US Constitution Series 4: Church, State, and Religion in American Life

Dinner Topics for Tuesday

The Founders’ Basic Principles: 28 Great Ideas that changed the world

From The 5,000 Year Leap—A Miracle that Changed the World

By W. Cleon Skousen

US Constitution Series 4: Church, State, and Religion in American Life

Principle #4

christianchurchWithout religion the government of a free people cannot be maintained.

Many Americans fail to realize that the Founders felt the role of religion would be as important in our own day as it was in theirs. In 1787, the very year the Constitution was written and approved by Congress, that same Congress passed the famous Northwest Ordinance. In it they emphasized the essential need to teach religion and morality in the schools. (Skousen, p. 75)

In it, they stated that formal education was to include among its responsibilities the teaching of three important subjects:

1. Religion, which might be defined as a “fundamental system of beliefs concerning man’s origin and relationship to the cosmic universe as well as his relationship with his fellowmen.”

2. Morality, which may be described as “a standard of behavior distinguishing right from wrong.”

3. Knowledge, which is “an intellectual awareness and understanding of established facts relating to any field of human experience or inquiry (i.e., history, geography, science, etc.).”

How to Teach your family about Church and State

George Washington

“Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion …Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail to the exclusion of religious principle.

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, relgion and morality are indispensable supports …Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?”

Washington issued this solemn warning because in Franc, shortly before he wrote his Farewell Address (1796), the promoters of atheism and amorality had seized control and turned the French Revolution into a shocking blood bath of wild excesses and violence. Washington obviously never wanted anything like that to happen in the United States. Therefore he had said: “In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness [religion and morality].” (Skousen, p.79)

225px-BenFranklin2Benjamin Franklin

Here is my creed: I believe in one God, the Creator of the universe. That he governs it by his providence. That he ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable service we render to him is in doing good to his other  children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental points in all sound religion.

The “Fundamental Points” to Be Taught in the Schools

The five points of fundamental religious belief expressed or implied in Franklin’s statement are these:

1. There exists a Creator who made all things, and mankind should recognize and worship Him.

2. The Creator has revealed a moral code of behavior for happy living shich distinguishes right from wrong.

3. The Creator holds mankind responsible for the way they treat each other.

4. All mankind live beyond this life.

5. In the next life mankind are judged for their conduct in this one.

All five of these tenets run through practically all of the Founders’ writings. These are the beliefs which the Founders sometimes referred to as the “religion of America,” and they felt these fundamentals were so important in providing “good government and the happiness of mankind” that they wanted them taught in the public schools along with morality and knowledge. (Skousen, p.78)

In fact, the Founders had taken the five truths we have already identified as ”religion” and had built the whole Constitutional framework on top of them. (Skousen, p.92)

Thomas_Jefferson_by_Rembrandt_Peale,_1800Thomas Jefferson

Special provision has been made by one of the amendments to the Constitution, which expressly declares that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”, thereby guarding in the same sentence, and under the same words, the freedom of religion, of speech, and of the press, insomuch that whatever violates either throws down the sanctuary which covers the others; and that libels, falsehood, and defamation, equally with heresy and false religions, are withheld from the cognizance of federal tribunals.

The Federal “Wall” Between Church and State

In a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association dated January 1, 1802, [Jefferson] explained his position and said the Constitution had created “a wall of separation between church and state.”

In recent years the Supreme Court has undertaken to use this metaphor as an excuse for meddling in the religious issues arising within the various states. It has not only presumed to take jurisdiction in these disputes, but has actually forced the states to take the same hands-off position toward religious matters even thought his restriction originally applied only to the federal government.

justice gavelNOTE: In its 1963 ruling, the Supreme Court in actuality did not take a hands-off position. Instead, it established atheism as the national religion. (Atheism, as a system of beliefs, qualifies as a religion.) Today, the preferred religion in schools is Islam, while Christianity continues to be banned, even persecuted. The Supreme Court violated the clause in the US Constitution which forbids the federal government from both “establishing” religion and “prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Because of this national decree by the Supreme Court, the states are failing to protect religious freedom on the state level. Hence, the rampant atheist and Islamic indoctrination in the state schools. ~C.A. Davidson

