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Supremes reverse secular extremist course, protect cross! ^ | July 5, 2006 | Michael Gaynor

Posted on 07/06/2006 10:27:11 AM PDT by Tailgunner Joe

"The highest story of the American Revolution is this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity." "The general principles, on which the Fathers achieved independence, were . . . the general principles of Christianity." So said (and thought) Founder and President John Adams.

There must be absolute separation of church and state. The portrait of Jesus near the principal's office in a West Virginia public high school, the Mount Soledad Cross on public property in California and the Ten Commandments monument on the Texas capitol grounds must be removed immediately. Nondenominational prayer in a public school must be banned. "[U]nder God" must be dropped from "The Pledge of Allegiance" and "In God We Trust" from America's coin and currency. And, of course, Laus Deo (Latin for Praise God), which appears at the top of the Washington Monument, must be at least covered (even though Washington praised God). So say (or think) the secular extremists.

The Mount Soledad Cross case affords the current United States Supreme Court the opportunity to return to the religion-friendly constitutional path that the Court abandoned in 1947, in Everson v. Board of Education, by gratuitously declaring: "The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach."

Justice Antonin Scalia, in a footnote to his compelling dissent in McCreary County v. American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky (June 27, 2005), the infamous Kentucky Ten Commandments case, not only lamented the insidious effect of Everson, but exposed and lambasted it as specious and the "evidence" on which it purportedly was based as "a bill of goods": "The fountainhead of this jurisprudence, Everson v. Board of Ed. of Ewing, based its dictum that '[n]either a state nor the Federal Government . . . can pass laws which . . . aid all religions,' 330 U.S., at 15, on a review of historical evidence that focused on the debate leading up to the passage of the Virginia Bill for Religious Liberty, see id., at 11–13. A prominent commentator of the time remarked (after a thorough review of the evidence himself) that it appeared the Court had been 'sold . . . a bill of goods.' Corwin, The Supreme Court as National School Board, 14 Law & Contemp. Prob. 3, 16 (1949)."

The first George W. would be shocked that an affronted atheist would find judicial support for his campaign to remove the Mount Soledad Cross from public property and surprised that more than a miniscule number of people would conceive of the presence of the Mount Soledad Cross on public property would be an unconstitutional establishment of religion.

Washington wanted a national cathedral! In 1791, Congress selected the site to be the capital of the United States. Washington, previously President of the Constitutional Convention and then President of the United States, commissioned Pierre L'Enfant to design an overall plan for the future seat of government. That plan included a church "intended for national purposes, such as public prayer, thanksgiving, funeral orations, etc., and assigned to the special use of no particular Sect of denomination, but equally open to all." The Founders and Framers favored governmental neutrality among denominations, but they never expected government to be barred from supporting religion generally to please a tiny Godless minority and for secular extremists to succeed in imposing a de facto constitutional amendment imposing neutrality between religion and irreligion on government and banning governmental support for religion generally under the guise of judicial interpretation more than 150 years after the First Amendment was adopted.

Alexander Hamilton, a signer of the Constitution, author of 51 of the 85 Federalist Papers making the case for ratifying the Constitution and Washington's Secretary of the Treasury, not only described the Constitution in 1787 as "a system which without the finger of God, never could have been suggested and agreed upon by such a diversity of interests," but also emphasized the relationship between Christianity and the Constitution and the need to respect the Constitution's prescribed amendment procedure:

"In my opinion, the present Constitution is the standard to which we are to cling. Under its banner bona fide must we combat our political foes, reflecting all changes but through the channel itself provided for amendments. By these general views of the subject have my reflections been guided.

"I now offer you the outline of the plan they have suggested. Let an association be formed to be denominated 'The Christian Constitutional Society,' its object to be First: The support of the Christian religion. Second: The support of the United States."

The "separation of church and state" phrase, now so familiar and misunderstood, was used by Thomas Jefferson in an exchange of private letters with the Baptist Association of Danbury, Connecticut, shortly after he became President.

The people who rejected the notion of a divine right of kings and revolted against the rule of King George III in order to establish a nation based on these "self-evident" "truths": "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 — that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...."

