the government from unduly preferring religion over non-religion, or non-religion over religion.  Although some government action implicating religion is permissible, and indeed unavoidable, it is not clear just how much the Establishment Clause tolerates…”

(Underlined portion is incorrect; at least until late 20th century)

Though “the free exercise” of religion is most often looked at separately (as it will also be done in this article for reasons of direct explanations and corrections), it is not only directly related to the establishment clause – it is a part of it  – meaning that it should never be looked at as a different thought of the framers, such as “freedom of speech” is separated from “freedom to the press” by both a comma and wisdom.  Freedom of speech extended pass the Press into the public itself.  But here, the Congress had no right to make and “ESTABLISH” a National Religion, such as Protestantism or Catholicism; however, it also could not prohibit the free exercise of establishing such by the States.  And more over, Congress, wanted to protect the free and equal American citizens and those that immigrated here, with the ability to freely worship God according to the mandates of the States and the people’s representatives in Congress.

Two key problems with the Legal Information Institute’s explanation is that they do not define “government,” and they are wrong and incorrect in saying that the Amendment “prohibits the government from unduly preferring religion over non-religion…”  They may could argue the case with weakly with the 14th amendment that came about 80 years later (1868), but in no way is that correct concerning the First Amendment.  The following reflect those 2 problems and offer more proof.

FIRST: the word ‘government: ‘the United States is not a Monarchy with a king or queen, as is the nature of Great Britain (a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy; prior to 1711 all lords were hereditary; there first general election was in 1708 after their Union).  The United States of America is a constitutional federal republic and representative democracy: this means that the “Government” divides power between the national (federal) government AND the state governments; and that in both are representatives elected by the people.  But here it is important to note that the States legally operate individual governments (also with a bicameral legislature – House and Senate – and a Judicial branch) and local governments under their State’s constitutions.

SECOND: Thus, before and after the Bill of Rights, according to the constitutions of the states, they each not only protected and encourage the freedom of religion; but they stated in every State were was ‘One God,’ implying Christianity; and in most states expressly included “Christianity.”

THIRD: Facts: The 1776 Constitution of Delaware required the governor and certain officials to say the following oath: “I… do profess faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ His only Son, and in the Holy Ghost, one God, blessed for evermore, and I do acknowledge the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine inspiration.”  The 1776 Constitution of Pennsylvania included in their oath of office: “I do believe in one God, the creator and governor of the universe, the rewarder of the good and the punisher of the wicked.  And I do acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine inspiration…” The 1776 Constitution of North Carolina stated: “That no person, who shall deny the being of God or the truth of the PROTESTANT Religion, or the divine authority either of the OLD or NEW TESTAMENTS, or who shall hold religious principles incompatible with the freedom and safety of the State, shall be capable of holding any office or place of trust or profit in the civil department within this State…”  You can’t acknowledge the New Testament without Jesus Christ.

FOURTH: A State’s Congress (but not the Federal Congress) could and did make an “established religion:” The 1776 Constitution of South Carolina states: “That all persons and religious societies who acknowledge that there is one God, and a future state of rewards and punishments, and that God is publicly to be worshipped, shall be freely tolerated. The Christian Protestant religion shall be deemed, and is hereby constituted and declared to be, the established religion of this State. That all denominations of Christian Protestants in this State, demeaning themselves peaceably and faithfully, shall enjoy equal religious and civil privileges… Whenever fifteen or more male persons, not under twenty-one years of age, professing the Christian Protestant religion, and agreeing to unite themselves in a society for the purposes of religious worship, they shall be, and be constituted a church… (if) each society so petitioning shall have agreed to and subscribed in a book the following five articles, without which no agreement fir union of men upon presence of religion shall entitle them to be incorporated and esteemed as a church of the established religion of this State:

1st. That there is one eternal God, and a future state of rewards and punishments.

2d. That God is publicly to be worshipped.  3d. That the Christian religion is the true religion

4th. That the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are of divine inspiration and are the rule of faith and practice. 5th. That it is lawful, and the duty of every man being thereunto called by those that govern, to bear witness to the truth…”

[The proper corrections of recognizing that slaves were “created equal… by (our) Creator (Declaration of Independence (1776),” that they were equally “living beings (NIV; NKJV, NASB)” or “living souls (Genesis 2:7; KJB),” was not legally done in the United States until after the Civil War in 1866 by the 13th Amendment of the Constitution.   Likewise, struggles between Catholics and Protestants continued, and it would not be until 1868 that the 14th amendment extended rights to persons in their own states.  The purpose of these amendments was to prevent injustice, not to undo America’s Christian foundations.  Through many Christians in the 18th century accepted slavery, as well as discrimination between the Catholic and Protestant churches, it was Christians in Britain and America, like William Wilberforce, George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards, that were significant voices and forces in the abolitionist movement.]

FIFTH: In the Amistad Case [40 U. S. 518 (1841)], former 6th president of the United States, John Q. Adams (1825-1829; son of 2nd president John Adams), lawyer and opponent of slavery, defended certain African slaves before the Supreme Court.  The slaves had revolted and seized the Spanish ship called ‘Amistad.’  After speaking for four hours before the court, the Court declared the slaves free and to be returned to their homes. Nevertheless, Justice Joseph Story delivered the opinion of the Court which freed the slaves.  It is Justice Story’s Commentaries on the Constitution (1833) that concerns us (about 5 pages):

Story tells of the ‘History of the Colonies’ in 17 chapters.   Of Virginia, he states “The first permanent settlement made in America under the auspices of England was under a charter granted to Sir Thomas Gates and his associates by James the First, in the fourth year after his accession to the throne of England (1605).  That charter granted to them the territories in America, then commonly called Virginia… which were not belonging to or possessed by any Christian prince or people.  The associates were divided into two companies… Virginia …second …the Plymouth Company… in respect to political government, each colony was to be governed by a local council, appointed and removable at the pleasure of the crown (king of England), according to royal instructions…  Persons committing high offenses were to be sent to England for punishment… Allegiance to the crown was strictly insisted on; and the Church of England established…” Story went on to explain brief histories of the colonies, as well as different types of charters.  Then he turned to the “History of the Revolution and of the Confederation.”  In Book II, chapter II, he teaches of the “Origin of the Confederation,” saying, “sec. 218. The union, thus formed, grew out of the exigencies (pressures) of the times; and from its nature… deemed temporary… only to the maintenance of the common liberties and independence of the states, and to terminate with the return of peace with Great Britain and the accomplishment o f the ends of the revolutionary contest… sec. 222. On the 11th of June, 1776, the same day, on which the committee for preparing the declaration of independence was appointed, congress  resolved that ”a committee be appointed to prepare… the form of a confederation to be entered into between these colonies… Nearly a year before… 21, July 1775, Dr. Franklin had submitted to congress a sketch of articles of confederation…”

Justice Story in his Book II, Chapter III on the “Analysis of the Articles of Confederation” wrote, “sec. 230 …the ‘Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union between the States,’ as they were finally adopted by the thirteen states in 1781…  by the first article, declared to be, ‘The United States of America.’ The second article declared, that each state retained its sovereignty, freedom and independence… the third article …a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defence… to assist each other against …attacks made upon them… on account of religion, sovereignty, trade…  sec. 231. …Each state was to maintain its own delegates… in congress… sec. 241. There was also provision made for the admission of Canada into the union, and of other colonies with the assent of nine states…”

In his Chapter IV, “Decline and Fall of the Confederation” Justice Story states, “sec. 228.  Washington himself, that patriot without stain or reproach, speaks, in 1785… says, ‘the confederation appears to me to be little more, than a shadow without the substance, and congress a nugatory (insignificant) body, their ordinances being little attended to…’ says the historian of Washington, ‘the treaties formed by congress were obligatory, yet it had been demonstrated, that in practice that body was absolutely unable to carry them into execution.’  Sec. 248.  The leading defects of the confederation… was an utter want of all coercive authority to carry into effect its own constitutional measures… ‘a government authorized to declare war, but relying on independent states for the means of prosecuting it, capable of contracting debts… but depending on 13 distinct sovereignties for the preservation of that faith…”

Then Story writes at great length on the Constitution of the United States, on its origin, objections and powers.  He said: “Book III, Sec. 281: The constitution was adopted unanimously by Georgia, New-Jersey, and Delaware. It was supported by large majorities in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, and South-Carolina. It was carried in the other states by small majorities, and especially in Massachusetts, New-York, and Virginia by little more than a preponderating vote. Indeed, it is believed, that in each of these states, at the first assembling of the conventions, there was a decided majority opposed to the constitution.  The ability of the debates, the impending evils, and the absolute necessity of the case seem to have reconciled some persons to the adoption of it, whose opinions had been strenuously the other way. “In our endeavours,” said Washington, “to establish a new general government, the contest nationally considered, seems not to have been so much for glory, as for existence.  It was for a long time doubtful, whether we were to survive, as an independent republic, or decline from our federal dignity into insignificant and withered fragments of empire (from The Life of George Washington; by CJSC John Marshall, 1804).”

Also, on the “Objections to the Constitution, Story wrote, “ Book III, sec. 301: Among the defects which were enumerated, none attracted more attention… than the want of a distinct bill of rights, which should recognize the fundamental principles of a free republican government, and the right of the people to the enjoyment of life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness… it was indispensable, that express provision should be made for the trial by jury in civil cases and in criminal cases upon a presentment by a grand jury only; and …that freedom of speech and freedom of the press should be secured; that there should be no national religion (as there was in England, France and other ‘Christian’ and even ‘Muslim’ nations at the time), and the rights of conscience should be inviolable (unbreakable, unchallengeable)…”

Concerning the “Religious Test,” Justice Story wrote: “Book III, sec. 1837 and Oath of Office:  ‘The senators and representatives… oath of affirmation to support the constitution.  But no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification… (Art. VI of the Const.)’ …Oaths have a solemn obligation upon the minds of all reflecting men, and especially upon those, who feel a deep sense of accountability to a Supreme being… But there are known denominations of men, who are conscientiously scrupulous of taking oaths, among which is the pure and distinguished sect of Christians, commonly called Friends, or Quakers, and therefore, to prevent any unjustifiable exclusion from office, the constitution has permitted a solemn affirmation to be made instead of an oath…” [was for Christian consciences]

Justice Story continues, “Book III, ‘§ 1841. “…The remaining part of the clause declares, that ‘no religious test shall ever be required, as a qualification to any office… under the United States.’  This clause is not introduced merely for the purpose of satisfying the scruples of many respectable persons… It has a higher object; to cut off for ever every pretense of any alliance between church and state in the National government.  The framers of the constitution were fully sensible of the dangers from this source, marked out in the history of other ages and countries… They knew, that bigotry was unceasingly vigilant in its stratagems… The Catholic and the Protestant had alternately waged the most ferocious and unrelenting warfare on each other; and Protestantism itself, at the very moment, that it was proclaiming the right of private judgment, prescribed boundaries to that right, beyond which if any one dared to pass, he must seal his rashness with the blood martyrdom…’

‘…Mr. Justice Blackstone (wrote) ‘…The second species of non-conformists, are those, who offend through a mistaken or perverse zeal.  Such were esteemed by our laws, enacted since the time of the reformation, to be papists, and protestant dissenters; both of which were supposed to be equally schismatics in not communicating with the national church… our ancestors were mistaken in their plans of compulsion and intolerance.  The sin of schism, as such, is by no means the object of temporal coercion and punishment.  If, through weakness of intellect, through misdirected piety, through perverseness and acerbity of temper, or, through a prospect of secular (worldly/nonspiritual) advantage in herding with a party, men quarrel with the ecclesiastical establishment, the civil magistrate has nothing to do with it; unless their tenets and practice are such, as threaten ruin or disturbance to the state… liberty …once secured, all persecution for diversity of opinions, however ridiculous or absurd they may be, is contrary to every principle of sound policy and civil freedom.  The names and subordination of the clergy, the posture of devotion, the materials and colour of the minister’s garment, the joining in a known or unknown form of prayer, and other matters of the same kind, must be left to the option of every man’s private judgment…’

(Sir William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England; Vol. 1, 53; 44, 59)

Justice Story continued: “…Mr. Justice Blackstone has no better reply to make, than that these laws are seldom exerted to their utmost rigor; and, indeed, if they were, it would be very difficult to excuse them. The meanest apologist of the worst enormities of a Roman emperor could not have shadowed out a defence more servile, or more unworthy of the dignity and spirit of a freeman. With one quotation more from the same authority, exemplifying the nature and objects of the English test laws, this subject may be dismissed. “In order the better to secure the established church against perils from nonconformists of all denominations, infidels, Turks, Jews, heretics, papists, and sectaries, there are, however, two bulwarks erected, called the Corporation and Test-Acts. By the former of which, no person can be legally elected to any office relating to the government of any city or corporation, unless, within a twelvemonth before, he has received the sacrament of the Lord’s supper according to the rights of the church of England… The other, called the test-act, directs all officers, civil and military, to take the oaths, and make the declaration against transubstantiation, in any of the king’s courts at Westminster, or at the quarter sessions, within six calendar months after their admission; and within the same time to receive the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, according to the usage of the church of England, in some public church… and to deliver into court a certificate thereof signed by the minister and church-warden…”

In Justice Story’s Volume or Book III, chapter 44, ‘Amendments to the Constitution,’ he writes: “…Let us now enter upon the consideration of the amendments… belonging to a bill of rights.  ‘§ 1864. The first is, ‘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 government for a redress of grievances.’  Sec. 1865.  And first, the prohibition of any establishment of religion, and the freedom of religious opinion and worship.  How far any government has a right to interfere in matters touching religion, has been a subject much discussed by writers upon public and political law.’  …Indeed, the right of a society or government to interfere in matters of religion will hardly be contested by any persons, who believe that piety, religion, and morality are intimately connected with the well-being of the state, and indispensable to the administration of civil justice. The promulgation of the great doctrines of religion, the being, and attributes, and providence of one Almighty God; the responsibility to Him for all our actions, founded upon moral freedom and accountability; a future state of rewards and punishments; the cultivation of all the personal, social, and benevolent virtues; — these never can be a matter of indifference in any well-ordered community.  It is, indeed, difficult to conceive, how any civilized society can well exist without them. And at all events, it is impossible for those, who believe in the truth of Christianity, as a divine revelation, to doubt, that it is the especial duty of government to foster and encourage it among all the citizens and subjects. This is a point wholly distinct from that of the right of private judgment in matters of religion, and of the freedom of public worship according to the dictates of one’s conscience.’

§ 1866. The real difficulty lies in ascertaining the limits, to which government may right truly go in fostering and encouraging religion… For instance, a government may simply declare, that the Christian religion shall be the religion of the state, and shall be aided, and encouraged in all the varieties of sects belonging to it; or it may declare, that the Catholic or Protestant religion shall be the religion of the state, leaving every man to the free enjoyment of his own religious opinions; or it may establish the doctrines of a particular sect, as of Episcopalians, as the religion of the state, with a like freedom; or it may establish the doctrines of a particular sect, as exclusively the religion of the state, tolerating others to a limited extent, or excluding all, not belonging to it, from all public honors, trusts, emoluments, privileges, and immunities.’

‘§ 1867. Now, there will probably be found few persons in this, or any other Christian country, who would deliberately contend, that it was unreasonable, or unjust to foster and encourage the Christian religion generally, as a matter of sound policy, as well as of revealed truth. In fact, every American colony, from its foundation down to the revolution, with the exception of Rhode Island, (if, indeed, that state be an exception,) did openly, by the whole course of its laws and institutions, support and sustain, in some form, the Christian religion; and almost invariably gave a peculiar sanction to some of its fundamental doctrines. And this has continued to be the case in some of the states down to the present period, without the slightest suspicion, that it was against the principles of public law, or republican liberty. Indeed, in a republic, there would seem to be a peculiar propriety in viewing the Christian religion, as the great, basis, on which it must rest for its support and permanence, if it be, what it has ever been deemed by its truest friends to be, the religion of liberty.’

“Montesquieu has remarked, that the Christian religion is a stranger to mere despotic power.  The mildness so frequently recommended in the gospel is incompatible with the despotic rage, with which a prince punishes his subjects, and exercises himself in cruelty.  He has gone even further, and affirmed, that the Protestant religion is far more congenial with the spirit of political freedom, than the Catholic. “When,” says he, “the Christian religion, two centuries ago, became unhappily divided into Catholic and Protestant, the people of the north embraced the Protestant, and those of the south still adhered to the Catholic. The reason is plain. The people of the north have, and will ever have, a spirit of liberty and independence, which the people of the south have not. And, therefore, a religion, which has no visible head, is more agreeable to the independency of climate, than that, which has one.”