This obvious distortion of the original intent of Jefferson (when he used the metaphor of a “wall” separating church and state) becomes entirely apparent when the statements and actions of Jefferson are examined in their historical context. (Skousen, p.89-90)

Jefferson and Madison were anxious that the states intervene in religious matters so as to provide for equality among all religions, and that all churches or religions assigned preferential treatment should be disestablished from such preferment. They further joined with the other Founders in expressing an anxiety that ALL religions be encouraged in order to promote the moral fiber and religious tone of the people. This, of course, would be impossible if there were an impenetrable “wall” between church and state on the state level.

Jefferson’s “wall” was obviously intended only for the federal government, and the Supreme Court application of this metaphor to the states has come under severe criticism. (Dallin Oaks, ed., The Wall Between Church and State, 1963, 99.2-3)

Alexis de Tocqueville

He emphasized the fact that this religious undergirding of the political structure was a common denominator of moral teachings in different denominations and not the political pressure of some national church hierarchy.

                De Tocqueville Describes the Role of Religion in the Schools

De Tocqueville found that the schools, especially in New England, incorporated the basic tenets of religion right along with history and political science in order to prepare the student for adult life.

                De Tocqueville Describes the Role of the American Clergy

After noting that all the clergy seemed anxious to maintain “separation of church and state,” he nevertheless observed that collectively they had a great influence on the morals and customs of public life.

In America, he noted, the clergy remained politically separated from the government but nevertheless provided a moral stability among the people which permitted the government to prosper. In other words, there was separation of church and state but no separation of state and religion. (Skousen, p. 82-83)

Why the Founders Wanted the Federal Government Excluded from All Problems Relating to Religion and Churches

The Supreme Court has stated on numerous occasions that to most people freedom of religion is the most precious of all the unalienable rights next to life itself. When the United States was founded, there were many Americans who were not enjoying freedom of religion to the fullest possible extent. At least seven of the states had officially established religions or denominations at the time the Constitution was adopted.

Under these circumstances the Founders felt it would have been catastrophic …if the federal government had tried to establish a national policy on religion or disestablish the denominations which the states had adopted. Nevertheless, the Founders who were examining this problem were anxious to eventually see complete freedom of all faiths and an equality of all relations, both Christian and non-Christian. (Skousen, p.86)

Principle 3: Virtuous and Moral Leaders



Truth Zone: Constitution OK with Immigration Tests on Religion

Truth Zone:

Constitution OK with Immigration Tests on Religion

Breitbart News

Andrew C. McCarthy, Senior Fellow at National Review and former Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, writes in National Review that Donald Trump’s proposed temporary ban on Muslim immigration is not unconstitutional. McCarthy notes that “properly vetting would-be immigrants’ religious beliefs is not only legal — it would be wise and prudent.”

“Dead Wrong”

Claim is Heedless of Islamic doctrinal roots on which  Jihadists base their anti-Americanism

muslims-pray-islamOf all the ignorant pronouncements in the 2016 presidential campaign, the dumbest may be that the Constitution forbids a “religious test” in the vetting of immigrants. Monotonously repeated in political speeches and talking-head blather, this claim is heedless of the Islamic doctrinal roots on which foreign-born Islamists and the jihadists they breed base their anti-Americanism. It is also dead wrong.

The clause said to be the source of this drivel is found in Article VI. As you’ll no doubt be shocked to learn, it has utterly nothing to do with immigration. The clause states, “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States” (emphasis added). On its face, the provision is not only inapplicable to immigrants at large, let alone aliens who would like to be immigrants; it does not even apply to the general public. It is strictly limited to public officials — specifically to their fitness to serve in government positions.

impeach4constThis is equally clear from the clause’s context. Right before the “no religious Test” directive, Article VI decrees that elected and appointed officials “shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution[.]” An oath of office customarily requires the official to “solemnly swear” that he or she will support and defend the Constitution, “so help me God.” (See, e.g., the oath prescribed by federal law.) The Framers tacked on the “no religious test” clause to clarify that the mandate of a solemn oath before taking office did not mean fidelity to a particular religious creed was required. The same principle informs the First Amendment’s prohibition on the establishment of a state religion.