Thomas Jefferson wrote those words as well as the "separation of church and state phrase." In understanding what he meant by the phrase, it is necessary to appreciate that when he wrote it in Great Britain (from which America had revolted) church and state were not separated (the King being both head of state and head of the state church) and America had ratified a Constitution and a Bill of Rights that rejected both theocracy and secular extremist and embraced secular moderation (no religious test for federal office, no national church and no federal interference with free exercise of religion).

In 1803, Jefferson called on Congress to approve a treaty with the Kaskaskia Indians that provided for the United States to pay a Catholic missionary priest $100 a year. It was not an oversight. Jefferson later recommended two other Indian treaties with similar provisions. Jefferson also extended three times a pre-Constitution act that had designated lands "[f]or the sole use of Christian Indians and the Moravian Brethen missionaries for civilizing the Indians and promoting Christianity."

When Jefferson wrote to the Baptist Association, he gave assurance that they could worship in their church free from any interference from the national government. He envisioned a wall with a door through which churchgoers could pass to go to church, where they would be safe from governmental interference with their religious opinions (but not necessarily every act prompted by religious opinion), or from church to the public square, where they could freely exercise their religion as well as their freedoms of speech and press. He never said that religious people could not proceed to the public square and there acknowledge God and advocate public policy consistent with their religious beliefs. The people who wrote and ratified the Constitution and the First Amendment expected religious values to inform public policy and their federal government to acknowledge God with humble gratitude instead of to suddenly refrain out of even greater respect for atheist "sensibilities" and to treat America's religious-based national holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) as unconstitutional establishments of religion or pretend that thanks is not supposed to be given to God and Christmas is a purely secular holiday without any religious significance).

President Jefferson would not be affronted by the Mount Sodedad Cross being on public property. He had no intention of absolutely prohibiting any religious display on federal government property or of allowing the government to limit, restrict, regulate, or interfere with public religious practices. As President, he road to the Capitol (on horseback) to attend religious services at which the minister used the podium of the Speaker of the House of Representatives (and his successor, President James Madison did the same, except he road by carriage. The notion that the Mount Soledad Cross must be removed from public property because it constitutes an unconstitutional establishment of religion would not have seemed constitutional to them. They believed in freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. Jefferson noted in a letter to Noah Webster in 1790. freedom of religion is a "fence[] which experience has proved peculiarly efficacious against wrong...." Unfortunately, he switched from the fence to the wall metaphor when he wrote to the Baptist Association and 146 years later, the United States Supreme Court swallowed the secular extremism spin whole.

Like America's other Founders, Jefferson would be distressed that the First Amendment's establishment clause has been monstrously enlarged at the expense of its free exercise clause. In a letter to fellow Founder Benjamin Rush written on September 23, 1800 (before his correspondence with the Baptist Association), Jefferson indicated that America was a Christian nation but no "particular form of Christianity" was to be established: "[T]he clause of the Constitution which, while it secured the freedom of the press, covered also the freedom of religion, had given to the clergy a very favorite hope of obtaining an establishment of a particular form of Christianity through the United States; and as every sect believes its own form the true one, every one perhaps hoped for his own, but especially the Episcopalians and Congregationalists. The returning good sense of our country threatens abortion to their hopes and they believe that any portion of power confided to me will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly." Jefferson, Writings, Vol. III, p. 441.

Jefferson doubted the divinity of Jesus, but did not doubt the existence of God and he considered himself a Christian. He believed that God, not government, was the source of rights and government must not interference with those rights. He did not opine that agnosticism should be America's national religion, or that government could not acknowledge God and support religion generally.

The "fence" of Jefferson's Webster letter and the "wall" of his Baptist Association letter were not supposed to limit religious activities in public, but to limit the power of the government to prohibit or interfere with those expressions of religion.

The notion that in America a religious person is must leave his or her religious values behind when he or she enters the public arena is an unAmerican one.

America was founded as a Christian nation, although that is anathema to secular extremists and they try mightily to rewrite history.

Virginia's Patrick Henry ("Give me liberty or give me death") put it this way: "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was Christians...on the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

John Jay, a Federalist Papers author and America's first Chief Justice, described America as a Christian nation: "Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers. And it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest, of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."

President John Quincy Adams: "The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were.... the general principles of Christianity."

Noah Webster: "The religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His Apostles.... This is genuine Christianity and to this we owe our free constitutions of government."

President Andrew Jackson: "The Bible is the Rock on which this Republic rests."

