Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Strozewski on "Separation of Church and State"

The Springfield News-Leader has published a letter by Michael Strozewski entitled "USA not founded on Christianity."

Strozewski, it should be noted, also appears to believe in "global warming." But the modern myth of "separation of church and state" might be true even if someone who also believed in the Easter Bunny believed in it, so let's look at Strozewski's letter.

He opens by saying,

The government of the United States of America is not, in any sense founded on the Christian religion.

Not "in any sense?" What could lead someone who has evidently lived most of his life in this country to say such things? As we'll see, Strozewski is merely repeating a rumor started by an ex-clergyman who apostatized and ground his anti-Christian ax until the day he died. Overlooked by those who repeat this obviously false claim is the fact that "the organic law" of this nation -- the essential founding charters -- are all Christian, and the Framers of the Constitution, following Biblical examples, declared a day of prayer and thanksgiving for the new Constitution. Read about that here. Also ignored is the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court (the highest judicial body in the nation) declared that America is "a Christian nation." Read the Court's unanimous opinion here. It's a mini-history lesson for those who are victims of educational malpractice at the hands of secular government schools.

Why would any adult in the 21st century say that America "is not, in any sense founded on the Christian religion"? Ignorance of the facts, or the desire to deceive.

Strozewski continues:

The U.S Constitution serves as the law of the land for America. The Constitution is a secular document and government derives from people (not god) as it clearly states in the preamble. "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union..."

There is nothing in the Preamble (or anywhere else in the Constitution) that says government is NOT derived from God. The Framers of the Constitution believed that the very institution of civil government itself was ordained by God. They believed that the idea of "consent of the governed" was taught in the Bible as a model for governments today.

The Constitution is NOT a "Secular Document." Every state that ratified the Constitution was a Christian Theocracy. Technically, a nation "under God" is a Theocracy. America was a libertarian Christian Theocracy. It needs to go back to its roots, and become more libertarian and more Christian. Not less.

The omission of god in the Constitution was not because of forgetfulness but rather the Founding Fathers' purposeful intention to keep government separate from religion. This is also the intent of the First Amendment of the Constitution. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..."

God was not left out, as the Framers made clear by setting aside a day of prayer and thanksgiving to God for the new Constitution, as we saw above. The President has 10 days to veto a bill, "Sunday excepted." (Article 1, Section 7, Clauses 2 and 3) Why was Sunday excepted? Ask Jefferson. Although he was in France when the Constitution was hammered out, in 1778, after drafting the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson drafted "A Bill for Proportioning Crimes and Punishments," which specified,

Whenever sentence of death shall have been pronounced against any person for treason or murder, execution shall be done on the next day but one after such sentence, unless it be Sunday, and then on the Monday following.

For hundreds of years, the common law has discharged persons arrested on Sunday (Holiday v. Pitt), and no state which ratified the Constitution would have believed that the federal constitution was being given power to negate the provisions of the Vermont Constitution of 1786, Ch. 1, Art. 3, which read,

all men have a natural and unalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences and understandings, as in their opinion shall be regulated by the word of God; and that no man ought, or of right can be compelled to attend any religious worship, or erect or support any place of worship, or maintain any minister, contrary to the dictates of his conscience; nor can any man be justly deprived or abridged of any civil right as a citizen, on account of his religious sentiments, or peculiar mode of religious worship; and that no authority can, or ought to be vested in, or assumed by any power whatsoever, that shall in any case interfere with, or in any manner control the rights of conscience, in the free exercise of religious worship: Nevertheless, every sect or denomination of Christians ought to observe the Sabbath or Lord's day, and keep up some sort of religious worship, which to them shall seem most agreeable to the revealed will of God.

Finally, in contrast to the French Revolution, which tried to do away with Sunday and the seven-day week ordained in the Bible, the Constitution acknowledges that it was framed "in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven." B. H. Hartogensis, writing in the Yale Law Journal, vol. 39, pp. 659-681, agrees that "'Year of our Lord,' as used in official documents and attestations, particularizes the calendar of the Christians." As if we needed a law professor to tell us something so obvious.

But since we obviously do, here's another one:

The framers resisted the temptation often encountered by architects of new orders and indeed, the course adopted in the French revolutionary constitution, which was to institute a wholly new calendar dated not from the birth of Christ but from the revolutionary moment. The new French calendar commenced with the "autumnal equinox, the day after their republic was proclaimed."[note omitted] The French, of course, went much further in stripping the public calendar of religious holy day; the Christian Sabbath, for example, was abolished and replaced by a festival every tenth day.[n.o.]