This is as it should be. The Constitution prescribes very few qualifications for even the highest offices because its purpose is to promote liberty, which vitally includes the freedom to elect whomever we choose, to vote our own private consciences.

The principal check on public officials is the ballot box, not the law’s minimalist requirements.

voter placing ballotAs voters, we have the right to weigh a candidate’s religious beliefs as a significant part of the total package. We have done so from the Republic’s founding — and to this day, virtually all candidates take pains to wear their faith, however nominal, on their sleeves. When the loathsome Jeremiah Wright fleetingly became an issue in the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama did not thunder, “Under the Constitution, you must not inquire into my religious beliefs!” He threw the Rev under the bus. When it comes to choosing those who will represent us, we do not limit ourselves by intrusive laws, but we reserve the right to bring to bear any consideration, including religion, that we deem relevant.

McCarthy: ‘Constitution Does Not Bar Religious Tests in Immigration Law’

Evolution, Creation, and Atheist Religion

Dinner Topics for Tuesday

Is atheism a religion?

White House Petition to Ban Creationism Gathering Steam

justice gavelDefinition:

Courts have ruled that atheism is a religion since it is a set of beliefs. When will it be treated with the same level with the separation clause that liberals like to misuse? Religion is a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects.

And the courts have ruled atheism is a religion:

Check it out: A White House petition to ban the teaching of creationism and Intelligent Design in American classrooms has garnered 23,715 signatures in one week. “Both of these so-called ‘theories’ have no basis in scientific fact, and have absolutely zero evidence pointing towards these conjectures. These types of loopholes in our education are partially to blame for our dangerously low student performances in math and science,” reads the petition created by someone listed as A.J. of Vienna, Virginia. “Therefore, we petition the Obama Administration to ban the teachings of these conjectures that contradict Evolution.” The petition must receive 100,000 signatures by July 15 to guaranteed a response by the Obama Administration.

EvolutionVsGod-340x149Movie—Evolution vs. God

“The problem with those who are unable to see evolution, I think, is they don’t have imaginations,” she said in Comfort’s new video, “Evolution vs. God.”

Comfort’s earlier projects have included “Nothing Created Everything,” “You Can Lead an Atheist to Evidence, But You Can’t Make Him Think,” “Evolution: A Fairy Tale for Grownups,” and “Intelligent Design vs. Evolution,” his views are neither undefined nor hidden.

“Evolution vs God,” a 38-minute video, now is available for download online, and Comfort plans to make it widely available in a few weeks on DVD.

More about video here

Traditions, Unique Gifts, and Symbolism

Dinner Topics for Friday

nativityclipartAs you revel in the gifts of this season, it’s powerful to remember the first gifts given long ago.Though He was born in a lowly stable, with no crib for his bed, wise men had been watching for the signs of his birth, eager to worship and bring him their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. One might ask, “Why these gifts? What was their significance?”Please enjoy this gift from me, a video “The Three Gifts” to learn more about their importance and symbolism, for with these gifts, all the gifts of Christmas began.

Gold. Chemical Element Au, atomic #79 The symbol of Au is from the Latin: Aurum, which means “Shining Dawn”. Gold is the most malleable and ductile of all metals. A single ounce of gold can be beaten into a sheet of 300 square feet. Gold is the most universal monetary valuable. Most of the Earth’s gold lies at it’s core, because of it’s high density most of it sank there in the planet’s youth.Gold was an honorable gift to give to Kings. The wise men were displaying their recognition to Christ as the true rightful heir to the throne instead of King Herod. Gold would have given the means to Joseph and Mary to flee from Herod and buy a home and settle their family.