America's greatest chief justice, John Marshall, proclaimed in 1833 (more than forty years after the First Amendment was adopted): "The American population is entirely Christian, and with us Christianity and Religion are identified. It would be strange indeed, if with such a people, our institutions did not presuppose Christianity, and did not often refer to it, and exhibit relations to it." Marshall's statement was not literally true, of course; Americans were not even then entirely Christian. But Marshall's point was that Americans were a people of faith whose jurisprudence reflected Christian belief and their government should recognize it.


Massachusetts Constitution; First Part, Article II (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..."

Massachusetts Constitution; First Part, Article II (1780) "The governor shall be chosen annually; and no person shall be eligible to this office, unless...he shall declare himself to be of the Christian religion."

Massachusetts Constitution; Chapter VI, Article I (1780) "[All persons elected to State office or to the Legislature must] make and subscribe the following declaration, viz. 'I,_____, do declare, that I believe the Christian religion, and have firm persuasion of its truth..'.."

Pennsylvania Constitution; Declaration of Rights II (1776) "...Nor can any man, who acknowledges the being of a God, be justly deprived or abridged to any civil right as a citizen, on account of his religious sentiments or peculiar mode of religious worship."

Pennsylvania Constitution; Frame of Government, Section 10 (1776) "And each member [of the legislature]...shall make and subscribe the following declaration, viz.: 'I do believe in one God, the creator and governor of the universe, the rewarder to 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.'"

Pennsylvania Constitution; Article IX, Section 4 (1790) "that no person, who acknowledges the being of a God, and a future state of rewards and punishments, shall, on account of his religious sentiments, be disqualified to hold any office or place of trust or profit under this commonwealth."

South Carolina Constitution; Article XXXVIII (1778) "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 be the established religion of this State."

Vermont Constitution; Frame of Government, Section 9 (1777) "And each member [of the legislature],...shall make and subscribe the following declaration, viz.: 'I do believe in one god, the Creator and Governor of the universe, the rewarder of the good and punisher of the wicked. And I do acknowledge the scriptures of the old and new testament to be given by divine inspiration, and own and profess the protestant religion.'"

On July 4, 1837, the 61st anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, President John Quincey Adams, showed that he too expected religious values to inform public policy and religious expression to be welcome in the public square:

"Why is it that, next to the birthday of the Savior of the World, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day.

"Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the Progress of the Gospel dispensation?

"Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer's mission upon earth?

"That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity and gave to the world the first irrevocable pledge of the fulfillment of the prophecies announced directly from Heaven at the birth of the Savior and predicted by the greatest of the Hebrew prophets 600 years before."

Thomas Cooley, America's leading legal commentator during the second half of the nineteenth century, in Constitutional Limitations, stated that recognition of God and general support for religion were governmental prerogatives: "[T]he American constitutions contain no provisions which prohibit the authorities from such solemn recognition of a superintending Providence in public transactions and exercises as the general religious sentiment of mankind inspires. . . . Whatever may be the shades of religious belief, all must acknowledge the fitness of recognizing in important human affairs the superintending care and control of the Great Governor of the Universe, and of acknowledging with thanksgiving his boundless favors, or bowing in contrition when visited with the penalties of his broken laws."

In Holy Trinity Church v. United States, 143 U.S. 457 (1892), the United States Supreme Court described America as "a Christian nation": "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."

The decision did not draw a single dissent, and the so-called tension between the two religious clauses of the First Amendment was dismissed as contrived:

The First Amendment was intended to protect the private right of conscience, but not to be used as a sword instead of a shield.

"The attempt by the rulers of a nation to destroy all religious opinion and to pervert a whole people to atheism is a phenomenon of profligacy. To establish atheism on the ruins of Christianity is to deprive mankind of its best consolations and most animating hopes and to make a gloomy desert of the universe." (emphasis added). So said Hamilton.

Unfortunately, secular extremism remains a plague. Fortunately, the United States Supreme Court is bound to support the Constitution, not its prior bad decisions. Hopefully, it will do so and thereby make excellent use of the Mount Soledad case to reverse its egregious Everson error.