(Montesquieu’ ideas did influence many, but note, here the French judge, writer and philosopher, who died in 1755, was speaking of Europe, and not the colonies).

Story: “…Massachusetts, while she has promulgated in her BILL OF RIGHTS the importance and necessity of the public support of religion, and the worship of God, has authorized the legislature to require it only for Protestantism.  The language of that bill of rights is remarkable for its pointed affirmation of the duty of government to support Christianity, and the reasons for it. “As,” says the third article, “the happiness of a people, and the good order and preservation of civil government, essentially depend upon piety, religion, and morality; and as these cannot be generally diffused through the community, but by the institution of the public worship of God, and of public instructions in piety, religion, and morality; therefore, to promote their happiness and to secure the good order and preservation of their government the people of this Commonwealth have a right to invest their legislature with power to authorize, and the legislature shall from time to time authorize and require, the several towns, parishes, &c. &c. to make suitable provision at their own expense for the institution of the public worship of God, and for the support and maintenance of public protestant teachers of piety, religion, and morality, in all cases where such provision shall not be made voluntarily.”  Afterwards …provisions, prohibiting any superiority of one sect over another, and securing to all citizens the free exercise of religion.’

§ 1868. Probably at the time of the adoption of the constitution, and of the amendment to it, now under consideration, the general, if not the universal, sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the state, so far as was not incompatible with the private rights of conscience, and the freedom of religious worship. An attempt to level all religions, and to make it a matter of state policy to hold all in utter indifference, would have created universal disapprobation, if not universal indignation.  § 1869. It yet remains a problem to be solved in human affairs, whether any free government can be permanent, where the public worship of God, and the support of religion, constitute no part of the policy or duty of the state in any assignable shape.  The future experience of Christendom, and chiefly of the American states, must settle this problem, as yet new in the history of the world…’

§ 1870. But the duty of supporting religion, and especially the Christian religion, is very different from the right to force the consciences of other men, or to punish them for worshipping God in the manner, which, they believe, their accountability to him requires. It has been truly said, that “religion or the duty we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be dictated only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence,”

“Mr. Locke himself, who did not doubt the right of government to interfere in matters of religion, and especially to encourage Christianity, at the same time has expressed his opinion of the right of private judgment, and liberty of conscience, in a manner becoming his character, as a sincere friend of civil and religious liberty. “No man, or society of men,” says he, “have any authority to impose their opinions or interpretations on any other, the meanest Christian; since, in matters of religion, every man must know, and believe, and give an account for himself.”  The rights of conscience are, indeed, beyond the just reach of any human power. They are given by God, and cannot be encroached upon by human authority, without a criminal disobedience or, the precepts or natural, as well as or revealed religion.’

§ 1871. The real object of the amendment was, not to countenance (tolerate), much less to advance Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects, and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment, which should give to an hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government.  It thus cut off the means of religious persecution, the vice and pest of former ages, and of the subversion of the rights of conscience in matters of religion, which had been trampled upon almost from the days of the Apostles to the present age. The history of the parent country had afforded the most solemn warnings and melancholy instructions on this head; and even New England, the land of the persecuted puritans, as well as other colonies, where the Church of England had maintained its superiority, would furnish out a chapter, as full of the darkest bigotry and intolerance, as any, which could be found to disgrace the pages of foreign annals.  Apostacy, heresy, and nonconformity had been standard crimes for public appeals, to kindle the flames of persecution, and apologize for the most atrocious triumphs over innocence and virtue.’

  • 1872.Mr. Justice Blackstone, after having spoken with a manly freedom of the abuses in the Romish church respecting heresy; and, that Christianity had be on deformed by the demon of persecution upon the continent, and that the island of Great Britain had not been entirely free from the scourge, defends the final enactments against nonconformity in England, in the following set phrases, to which, without any material change, might be justly applied his own sarcastic remarks upon the conduct of the Roman ecclesiastics in punishing heresy. “For nonconformity to the worship of the church,” (says he,) “there is much more to be pleaded than for the former, (that is, reviling the ordinances of the church,) being a matter of private conscience, to the scruples of which our present laws have shown a very just, and Christian indulgence. For undoubtedly all persecution and oppression of weak consciences, on the score of religious persuasions, are highly unjustifiable upon every principle of natural reason, civil liberty, or sound religion. But care must be taken not to carry this indulgence into such extremes, as may endanger the national church. There is always a difference to be made between toleration and establishment.”

“Let it be remembered, that at the very moment, when the learned commentator was penning these cold remarks, the laws of England merely tolerated protestant dissenters in their public worship upon certain conditions, at once irritating and degrading; that the test and corporation acts excluded them from public and corporate offices, both of trust and profit; that the learned commentator avows, that the object of the test and corporation acts was to exclude them from office, in common with Turks, Jews, heretics, papists, and other sectaries; that to deny the Trinity, however conscientiously disbelieved, was a public offence, punishable by fine and imprisonment; and that, in the rear of all these disabilities and grievances, came the long list of acts against papists, by which they were reduced to a state of political and religious slavery, and cut off from some of the dearest privileges of mankind.’

  • 1873.It was under a solemn consciousness of the dangers from ecclesiastical ambition, the bigotry of spiritual pride, and the intolerance of sects, thus exemplified in our domestic, as well as in foreign ‘annals, that it was deemed advisable to exclude from the national government all power to act upon the subject. The situation, too, of the different states equally proclaimed the policy, as Well as the necessity of such an exclusion. In some of the states, Episcopalians constituted the predominant sect; in others, Presbyterians; in others, Congregationalists; in others, Quakers; and in others again, there was a close numerical rivalry among contending sects. It was impossible, that there should not arise perpetual strife, and perpetual jealousy on the subject of ecclesiastical ascendancy, if the national government were left free to create a religious establishment. The only security was in extirpating the power. But this alone would have been an imperfect security, if it had not been followed up by a declaration of the right of the free exercise of religion, and a prohibition (as we have seen) of all religious tests. Thus, the whole power over the subject of religion is left exclusively to the state governments, to be acted upon according to their own sense of justice, and the state constitutions; and the Catholic and the Protestant, the Calvinist and the Armenian, the Jew and the. Infidel may sit down at the common table of the national councils, without any inquisition into their faith, or mode of worship.

THE FIRST AMENDMENT BOTH PROTECTS the Individual’s conscience to be free, as long as the individual does not become a danger to the state or nation, AND also the STATE’s right to protect, proclaim and even establish Christianity.  There was certainly NO SEPARATION between the STATE and CHRISTIANITY, only between the Federal Government and a National established Church, as well as the State and Individual’s rights to a free conscience and freedom of religion as long as it did not disrupt.

SECTION: III: “Free Exercise” of Religion and Christianity

(some portions will address the establishment clause as well)

FIRST:  February 1892, over 100 years after the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the United States Supreme Court within its judgment in the case of Church of the Holy Trinity (NY) v. United States, 143 U.S. 457 (1892) expressed declared that the United States is a Christian Nation.  The case involved the hiring of a “foreigner” Anglican minister.  Supreme Court Justice David Brewer wrote “the opinion of the court” (in part):

“…It appears, also, from the petitions, and in the testimony presented before the committees of congress, that it was this cheap, unskilled labor which was making the trouble, and the influx of which congress sought to prevent. It was never suggested that we had in this country a surplus of brain toilers, and, least of all, that the market for the services of Christian ministers was depressed by foreign competition. Those were matters to which the attention of congress, or of the people, was not directed.’

“But, beyond all these matters, no purpose of action against religion can be imputed to any legislation, state or national, because this is a religious people. This is historically true. From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation. The commission to Christopher Columbus, prior to his sail westward, is from ‘Ferdinand and Isabella, by the grace of God, king and queen of Castile,’ and recites that ‘it is hoped that by God’s assistance some of the continents and islands in the ocean will be discovered,’ etc.  The first colonial grant, that made to Sir Walter Raleigh in 1584, was from ‘Elizabeth, by the grace of God, of England, France and Ireland, queen, defender of the faith,’ etc.; and the grant authorizing him to enact statutes of the government of the proposed colony provided that ‘they be not against the true Christian faith now professed in the Church of England.’ The first charter of Virginia, granted by King James I. in 1606… commenced the grant in these words: ‘We, greatly commending, and graciously accepting of, their Desires for the Furtherance of so noble a Work, which may, by the Providence of Almighty God, hereafter tend to the Glory of his Divine Majesty, in propagating of Christian Religion to such People, as yet live in Darkness and miserable Ignorance of the true Knowledge and Worship of God, and may in time bring the Infidels and Savages, living in those parts, to human Civility, and to a settled and quiet Government; DO, by these our Letters-Patents, graciously accept of, and agree to, their humble and well-intended Desires.’

“…The celebrated compact made by the pilgrims in the Mayflower, 1620, recites: ‘Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the first Colony in the northern Parts of Virginia; Do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually, in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid.’

“The fundamental orders of Connecticut, under which a provisional government was instituted in 1638-39, commence with this declaration: ‘Forasmuch as it hath pleased the Allmighty God by the wise disposition of his diuyne pruidence so to Order and dispose of things that we the Inhabitants …dwelling in and vppon the River of Conectecotte and the Lands thereunto adioyneing; And well knowing where a people are gathered togather the word of God requires that to mayntayne the peace and vnion of such a people there should be an orderly and decent Gouerment established according to God, to order and dispose of the affayres of the people at all seasons as occation shall require; doe therefore assotiate and conioyne our selues to be as one Publike State or Comonwelth; and doe, for our selues and our Successors …enter into Combination and Confederation togather, to mayntayne and presearue the liberty and purity of the gospell of our Lord Jesus wch we now prfesse, as also the disciplyne of the Churches, wch according to the truth of the said gospell is now practised amongst vs.’

Justice Brewer: “…In the charter of privileges granted by William Penn to the province of Pennsylvania, in 1701, it is recited: ‘Because no People can be truly happy, though under the greatest Enjoyment of Civil Liberties, if abridged of the Freedom of their Consciences, as to their Religious Profession and Worship; And Almighty God being the only Lord of Conscience, Father of Lights and Spirits; and the Author as well as Object of all divine Knowledge, Faith, and Worship, who only doth enlighten the Minds, and persuade and convince the Understandings of People, I do hereby grant and declare,’ etc.’

“Coming nearer to the present time, the Declaration of Independence recognizes the presence of the Divine in human affairs in these words: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.’ ‘We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare,’ etc.; ‘And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.’

“If we examine the constitutions of the various states, we find in them a constant recognition of religious obligations. Every constitution of every one of the 44 states contains language which, either directly or by clear implication, recognizes a profound reverence for religion, and an assumption that its influence in all human affairs is essential to the well-being of the community. This recognition may be in the preamble, such as is found in the constitution of Illinois, 1870: ‘We, the people of the state of Illinois, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political, and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing upon our endeavors to secure and transmit the same unimpaired to succeeding generations,’ etc.’  It may be only in the familiar requisition that all officers shall take an oath closing with the declaration, ‘so help me God.’

“It may be in clauses like that of the constitution of Indiana, 1816, art. 11, § 4: ‘The manner of administering an oath or affirmation shall be such as is most consistent with the conscience of the deponent, and shall be esteemed the most solemn appeal to God.’ Or in provisions such as are found in articles 36 and 37 of the declaration of rights of the constitution of Maryland, (1867:) ‘That, as it is the duty of every man to worship God in such manner as he thinks most acceptable to Him, all persons are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty: wherefore, no person ought, by any law, to be molested in his person or estate on account of his religious persuasion or profession, or for his religious practice, unless, under the color of religion, he shall disturb the good order, peace, or safety of the state, or shall infringe the laws of morality, or injure others in their natural, civil, or religious rights; nor ought any person to be compelled to frequent or maintain or contribute, unless on contract, to maintain any place of worship or any ministry; nor shall any person, otherwise competent, be deemed incompetent as a witness or juror on account of his religious belief: provided, he believes in the existence of God, and that, under his dispensation, such person will be held morally accountable for his acts, and be rewarded or punished therefor, either in this world or the world to come. That no religious test ought ever to be required as a qualification for any office of profit or trust in this state, other than a declaration of belief in the existence of God; nor shall the legislature prescribe any other oath of office than the oath prescribed by this constitution.’ Or like that in articles 2 and 3 of part 1 of the constitution of Massachusetts, (1780:) ‘It is the right as well as the duty of all men in society publicly, and at stated seasons, to worship the Supreme Being, the great Creator and Preserver of the universe.  As the happiness of a people and the good order and preservation of civil government essentially depend upon piety, religion, and morality, and as these cannot be generally diffused through a community but by the institution of the public worship of God and of public instructions in piety, religion, and morality: Therefore, to promote their happiness, and to secure the good order and preservation of their government, the people of this commonwealth have a right to invest their legislature with power to authorize and require, and the legislature shall, from time to time, authorize and require, the several towns, parishes, precincts, and other bodies politic or religious societies to make suitable provision, at their own expense, for the institution of the public worship of God and for the support and maintenance of public Protestant teachers of piety, religion, and morality, in all cases where such provision shall not be made voluntarily.’

“Or, as in sections 5 and 14 of article 7 of the constitution of Mississippi, (1832:) ‘No person who denies the being of a God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this state. * * * Religion morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government, the preservation of liberty, and the happiness of mankind, schools, and the means of education, shall forever be encouraged in this state.’ Or by article 22 of the constitution of Delaware, (1776,) which required all officers, besides an oath of allegiance, to make and subscribe the following declaration: ‘I, A. B., do profess faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ His only Son, and in the Holy Ghost, one God, blessed for evermore; and I do acknowledge the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine inspiration.’

“Even the constitution of the United States, which is supposed to have little touch upon the private life of the individual, contains in the first amendment a declaration common to the constitutions of all the states, as follows: ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ etc.,—and also provides in article 1, § 7, (a provision common to many constitutions,) that the executive shall have 10 days (Sundays excepted) within which to determine whether he will approve or veto a bill.’

“There is no dissonance in these declarations. There is a universal language pervading them all, having one meaning. They affirm and reaffirm that this is a religious nation. These are not individual sayings, declarations of private persons. They are organic utterances. They speak the voice of the entire people. While because of a general recognition of this truth the question has seldom been presented to the courts, yet we find that in Updegraph v. Com., 11 Serg. & R. 394, 400, it was decided that, ‘Christianity, general Christianity, is, and always has been, a part of the common law of Pennsylvania; not Christianity with an established church and tithes and spiritual courts, but Christianity with liberty of conscience to all men.’ And in People v. Ruggles, 8 Johns. 290, 294, 295, Chancellor KENT, the great commentator on American law, speaking as chief justice of the supreme court of New York, said: ‘The people of this state, in common with the people of this country, profess the general doctrines of Christianity as the rule of their faith and practice; and to scandalize the author of these doctrines is not only, in a religious point of view, extremely impious, but, even in respect to the obligations due to society, is a gross violation of decency and good order. The free, equal, and undisturbed enjoyment of religious opinion, whatever it may be, and free and decent discussions on any religious subject, is granted and secured; but to revile, with malicious and blasphemous contempt, the religion professed by almost the whole community is an abuse of that right. Nor are we bound by any expressions in the constitution, as some have strangely supposed, either not to punish at all, or to punish indiscriminately the like attacks upon the religion of Mahomet or of the Grand Lama; and for this plain reason, that the case assumes that we are a Christian people, and the morality of the country is deeply ingrafted upon Christianity, and not upon the doctrines or worship of those impostors.’ And in the famous case of Vidal v. Girard’s Ex’rs, 2 How. 127, 198, this court, while sustaining the will of Mr. Girard, with its provision for the creation of a college into which no minister should be permitted to enter, observed: ‘It is also said, and truly, that the Christian religion is a part of the common law of Pennsylvania.’