Frankincense  Frankincense essential oil comes from Oman Jordan where it has grown indigenously for centuries. It’s steam distilled from the gum or resin of the tree.  Around 3,000 BC Frankincense was more valuable than gold and was referred to at times as “liquid gold”. Frankincense was often given to kings and was considered one of the most sacred and special gifts anyone could receive. Second only to Myrrh, it is the most referenced oil in the Bible. Frankincense was burned in Jewish temples as incense and symbolized a mediator or a path to carry prayers to heaven. It has been burned in Catholic churches for centuries and still is today. Egyptian tradition considered Frankincense to be the “cure all.” In one of the oldest medical documents dating back to 1500 BC, Frankincense oil is recorded for the treatment of disease and illness. Anciently only royalty or the extremely wealthy had access to Frankincense. At the time of Christ’s birth, Frankincense was associated with both Heaven and God.Today, studies have found frankincense to be therapeutic for asthma, bronchitis, depression, inflammation, ulcers, skin ailments, and even cancer. This oil may help with aging, allergies, bites (insect and snake), bronchitis, carbuncles, catarrh, colds, diarrhea, diphtheria, gonorrhea, headaches, healing, hemorrhaging, herpes, high blood pressure, jaundice, laryngitis, meningitis, nervous conditions, prostate problems, pneumonia, respiratory problems, sciatic paoin, sores, spiritual awareness, staph, strep, stress, syphilis, T.B., tension, tonsillitis, typhoid and wounds. It contains sesquiterpenes, enabling it to go beyond the blood-brain barrier. It may also help oxygenate the pineal and pituitary glands. It increases the activity of leukocytes, defending the body against infection. Frankincense may also help a person have a better attitude, which may help to strengthen the immune system. The primary body systems affected by Frankincense are: Emotional Balance, Immune and Nervous Systems and the Skin.The Aromatic influence of Frankincense may help to focus energy, minimize distractions, and improve concentration. It may ease Hyperactivity, impatience, irritability, and restlesseness and can help enhance spiritual awareness and mediatation.Frankincense oil is in general approved by the FDA (21CFR172.510) for use as a food additive. Dilute one drop of oil in 1 tsp. of honey or in 4 oz of beverage. Not for use by children under 6-years-old, and use with caution and in greater dilution for children 6-years old and over.

Myrrh. Myrrh essential oil is also steam distilled from the gum or resin of the tree.  Myrrh is an oil associated with mortality, perhaps an odd gift to give at birth because of its association with death and embalming. However, Myrrh was also used for many healing purposes. From birth, Myrrh was used as an antiseptic on umbilical chords to avoid infections. Myrrh was also associated with mothers and is very useful in healing for the skin and could heal scars and stretch marks. Myrrh was found in the Balm of Gilead and was used for pain, suffering, wounds, bruises, and cuts.Myrrh was also extremely valuable. It’s estimated that the value of myrrh used on Christ’s feet by the sinful woman was equivalent of an average year’s salary, around $1,500. Perhaps this is why Jesus was advised to use the money that could be obtained by selling the oil to give to the poor.  Joseph of Arimathea spent between $150,000 and $200,000 on Myrrh to embalm Christ at his death, literally a small fortune.Myrrh is also an analgesic, or dulls pain. It was mixed with wine to dull Christ’s pain on the Cross, but he denied this remedy. Some believe that the crown of thorns he bore was made from myrrh tree branches, notorious for their long thorns. At the time of Christ’s birth, myrrh was associated with mortality and mothers.Myrrh oil has been traditionally used and may help with bronchitis, diarrhea, dysentrery, hyperthyroidism, stretch marks, thrush, ulcers, vaginal thrush, viral hepatitis. It may also help increase appetite, asthma, athlete’s foot, candida, catarrh (mucus), coughs, eczema, digestion, dyspepsia (impaired digestion), flatulence (gas), fungal infection, gingivitis, hemorrhoids, mouth ulcers, decongesting the prostate gland, ringworm, sore throats, skin conditions (chapped, cracked, and inflamed), wounds, and wrinkles. Myrrh particularly affects the hormonal, immune, nervous systems, and the skin of the body. The Aromatic influence of Myrrh may help to promote awareness and can be uplifting.Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh were presented to Christ as a child. Their symbolism and healing potential is as strong and potent as it was during the time of Christ.