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: christianheritage; churchandstate; scotus
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1 posted on 07/06/2006 10:27:16 AM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
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To: Hildy; doodlelady; SoCalPol; CyberAnt; Tailgunner Joe


2 posted on 07/06/2006 10:29:32 AM PDT by onyx (Deport the trolls --- send them back to DU)
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To: Tailgunner Joe
The title is misleading. It gives the impression that the SCOTUS has ruled in favor of retaining the cross. The article is a historical recitation, devoid of any information on a ruling in this case.
3 posted on 07/06/2006 10:34:26 AM PDT by Myrddin
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To: Tailgunner Joe
When Jefferson wrote to the Baptist Association, he gave assurance that they could worship in their church free from any interference from the national government

That's a complete misinterpretation of the correspondence between Jefferson & the Danbury Baptists.

4 posted on 07/06/2006 10:39:31 AM PDT by gdani
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To: gdani

Explain please.

5 posted on 07/06/2006 10:41:16 AM PDT by traderrob6
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To: Myrddin

I believe the title is intended to be a plea rather than a statement of fact.

6 posted on 07/06/2006 10:44:53 AM PDT by traderrob6
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To: gdani

If you read his original draft,then the interpretation stated above does seem to fit.

Original draft:

Just because he left certain things out of his final draft, doesn't mean the original sentiment wasn't intended.

Final draft:

7 posted on 07/06/2006 10:49:56 AM PDT by Bigh4u2 (Denial is the first requirement to be a liberal)
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To: traderrob6
Explain please

The Danbury Baptists were concerned their religious liberty would be infringed upon by state govt officials who did not share their faith.

While problems were few for the DBs, they also recognized this could change at any point because there were no state laws protecting their religion.

So they wrote Jefferson asking if the federal constitution/Bill of Rights might provide them the formal protections they sought. Jefferson told them "no" as the Bill of Rights (at that point) did not apply to the states.

Unfortunately, over the decades, the letter from the DBs to TJ and the letter to them from TJ has been used to claim all kinds of things that aren't true. However, actually reading both of the letters goes a long way towards understanding their meaning.

8 posted on 07/06/2006 10:51:29 AM PDT by gdani
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To: Tailgunner Joe


9 posted on 07/06/2006 11:02:55 AM PDT by LiteKeeper (Beware the secularization of America; the Islamization of Eurabia)
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To: TexasGreg; GarySpFc

Ping, post #7

10 posted on 07/06/2006 11:06:03 AM PDT by GarySpFc (Jesus on Immigration, John 10:1)
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To: Tailgunner Joe

IMO if one believes the precedent -that the Constitution is a written instrument .As such it's meaning does not alter.That which it meant when it was adopted it means now."
South Carolina v. the United States,199 U.S.437,448(1905)
or "the values of the Framers of the Constitution must be
applied in any case construeing the Constitution.Inferences from the text and history of the Constitution should be given great weight in determining the intentions of those who ratified the Constitution.The precedental value of
cases and commentators tends to increase, therefore in proportion to thei rproximity to the adoption of the Constitution, the Bill of rights, and any other amendments.
Powell v. McCormack395 Us.486,547 (1969)And if one considers
the Judicairy COmmittee reports of 19,Jan.1853(Mr Badger for the Senate Judiciary Committee on the Establishment Clause and Establisment of Religion) and corresponding report in the US House of Representives on same subject 27 March ,1854 (Mr Meacham for the House report) Both legal
and Congressional utterances agree with the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ,Circuit Court Judge Suhrheinrich, Dec.2005 "The repeated reference to the Separation of Church and State ...(by the ACLU) ... has grown tiresome.The
first Amendment does not demand a wall of separation between church and State." a decisionupheld by the entire Court-shortly thereafter.

11 posted on 07/06/2006 11:10:36 AM PDT by StonyBurk
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To: traderrob6
As a former resident of San Diego, I want to see the cross remain. The atheists have wasted so much time and taxpayer resources to wage their petty little effort in the courts. Too bad that we don't have a favorable ruling yet.
12 posted on 07/06/2006 12:06:22 PM PDT by Myrddin
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To: gdani; traderrob6
The Mythical "Wall of Separation": How a Misused Metaphor Changed Church–State Law . . .

Jefferson was inaugurated the third President of the United States on March 4, 1801, following one of the most bitterly contested elections in history. His religion, or the alleged lack thereof, was a critical issue in the campaign. His Federalist Party foes vilified him as an infidel and atheist. The campaign rhetoric was so vitriolic that, when news of Jefferson’s election swept across the country, housewives in New England were seen burying family Bibles in their gardens or hiding them in wells because they expected the Holy Scriptures to be confiscated and burned by the new Administration in Washington. (These fears resonated with Americans who had received alarming reports of the French Revolution, which Jefferson was said to support, and the widespread desecration of religious sanctuaries and symbols in France.)