“If we pass beyond these matters to a view of American life, as expressed by its laws, its business, its customs, and its society, we find everywhere a clear recognition of the same truth. Among other matters note the following: The form of oath universally prevailing, concluding with an appeal to the Almighty; the custom of opening sessions of all deliberative bodies and most conventions with prayer; the prefatory words of all wills, ‘In the name of God, amen;’ the laws respecting the observance of the Sabbath, with the general cessation of all secular business, and the closing of courts, legislatures, and other similar public assemblies on that day; the churches and church organizations which abound in every city, town, and hamlet; the multitude of charitable organizations existing everywhere under Christian auspices; the gigantic missionary associations, with general support, and aiming to establish Christian missions in every quarter of the globe. These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation. In the face of all these, shall it be believed that a congress of the United States intended to make it a misdemeanor for a church of this country to contract for the services of a Christian minister residing in another nation? Suppose, in the congress that passed this act, some member had offered a bill which in terms declared that, if any Roman Catholic church in this country should contract with Cardinal Manning to come to this country, and enter into its service as pastor and priest, or any Episcopal church should enter into a like contract with Canon Farrar, or any Baptist church should make similar arrangements with Rev. Mr. Spurgeon, or any Jewish synagogue with some eminent rabbi, such contract should be adjudged unlawful and void, and the church making it be subject to prosecution and punishment. Can it be believed that it would have received a minute of approving thought or a single vote? Yet it is contended that such was, in effect, the meaning of this statute. The construction invoked cannot be accepted as correct. It is a case where there was presented a definite evil, in view of which the legislature used general terms with the purpose of reaching all phases of that evil; and thereafter, unexpectedly, it is developed that the general language thus employed is broad enough to reach cases and acts which the whole history and life of the country affirm could not have been intentionally legislated against. It is the duty of the courts, under those circumstances, to say that, however broad the language of the statute may be, the act, although within the letter, is not within the intention of the legislature, and therefore cannot be within the statute.

SECOND: 1985: Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist’s Dissent in Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38, 105 S.Ct. 2479 (1985), almost 200 years after the First Amendment: “Thirty-eight (38) years ago this Court, in Everson v. Board of Education (1947), summarized its exegesis of Establishment Clause doctrine thus: ‘In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between church and State.’  Reynolds v. United States, [98 U.S. 145, 164, 25 L. Ed. 244 (1879)].’

“This language from Reynolds, a case involving the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment rather than the Establishment Clause, quoted from Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptist Association the phrase, ‘I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and State.’ (‘Writings of Thomas Jefferson, H. Washington; 1861).

“It is impossible to build sound constitutional doctrine upon a mistaken understanding of constitutional history, but unfortunately the Establishment Clause has been expressly freighted with Jefferson’s misleading metaphor for nearly 40 years.  Thomas Jefferson was of course in France at the time the constitutional Amendments known as the Bill of Rights were passed by Congress and ratified by the States.

“His letter to the Danbury Baptist Association was a short note of courtesy, written 14 years after the Amendments were passed by Congress.  He would seem to any detached observer as a less than ideal source of contemporary history as to the meaning of the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment.’

“Jefferson’s fellow Virginian, James Madison, with whom he was joined in the battle for the enactment of the Virginia Statute of Religious Liberty of 1786, did play as large a part as anyone in drafting of the Bill of Rights.  He had two advantages over Jefferson in this regard: he was present in the United States, and he was a leading Member of the First Congress.  But when we turn to the record of the proceedings in the First Congress leading up to the adoption of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution, including Madison’s significant contributions thereto, we see a far different picture of its purpose than the highly simplified ‘wall of separation between church and State.’

“…of the 11 Colonies which ratified the Constitution by early 1789, 5 proposed one or another amendments guaranteeing individual liberty. Three – New Hampshire, New York and Virginia – included in one form or another declaration of religious freedom. …Rhode Island and North Carolina flatly refused to ratify the Constitution in the absence of amendments in the nature of a Bill of Rights… Virginia and North Carolina proposed identical guarantees of religious freedom: ‘All men have an equal, natural and unalienable right to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience, and …no particular religious sect or society ought to be favored or established, by law, in preference to others.’

“Madison proposed for what ultimately became the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment was this: ‘The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, infringed…’

“The Committee’s proposed revisions were debated in the House on August 15, 1789.  The entire debate on the Religion Clauses is contained in two full columns of the ‘Annals…’  Representative Peter Sylvester of New York expressed his dislike for the revised version, because it might have a tendency ‘to abolish religion altogether.’  Representative John Vining suggested that the two parts of the sentence be transposed; Representative Elbridge Gerry thought the language should be changed to read ‘that no religious doctrine shall be established by law.  Roger Sherman of Connecticut had the traditional reason for opposing provisions of a Bill of Rights – that Congress had no delegated authority to ‘make religious establishments…’

“Madison then spoke, and said that ‘he apprehended the meaning of the words to be, that Congress should not establish a religion, and enforce the legal observation of it by law, nor compel men to worship God in any manner contrary to their conscience.  He said that some of the state conventions had though that Congress might rely on the Necessary and Proper Clause to infringe the rights of conscience or to establish a national religion… Representative Benjamin Huntington then expressed the view that the Committee’s language might ‘be taken in such latitude as to be extremely hurtful to the cause of religion.  He understood the amendment to mean what had been expressed by the gentlemen of Virginia; but others might find it convenient to put another construction upon it.’  Huntington, from Connecticut, was concerned that in the New England States, where state-established religions were the rule rather than the exception, the federal courts might not be able to entertain claims based upon an obligation under the bylaws of a religious organization to contribute to the support of a minister or the building of a place of worship.  He hoped that ‘the amendment would be made in such a way as to secure the rights of conscience, and a free exercise of the rights of religion, but not to patronize those who professed no religion at all.’

“Madison responded that …the word ‘national’ before the word ‘religion’ …should satisfy the minds of those who had criticized the language.’

“He believed that the people feared one sect (Christian Denomination) might obtain a pre-eminence or two combine together and establish a religion to which they would compel others to conform… Rep. Samuel Livermore …dissatisfied …(proposed) that “Congress shall make no laws touching religion, or infringing the rights of conscience.’  Rep. Gerry …opposed …the word ‘national’ because of strong feelings expressed during the ratification debates that a federal government, not a national government, was created by the Constitution.  Madison withdrew his proposal… (and) Livermore’s motion… (failed)…’

“The following week, without any apparent debate, the House voted to alter the language of the Religion Clauses to read ‘Congress shall make no law establishing religion, or to prevent the free exercise thereof, or to infringe the rights of conscience.’  The floor debates in the Senate were secret, and therefore not reported in the Annals.  The Senate on September 3, 1789, considered several different forms of the Religion Amendment, and reported this language back to the House:

“Congress shall make no law establishing articles of faith or a mode of worship or prohibiting the free exercise of religion.’

The House refused… and asked for a conference… that which ultimately found its way into the Constitution as part of the First Amendment. ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.’

“The House and the Senate both accepted… James Madison was undoubtedly the most important architect among the Members… but …Madison speaking as an advocate of sensible legislative compromise, not as an advocate of incorporating the Virginia Statute of Religious Liberty into the United States Constitution.’  “During the ratification debate in the Virginia Convention, Madison had actually opposed the idea of any Bill of Rights… His original language ‘nor shall any national religion be established’ obviously does not conform to the ‘wall of separation’ between church and State idea which later-day commentators have ascribed to him… he (had) urged that the language ‘no religion shall be established by law’ should be amended by inserting the word ‘national’ in front of the word ‘religion.’

“…Madison …actions on the floor of the House in 1789… saw the Amendment as designed to prohibit the establishment of a national religion (a United States religion), and perhaps to prevent discrimination among sects.  He did not see it as requiring neutrality on the part of government between religion and irreligion.  Thus, the Court’s opinion in Everson (1947) – while correct in bracketing Madison and Jefferson together in their exertions in their home Senate leading to the enactment of the Virginia Statute of Religious Liberty – is totally incorrect in suggesting that Madison carried these views onto the floor of the United States House of Representatives… The repetition of this error in the (Supreme) Court’s opinion in …McCollum v. Bd. Of Education, 333 U.S. 203, 68 S. Ct. 461… (1948), and …Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421, 82 S. Ct. 1261… (1962), does not make it any sounder historically.  Finally, in Abington School District v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203… 83 S.Ct. 1560… (1963), the Court made the truly remarkable statement that ‘the views of Madison and Jefferson, preceded Roger Williams, came to be incorporated not only in the Federal Constitution but likewise in those of most of our States.’  …This statement is demonstrably incorrect as a matter of history’

“And its repetition in varying forms in succeeding opinions of the Court can give it no more authority than it possesses as a matter of fact; stare decisis (‘to stand by decisions’ – of prior courts) may bind courts as to matters of law, but it cannot bind them as to matters of history.  None of the other Members of Congress who spoke during the August 15th debate expressed the slightest indication that they thought the language before them from the Select Committee, or the evil to be aimed at, would require that the Government be absolutely neutral as between religion and irreligion…”

“The actions of the First Congress, which reenacted the Northwest Ordinance for the governance of the Northwest Territory in 1789, confirm the view that Congress did not mean that the Government should be neutral between religion and irreligion. The House of Representatives took up the Northwest Ordinance on the same day as Madison introduced his proposed amendments which became the Bill of Rights; while at that time the Federal Government was of course not bound by draft amendments to the Constitution which had not yet been proposed by Congress, say nothing of ratified by the States, it seems highly unlikely that the House of Representatives would simultaneously consider proposed amendments to the Constitution and enact an important piece of territorial legislation which conflicted with the intent of those proposals. The Northwest Ordinance, 1 Stat. 50, reenacted the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 and provided that “[r]eligion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.” Id., at 52, n. (a). Land grants for schools in the Northwest Territory were not limited to public schools. It was not until 1845 that Congress limited land grants in the new States and Territories to nonsectarian schools.’

“On the day after the House of Representatives voted to adopt the form of the First Amendment Religion Clauses which was ultimately proposed and ratified, Representative Elias Boudinot proposed a resolution asking President George Washington to issue a Thanksgiving Day Proclamation. Boudinot said he “could not think of letting the session pass over without offering an opportunity to all the citizens of the United States of joining with one voice, in returning to Almighty God their sincere thanks for the many blessings he had poured down upon them.” 1 Annals of Cong. 914 (1789).’

“The Presidential Proclamation was couched in these words:  ‘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 all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation…’

“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; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people…

As the United States moved from the 18th into the 19th century, Congress appropriated time and again public moneys in support of sectarian Indian education carried on by religious organizations. Typical of these was Jefferson’s treaty with the Kaskaskia Indians, which provided annual cash support for the Tribe’s Roman Catholic priest and church.(5) It was not until 1897, when aid to sectarian education for Indians had reached $500,000 annually, that Congress decided thereafter to cease appropriating money for education in sectarian schools…

“…Our perception has been clouded not by the Constitution but by the mists of an unnecessary metaphor. The true meaning of the Establishment Clause can only be seen in its history. See Walz, 397 U.S., at 671-673, 90 S.Ct., at 1412-1413; see also Lynch, supra, at 673-678, 104 S.Ct., at 1359-1362. As drafters of our Bill of Rights, the Framers inscribed the principles that control today. Any deviation from their intentions frustrates the permanence of that Charter and will only lead to the type of unprincipled decision-making that has plagued our Establishment Clause cases since Everson…”

THIRD:  Very few of the founding fathers of America were Deists (believe in a Supreme God/Being, but not in the gospel of Jesus Christ – Son of God).  But even the reality that most were devout Protestants (non-Catholic Christians) is not as relevant as the fact that all of those at the Continental Congress were representing the will and liberty of the people – of whom about 90% were Christian Protestants prior to the Bill of Rights.  Notice the history of the people, government and Christian Religion in America for 350+ years, before significant and improper change.

The oldest churches in the United States were built by the Roman Catholic church and Spain – early 16th century in Puerto Rico and in New Mexico by 1626.  Then in early 17th century, an Anglican (church of England) was built in Jamestown – it was the first in the 13 colonies.  And from the founding of Jamestown in 1607 by the London Company and England to the landing of the Pilgrims in 1620 in Massachusetts, the earlier colonists were Christians by their laws, governmental support and choice.   The Congregational Church in Exeter, New Hampshire dated to 1638.

About 1675, the Old Trinity Church in Maryland was completed.  According to, “The Church was constructed by English settlers on private land patented in 1671 before the Vestry Act created 32 Church of England parishes in Maryland.  At that time (1692) …’Dorchester Parish Church.’  …In 1853… consecrated ‘Trinity Church’ and locally called ‘Old Trinity’ ever since then.  ‘Old Trinity’ has had a worshipping congregation through three and a half centuries of political and ecclesiastical change… A leather-bound ‘Authorized Version’ of 1611 (the King James Bible) lies open on the desk… (it has been) a ‘Protestant Episcopal’ Church since the American Revolution…” Samuel Seabury was the first American Episcopal bishop; he was appointed to Connecticut and Rhode Island in 1785.  He is said to have established the Episcopal Church in America.  This church is very similar to the Anglican – Church of England which was formed by King Henry the 8th.

Immediately after the Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776), Congress passed laws, such as it being treason for priest to pray in public for the king of England and the British Parliament, which caused most of the Anglican clergy to leave the colonies, retire, take teaching positions, or seek a colony in which they could be protected.   Priests had to sign an ‘Oath of Fidelity,’ which many could not do.   By 1779, only about 15 Anglican clergy were practicing in the colonies.  In 1789, the Anglican congregations in nine states adopted the name “Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America’ and formally separated from the Church of England.  Anglican priest, Thomas Clagett, became the first Episcopal bishop in Maryland, serving 1792 to 1816.

Old Ship Church was built by the Puritans in Massachusetts about 1681; the Quakers had a church built in Maryland by 1684.  The Old Dutch Church in New York was built in 1697 by the Dutch Reformed.  The Old Norriton Presbyterian Church in Pennsylvania was built in 1698.  The Holy Trinity Church in Delaware is the oldest Swedish Church in the U.S. (Lutheran); and all of these before 1700.  Between 1700 and 1790, tens of churches were built in the colonies by Episcopal, Roman Catholic, Methodist, Baptist and Congregational congregations and organizations; many of which received some type of government funding.   New Hampshire kept its establishment of religion until 1817; Connecticut until 1818 and Massachusetts supported Congregationalism until 1833.

And from 1776 and 1791 to about 1947, thus roughly from the American Revolutionary War (War for Independence) to the Second World War (WWII), America was a Christian nation and the practices of prayer, bible reading and Christianity in education was both common and legal.  Then from 1947 to 1996, the Supreme Court decided 52 cases they placed under the Establishment Clause – most of which involved children and schools – i.e. – the education of America’s future.

Article III of the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 stated that “the happiness of a people, and the good order and preservation of civil government, essentially depend upon piety, religion and morality… by the institution of the public worship of God and of public instructions in… religion.”  State and loyal funds or taxes were used to support certain churches and denominations at that time.  In 1807, a minister sued the town of Tyringham to collect his salary (Avery v. Tyringham).   MA Justice T. Sedgwick’s opinion found that Massachusetts did have an established religion – “Protestant Christianity.”

In 1810, in Barnes v. First Parish in Falmouth (6 Mass. 400), the Massachusetts Supreme Court dealt with another case of taxes for ministers under Article III.  Chief Justice Parsons stated that “Christianity had long been promulgated… this religion, as understood by Protestants, tending, by its effects, to make every man… a better husband, parent, child, neighbor…” While also pointing out that there was a “liberty of conscience” due to all citizens, for all “whether Protestant or Catholic, Jew, Mahometan or Pagan, the constitution then provides for the public teaching of the precepts and maxims of the religion of Protestant Christians to all the people.”  Thus, it is “the right and duty… to elect and support a public Protestant teacher …of religion.”  And in answering this case, a minister of an unincorporated church had no right to a share of the taxes raised under Article III.

The support of established religious Christian denominations continued in many of the states for more than a century after the Bill of Rights.  Yet, due to money – to paying of taxes and the want of government funding – lawsuits continued.   There was no restriction of preaching by different religions, or in the free conscience of individuals; but there was legal bias towards certain denominations, and this would in the long run hurt Christianity in the Courts.


In 1879, in Reynolds v. United States, G. Reynolds, a Mormon from Utah Territory, after marrying a second wife was found guilty of bigamy; and then argued before the Supreme Court that his religion required him to marry multiple women.  The Supreme Court upheld the right of Congress to prohibit polygamy – an immoral act.   The Court held: “Congress cannot pass a law for the government of the Territories which shall prohibit the free exercises of religion.  The first amendment to the Constitution expressly forbids such legislation… Congress was deprived of all legislative power over mere opinion, but was left free to reach actions which were in violation of social duties or subversive of good order.”  Marriage is a “most important” part of society, and people cannot excuse themselves from laws because of their religions.

In 1890, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) officially rejected polygamy and dissolved ‘any marriages forbidden by the law of the land,’ primarily on the account of tax status and good standing with the government, and politics.  Joseph Smith (died 1844) also publicly had condemned polygamy, but privately was a polygamist, having between 25 and 40+ women as wives, concubines or under his care.  Brigham Young (died 1877) had about 50 wives and over 50 children, many of which were adults as Utah became a state in 1896.  Young was the first Governor of Utah Territory, and H. M. Wells, a Mormon and former major of Salt Lake City, became Utah’s first Governor (1896).

