Monday, December 10, 2007

Supreme Court Says this is a Christian Nation???

In the case of The Church of the Holy Trinity vs. United States in 1892, the Supreme Court examined all the state Constitutions, all the declarations and all of the covenants through the history of this country. Their research took ten years. They said, "There is no dissidence in these declarations. There is a universal language pervading them all, having one meaning, and they affirm and reaffirm that this is a religious nation. Christianity, general Christianity is and always has been a part of the common law. Not Christianity with an established church, but Christianity with liberty and conscience to all men. ... Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise. In this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian. 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. We find everywhere a clear recognition of the same truth. These and many other matters which might be noticed add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterance that this is a Christian nation."

1931 Supreme Court again declared that this is a Christian nation.


So what does that mean? Even if more recent Court decisions had not gone in a different direction, these decisions don't have any effect on the actions of individuals wishing to worship (or not) one way or the other. The Court was just recognizing the history of our founding. The First Amendment's Establishment Clause does not suggest that we change history. Our country does not have a national religion. No one is forced to have any particular religious belief or any religious belief at all.

And which Court is more likely to have known the history and context of the First Amendment? The earlier courts or the later courts?


We seem to want to attach one's origin to their designation. For example, we don't usually use the word "Indian" these days, using "Native American" instead. And we have migrated from "black" to "African-American." In the latter case, many people who are called African-Americans have no history in Africa whatsoever. So by that same standard we could all be called Christian-Americans no matter if we are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, atheist, or... (But I wouldn't look for that to happen any time soon!)

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