One pocket of support for the Jeffersonian Republicans in Federalist New England existed among the Baptists. At the dawn of the 19th century, Jefferson’s Federalist opponents, led by John Adams, dominated New England politics, and the Congregationalist church was legally established in Massachusetts and Connecticut. The Baptists, who supported Jefferson, were outsiders—a beleaguered religious and political minority in a region where a Congregationalist–Federalist axis dominated political life.

On New Year’s Day, 1802, President Jefferson penned a missive to the Baptist Association of Danbury, Connecticut. The Baptists had written the President a “fan” letter in October 1801, congratulating him on his election to the “chief Magistracy in the United States.” They celebrated Jefferson’s zealous advocacy for religious liberty and chastised those who had criticized him “as an enemy of religion[,] Law & good order because he will not, dares not assume the prerogative of Jehovah and make Laws to govern the Kingdom of Christ.”

In a carefully crafted reply, Jefferson endorsed the persecuted Baptists’ aspirations for religious liberty : Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, 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 & State.[3]

Although today Jefferson’s Danbury letter is thought of as a principled statement on the prudential and constitutional relationship between church and state, it was in fact a political statement written to reassure pious Baptist constituents that Jefferson was indeed a friend of religion and to strike back at the Federalist–Congregationalist establishment in Connecticut for shamelessly vilifying him as an infidel and atheist in the recent campaign. James H. Hutson of the Library of Congress has concluded that the President “regarded his reply to the Danbury Baptists as a political letter, not as a dispassionate theoretical pronouncement on the relations between government and religion.”

13 posted on 07/06/2006 12:31:09 PM PDT by DJ MacWoW (If you think you know what's coming next....You don't know Jack.)
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To: MHGinTN; Coleus; nickcarraway; narses; Mr. Silverback; Canticle_of_Deborah; ...
"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was Christians...on the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

--Patrick Henry

Pro-Life...of the Republic PING

Please FreepMail me if you want on or off my Pro-Life Ping List.

14 posted on 07/06/2006 3:18:28 PM PDT by (It cannot be emphasized too strongly that this great nation was Christians)
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To: 2ndMostConservativeBrdMember; afraidfortherepublic; Alas; al_c; american colleen; annalex; ...

15 posted on 07/06/2006 5:04:31 PM PDT by Coleus (Roe v. Wade and Endangered Species Act both passed in 1973, Murder Babies/save trees, birds, algae)
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To: StonyBurk

"... the Judicairy COmmittee reports of 19,Jan.1853 for the Senate Judiciary Committee on the Establishment Clause and Establisment of Religion) and corresponding report in the US House of Representives on same subject 27 March ,1854 (Mr Meacham for the House report) Both legal
and Congressional utterances agree with the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ,Circuit Court Judge Suhrheinrich, Dec.2005 "The repeated reference to the Separation of Church and State ...(by the ACLU) ... has grown tiresome."

What is that about a Mr. Meacham!?

My name is Meacham! Who is he? What? Huh?

16 posted on 07/06/2006 7:54:44 PM PDT by Corinthian Warrior
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I so appreciate all your pings - bump (:

17 posted on 07/07/2006 4:02:14 AM PDT by .30Carbine
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To: .30Carbine

Thank you very much. More on the way!

18 posted on 07/07/2006 9:39:23 AM PDT by
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To: Corinthian Warrior

Congress of the United States of America March 27,1854 recieved the report of Mr.Meacham of the House Committee on
the Judiciary: (as cited in William J.Federer Americas' God
and Country:Encylopedia of quotations--Amerisearch Inc.2000
pp169-170Note 215,216 p.739. Mr.Meacham quoteddirectly from
Joseph Story's Commentaries in his report to the Judiciary
Committee,US HOuse of Representatives ,March 27,1854The subject was the Establishment clause--and the establishment
of religion.

19 posted on 07/07/2006 9:45:06 AM PDT by StonyBurk
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To: Tailgunner Joe
Got a call from these guys this evening looking for a donation to help fight the ACLU

20 posted on 07/07/2006 7:56:06 PM PDT by evad
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