Nevertheless, states held the rights to favor certain forms of Christianity, while their citizens had the freedoms to practice any form of religion privately and publicly so long as it was not so immoral that it affected society.  And this continued from before the Revolutionary War until after World War II – for over 200 years.

In 1925, J. Scopes, a high-school teacher in Tennessee, was found guilty of teaching Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.   Old but famous lawyers came in to lead the case – really to the determent of society – Bryan – died later that year and was not at his best, even though he won the case.  The Bible came on trial and movies portrayed the scene as backwards and uneducated.  In the end, bans against the teaching of Evolution held, and other states such as Mississippi and Arkansas would pass bans that lasted decades; however, Hollywood, secular reporters and university professors, elites and administrators, would all push society, judges and legislators against the truth of Creation and in favor of Scientific theories over religion – at first allowed side by side in presentation – at last removing all forms Christian foundations.


In McCollum v. Board of Education [333 U.S. 203 (1948)], an Illinois pubic school was allowing three   instructors chosen by three religious faiths to give instruction during school time.  Participation was voluntary, but V. McCollum, an atheist sued Illinois, saying her 4th grade son was bullied for not attending.  The state did not address the bulling, but the establishment clause and it reached the Supreme Court.  Vashti McCollum, mother of the student, was afterwards twice president of the American Humanist Association.  Moreover, a Baptist Joint Committee supported McCollum against the “authority with that of the state” to determine which denominations could be taught.  In wanting the growing Baptist Christianity to have a say or no one at all – they contributed in pushing the Christian foundations out.  The U. S. Supreme Court found the “religious instruction program” was “unconstitutional,” saying, “The First Amendment rests upon the premise that both religion and government can best work to achieve their lofty aims if each is left free from the other…”  The case as Justice Black stated, extended the First Amendment protection into the 14th Amendment individual rights raising the Wall between Church and State.

In 1952, Burstyn v. Wilson, 343 U.S. 495, the U. S. Supreme Court overturned prior decisions that movie films were not a form of speech under First Amendment and overruled a New York law against ‘sacrilegious’ films on the grounds of freedom of speech.  They found that expression by means of motion pictures were covered by free speech; but would soon find that was not the case for students in public schools a decade later.

In 1962, Engel v. Vitale (370 U.S. 421; N.Y.), Vitale, the head of Board of Education in a district in New York directed teachers to start the day with the Pledge of Allegiance and the following nondenominational prayer: “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our Country.”  In 1962, two weeks before his assassination, the first Catholic president of the U.S., John Kennedy, delivered his final Thanksgiving Day proclamation (in part): “Over three centuries, our forefathers in Virginia and in Massachusetts… set aside a time of thanksgiving… our first President in the first year …proclaimed November 26, 1789, as ‘a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God’ and called upon the people of the new republic to ‘beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions… to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue…’  On that day let us gather in sanctuaries dedicated to worship and in homes blessed by family affection to express our gratitude for the glorious gifts of God; and let us earnestly and humbly pray that He will continue to guide and sustain us…”

Nevertheless, in 1962, the Supreme Court,  not only found that Engel, a young Jewish student, did not have to say Christian prayers (which in this part correctly applied the 1st Amendment), but went beyond building that secular wall, with Justice Black delivering the Opinion, saying, “…this daily procedure adopted on the recommendation of the State Board of Regents, a governmental agency… (of) New York …State’s public school system.  These state officials composed the prayer… as a part of their “Statement on Moral and Spiritual Training in the Schools…”  The petitioners contend… that the state laws… violate the Establishment Clause because that prayer was composed by governmental officials… It is a matter of history that this very practice of establishing governmentally composed prayers for religious services was one of the reasons which caused many of our early colonists to leave England and seek religious freedom in America.  The Book of Common Prayer… created by …Acts of Parliament in 1548… (and) tax supported the Church of England… the successful Revolution against English political domination was shortly followed by intense opposition to the practice of establishing religion by law… the minority religious groups such as Presbyterians, Lutherans, Quakers and Baptists had gained such strength that the adherents to the established Episcopal Church were actually a minority themselves… The respondent’s argument to the contrary… that Regent’s prayer is ‘nondenominational…’ It has been argued that to apply the Constitution in such a way as to prohibit state laws respecting an establishment of religious services in public schools is to indicate a hostility toward religion or toward prayer.  Nothing, of course, could be more wrong.  The history of man is inseparable from the history of religion… (men left) Europe and came to this country filled with the hope that they could find a place …to pray and …please the God of their faith… our Bill of Rights …forbid the sort of governmental activity which New York has attempted here.”

And THUS, the Supreme Court, ignorantly, opened the flood gates to destroy the Christian Religion in public schools ruling against government written (and approved) prayers in public schools.

In 1958, E. Schempp sued Pennsylvania’s Abington School District to prohibit the enforcement of a law requiring the reading of the Bible over the intercom in a public school where his child attended. He was a Unitarian Universalist, whose members range from atheists to believers in Hinduism, Islam and even a false form of Christianity.  Originally Unitarians believed in Christian doctrines except in a Trinitarian God; then they rejected a Hell, but over time they welcomed in all forms of religion – until they had no singular creed – except that all roads lead to salvation.

In 1959, Pennsylvania amended their statute (which required that “at least 10 verses from the Holy Bible be read without comment, at the opening of each public school on each school day,” but Schempp still sought to strike the entire law down.  In 1962, E. Schempp said that children were a “captive audience which hears passages from the Bible out of context” and the readings “plant the seeds of bigotry, hate and intolerance.”

In 1963, the same year Madalyn Murray O’Hair founded the American Atheists, the Supreme Court ruled on School District of Abington v. Schempp (374 U.S. 203) and consolidated in Murray v. Curlett (Maryland).   Justice Clark delivered the opinion of the Court: “Once again, we are called to consider the scope of the provision of the First Amendment… District Court …of Pennsylvania held that the statute is violative of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment as applied to the States by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment… schools not having an intercommunications system the Bible reading and the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer were conducted by the home-room teacher… expert testimony was introduced… Dr. Solomon Grayzel (a Jew) testified that portions of the New Testament were offensive to Jewish tradition, and that, from the standpoint of Jewish faith, the concept of Jesus Christ as the Son of God was ‘practically blasphemous’ …New Testament …without explanation… could be …psychologically harmful to the child and caused a divisive force within the social media of the school…’

“In Zorach v. Clauson, 343 U.S. 306 (1952), we gave specific recognition… that ‘we are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being.’ The fact that the Founding Fathers believed devotedly that there was a God and that the unalienable rights of man were rooted in Him is clearly evidenced in their writings, from the Mayflower Compact to the Constitution itself…’

“…In Cantwell v. Connecticut, 310 U.S. 296 (1940), this Court, through Mr. Justice Roberts, said: ‘The fundamental concept of liberty embodied in that (14th) Amendment embraces the liberties guaranteed by the First Amendment…’ In a series of cases since Cantwell, the Court has repeatedly reaffirmed that doctrine, and we do so now. Everson… McCollum… Torcaso v. Watkins (1961), and Engel v. Vitale…’

“Everson, the Court said that neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church.  Neither can pass laws which aid one religion… or prefer one religion over another.”

{NOTE: Early Congresses Did Intentionally Enact Laws to Prefer CHRISTIANITY over All other Religions}

Justice Clark continued: “The conclusion …the laws require religious exercises, and such exercises are being conducted in direct violation of the rights of the appellees and petitioners.  Nor are these required exercises mitigated by the fact the individual students may absent themselves upon parental request… Further, it is no defense to urge that he religious practices here may be relatively minor encroachments on the First Amendment… It is insisted that, unless these religious exercises are permitted, a ‘religion of secularism’ is established in the schools.  We agree, of course, that the State may not establish a ‘religion of secularism’ in the sense of affirmatively opposing or showing hostility to religion, thus ‘preferring those who believe in no religion over those who do believe.’ Zorach v. Clauson.  We do not agree, however, that this decision in any sense has that effect.  In addition, it might well be said that one’s education is not complete without a study of comparative religion or the history of religion and its relationship  to the advancement of civilization.”  {Here the Court is suggesting Legislation – law}

Judge for yourselves if the Court’s were right the their decisions would not cause a “religion of secularism”


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And the effects of that Secularism:

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Image result for support for same sex marriage 1960 to 2015

In 1961, Torcaso v. Watkins, representatives were no longer required to swear to God and ‘believe in the existence of God’ to enter public office.  And THUS, in 1962 the Supreme Court found pray in public schools was unconstitutional and in 1963, so was Bible reading.  And they continued to hide Christianity for public school children with a rising Wall.  Next would be an attack on Creationism.

In 1968, the Supreme Court delivered its opinion in the case of Epperson v. Arkansas (393 U.S. 97).  An Arkansas public school teacher challenged the state’s ‘anti-evolution’ teaching statute that made it unlawful for any state supported school or university to teach or use a textbook that teaches “that mankind ascended or descended from a lower order of animals.”   The Court found that the Arkansas law violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s connection to the First Amendment, because the Arkansas law broke the “governmental neutrality between religion and nonreligion.”   And or as Justice Fortas stated: “The Arkansas statute was an adaption of the famous Tennessee ‘monkey law’ which that State adopted in 1925.  The constitutionality of the Tennessee law was upheld by the Tennessee Supreme Court in the celebrated Scopes case in 1927… The present case concerns the teaching of biology in a high school in Little Rock… For the academic year 1965-1966, the school administration, on recommendation of the teachers of biology in the school system, adopted and prescribed a textbook which contained a chapter setting forth ‘the theory about the origin …of man from a lower form of animal.’  …Government in our democracy, state and national, must be neutral in matters of religious theory, doctrine and practice.  It many not be hostile to any religion or to the advocacy of no-religion… ‘the vigilant protection of constitutional freedoms is nowhere more vital than in the community of American schools (Shelton v. Tucker, 364 U.S. 479; 1960)’.”

“…There is and can be no doubt that the First Amendment does not permit the State to require that teaching and learning must be tailored to the principles or prohibitions of any religious sect or dogma. In Everson v. Board of Education, this Court, in upholding a state law to provide free bus service to school children, including those attending parochial schools, said: “Neither [a] State nor the Federal Government can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another.” 330 U.S. 1, 15 (1947).” …In the present case, there can be no doubt that Arkansas has sought to prevent its teachers from discussing the theory of evolution because it is contrary to belief of some that the Book of Genesis must be the exclusive source of doctrine as to the origin of man… Arkansas’ law cannot be defended as an act of religious neutrality… the law is contrary to the mandate of the First, and in violation of the Fourteenth, Amendments to the Constitution.”

In 1971, the Supreme Court reached into ‘nonpublic schools’ that received a small supplement (15%) of its teachers pay from the state of Rhode Island, regardless to the fact that Christians pay taxes.  Here a school ran by the Roman Catholic Church.   The Court found “that Act is unconstitutional insofar as it authorizes grants of federal tax monies to sectarian institutions… In 1831, the Catholic Orphan Asylum society demanded and received public funds to operate its schools, but a request of Methodists for funds for the same purpose was denied… Presbyterian and Jewish communities …(made) requests… In 1842, the state legislature closed the bitter controversy by enacting a law that established a City Board of Education to set up free public schools, prohibited the distribution of public funds to sectarian schools… The Nation’s rapidly developing religious heterogeneity… and growing urbanization soon led to widespread demands throughout the States for secular public education.’

“At the same time, strong opposition developed to use the States’ taxing powers to support private sectarian (religious) schools…  Between 1840 and 1875, 19 States added provisions to their constitutions prohibiting the use of public school funds to aid sectarian schools… and by 1900, 16 more States had added similar provisions… Today (1971) fewer than a half-dozen States omit such provisions from their constitutions…’

“By 1840, there were 200 Catholic parish schools in the United States.  By 1964, the were 60 times as many.  Today, 57% of the 9,000 Catholic parishes in the country have their church schools. ‘Every diocesan chancery has its school department…’  The parish schools indeed consume 40% to 65% of the parish’s total income… Early in the 19th century, the Protestants obtained control of the New York school system and used it to promote reading and teaching of the Scriptures as revealed in the King James version of the Bible…the major force in shaping the pattern of education in this country was the conflict between Protestants and Catholics… And so we have gradually edged into a situation where vast amounts of public funds are supplied each year to sectarian schools.  And the argument is made that the private parochial school system takes about $9 billion a year off the back of government — as if that were enough to justify violating the Establishment Clause.’

“While the evolution of the public-school system in this country marked an escape from denominational control, and was therefore admirable as seen through the eyes of those who think like Madison and Jefferson, it has disadvantages. The main one is that a state system may attempt to mold all students alike according to the views of the dominant group…  Sectarian education, however, does not remedy that condition.’

“Many nations follow that course: Moslem nations teach the Koran in their schools; Sweden vests its elementary education in the parish; Newfoundland puts its school system under three superintendents — one from the Church of England, one from the Catholic church, one from the United Church. In Ireland, the public schools are under denominational managership — Catholic, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, and Hebrew.   England puts sectarian schools under the umbrella of its school system. It finances sectarian education; it exerts control by prescribing standards; it requires some free scholarships; it provides nondenominational membership on the board of directors.  The British system is, in other words, one of surveillance over sectarian schools. We too have surveillance over sectarian schools, but only to the extent of making sure that minimum educational standards are met, viz., competent teachers, accreditation of the school for diplomas, the number of hours of work and credits allowed, and so on.’

“But we have never faced, until recently, the problem of policing sectarian schools.  The Rhode Island Act allows a supplementary salary to a teacher in a sectarian school if he or she “does not teach a course in religion.” The Pennsylvania Act provides for state financing of instruction in mathematics, modern foreign languages, physical science, and physical education, provided that the instruction in those courses “shall not include any subject matter expressing religious teaching, or the morals or forms of worship of any sect.”

“Public financial support of parochial schools puts those schools under disabilities with which they were not previously burdened… We have announced over and over again that the use of taxpayers’ money to support parochial schools violates the First Amendment, applicable to the States by virtue of the Fourteenth.  We said in unequivocal words in Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1, 16, ‘No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion…’

In 1980, the Supreme Court went after the ‘Ten Commandments.’  A Kentucky statute required posting a copy of the Ten Commandments, purchased with private contributions, on the wall of each public school classroom.  Using the Lemon ‘three-part test,’ the majority of the Court stated, “The preeminent purpose for posting the Ten Commandments on schoolroom walls is plainly religious in nature… It does not matter that the posted copies …are financed by voluntary private contributions, for the mere posting of the copies under the auspices of the legislature provides the ‘official support of the State… Nor …that the Bible verses …are merely posted on the wall, rather than read aloud as in Schempp and Engel… We conclude that Ky. Rev. Stat… violates the first part of the Lemon v Kurtzman test and thus the Establishment Clause…”

In Justice Rehnquist’s dissent he stated, “…the Court concludes that the Kentucky statute involved in this case ‘has no secular legislative purpose…’  This even though, as the trial court found, ‘the General Assembly thought the statute had a secular legislative purpose…’  The Court rejects the secular purpose articulated by the State because the Decalogue is ‘undeniably a sacred text.’  …However, as the elected representatives of Kentucky determined, that the Ten Commandments have had a significant impact on the development of secular legal codes of the Western World…”  Certainly, the State was permitted to conclude that a document with such secular significance should be placed before its students… Justices (1967) upheld …plaques with the motto ‘in God we trust’ in public schools.  The Establishment Clause does not require that he public sector be insulted from all things which may have a religious significance or origin…”

And in Wallace v Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38 (1985) the Supreme Court continued, this time against even ‘a pure moment of silence.’   The Court found that a ‘one-minute period of silence’ that the Alabama legislature prescribed for its public schools at the start of the day was a violation of the establishment clause and that it offended Ishmael Jaffree (an agnostic) child.  Again, the Court used the Lemon test requiring only 1 of 3 violations of it to meet its criteria. Even the choice of silence or a voluntary silence prayer is religious in nature and thus a violation.   Justice O’Connor said, “Nothing in the United States Constitution as interpreted by this Court or in the laws of the State of Alabama prohibits public school students from voluntarily praying at any time before, during, or after the school-day.” And “neither history nor the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment validates the Alabama law struck down by the Court today.”  Nevertheless, Stevens said, this was by the state an “effort to return voluntary prayer.” – wow – imagine that being unconstitutional – the free exercise of religion through voluntary prayer: this is so for from the foundations of the First Amendment it should make all Christian representatives sick and moved to amend the 14th if need be for clarification so it does not overpower the First, which in itself is unconstitutional.

