• OVER 5,000 ARTICLES AND QUOTES PUBLISHED!
  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,391,966 Visits
  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,274 other followers

  • May 2010
    M T W T F S S
     12
    3456789
    10111213141516
    17181920212223
    24252627282930
    31  
  • Recommended Reading

Did The Supreme Court Declare The United States A Christian Nation?

US Supreme Court Justice David J. Brewer

The Supreme Court case of The Church of the Holy Trinity v. the United States began as a minor case when The Church of the Holy Trinity in New York hired E. Walpole Warren, an Englishman, to come to the US to be its pastor. During this time, an immigration law existed that effectively forbid importing immigrants to do jobs that American citizens could do. The church defended its decision and the case made its way to the Supreme Court of the US in 1892.

Justice David J. Brewer delivered the decision of the Court which ruled in favor of The Church of the Holy Trinity. To support the Court’s ruling, Justice Brewer surveyed the history of our country and concluded that America was and is “a Christian nation” and laws could not hinder the work of the church which is the furtherance of the Gospel. Below is a portion of this decision which provides an excellent insight into Christianity’s role in the founding of the United States:

[No] purpose of action against religion can be imputed to any legislation, state or national, because 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. The commission to Christopher Columbus, prior to his sail westward, is from “Ferdinand and Isabella, by the grace of God, king and queen of Castile,” etc., and recites that “it is hoped that by God’s assistance some of the continents and islands in the [496] ocean will be discovered,” etc. The first colonial grant, that made to Sir Walter Raleigh in 1584, was from “Elizabeth, by the grace of God, of England, France, and Ireland, queen, defender of the faith,” etc.; and the grant authorizing him to enact statutes of the government of the proposed colony provided that “they be not against the true Christian faith now professed in the Church of England.” The first charter of Virginia, granted by King James I. in 1606, after reciting the application of certain parties for a charter, commenced the grant in these words: “We, greatly commending, and graciously accepting of, their Desires for the Furtherance of so noble a Work, which may, by the Providence of Almighty God, hereafter tend to the Glory of His Divine Majesty, in propagating of Christian Religion to such People, as yet live in Darkness. . . .”

Language of similar import may be found in the subsequent charters of that colony from the same king, in 1609 and 1611; and the same is true of the various charters granted to the other colonies. In language more or less emphatic is the establishment of the Christian religion declared to be one of the purposes of the grant. The celebrated compact made by the pilgrims in the Mayflower, 1620, recites: “Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith. . . .”

The fundamental orders of Connecticut, under which a provisional government was instituted in 1638-39, commence with this declaration: “Forasmuch as it hath pleased the Almighty God by the wise disposition of his divine providence [143 U.S. 457, 467] so to order and dispose of things that we the Inhabitants and Residents of Windsor, Hartford, and Wethersfield are now cohabiting and dwelling in and upon the River of Connecticut and the Lands thereunto adjoining; And well knowing where a people are gathered together the word of {515} God requires that to maintain the peace and union of such a people there should be an orderly and decent Government established according to God, to . . . enter into Combination and Confederation together, to maintain and preserve the liberty and purity of the gospel of our Lord Jesus which we now profess, as also the discipline of the Churches, which according to the truth of the said gospel is now practiced amongst us.”

In the charter of privileges granted by William Penn to the province of Pennsylvania, in 1701, it is recited: “Because no People can be truly happy, though under the greatest Enjoyment of Civil Liberties, if abridged of the Freedom of their Consciences, as to their Religious Profession and Worship; And Almighty God being the only Lord of Conscience, Father of Lights and Spirits; and the Author as well as Object of all divine Knowledge, Faith, and Worship, who only doth enlighten the Minds, and persuade and convince the Understandings of People, I do hereby grant and declare,” etc.

Coming nearer to the present time, the declaration of independence recognizes the presence of the Divine in human affairs in these words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, 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.” “We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions. . . .

If we examine the constitutions of the various states, we find in them a constant recognition of religious obligations. Every constitution of every one of the 44 states contains language which, either directly or by clear implication, recognizes a profound reverence for religion, and an assumption that its influence in all human affairs is essential to the well-being of the community. . . .

It may be only in the familiar requisition that all officers shall take an oath closing with the declaration, “so help me God.” It may be in clauses like that of the constitution of Indiana, 1816, art. 11, §4: “The manner of administering an oath or affirmation shall be such as is most consistent with the conscience of the deponent, and shall be esteemed the most solemn appeal to God.” Or in provisions such as are found in articles 36 and 37 of the declaration of the rights of the constitution of Maryland, (1867): “That, as it is the duty of every man to worship God in such manner as he thinks most acceptable to Him, all persons are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty: wherefore, no person ought, by any law, to be molested in his person or estate on account of his religious persuasion or profession, or for his religious practice, unless, under the color of religion, he shall disturb the good order, peace, or safety of the state, or shall infringe the laws of morality, or injure others in their natural, civil, or religious rights. . . . That no religious test ought ever to be required as a qualification for any office or profit or trust in this state, other than a declaration of belief in the existence of God; nor shall the legislature prescribe any other oath of office than the oath prescribed by this constitution.” Or like that in articles 2 and 3 of part 1 of the constitution of Massachusetts, (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. * * * As the happiness of a people and the good order and preservation of civil government essentially depend upon piety, religion, and morality, and as these cannot be generally diffused through a community but by the institution of the public worship of God and of public instructions in piety, religion, and morality: . . .

Even the constitution of the United States, which is supposed to have little touch upon the private life of the individual, contains in the first amendment a declaration common to the constitutions of all the states, as follows: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” etc., – and also provides in article 1, § 7, (a provision common to many constitutions,) that the executive shall have 10 days (Sundays excepted) within which to determine whether he will approve or veto a bill.

There is no dissonance in these declarations. There is a universal language pervading them all, having one meaning. They affirm and reaffirm that this is a religious nation. These are not individual sayings, declarations of private persons. They are organic utterances. They speak the voice of the entire people. While because of a general recognition of this truth the question has seldom been presented to the courts, yet we find that in Updegraph v. Comm., 11 Serg. & R. 394, 400, it was decided that, “Christianity, general Christianity, is, and always has been, a part of the common law of Pennsylvania; * * * not Christianity with an established church and tithes and spiritual courts, but Christianity with liberty of conscience to all men.” And in People v. Ruggles, 8 Johns. 290, 294, 295, Chancellor KENT, the great commentator on American law, speaking as chief justice of the supreme court of New York, said: “The people of this state, in common with the people of this country, profess the general doctrines of Christianity as the rule of their faith and practice; and to scandalize the author of those doctrines in not only, in a religious point of view, extremely impious, but, even in respect to the obligations due to society, is a gross violation of decency and good order. * * * The free, equal, and undisturbed enjoyment of religious opinion, whatever it may be, and free and decent discussions on any religious [143 U.S. 457, 471] subject, is granted and secured; but to revile, with malicious and blasphemous contempt, the religion professed by almost the whole community is an abuse of that right. . . .

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 UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT, HOLY TRINITY CHURCH v. U.S., 143 U.S. 457, 12 S.Ct. 511, 36 L.Ed. 226, Feb. 29, 1892)

One Response

  1. I think you have confused two different things here. There is a difference between a Supreme Court Ruling, and the reasons why a judge made a ruling. In this case the Supreme Court did not rule the United States is a Christian Nation. Instead, Justice Brewer used his belief that it was a Christian Nation to make his ruling.

    To put it simply, the reasons for a court ruling IS NOT the equivilent to a court ruling.

    Like

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: