Wednesday, November 16, 2011

1930 Article in Yale Law Journal Proves America is a Christian Nation

In 1930 the prestigious Yale Law Journal published a pioneering article by B.H. Hartogensis entitled, "Denial of Equal Rights to Religious Minorities and Non-Believers in The United States."

The article complains about all the ways federal, state, and local governments acknowledge Christianity, and demands that we become a secular [atheistic] nation.

By advocating such change back in 1930, the Yale Law Journal admits what the U.S. Supreme Court declared in 1892: That the United States is a Christian nation.

Perhaps the title of this post should be, "1930 Article in Yale Law Journal Proves America Was a Christian Nation." It certainly isn't any more. We've been deceived by the myth of "Separation of Church and State,"
which really means the separation of God and Government,
which is the claim that Government need not be "under God,"
which is the claim that Government can rightfully rebel against God,
which is really the claim that the Government is God.

While illustrative, this article is not a "smoking gun." By the time the Law School at the University of Colorado published an article entitled, "The Legal Enforcement of Morality" by Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner in 1967, the revolution was already well completed. Some suggest that the revolution began in 1923, with the founding of the American Law Institute, which began purging criminal codes of any Christian influence. Others would go back to 1870, when Christopher Columbus Langdell was appointed by Harvard Law School to replace "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" with a more "scientific" (Darwinian) approach to legal education. Others would even go back to the Constitution itself.

But if we can change from being a Christian nation into an atheistic nation, we can change back. Or forward, to Christian anarcho-capitalism. Rome wasn't built in a day, but it can collapse about that fast.


Doug Indeap said...

Separation of church and state is a bedrock principle of our Constitution much like the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances. In the Constitution, the founders did not simply say in so many words that there should be separation of powers and checks and balances; rather, they actually separated the powers of government among three branches and established checks and balances. Similarly, they did not merely say there should be separation of church and state; rather, they actually separated them by (1) establishing a secular government on the power of the people (not a deity), (2) saying nothing to connect that government to god(s) or religion, (3) saying nothing to give that government power over matters of god(s) or religion, and (4), indeed, saying nothing substantive about god(s) or religion at all except in a provision precluding any religious test for public office. Given the norms of the day, the founders' avoidance of any expression in the Constitution suggesting that the government is somehow based on any religious belief was quite a remarkable and plainly intentional choice. They later buttressed this separation of government and religion with the First Amendment, which constrains the government from undertaking to establish religion or prohibit individuals from freely exercising their religions. The basic principle, thus, rests on much more than just the First Amendment.

Kevin Craig said...

Thanks very much for your comment. I used to believe pretty much what you believe. It's the standard message we get in public schools and the mainstream media.

I think the idea that the Framers created a God-free government is a complete myth. I recommend reading Original Intent by David Barton. It's like believing there are no human beings or human action in Singapore, and then actually visiting the place.

Because of space limitations in the comments, I have responded to your comment here:

Reply to Doug Indeap

Doug Indeap said...

I see from your extensive response that you have drunk deeply from David Barton's well.

You might more usefully and justifiably direct your claims of educational malpractice at him and undertake the difficult task of "unlearning" his teachings. As revealed by the meticulous analysis of Chris Rodda and many others, zealotry more than fact shapes his work, which is riddled with shoddy scholarship and downright dishonesty. See Chris Rodda, Liars for Jesus: The Religious Right's Alternate Version of American History (2006) (available free on line; Rodda presents Barton's claims, reviews the evidence and explanations he offers, and then shines a bright light on the evidence omitted, misinterpreted, or even made up by Barton, all with documentation and references so complete one can readily assess the facts for one's self without the need to take either Barton's or Rodda's word for it. The irony is that, by knowingly resorting to lies, this would-be champion of a religious right version of history reveals his fears that the real facts fall short of making his case.

Much of your response is predicated on profound misunderstandings of what I said and what the courts have ruled. For example, contrary to your apparent supposition, the Constitution's separation of government and religion does not, in the least, conflict with the fact that, at the time of the founding, the several states had established religions of one sort or another. Indeed, some founders were motivated to separate the federal government from religion in order to preserve the states' purview over such matters. That changed when the 14th Amendment guaranteed individual rights against infringement by states, including equal protection and due process of law and the rights and privileges of citizenship, and the Supreme Court ruled that among the rights so protected are freedom of religion and freedom from government established religion. While the founders drafted the First Amendment to constrain the federal government, they certainly understood that later amendments, e.g., the 14th, could extend that Amendment's constraints to state and local governments.

Moreover, you seem to read much more into the term "secular" than I meant in using it. I used the term in the sense that the founders established the federal government on the power of "We the People," not on god(s), gave that government no powers or duties with respect to religion or god(s), and adopted other measures to assure that that government did not stray into matters of religion or god(s), i.e., the no-religious-test clause and the First Amendment.

Wake Forest University recently published a short, objective Q&A primer on the current law of separation of church and state–as applied by the courts rather than as caricatured in the blogosphere. I commend it to you.

Kevin Craig said...

Thanks for your courteous, intelligent, and well-written comment. My response is here:

Second Response to Doug Indeap