THEN the Supreme Court care not even for neutrality, because they only apply teachings to religion when they are Christian teachings, but not atheism teachings such as Evolution – which is part of their religion or belief.  In 1987, they came after Louisiana’s ‘Creationism Act’ which “forbid the teaching of the theory of evolution in public elementary and secondary schools unless accompanied by instruction in the theory of ‘creation science’.”  Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578 (1987).

Justice Brennan, delivering the Court’s opinion stated, “…The Establishment Clause forbids the enactment of any law ‘respecting an establishment of religion.’  The Court has applied a three-pronged test to determine whether legislation comports with the Establishment Clause. First, the legislature must have adopted the law with a secular purpose.  Second, the statute’s principal or primary effect must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion.  Third, the statute must not result in an excessive entanglement of government with religion.  State action violates the Establishment Clause if it fails to satisfy any of these prongs… The Court has been particularly vigilant in monitoring compliance with the Establishment Clause in elementary and secondary schools.  Families entrust public schools with the education of their children… on the understanding that the classroom will not purposely be used to advance religious views that may conflict with the private beliefs of the student… three-pronged Lemon test…” Then the Court started citing all these previously mentioned cases as the basis of law – the cases from the last 30 years, not the first 160 years.

Now, see for yourselves the results of these rulings:

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Sec. IV: Related or Influencing Documents

(chronologically by sections; some original spelling)

There are numerous people, books and works that influenced the 1789 population of United States representatives, teachers, ministers, parents, scientists, the 3+ million free citizens and the 700,000 slaves; however, the scope of this examination in only concerned with politics and religion.  And even here, due to time, we may only examine a few dozen.   Society was significantly influenced by books, especially since there was no video shows or games, no cell phones or internet; their leisure and recreation was in reading, music, simple toys, simple outdoor games (tag, toss, hide-and-seek, jump rope, Rounders, scotch-hopper, etc.), marbles, cards, dice, time with animals, horseback riding, hunting, and some with dancing, cock-fighting, chess and checkers, tea parties, stage-plays, fairs, as well as numerous religious events.

Some of the most popular works (books, manuscripts, pamphlets, articles) in the colonies pre-1789 were: King James Version (Bible, printed by Congress and Robert Aitken, 1782), Holy Bible (various: Geneva Bible, New Testaments is several languages since the 16th century), Pilgrim’s Progress (John Bunyan, 1678; second most published book next to the Bible at that time), Primers (school books), Horn Books (piece of parchment, example with the alphabet or Lord’s Prayer; ‘Christcross-row’), New England Primer (Benjamin Harris, 1690; joined the alphabet with Biblical creeds; was used for 150 years), Common Sense, The Rights of Man… (Thomas Paine, 1776, 100,000+ copies sold in weeks);  Grammatical Institute (Noah Webster, 1783), Foxe’s Book of Martyrs (John Foxe, 1563), Poor Richard (Ben Franklin, 1733), Two Treatises of Government (John Locke, 1689), Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God (Jonathan Edwards, 1741), An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (Adam Smith, 1776), the Federalists Papers (85 essays or articles, 10/1787 to 5/1788), The Spirit of the Laws (Montesquieu, English edition 1750), The Social Contract (Jean Rousseau, 1762), A Modest Proposal… (Jonathan Swift, 1729), The Constitution of the United States of America (Founding Fathers, 1787), Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents (Edmund Burke, 1770), On the Form and Principles of the Sensible and Intelligible World (Immanuel Kant, 1770), The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Edward Gibbon, 1776), A Treatise on Human Nature (David Hume, 1739), Letters on the English (Voltaire, 1733, revised 1778).  Within a generation from the Constitution, over 150,000 children were learning to read from the Bible in Sunday Schools.

Many of the following with fuller text and citations in Part Two: Timeline of Events and Laws

1215: The Magna Carta, the ‘Great Charter of the Liberties of England,’ acknowledges and explicitly is “…to the honour of God, the exaltation of the holy Church, and the better ordering of our kingdom…” and for all British “heirs in perpetuity,” by way “that the English Church shall be free, and that men in (the) kingdom shall have and keep all these liberties, rights and concessions…”

This was followed by a devastating bubonic plague – Black Death – that killed about one-third of Europe’s population (1347-1351).  Then a renaissance that opened minds and expanded education for better and worst.   During which time (c. 1450), the movable type printing press was invented, the Reformation addressed needed changes in the Churches and States; and the Holy Scriptures were printed in the languages of the people (16th century).  And these followed by a period of exploration, colonization, wars and struggles for freedoms around the world.

1598: Edict of Nantes, signed by King Henry IV: translated in very brief part:

“Henri, by the Grace of God, King of France and Navarre, to all… after armed conflict and hostilities having ceased throughout the interior of the kingdom, we hope for equal success in what remains to be settled, and that by this means we shall attain to the establishment of a good peace… for which we have always hoped and prayed.  …we have received from many of our Catholic provinces and cities, that the exercise of the Catholic religion was not universally reestablished as is stipulated by the edicts hitherto made  for the pacification of troubles on account of religion; as well as supplications and remonstrances which have been made to up by our subjects of the so-called Reformed religion… in regard to what they wished to be added to these edicts for the practice of their religion, liberty of conscience, and the safety of their persons and property… (we do so) that that is please God, and (for) …His holy name and service, and to bring it about that He should be worshiped and adored by all our subjects… and that we and this kingdom may forever merit and preserve the tide of Most Christian… On this occasion, having recognized the affair as one of GREAT IMPORTANCE and worthy of the very greatest consideration, after receiving the collections of complaints of our Catholic subjects and having also permitted our subjects of the so-called Reformed religion to assemble by deputies and draw up their own… remonstrances… and having reviewed the preceding edicts (laws), we have thought it necessary, at this time, to give to all our subjects a general law on all this, clear and precise and absolute, by which they might be governed with regard to all such differences as have hitherto sprang up, or may hereafter arise…

First, that the memory of everything which has occurred between one side and the other since the beginning of the month of March 1585… shall remain extinct… as though they had never happened…

(2) We forbid all our subjects… from renewing memory of those things, attacking, resenting, injuring or provoking one another… We command that he Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic religion shall be reinstated and reestablished in all places …freely exercised without any disturbance or impediment…

(17) We forbid all preachers, readers, and others who speak in public from using any words, discourses, and terms tending to excite the people to sedition… (20) The so-called Reformed religion shall be required to keep and observe the feasts prescribed in the Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic Church and shall not work, sell or open their shops on those days…

(21) Books concerning the said so-called Reformed religion may not be printed and sold publicly except in the cities and places where the public exercise of the said religion is permitted…

(22) We order that there shall be no difference or distinction made with regard to the said religion in receiving students to be instructed in the universities, colleges and schools, as well as for the sick and poor in hospitals, sickhouses and public charities…

(23) Those of the so-called Reform religion shall be required to keep the laws of the Roman, Catholic and Apostolic Church received in this our kingdom with regard to …marriages…

1628: Petition of Right (a Constitutional document): To his Majesty by the lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this Parliament assembled, concerning divers Rights and Liberties of the Subjects… in the 25th year of the reign of King Edward III, it is declared… no person should be compelled to make any loans to the king against his will… III. And …’The Great Charter of the Liberties of England,’ it is declared and enacted, that no freeman may be taken or imprisoned or be disseized of his freehold or liberties… or exiled… but by the lawful judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land… IV. …due process of law.  …V. your subjects have been imprisoned without any cause… VI. (Quartering)…Soldiers have been dispersed… and the inhabitants against their wills have been compelled to receive them into their houses… X. no man be compelled to make or yield any gift, loan… tax… without common consent by act of parliament…” (Also stated no martial law during peacetime; this act would lead to Civil War in England, and to the deposing of Charles I in 1649)

1640-1646: The Root and Branch Petition was signed by approximately 15,000 subjects and presented to Parliament by a massive crowd of about 1,500.  In small part the petition stated: “To the Right Honourable the Commons House of Parliament.  The humble petition of many of his majesty’s subjects in and about the city of London, and several counties of the kingdom… Whereas the government of archbishops and lord bishops, deans and archdeacons… with their courts… have proved prejudicial and very dangerous both to the Church and Commonwealth… they have claimed their authority… and calling immediately from the Lord Jesus Christ, which is against the laws of this kingdom, and derogatory to his majesty… we … pray… that the said government (church episcopacy) with all its dependencies, roots and branches, be abolished, and all laws in their behalf void, and the government according to God’s word may be rightly placed amongst us; and we your humble suppliants, as in duty we are bound, will daily pray for his majesty’s long and happy reign over us… A particular of the manifold evils, pressures and grievances caused… the faint-heartedness of ministers to preach the truth of God… namely, the doctrine of predestination, of free grace, of perseverance, of original sin remaining after baptism… freewill against the Antichrist… all which are generally withheld from the people’s knowledge, because not relishing to the bishops.  …thrusting out of many congregations their faithful… great corruptions which are in the Universities… lascivious and unprofitable books and pamphlets, play-books… the publishing and venting of popish… books and tenets… namely, ‘That the Church of Rome is a true Church…’ the growth of popery and increase of papists, priests and Jesuits… the Liturgy …of the Romish rituals, mass-book… the great increase and frequency of whoredoms and adulteries… the pride and ambition of the prelates… the present wars and commotions happened between his majesty and his subjects of Scotland… we humbly refer to the consideration of this honourable assembly, desiring the Lord of heaven to direct you…”

Parliament did not pass the ‘root and branch bill,’ but did imprison 12 bishops and execute 1; and passed the Clergy Act of 1642 (Bishops Exclusion Act) and then in October 1646, Parliament passed an ordinance abolishing archbishops and bishops in England and Wales and for settling their properties.

1689: English Bill of Rights: “An Act Declaring the Rights of Liberties of the Subject… of the Crown.  Whereas the Lord Spiritual and Temporal and Common assembled at Westminster, lawfully, fully and freely representing all the estates of the people of this realm, did… in 1688 present unto their Majesties… William and Mary, prince and princess of Orange… whereas the late King James II, by the assistance of divers evil counsellors, judges and ministers employed by him, did endeavor to subvert and extirpate the Protestant religion and the laws and liberties of this kingdom… by suspending of laws and the execution of laws without the consent of Parliament… by levying money… by violating the freedom of election of members to serve in Parliament; by prosecutions… and excessive bail… and excessive fines have been imposed; and illegal and cruel punishments inflicted… all which are utterly and directly contrary to the known laws and statutes and freedom of this realm… Thereupon the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons… declare: That the pretended power of suspending the laws or the execution of laws by regal authority without consent of Parliament is illegal… that levying money… without grant of Parliament …is illegal; …that keeping a standing army within the kingdom in time of peace, unless it be with consent of Parliament, is against law; That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defense suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law; That the election of members of Parliament ought to be free; That the freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned… That excessive bail ought not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted; That jurors… ought to be freeholders…  (that) it pleased Almighty God… cause letters to be written to the Lords Spiritual and Temporal being Protestant, other letters to the several counties, cities, universities… in order to such an establishment as that their religion, laws and liberties might not again be in danger of being subverted…”

1689: Britain’s Act of Toleration: “Be it enacted by the King’s and Queen’s… with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and the Commons, in this present Parliament (Britain)… that (previous statutes) that required all those who did not have reasonable excuses to attend their parish church, chapel or other usual place where the common prayer is used…, nor any other law… made against papists… shall be construed to extend to any person or persons dissenting from the Church of England who shall take …these oaths… ‘ I do solemnly declare before God and the world, that I will be true and faithful to King William and Queen Mary; and …that no foreign prince, person, state… hath …any power …or authority ecclesiastical or spiritual within this realm.’  And… ‘I profess faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ His eternal Son, the true God, and in the Holy Spirit, one God blessed for evermore, and do acknowledge the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine inspiration’.”

These English Acts and constitutions directly influenced the acts of law in America.


First Colony: Virginia (1607)

April 10, 1606: First Virginia Charter: “James, by the Grace of God, King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith.  Whereas our loving and well-disposed Subjects… our People into that part of America commonly called VIRGINIA, and other parts and Territories in America… which are not now actually possessed by an Christian Prince or People… for the them speedy accomplishment of their …habitation …We, greatly commending and graciously accepting of, their Desires for the Furtherance of so noble a work, which may, by the Providence of Almighty God, hereafter tend to the Glory of his Divine Majesty, in propagating of Christian Religion to such People, as yet live in Darkness, and miserable ignorance of the true knowledge and Worship of God, and may in time bring the infidels and savages, living in those parts… to a settled and quiet Government… of the said Colonies…

May 23, 1609: Second Virginia Charter: “James… Whereas… VIRGINIA… called the First Collonie (Colony)… accomplishing so excellent a Work, much pleasing to God… confirm, to our trusty and well beloved Subjects, (names over 100 men of Virginia)… that they and their Successors… (can plant and) …by direction of the Governors …dig and search for all manner of Mines of Gold, silver… and all sorts of Minerals… ship… without paying subsidy, custom… or other tax or duty, to us, our heirs… And lastly, because the principal effect which we can desire or expect of this action in the conversion and reduccion of the people in those parts unto the true worship of God and Christian religion…”

June 12, 1776: Constitution of Virginia (June 29), Declaration (Bill) of Rights (June 12): Sec. 1: “That all men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety. Sec. 7: …all power of …laws… without consent of the representatives of the people, is injurious to their rights… Sec.8 …in all capital or criminal prosecutions a man has a right to demand the cause and nature of his accusation, to be confronted with eh accusers and witnesses, to call for evidence… and to a speedy trial by an impartial jury… Sec. 12: …freedom of the press is one of the great bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restained but by despotic governments. Sec. 13: …a well-regulated militia… Sec. 16: That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity toward each other…”

June 29, 1776: Whereas George the third, King of Great Britain… putting his negative on laws… denying his Governors permission to pass laws… dissolving legislative Assemblies… keeping …standing armies …quartering large bodies of armed troops among us: for cutting off our trade with all parts of the world: for imposing taxes on us without our consent: for depriving us of the benefits of trail by jury… the government of this country, as formerly exercised under the crown of Great Britain, is TOTALLY DISSOLVED.  We therefore, the delegates and representatives of the good people of Virginia… do ordain and declare the future form of government of Virginia… legislative, executive and judiciary… The General Assembly of Virginia… House of Delegates… two representatives …for each county … other shall be called the Senate… 24 members… a resident and freeholder …upwards of 25 years of age…”

(Convention met in Williamsburg form May 6 to July 5, 1776; elected Patrick Henry the first governor)

Second Colony: New York (1626)

In 1613, the Dutch established trading-posts on the Hudson River between the Connecticut and the Delaware Rivers, which they called New Netherlands, chartered in 1616, then the ‘Dutch West India Company’ chartered lands in 1621, all of which were taken, captured and or purchased by and for the British beginning in 1663 by the Duke of York, and including the treaty of Westminster in 1674.

1683: Charter of Liberties and Privileges (New York): “For the better establishing the Government of this province of New Yorke and that Justice and Right may be Equally done to all persons… by the Governour …and Representatives now in General Assembly… under his Majesty and Royall Highnesse James Duke of Yorke… in all cases of death… summons by writ… noe freeman shall be taken and imprisoned… but by the lawfull judgment of his peers and by the Law of this province… a widow after the death of her husband shall have her Dower… That Noe person or persons which professe ffaith in God by Jesus Christ shall at any time be any ways molested punished disquieted or called in Question for Difference in opinion or matter of Religious concernment… But that all and every such person… may from time to time and at all times freely have and fully enjoy his or their judgments or consciencyes in matters of Religion throughout all the province, they behaveing themselves peaceably and quietly and not using this Liberty to Lycentiousnesse nor to civill injury or outward disturbance of others… “

April 20, 1777: Constitution of New York: “Whereas the many tyrannical and oppressive usurpations of the King and Parliament of Great Britain on the rights and liberties of the people of the American colonies had reduced them to the necessity of introducing a government by congresses and committees… whereas the Continental Congress did resolve … (as) Delegates of the United American States… in the words following: ‘When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume… the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them… we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights… life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness… and whereas this convention, having taken this declaration into their most serious consideration, did, on the 9th day of July past, unanimously resolve that the reasons assigned by the Continental Congress for declaring the united colonies free and independent States… approve the same… and whereas laws inconsistent with the spirit of the constitution, or with the public good, may be hastily and unadvisedly passed: be it ordained, that the governor for the time being, the chancellor and the judges of the supreme court… shall assemble… when the legislative shall be convened… senate and house… that the members of the senate be elected for four years… governor three years…

XLII And this convention… ordain, determine and declare that …all …persons so to be by them naturalized, as being born in parts beyond sea, and out of the United States of America, shall come to settle in and become subjects of this State, shall take an oath of allegiance to this State, and …renounce all allegiance and subjection to all and every foreign king, prince… and State, in all matters, ecclesiastical as well as civil…”

Third Colony: Massachusetts (1629)

1620: Mayflower Compact (Massachusetts): “In the Name of God, Amen… Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the first Colony in the northern parts of Virginia; do …mutually, in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politick, for our better ordering and preservation, and furtherance… and do enact… acts, constitutions, and officers… for the general good of the Colony…”  (ship blew/sailed off course and landed north of Virginia)

1636: The Pilgrim Code of Law: “Whereas… in the 12th year of the reign of our sovereign lord Charles, by the grace of God, King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, etc., it was ordered that… at Plymouth… assembled …at Cape Cod 11th of November 1620 in the reign of …King James …established and granted …1629 …as freeborn subjects of the state of England, we hitter came endowed with all …privileges belonging to such… according to the free liberties of …England… (chose men for offices) …Oath of the Governor: …so help you God, who is the God of truth and punisher of falsehood.  The Oath of a Freeman: …promise and swear by the name of the great God of heaven and earth… The Oath of Assistants: …according to that measure of discerning and discretion God has given you… The Oath of a Constable: …according to the precedents of the law of England… as in wisdom God shall direct them.”

