Thursday, June 19, 2008

Maryland Supreme Court 1799 - Christianity is Our Established Religion

In the case of Runkel v. Winemiller, 1799, Justice Samuel Chase said:

"Religion is of general and public concern, and on its support depend, in great measure, the peace and good order of government, the safety and happiness of the people. By our form of government, the Christian religion is the established religion; and all sects and denominations of Christians are placed upon the same equal footing, and are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty."

It is important to note that he is not saying the government established Christianity as our religion. He is simply recognizing a fact of life in the U.S. at that time.

Samuel Chase is one of our Founding Fathers, having been a signer of the Declaration of Independence and a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.


Alan said...

This case was not decided by the Supreme Court of the United States, but by the Maryland Supreme Court on which Samuel Chase was serving before he was appointed to the US Supreme Court.

Runkel v Winemiller, 4 Harris & McHenry 276 (Sup Ct. Md 1799)

History Matters said...

You are correct. Thanks for pointing out the error! It is corrected now. I'm trying to make this blog a good resource, so I want to have all these details correct. You may notice that most of the more recent posts have better attribution and/or links to the sources.