The constitutional mention of the lordship of Jesus Christ . . . was ascribed great significance by selected nineteenth-century commentators. In this slight but solemn reference, [Jaspar] Adams . . . concluded, "the people of the United States professed themselves to be a Christian nation."[n.o] Elaborating on this point, Adams argued that the word "our" preceding "Lord" "refers back to the commencing words of the Constitution; to wit, 'We the people of the United States.'"

[I]f the Constitution was deliberately secular or hostile to traditional religion, the reference to Jesus Christ could have been avoided. [The Framers] could have just as easily omitted the reference to Christ in the dating clause. It cannot be denied, therefore, that the date denotes that Christ was, perhaps subconsciously, a reference point for the architects of an ambitious new order. [note 183: In response to those who dismiss the assertion that this clause is a "persuasive argument for the Constitution's Christian character," one commentator has asked what would the "discerning scholar" say "if the clause had read: 'Done . . . in the year of Baal (or Astarte, or Buddha, or Reason, or any other false god) . . .'?" Such language, no doubt, would provoke a "commentary on the nature and implications of the religious-philosophy signified by the clause."]

[Daniel Dreisbach, writing in the Baylor Law Review, vol.48, p.927]

Not one single person who drafted, debated, or ratified the U.S. Constitution thought of it as a "secular" constitution, a constitution "separate" from God rather than "under God," a constitution which empowered the federal government to remove the Ten Commandments from public view, or prohibited the federal government from endorsing or promoting Christianity.

Strozewski continues:

Thomas Jefferson made an interpretation of the First Amendment in his Jan. 1, 1802, letter to the Committee of the Danbury Baptist Association calling it a "wall of separation between church and state." Unlike most governments in the past the Founding Fathers set up a government divorced from any religion!

It's true that the Baptists did not want a government wedded to the Presbyterian church, and the Presbyterians did not want a government wedded to the Anglican church, but, again, not a single Signer wanted a government that denied, ignored, or was "divorced" from Christianity in general.

The logic of Strozewski's position (and that of the ACLU) is that local public school teachers should be prohibited by the federal government from teaching students that the Declaration of Independence is really true:

• that the existence of God is a "self-evident truth"
• that our rights are the product of intelligent design (not the government)
• that all Americans are obligated to conform their lives to "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God"
• that our actions must one day pass judgment with "the Supreme Judge of the world"
• that all Americans should have "a firm reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence."

Public school students can be taught that a bunch of dead white males used to believe these and other things in the Declaration of Independence were really true, but students in government-run schools cannot be taught that the Declaration of Independence is really true regardless of what anyone else believes. Was it really the original intent of the Framers of the Constitution to give the federal government power to prohibit local schools from teaching these ideas?

There is a little known, but legal document written in the late 1700s that revels the secular nature of the U.S. government. Officially called the "Treaty of peace and friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and subjects of Tripoli, of Barbary", most refer to it as simply the Treaty of Tripoli. In Article 11 it states: "As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense, founded on the Christian religion..."

The reason this document -- and this phrase in particular -- is "little known," is that the phrase was inserted into some -- but not all -- copies of the treaty by a disgruntled apostate clergyman. The phrase was promptly removed by Congress the very next time the treaty was re-negotiated. It's dead meat. Quoting this phrase is like citing the Dred Scott decision to prove that America still believes blacks are non-persons -- except that while it is sad that many Americans once believed that blacks were not persons, nobody ever believed that America was "not in any sense" founded on the Christian religion, and only the tiniest fringe minority might have wished it so. The claim is either ignorant or disingenuous, and desperate in either case. People who know the facts know the statement is obviously not true. America was, in some sense, founded on the Christian religion. Not Judaism, not Islam, not Buddhism, and not atheistic secularism. Christianity is what made America the most prosperous and most admired nation in history.

If religionists better understood the concept of separation of church and state they would realize that the wall of separation actually protects their religion.

That was the original intent behind the phrase -- to protect religion from the government, not to protect government from "the Lord and Ruler of nations" -- but religion is protected only in a Christian nation. Christianity certainly has not been protected during the last few decades, as the religion of Secular Humanism has gained ascendancy.

Keeping religion separated allows everybody to practice their belief system, regardless how ridiculous they may seem without government intervention!

As a radical libertarian, I oppose all government intervention. As a Christian, I support truth in the teaching of history. I don't think Strozewski can make both of those claims.

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