1642: Massachusetts (Education) Law of 1642: Forasmuch as the good education of children is of singular behoof and benefit to any Common-wealth; and whereas many parents & masters are too indulgent and negligent of their duty in that kinde.  It is …ordered that the Select men of everie town… shall have a vigilant eye over their brethren & neighbors… teach …to read the English tongue & knowledge of the Capital Lawes… Also that all masters of families doe once a week (at the least) catechize their children and servants in the grounds & principles of Religion… some short orthodox (traditional) catechism…”

1643: New England Articles of Confederation: “…the Government of the Massachusetts, the Plantations under the Government of New Plymouth… Government of Connecticut… and New Haven… 1. Whereas we all came into these parts of America with one and same end and aim, namely, to advance the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ and to enjoy the liberties of the Gospel in purity with peace; and whereas in our settling we are further dispersed upon the sea coasts and rivers than was at first intended… and whereas we live encompassed with people of several nations and strangle languages… We therefore do conceive it our bounden duty, without delay to enter into a present Consociation amongst ourselves, for mutual help and strength… by the name of the United Colonies of New England.  2. The said United Colonies …enter into a fire and perpetual league… for defense, mutual advice… preserving and propagating the truth and liberties of the Gospel and for their own mutual safety and welfare…”

1647: Law of 1647 or Old Satan Deluder Act: “It being one chief project of that old deluder, Satan, to keep men from the knowledge of the Scriptures… It is therefore ordered that every township in this jurisdiction, after the Lord hath increased them to fifty households shall forthwith appoint one within their town to teach all such children as shall resort to him to write and read… and …when any town shall increase to… 100 families or householders, they shall set up a grammar school…”

1780: Constitution of Massachusetts: “The end of the institution …and administration of government is to secure the existence of the body-politic, to protect it and to furnish the individuals who compose it with the power of  enjoying, in safety and tranquility, their natural rights and the blessings of life…  We, the people of Massachusetts… acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the goodness of the great Legislator of the universe (the Lord), in affording us, in the course of His providence, an opportunity… of entering into an original, explicit, and solemn compact with each other, and of forming a new constitution of civil government for ourselves and posterity; and devoutly imploring His direction in so interesting a design, do agree.. and frame …the commonwealth of Massachusetts…

Article I. All men are born free and equal, and have certain natural, essential, and unalienable rights; among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties… Art. II. It is the right as well as duty of all men in society, publicly and at the stated seasons, to worship the Supreme Being, the great Creator and Preserver of the universe.  And no subject shall be hurt, molested or restrained, in his person, liberty, or estate, for worshipping God in the manner and season most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience, or for his religious profession or sentiments, provided he doth not disturb the public peace or obstruct others in their religious worship.  Art. III. As the  happiness of a people and the good order and preservation of civil government essentially depend upon piety, religion and morality, and as these cannot be generally diffused through a community but by the institution of the public worship of God and the public instructions in piety, religion and morality: Therefore… the people of this commonwealth have a right to invest their legislature with power to authorize and require… the several towns, parishes… and other bodies-politic or religious societies to make suitable provision… for the institution of the public worship of God and for the support and maintenance of public Protestant teachers of piety, religion and morality…  Chapter VI. Oaths …form Offices… Art. I. Any person chosen governor… senator or representative… shall make …declaration: ‘…I believe the Christian religion…”

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1790 First United States Census: 13 original states (former colonies) + Vermont counted (1791 admitted)  Population: 3,929,326; including slaves.

Fourth Colony: Maryland (1633)

1639: Act for the Liberties of the People (Maryland): “Be it enacted …that all the Inhabitants of this Province being Christians (slaves excepted) shall have and enjoy all such rights liberties immunities privileges and free customs with this Province as any natural born subject of England hath or ought to have or enjoy in the Realm of England…”

1649: Maryland Toleration Act: “Forasmuch as in well governed and Christian Common Wealth matters concerning Religion and the honor of God ought in the first place to be taken, into serious consideration… Be it therefore ordered and enacted by …Lord Baron of Baltimore… and consent of this General Assembly: that whatsoever person… blaspheme God, that is Curse him, or deny our Saviour Jesus Christ to be the son of God, or shall deny the holy Trinity the Father, Son and holy Ghost, or the Godhead… shall be punished with death and confiscation or forfeiture of all his or her lands and goods… (no) persons (shall) in a reproachful manner (act toward)… Creeks… puritan, Independent, Prespiterian, papist, Lutheran, Calvenist, Anabaptist… Separatist… relating to matter of Religion…”

November 11, 1776: Constitution of Maryland: “The parliament of Great Britain… having assumed a right to make laws to bind the Colonies in all cases whatsoever, and …by force of arms, to subjugate the United Colonies to an unconditional submission to their will and power, and having …constrained them to declare themselves independent States, and to assume government under the authority of the people; Therefore we, the Delegates of Maryland, in free and all full Convention assembled… and declare.  1. That all government of right originates from the people… XII. …no tax …without the consent of the Legislature.  …XXVIII.  That no soldier ought to be quartered in any house, in time of peace, without the consent of the owner, and in time of war, in such manner only, as the Legislature shall direct…’

‘XXXIII. That, as it is the duty of every man to worship God in such manner as he thinks most acceptable to him; all persons, professing the Christian religion, are equally entitled to protection it their religious liberty, wherefore no person ought by any law to be molested in his person or estate on account of his religious persuasion or profession, or for his religious practice; unless, under colour of religion, any man shall disturb the good order, peace or safety of the State, or shall infringe the laws of morality, or injure others, in their natural, civil or religious rights; nor ought any person to be compelled to frequent or maintain, or contribute, unless on contract, to maintain any particular place of worship, or any particular ministry; yet the Legislature may, in their discretion, lay a general and equal tax for the support of the Christian religion; leaving to each individual the power of appointing the payment over the money, collected from him, to the support of any particular place of worship or minister, or for the benefit of the poor of his own denomination, or the poor in general of any particular country: but the churches, chapels, globes and all other property now belonging to the church of England, ought to remain to the church of England forever.  And all acts of Assembly, lately passes, for collecting monies for building or repairing particular churches or chapels… shall continue in force… unless the Legislature shall, by act… repeal the same… XXXV.  That no other text or qualification ought to be required, on admission to any office… than such oath of support and fidelity to this State, and …declaration of a belief in the Christian religion…”  LV. That every person, appointed to any office… take the following oath: ‘I… do swear, that I do not hold myself bound in allegiance to the King of Great Britain, and that I will be faithful, and bear true allegiance to the State of Maryland,’ and shall also subscribe a declaration to his belief in the Christian religion.”

Fifth Colony: Rhode Island (1636)

1638-1663: Rhode Island Plantation colony was formed by Roger Williams, William Coddington and about 18 others who had fled Massachusetts due to religious persecution.  In 1643, Providence and Rhode Island Plantations was united.  In 1663, they were granted a royal charter allowing them to have an Assembly, with a governor and representatives from the several towns.

1663: Rhode Island Charter: that a “Charles the Second, by the grace of God, King of England… to all… in New England, in America, that they, pursuing, with peaceable and loyall minces, their sober, serious and religious intentions… in the holie Christian ffaith and worship as they were persuaded… whereas, in their humble address, they have freely declared, that it is much on their hearts, to hold forth a livlie experiment, that a flourishing civill state may stand and best be maintained with full libertie in religious concernments; and that true pietye rightly grounded upon gospel principles, will give the best and greatest security…”

1686: Andros, Governor of New England, dissolved Rhode Islands’ charter.  Three years later, when William ascended to the throne of England, Andros was arrested, and the charter was restored.

According to the State of Rhode Island General Assembly (2019), “From 1663 to 1843 the people of Rhode Island were governed under a Royal Charter granted by King Charles II of England.  This was a remarkable document for its era since it created an amazingly liberal and democratic frame of government, far more so than the prevailing government of the mother country.   No doubt its framers and the first office holders under it would be astonished if anyone suggested to them that this parchment with its archaic language would be the basis of the government of the colony for over a hundred years, and then remain in force in the colony-turned-state for nearly seventy years more… However, as the middle of the 19th Century approached it became obvious that economic and demographic changes demanded a new governing constitution… The new …Constitution, much of it modeled on the Royal Charter, was adopted in 1843.”

1843 Constitution: “We, the people of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing upon our endeavors to secure and to transmit the same unimpaired to succeeding generations, do ordain and establish this constitution of government.  …Article 1. Sec. 3. Whereas Almighty God hath created the mind free; and all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burdens, or by civil incapacitations, tend to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness; and whereas a principal object of our venerable ancestors, in their immigration to this country and their settlement of this state, was, as they expressed it, to hold forth a lively experiment, that a flourishing civil state may stand and be best maintained with full liberty of religious concernments: We… declare that no man shall be compelled to frequent or to support any religious worship, place or ministry whatever, except to fulfillment of his own voluntary contract; nor enforced, restrained… or burdened… nor disqualified from holding any office… on account of his religious belief; and that every man shall be free to worship God according to the dictated of his own conscience…

Sixth Colony: Connecticut (1636)

1639: Fundamental Orders of Connecticut: “Forasmuch as it hath pleased the Almighty God… And well knowing where a people are gathered together the word of God requires that to mayntayne the peace and union of such a people there should be an orderly and decent Gouerment established according to God, to order and dispose of the affayres of the people… there shall be yerely (yearly) two generall Assemblies or Courts… April… September… election… magestrats and other publike officers… one to be chosen Gouernour for the yeare…  the Comonwelth… done by the whole boddy of Freemen: in wch Courte the Gouernour or Moderator shall haue power to order the Courte to give liberty of speech… Oath of the Gournor… ‘I… will mayntayne all lawfull priuiledges of this Comonwealth… according to the rule of Gods word; so helpe me God, in the name of the Lo: Jesus Christ.”

The Fundamental Orders have been called the first written constitution in America.

1662: Charter of 1662: Governor John Winthrop petitioned King Charles II for a charter authorizing two separate colonial governments: Connecticut and New Haven. It was obtained in 1662.  This would be the basis for their government until 1818:

“Charles the Second, by the grace of God, King of England… France… defender of the Faith; to all… now know yea, that in confederation thereof… of said colony is remote from other the English Plantacons (Plantations)… collony (colony) of Connecticut… in New England in America… Governor… new elected Officers… General Assembly… for the directing, ruling and disposing of all other matters and things whereby our said people, inhabitants there, may be so religiously, peaceably and civilly Governed…”

1818: Constitution of Connecticut (1818): “The people of Connecticut, acknowledging with gratitude the good providence of God, in having permitted them to enjoy a free government, do, in order more effectually to define, secure and perpetuate the liberties, rights and privileges which they have derived from their ancestors… ordain and establish the following Constitution and form of civil government… We Declare… Article 1. Section 1. That all men, when they form a social compact, are equal in rights… Sec. 3.  The exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination, shall forever be free to all persons in this State; provided, that the right hereby declared and established shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or to justify practices inconsistent with the peace of the State.  Sec. 4. No preference shall be given by law to any Christian sect or mode of worship… Sec. 6.  No law shall ever be passed to curtail or restrain the liberty of speech of the press… Sec. 10. No person shall be arrested …except in cases clearly warranted by law (due process).  … Sec. 19.  No soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner…’

“Article III.  Section 1. The Legislature power of this State shall be vested in two distinct Houses or branches: …Senate, the other The House of Representatives, and both together The General Assembly… Article VI. …Qualifications of Electors… Sec. 2. Every white male citizen of the United States who shall have gained a settlement in this State, attained the age of 21… freehold estate of …value seven dollars… or having been enrolled in the militia, shall have performed military duty therein for the term of 1 year… and shall sustain a good moral character… Article VII. Sec. 1. It being the duty of all men to worship the Supreme Being, the Great Creator and Preserver of the Universe, and their right to worship in the mode most consistent with the dictates of their conscience, no person shall by law be compelled to join or support, or be classed with or associated to any congregation, church or religious association.  But every person now belonging to such congregation, church or religious association, shall remain a member thereof until he shall have separated himself therefrom in the manner hereinafter provided.  And each and every society or denomination of Christians in this State shall have and enjoy the same and equal powers, rights and privileges, and shall have power and authority to support and maintain the ministers or teachers of their respective denominations, and to build and repair houses for public worship by a tax on the members of any such society only, to be laid by a major vote of the legal voters assembled at any society meeting, warned and held according to law… Sec. 2. If any person shall choose to separate himself from the society or denomination of Christians to which he may belong, and shall leave a written notice thereof with the clerk of such society, he shall thereupon be no longer liable for any future expenses which may be incurred by said society… Art. VIII. Sec. The charter of Yale College… passed in May 1792, is confirmed.  Sec. 2. The fund called the School fund shall remain a perpetual Fund…. to support… public or common schools …for the equal benefit of all the people…”

Seventh Colony: New Hampshire (1638)

1639: Agreement of the Settlers at Exeter: “Whereas it hath pleased the Lord to move the Heart of our dread Soverigns Charles by the Grace of God King to grant License and Libertye to sundry of his subjects to plant themselves in the Westerlie parts of America.  We his loyal Subjects Brethren of the Church in Exeter situate and lying upon the River Pascataqua with other inhabitants there, considering with ourselves the holy Will of God and o’er own Necessity that we should not live without wholesome Lawes and Civil Government among us of which we are altogether destitute; do in the name of Christ and in the sight of God combine ourselves together to erect and set up among us such Government as shall be to our best discerning agreeable to the Will of God professing ourselves Subjects to our Sovereign Lord King Charles and in His Name and fear to submit ourselves to such Godly and Christian Lawes as are established in the realm of England to our best Knowledge… according to God that we may live quietly and peaceably together in all godliness and honesty.  1639 as attests our Hands.”

1679: King Charles, by charter, separated New Hampshire from Massachusetts; though from 1699 to 1741, the governors of Massachusetts were commissioned as governors of New Hampshire.

1714: Act to Prevent the Destroying and Murdering of Bastard Children (after many cases of infanticide): “Whereas many lewd women that have been delivered of Bastard children, to avoid shame and escape punishment, do secretly bury or conceal the death of their children… shall suffer Death.”  (2 women were hung in 1739; no men admitted guilt and volunteered to be hung with them.  Between 1623 and 1800 about 29 women were executed for infanticide).   Also (1714) “Act to Prevent Disorders in the Night:” “Whereas great disorders… burglaries are oft times …in the night time by Indian, Negro and Molatto servants and slaves to the …hurt of her Majesty, No Indian, Negro or Molatto is to be from Home after 9 o’clock…”

1776: Constitution of New Hampshire: “In Congress at Exeter… voted this Congress take up Civil Government for this colony… the present unhappy… with Great Britain; Protesting and Declaring that we never sought to throw off our dependence upon Great Britain, but felt ourselves happy under her protection, while we could enjoy our constitutional rights and privileges… We Resolve…’

‘That no act or resolve shall be valid… unless …passed by both branches of the legislature… That all officers of the Army be appointed by the two houses, except they should direct otherwise…”

1784: Constitution of New Hampshire: “Part I.  The Bill of Rights; Article 1. All men are born equally free and independent; therefore, all government of right originates from the people, is founded in consent… II. All men have certain natural, essential and inherent rights… enjoying and defending life and liberty – acquiring, possessing and protecting property… IV. …Rights of Conscience.  V. Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship GOD according to the dictates of his own conscience, and reason; and no subject shall be hurt, molested or restrained in his person, liberty or estate for worshipping GOD, in the manner and season most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience, or for his religious profession… provided he doth not disturb the public peace or disturb others, in their religious worship.”  VI. As morality and piety, rightly grounded on evangelical principles, will give the best and greatest security to government, and will lay in the hearts of men the strongest obligations to due subjection; and as the knowledge of these, is most like to be propagated through a society by the institution of the public worship of the DEITY, and of public instruction in morality and religion; therefore, to promote those important purposes, the people of this state have a right to impower, and do hereby fully impower the legislature to authorize from time to time, the several towns… to make adequate provision at their own expense, for the support and maintenance of public Protestant teachers of piety, religion and morality…”

Eighth Colony: Delaware (1638)

1701: Charter of Delaware: “William Penn, Proprietary and Governor of the Province of Pennsylvania and Territories thereunto belonging…. Greeting.  Whereas King Charles the Second…. 1680 was graciously pleased to give and grant unto me… this Province of Pennsylvania… and Whereas the King’s dearest Brother, James, Duke of Yorke and Albany…. 1682, did grant unto me… Know Ye… BECAUSE no People can be truly happy, though under the greatest Enjoyment of Civil Liberties, if abridged of the Freedom of their Consciences, as to their Religious Profession and Worship: And Almighty God being the only Lord of Conscience, Father of Lights and Spirits; and the Author as well as Object of all divine Knowledge, Faith and Worship, who only doth enlighten the Minds, and persuade and convince the Understandings of People, I do hereby grant and declare, That no Person or Persons, inhabiting in this Province of Territories, who shall confess and acknowledge One Almighty God, the Creator, Upholder and Ruler of the World; and professes him or themselves obliged to live quietly under the Civil Government, shall be in any Case molested or prejudiced… because of his or their conscientious… or Practice, nor be compelled to frequent or maintain any religious Worship, Place or Ministry, contrary to his or their Mind… AND that all Persons who also profess to believe in Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the World, shall be capable to serve this Government in and Capacity, both legislatively and executively…”

1776: Constitution of Delaware: “…Article I. The government of the counties of New-Castle, Kent and Sussex, upon Delaware, shall hereafter in all public and other writings be called The Delaware State… Art.22. Every person who shall be chosen a member of either house, or appointed to any office… shall take the following oath…: ‘I …will bear true allegiance to the Delaware State, submit to its constitution and laws… And also make subscribe the following declaration, to wit: ‘I… do profess faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ His only Son, and in the Holy Ghost, one God, blessed for evermore, and I do acknowledge the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine inspiration.’

“Art.26. No person …from Africa ought to be held in slavery… and no negro, Indian or mulatto slave ought to be brought into this State, for sale, from any part of the world.”

Ninth Colony: North Carolina (1653)

1663: Charter of Carolina: “Charles the Second, by the grace of God, king of England… France… Defender of the Faith… being excited with a laudable and pious zeal for the propagation of the Christian faith, and the enlargement of our empire and dominions, have humbly besought leave of us… to transport and make an ample colony of our subjects, natives of our kingdom of England… in the parts of America not yet cultivated or planted, and only inhabited by some barbarous people, who have no knowledge of Almighty God… all that territory…  from the north end of …Lucke island, which lieth in the southern Virginia seas…  36 degrees of the northern latitude… and so southernly as far as …coast of Florida …within 31 degrees of northern latitude… 3d.  And furthermore, the patronage… of all the churches… which as Christian religion shall increase within the country… shall happen hereafter to be erected, together with license and power to build and found churches… consecrated according to the ecclesiastical laws of our kingdom of England, together with all …rights …privileges… liberties…”

1669: The Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina: “…95. No man shall be permitted to be a freeman of Carolina, or to have any estate or habitation within it, that doth not acknowledge that God is publicly and solemnly to be worshipped.   96.  As the country comes to be sufficiently planted… it shall belong to the parliament to take care for the building of churches, and the public maintenance of divines, to be employed in the exercise of religion, according to the Church of England; which being the only true and orthodox and the national religion of all the King’s dominions, is so also of Carolina… 97. But since the natives of that place… are utterly strangers to Christianity, whose idolatry, ignorance or mistake gives us no right to expel or use them ill; and those …from other parts to plant there will unavoidably be of different opinions concerning matters of religion, the liberty whereof they will expect to have allowed them… that civil peace may be maintained amidst diversity of opinions, and our agreement and compact will all men may be duly and faithfully observed; the violation …cannot be without great offence to Almighty God, and great scandal to the true religion which we profess; and also that Jews, heathens and other dissenters form the purity of Christian religion may not be scared and kept at a distance from it, but, by having an opportunity of acquainting themselves with the truth and reasonableness of its doctrines, and the peaceableness …of its professors, may, by good usage and persuasion… of the gospel, be won ever to embrace and unfeignedly receive the truth; therefore, any 7 or more persons agreeing in any religion, shall constitute a church or profession, to which they shall  give some name, to distinguish it…. 98.  The terms of admittance and communion with any church or profession shall be written in a book…. and kept by the public register of the precinct…  100. …shall be accounted a church or profession within these rules: 1st. ‘That there is a God.’ II. ‘That God is publicly to be worshipped.’  III. ‘That it is lawful and the duty of every man… to bear witness to truth; and that every church or profession shall, in their terms of communion, set down the external way whereby they witness a truth as in the presence of God, whether it be by laying hands on or kissing the bible, as in the Church of England, or by holding up the hand….”

1776: Constitution of North Carolina: “Bill of Rights: I. That all political power is vested in and derived from the people only… XII. That no freeman ought to be taken, imprisoned …or exiled or deprived of his life, liberty or property, but by the law of the land… Constitution…: XXXI. That no clergyman, or preacher of the gospels of any (Christian) denomination, shall be capable of being a member of either the Senate, House of Commons or Council of State, while he continues in the exercise of the pastoral function.  XXXII. That no person, who shall deny the being of God or the truth of the PROTESTANT Religion, or the divine authority either of the OLD or NEW TESTAMENTS, or who shall hold religious principles incompatible with the freedom and safety of the State, shall be capable of holding any office or place of trust or profit in the civil department within this State… XXXIV.  That there shall be no establishment of any one religious church or (Christian) denomination in this State, in preference to any other; neither shall any person… be compelled to attend any place of worship contrary to his own faith or judgment, nor be obliged to pay, for the purchase of any glebe (land, fields), or the building of any house of worship contrary to his own faith… all persons shall be at liberty to exercise their own mode of worship: provided, that nothing herein contained shall be construed to exempt preachers of treasonable …discourses…”


Tenth Colony: South Carolina (1663)

1670; 1710: In 1610, a permanent English settlement was established near what is now Charleston.  In 1710, the colony named after King Charles was divided into North Carolina and South Carolina.  (By 1720, African slaves outnumbered the white freeman.)

March 1776: Constitution of South Carolina: “Whereas the British Parliament, claiming of late years a right to bind the North American colonies by law in all cases whatsoever… without the consent and against the will of the colonists… And whereas the delegates of all the colonies on this continent, from Nova Scotia to Georgia, assembled in a general Congress at Philadelphia, in the most dutiful manner laid their complaints at the foot of the throne… and assured His Majesty that harmony between Great Britain and America… would be …restored… (yet) whereas these complaints being Only disregarded…  The congress… therefore resolve: I. That this congress being a full and free representation of the people of this colony, shall be… called the general assembly of South Carolina… XXXIII.  …oath …’so help me God.’

1778: Constitution of South Carolina: “Whereas the constitution ….1776, was temporary only, and suited to the situation of their public affairs at that period, looking forward to an accommodation with Great Britain, an event desired; and whereas the United Colonies of America have been since constituted independent States… it therefore becomes absolutely necessary to frame a constitution suitable to that great event… I. …the State of South Carolina.  II. That the legislative authority be vested in a general assembly… of two distinct bodies, a senate and house of representatives… III. That as soon as may be after the first meeting of the senate and house… they shall jointly in the house… choose by ballot …or from the people at large a governor… for two years, and a privy council, all of the PROTESTANT religion… XXI. And whereas the ministers of the gospel are by their profession dedicated to the service of God and the cure of souls, and ought not to be diverted from the great duties of their function, therefore no minister of the gospel or public preacher of any religious persuasion, while he continues in the exercise of his pastoral function, and for two years after, shall be eligible either as governor, lieutenant-governor, a member of the senate, house of representatives, or privy council in this State…’

“XXXVIII.  That all persons and religious societies who acknowledge that there is one God, and a future state of rewards and punishments, and that God is publicly to be worshipped, shall be freely tolerated. The Christian Protestant religion shall be deemed, and is hereby constituted and declared to be, the established religion of this State. That all denominations of Christian Protestants in this State, demeaning themselves peaceably and faithfully, shall enjoy equal religious and civil privileges. To accomplish this desirable purpose without injury to the religious property of those societies of Christians which are by law already incorporated for the purpose of religious worship, and to put it fully into the power of every other society of Christian Protestants, either already formed or hereafter to be formed, to obtain the like incorporation, it is hereby constituted, appointed, and declared that the respective societies of the Church of England that are already formed in this State for the purpose of religious worship shall still continue incorporate and hold the religious property now in their possession. And that whenever fifteen or more male persons, not under twenty-one years of age, professing the Christian Protestant religion, and agreeing to unite themselves In a society for the purposes of religious worship, they shall be, and be constituted a church, and be esteemed and regarded in law as of the established religion of the State, and on a petition to the legislature shall be entitled to be incorporated and to enjoy equal privileges. That every society of Christians so formed shall give themselves a name or denomination by which they shall be called and known in law, and all that associate with them for the purposes of worship shall be esteemed as belonging to the society so called. But that previous to the establishment and incorporation of the respective societies of every denomination as aforesaid, and in order to entitle them thereto, each society so petitioning shall have agreed to and subscribed in a book the following five articles, without which no agreement fir union of men upon presence of religion shall entitle them to be incorporated and esteemed as a church of the established religion of this State:

1st. That there is one eternal God, and a future state of rewards and punishments.

2d. That God is publicly to be worshipped.

3d. That the Christian religion is the true religion

4th. That the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are of divine inspiration and are the rule of faith and practice.

5th. That it is lawful, and the duty of every man being thereunto called by those that govern, to bear witness to the truth.

And that every inhabitant of this State, when called to make an appeal to God as a witness to truth, shall be permitted to do it in that way which is most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience. And that the people of this State may forever enjoy the right of electing their own pastors or clergy, and at the same time that the State may have sufficient security for the due discharge of the pastoral office, by those who shall be admitted to be clergymen, no person shall officiate as minister of any established church who shall not have been chosen by a majority of the society to which he shall minister, or by persons appointed by the said majority, to choose and procure a minister for them; nor until the minister so chosen and appointed shall have made and subscribed to the following declaration, over and above the aforesaid five articles, viz: “That he is determined by God’s grace out of the holy scriptures, to instruct the people committed to his charge, and to teach nothing as required of necessity to eternal salvation but that which he shall be persuaded may be concluded and proved from the scripture; that he will use both public and private admonitions, as well to the sick as to the whole within his cure, as need shall require and occasion shall be given, and that he will be diligent in prayers, and in reading of the same; that he will be diligent to frame and fashion his own self and his family according to the doctrine of Christ, and to make both himself and them, as much as in him lieth, wholesome examples and patterns to the flock of Christ; that he will maintain and set forwards, as much as he can, quietness, peace, and love among all people, and especially among those that are or shall be committed to lids charge. No person shall disturb or molest any religious assembly; nor shall use any reproachful, reviling, or abusive language against any church, that being the certain way of disturbing the peace, and of hindering the conversion of any to the truth, by engaging them in quarrels and animosities, to the hatred of the professors, and that profession which otherwise they might be brought to assent to. To person whatsoever shall speak anything in their religious assembly irreverently or seditiously of the government of this State. No person shall, by law, be obliged to pay towards the maintenance and support of a religious worship that he does not freely join in, or has not voluntarily engaged to support. But the churches, chapels, parsonages, globes, and all other property now belonging to any societies of the Church of England, or any other religious societies, shall remain and be secured to them forever. The poor shall be supported, and elections managed in the accustomed manner, until laws shall be provided to adjust those matters in the most equitable way…”

Eleventh Colony: New Jersey (1664)

1660: Dutch settlement of Bergen (Jersey City) was first permanent town in New Jersey.

1664: The Concession and Agreement of the Lords… of New Caesarea or New Jersey, to and with all and every the adventurers and all such as shall settle or plant there… we do consent and agree… that the Governor, Councellors, Assembly Men… and all other officers of trust, shall swear or subscribe that they will bear true allegiance to the King of England.. and that they will be faithful to the interest of the Lords Proprietors… and assigns, and endeavor the peace and welfare of the said Province… that all persons …shall become subjects of the King of England… that no person qualified… at any time shall be any ways molested, punished, disquieted or called in question for any difference in opinion or practice in matte of religious concernments, who do not actually disturb the civil peace… but that all and every such person and persons may from time to time, and at all times, freely and fully have an’ enjoy his and their judgments and consciences in’ masters of religion… to every free man … 90 acres… to every Christian servant to their own use… 60 acres land… for every weaker servant or slave… and every Christian servant… 45 acres…”

1676: The Charter or Fundamental Laws, of West New Jersey: “…Chapter XVI That no men… upon earth, hath power or authority to rule over men’s consciences in religious matters, therefore it is consented, agreed and ordained, that no person or persons whatsoever within the said Province, at any time… shall be any ways… called in question, or in the least punished or hurt, either in person, estate or privilege, for the sake of his opinion, judgment, faith or worship towards God in matters of religion…”

1681: Province of West New-Jersey, in America: “Forasmuch as it hath pleased God, to bring us into this Province… there shall be a General Free Assembly… and Governor…”

1683: The Fundamental Constitutions for the Province of East New Jersey in America: “…XVI. All persons living in the Province who confess and acknowledge the one Almighty and Eternal God, and holds themselves obliged in conscience to live peaceably and quietly in a civil society, shall in no way be molested or prejudged for their religious persuasions and exercise in matters of faith and worship; nor shall they be compelled to frequent and maintain any religious worship, place or ministry whatsoever: Yet it is also hereby provided, that no man shall be admitted a member of the great or common Council, or any other place of publick trust, who shall not profaith in Christ Jesus, and solemnly declare that he doth no ways hold himself obliged in conscience to endeavour alteration in the government, or seeks the turning out of any in it or their ruin or prejudice, either in person or estate, because they are in his opinion hereticks, or differ in their judgment from him: Nor by this article is it intended, that any under the notion of this liberty shall allow themselves to avow atheism, irreligiousness, or to practice cursing, swearing, drunkenness, prophaness, whoring, adultery, murdering or any kind of violence, or indulging themselves in stage plays, masks, revells or such like abuses; for restraining such and preserving of the people in deligence and in good order, the great Council is to make more particular laws, which are punctually to be put in execution… XX. That all marriages not forbidden in the law of God, shall be esteemed lawful, where the parents or guardians being first acquainted, the marriage is publickly intimated in such places and manner as is agreeable to mens different perswasions in religion, being afterwards still solemnized before creditable witnesses, by taking one another as husband and wife, and a certificate of the whole, under the parties and witnesses hands, being brought to the proper register for that end…”

1702: East and West Jersey united under one governor with two capitals. New Jersey traded European hands: In 1618, the Dutch built a fort at what is now Jersey City.   In 1626, the Dutch established a settlement in New Amsterdam and then Pavonia (1630).  In 1638, Sweden claimed portions of the territory.  Then in 1660 the Dutch built a settlement in Bergen.  In 1664, James, Duke of York, brother of the king, was granted New York colony by Charles II.   Then he gifted it to Lord John Berkeley and Sir George Carteret and England then took the land from the Netherlands/Dutch that same year.  The colony was subject to Proprietary Rule by the English from 1664 to 1702.

1702-1738:  In 1702 the proprietors of the colony turned it back to the crown. It was ruled as a royal colony and New Jersey was part of New York colony.  In 1738, as a result of the efforts of Lewis Morris, New Jersey gained its independence from New York; he became governor that year.  The last Royal governor of New Jersey was William Franklin, the son of Benjamin Franklin. The Continental Congress deposed him in 1776. The younger Franklin fled to Connecticut and then to England.

1776: Constitution of New Jersey: “Whereas all the constitutional authority ever possessed by the kings of Great Britain over these colonies… is dissolved…  XVIII. That no person shall ever, within this Colony, be deprived of the inestimable privilege of worshipping Almighty God in a manner, agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience; nor, under any presence whatever, be compelled to attend any place of worship, contrary to his own faith and judgment; nor shall any person, within this Colony, ever be obliged to pay tithes, taxes, or any other rates, for the purpose of building or repairing any other church or churches, place or places of worship, or for the maintenance of any minister or ministry, contrary to what he believes to be right, or has deliberately or voluntarily engaged himself to perform.

XIX. That there shall be no establishment of any one religious sect in this Province, in preference to another; and that no Protestant inhabitant of this Colony shall be denied the enjoyment of any civil right, merely on account of his religious principles; but that all persons, professing a belief in the faith of any Protestant sect. who shall demean themselves peaceably under the government, as hereby established, shall be capable of being elected into any office of profit or trust, or being a member of either branch of the Legislature, and shall fully and freely enjoy every privilege and immunity, enjoyed by others their fellow subjects…”


(1776 engraving of Pennsylvania State House – place of first Constitutional Convention)

Twelfth Colony: Pennsylvania (1682)

1681: In part William Penn, son of Admiral Sir William Penn, desiring a place for his Quaker religion in the New World where his “Friends” would be free from persecution, and in part because King Charles owed Penn £16,000 (loan from the Admiral), Penn received territory between Lord Baltimore’s province of Maryland and the Duke of York’s province of New York – signed by King 1681.   Nevertheless, by 1688, the colony had a Puritan governor, thought there were reports that many of the people were licentious and disruptive; and by 1701, Penn agreed to a new Charter of Privileges.

1682: Frame of Government: “When the great and wise God had made the world, of all his creatures, it pleased him to chuse (choose) man his Deputy to rule it… there was no need of coercive or compulsive means; the precept of divine love and truth… was the guide and keeper of his innocency.  But lust and his (man’s) disobedient posterity, that such as would not live comfortable to the holy law within, should fall under the reproof and correction of the just law without, in a Judicial administration.’

‘This the Apostle teaches in divers of his epistles: ‘The law (says he) was added because of transgression (Apostle Paul; Galatians 3:19; Holy Bible):’ In another place, ‘Knowing that the law was not made for the righteous man, but for the disobedient and ungodly, for sinners, for unholy and prophane, for murders… for them that defile themselves with mankind… for lyers… (I Tim. 1:9), but this is not all, he opens …the matter of government a little further: ‘Let every soul be subject to the higher powers (governing authorities in NASB; KJV uses higher powers); for there is no power but of God…  For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil… (Rom. 13:1-)… This settles the divine right of government… (which would not have been needed) had Adam never fell, and will continue among men… (until) the coming of the blessed Second Adam, the Lord from heaven… XXII. …the provincial Council… shall meet… if (day) …shall fall upon the first day of the week, commonly called the Lord’s Day, the business appointed for that day shall be deferred till the next day, unless in case of emergency…’

XXXV. That all persons living in this province, who confess and acknowledge the one Almighty and eternal God, to be the Creator, Upholder and Ruler of the world; and that hold themselves obliged in conscience to live peaceably and justly in civil society, shall, in no ways, be molested or prejudiced for their religious persuasion, or practice, in matters of faith and worship, nor shall they be compelled, at any time, to frequent or maintain any religious worship, place or ministry whatever.

XXXVI. That, according to the good example of the primitive Christians, and the case of the creation, every first day of the week, called the Lord’s day, people shall abstain from their common daily labour, that they may the better dispose themselves to worship God according to their understandings.

XXXVII. That as a careless and corrupt administration of justice draws the wrath of God upon magistrates, so the wildness and looseness of the people provoke the indignation of God against a country: therefore, that all such offences against God, as swearing, cursing, lying, prophane talking, drunkenness, drinking of healths, obscene words, incest, sodomy, rapes, whoredom, fornication, and other uncleanness (not to be repeated) all treasons, misprisions, murders, duels, felony, seditions, maims, forcible entries, and other violences, to the persons and estates of the inhabitants within this province; all prizes, stage-plays, cards, dice, May-games, gamesters, masques, revels, bull-battings, cock-fightings, bear-battings, and the like, which excite the people to rudeness, cruelty, looseness, and irreligion, shall be respectively discouraged, and severely punished, according to the appointment of the Governor and freemen in provincial Council and General Assembly; as also all proceedings contrary to these laws, that are not here made expressly penal…”

1701: Pennsylvania Charter of Privileges (pre-constitution): “Be it known to all, I, William Penn, do declare that all Freeman, Planters, and Adventures in this territory have the following liberties and privileges: Because no people can be truly happy without having civil liberties, the right of freedom of conscience to practice their religious beliefs is guaranteed provided that they believe in one almighty God.  They will not be made to do anything against their religious beliefs.  All persons who are Christians may serve in the government… all criminals shall have the right to call witnesses to testify at trials.  Because freedom of conscious is so important… these liberties will be held by the people forever.”

September 1776: Constitution of Pennsylvania: “Whereas all government ought to be instituted and supported for the security and protection of the community as such, and to enable the individuals who compose it to enjoy their natural rights, and the other blessings which the Author of existence has bestowed upon man… 1. That all men are born equally free and independent and have certain natural rights… enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.  II. That all men have a natural and unalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences and understanding: And that no man ought or of right can be compelled to attend any religious worship… contrary to or against his own free will and consent… XII. That the people have a right to freedom of speech, and of writing, and publishing their sentiments; therefore, the freedom of the press ought not to be restrained.  XII.  That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state…  XVI Sect. 7.  The house of representatives of the freemen… shall consist of persons most noted for wisdom and virtue, to be chosen by the freemen of every city… Sect. 10 …oath …I do swear or affirm that as a member of this assembly, I will not propose …any bill, vote …which shall appear injurious to the people… I do believe in one God, the creator and governor of the universe, the rewarder of the good and the punisher of the wicked.  And I do acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine inspiration…  Sec. 45.  Laws for the encouragement of virtue, and prevention of vice and immorality, shall be made and constantly kept in force… And all religious societies or bodies… united or incorporated for the advancement of religion or learning… shall be encouraged and protected in the enjoyment of the privileges, immunities and estates which they were accustomed to enjoy, or could of right have enjoyed, under the laws and former constitution of this state…”


Thirteenth Colony: Georgia (1732)

1732: Charter of Georgia: “George the second, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France and Ireland, king, defender of the faith… to all… greeting.  …whereas our provinces in North America, have been frequently ravaged by Indian enemies, more especially that of South-Carolina, which in the late War, by the neighboring savages, was laid waste with fire and sword and great numbers of English inhabitants, miserably massacred, and our loving subjects who now inhabit them, by reason of the smallness of their numbers, will in case of a new war, be exposed to the late calamities; inasmuch as their whole southern frontier continueth unsettled, and lieth open to the said savages. And whereas we think it highly becoming our crown and royal dignity, to protect all our loving subjects, be they ever so distant from us… we do grant… (land)…’

“…colony cannot but chiefly depend, next under the blessing of God, and the support of our royal authority…  Our will and pleasure is, that all and every person… who shall from time to time be chosen… (for an office) of the said corporation (colony)… into the said province of Georgia, to be there settled all such so many of our loving subjects, or any foreigners that are willing to become our subjects… (Britain will seek to supply those) willing to go to, inhabit or reside there, with sufficient shipping, armour, weapons, powder, shot… munition… merchandise and wares, as are esteemed by the wild people… furniture, cattle, horses… and all other things necessary for the said colony…”

1777: Constitution of Georgia: “Whereas the conduct of the legislature of Great Britain for many years past has been so oppressive on the people of America that of late years they have plainly declared and asserted a right to raise taxes upon the people of America, and to make laws to bind them in all cases whatsoever, without their consent; which conduct, being repugnant to the common rights of mankind, hath obliged the Americans, as freemen, to oppose such oppressive measures, and to assert the rights and privileges they are entitled to by the laws of nature and reason; and accordingly it hath been done by the general consent of all the people of the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, the counties of New Castle, Kent, and Sussex on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, given by their representatives met together in general Congress, in the city of Philadelphia;

And whereas it hath been recommended by the said Congress, on the fifteenth of May last, to the respective assemblies and conventions of the United States, where no government, sufficient to the exigencies of their affairs, hath been hitherto established, to adopt such government as may, in the opinion of the representatives of the people, best conduce to the happiness and safety of their constituents in particular and America in general;

And whereas the independence of the United States of America has been also declared, on the fourth day of July, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-six, by the said honorable Congress, and all political connection between them and the Crown of Great Britain is in consequence thereof dissolved: We, therefore, the representatives of the people… adopted for the future government of this State… Art. IV. …parishes… The parish of Saint Paul shall be …Richmond …Saint George shall be …Burke… Saint John, Andrew and James shall be …Liberty… St. Thomas and St. Mary… Camden… Art. XIV. …oath …’so help me God.’  …  ART. LVI. All persons whatever shall have the free exercise of their religion; provided it be not repugnant to the peace and safety of the State; and shall not, unless by consent, support any teacher or teachers except those of their own profession… LVII. …Motto: Deus nobis haec otia fecit (‘God has bestowed these blessings on us.’)…  ART. LXI. Freedom of the press and trial by jury to remain inviolate forever. ART. LXII. No clergyman of any denomination shall be allowed a seat in the legislature.

OTHER Important Documents

March 1, 1781: Articles of Confederation: “To all… we the undersigned Delegates of the States… send greeting.  Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between the states of New Hampshire, Massachusetts-bay Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. I. The Stile of this Confederacy shall be “The United States of America.”  II. Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence, and every …right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled. III. The said States… enter into a firm league of friendship… for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade or any other pretense whatever… V. Freedom of speech and debate in Congress shall not be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Congress… VI.  No State, without the consent of the United States in Congress assembled, shall send any embassy… or enter into any …agreement …with any King, Prince or State… VII. When land forces are raised by any State for the common defense, all officers of or under the rank of colonel, shall be appointed by the legislature of each State… VIII.  The taxes for paying (for armies, militia) …shall be laid and levied by the …legislatures of the several States… XI. Canada acceding to this confederation, and adjoining in the measures of the United States, shall be admitted into… this Union… XIII. witnessed…in the Year of our Lord 1778… Third Year of the independence of America… agreed to by Congress 15 November 1777 in force after ratification by Maryland 1 March 1781.”

Note: a. The Colonies declared their independence: 7/4/1776; b. The American War of Independence (American Revolutionary War: 4/19/1775 – 9/3/1783) was still raging on; c. the First Legislature/Congress of the United States would not meet until March 4, 1789; d. the Constitution and Bill of Rights would not be effective until 3/4/1789; e. Washington would not be president until 4/30/1789 (at that time Samuel Huntington, Gov. of CT, was the 7th President of the Continental Congress).

1689-90: John Locke published Two Treatises of Government, and An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690).  During the 1700s these works would be used in universities and influenced many of the drafters and signers of the Declaration of Independence and United States Constitution.  John Locke wrote, “All men by nature are equal in that equal right that every man hath to his natural freedom, without being subjected to the will or authority of any other man; being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions.”  Also: “…all government without the consent of the governed is the very definition of slavery.”

1707: The Parliaments of England and Scotland by Treaty signed the Acts of Union in which they agreed to be “United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain.”  The United Kingdom of Great Britain was replaced by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (Acts of Union 1800).

1748: France’s Baron de Montesquieu published The Spirit of the Laws (1748), in which he coined the term ‘trias politica’ or ‘separation of powers.’

Intent of the Fourteenth Amendment as published in the Congressional Record

THE ORIGINAL PURPOSE: To ensure constitutional protection of freedmen.  It was concerned with ‘citizenship,’ its definition and rights, with the political rights of voting and with property rights, all of which were subject to the will and laws of the individual states.  It was in NO WAY concerned with touching the FREE EXERCISE of RELIGION.

FIRST a bit of chronological history:

This amendment came after the 1833 Slavery Abolition Act by Britain, the July 1852 Fredrick Douglas speech (‘What to the Slave is the Fourth of July’), and the March 1857 Dred Scott Supreme Court case that declared that no African Americans could legally be a U.S. citizen.  January 1, 1863, during the Civil War, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation; and on December 13, 1865, after the end of the Civil War, Congress formed the Joint Committee on Reconstruction.

On December 18, 1865, the 13th Amendment was adopted, which made slavery illegal.  About that time the 15 members of the Joint Committee on Reconstruction began to discuss what would become the 14th amendment.  April 9, 1866 the Civil Rights Act was passed over President Andrew Johnson’s veto (he would be later impeached).   June 13, 1866, Congress passed the 14th Amendment, about 14 months after the April 9, 1865 surrender at Appomattox that ended the Civil War between the States.

The 14th amendment was first ratified by Connecticut June 25, 1866, by Tennessee that July 7 (first former Confederate State), then rejected by Delaware, February 7, 1867; and ratified next by Louisiana and South Carolina, July 9, 1868 and became part of the Constitution July 28, 1868, though it was not until March 1898 that the Supreme Court (Wong Kim Ark) ruled that everyone ‘born in the United States’ is a ‘citizen.’  And not until Brown v. Bd. of Education, May 17, 1954, that the Court overturned Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) and said that segregated schools violated the 14th Amendment; and not until Loving v. Virginia (1967) that state laws against interracial marriage were found unconstitutional; and it was not until 1976 that Kentucky and 2003 that Ohio ratified the 14th Amendment.

SECOND – Congressional Record and Intent in 1866: “Reconstruction:

May 30, 1866, by Senator Jacob Howard

Mr. Howard.  I now move to take up House joint resolution No. 127. The motion was agreed to; and the Senate… resumed the consideration… Section One… ‘all persons born in the United States…’ ….every person born within the limits of the United States… is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States.  This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens… families of ambassadors or foreign ministers… the section will read… (quotes amendment) …

Mr. Doolittle.  I presume the honorable Senator from Michigan does not intend by this amendment to include the Indians… I move… inserting… ‘excluding Indians not taxed.’

Mr. Howard. I hope that amendment to the amendment will not be adopted.  Indians born within the limits of the United States, and who maintain their tribal relations, are not, in the sense of this amendment, born subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.  They are… quasi foreign nations.

Mr.  Cowan. ‘…citizenship of the United States.’ What does it mean? What is it length…?  Is the child of the Chinese immigrant in California a citizen? Is the child of a Gypsy born in Pennsylvania a citizen? If so, what rights have they? Have they any more rights than a sojourner in the United States?  If a traveler comes here from Ethiopia, from Australia, or from Great Britain, he is entitled to a certain extent, to the protection of the laws.  You cannot murder him with impunity… He has a right to the protection of the laws; but he is not a citizen… the mere fact that a man is born in the country has not heretofore entitled him to the right to exercise political power.  He is not entitled… to be an elector… chosen by the people…

So far as the courts and the administration of the laws are concerned, I have supposed that every human being within their jurisdiction was in one sense of the word a ‘citizen,’ that is, a person entitled to protection; but in so far as the right to hold property… real estate… that was a subject entirely within the control of the States…”


Debates on the 14th Amendment by Congress centered entirely on the rights of citizens and freeman – especially the new freed black men and Asian workers and immigrants (as Senator Cowan said: “…the yellow race; the Mongol race.  They outnumber us largely… they may pour in their millions upon our Pacific Coast in a very short time.  Are the states to lose control over this immigration?  Is the United States to determine that they are to be citizens?” – 1866 Senate debates) – AND in no way on changing the First Amendment Free Exercise of Religion rights.

OR CONSIDER in the 400 pages of Congressional Debates on the 14th Amendment, which came under post-Civil War “Reconstruction,” and lasted for months, which were centered on “the civil rights” of “freedmen” relating to repealing “test oaths” and things that restricted the rights of voting and holding property and even the free exercise of religion and establishing churches by the newly freed black slaves.

These debates NEVER discuss limiting the Free Exercise of Religion.

1776 Letter to Pres. John Hancock (referred to Jefferson, Franklin, Adams) from col. James Wilson: They assure “the Hessians (mercenaries)” that if they “quit that iniquitous service” for the British, as “foreigners who shall leave the armies of his Britannic majesty” would receive 50 acres of land and a guarantee of protection in the “Free Exercise of their Religion and civil liberties.”  And hundred years later these religious protections (and primarily to the CHRISTIAN religion) were more so ‘guaranteed’ to all “citizens of the United States.”


Part Two provides history, primarily of laws from the time of William the Conqueror 1066 to the Constitution of the United States.

The purpose is to show how the founders knew of and were influenced by laws, literature works and events of the past.

Timeline of Historical Events and Laws 1066 to 1776















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