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Attempting to obey God and follow Jesus Christ our Lord

Constitution

JAN. 16 – Religious Freedom Day ‘- Almighty God hath created the mind free’ Thomas Jefferson

 

American Minute by Bill Federer
“Each year on JANUARY 16, we celebrate Religious Freedom Day in commemoration of the passage of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom,”-wrote President George W. Bush in his 2003 Proclamation.

Passed in 1786, the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom was drafted by Thomas Jefferson and commemorated on his tombstone.

Did Jefferson intend to limit the public religious expression of students, teachers, coaches, chaplains, schools, organizations and communities?


In his original 1777 draft of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, Jefferson wrote:

“Almighty God hath created the mind free, and…all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments…tend only to begat habits of hypocrisy and meanness,

and are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do, but to extend it by its influence on reason alone….”

President Thomas Jefferson explained in his Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1805:

“In matters of religion I have considered that its free exercise is placed by the Constitution independent of the powers of the General Government.

I have therefore undertaken, on no occasion, to prescribe the religious exercise suited to it; but have left them, as the Constitution found them, under the direction and discipline of state and church authorities by the several religious societies.”

Jefferson explained to Samuel Miller, January 23, 1808:

“I consider the government of the United States as interdicted [prohibited] by the Constitution from inter-meddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises…

This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment or free exercise of religion, but from that also which reserves to the states the powers not delegated to the United States [10th Amendment]…”

Jefferson continued:

“Certainly no power to prescribe any religious exercise, or to assume authority in religious discipline, has been delegated to the General government…

I do not believe it is for the interest of religion to invite the civil magistrate to direct its exercises, its discipline, or its doctrines…

Every religious society has a right to determine for itself the times for these exercises, and the objects proper for them, according to their own particular tenets.”

In 1776, a year before Jefferson drafted his Statute, another Virginian, George Mason, drafted the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which was later revised by James Madison and referred to in his Memorial and Remonstrance, 1785:

“Religion, or the duty we owe to our CREATOR, and manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence;

and, therefore, that all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience,

and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love and charity toward each other.”

James Madison made a journal entry, June 12, 1788:

“There is not a shadow of right in the general government to inter-meddle with religion…The subject is, for the honor of America, perfectly free and unshackled. The government has no jurisdiction over it.”

On June 7, 1789, James Madison introduced the First Amendment in the first session of Congress with the wording:

“The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship.”

James Madison appointed to the Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story.


Justice Joseph Story wrote in hisCommentaries on the Constitution of the United States, 1833, Chapter XLIV, “Amendments to the Constitution,” Section 991:

“The real object of the First Amendment was, not to countenance, much less advance Mohammedanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects.”

Samuel Chase, who had been appointed to the Supreme Court by George Washington, wrote in the Maryland case of Runkel v. Winemiller, 1799:

“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.”

FOR A SHORT HISTORY OF THE EVOLUTION OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT, READ BELOW:

Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens admitted in Wallace v. Jaffree, 1985:

“At one time it was thought that this right merely proscribed the preference of one Christian sect over another, but would not require equal respect for the conscience of the infidel, the atheist, or the adherent of a non-Christian faith.”

When the country began, religious liberty was under each individual Colony’s jurisdiction.

In the decision Engel v. Vitale, 1962, Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black wrote:

“Groups which had most strenuously opposed the established Church of England…passed laws making their own religion the official religion of their respective colonies.”

Like dropping a pebble in a pond and the ripples go out, States began to expand religious liberty from the particular Christian denomination that founded each colony to all Protestants, then to Catholics, then to liberal Christian denominations, then to Jews, then to monotheists, then to polytheists.

This process was then continued by the Federal Government to expand “religious” liberty to atheists, pagans, occultic, and eventually to religions which historically have been violently ANTI-Judeo-Christian.

After the Constitution, the States ratified the First Amendment, as well as all Ten Amendments, specifically to limit the new Federal government’s power:

“CONGRESS shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion OR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF…”

The word “Congress” meant the Federal Congress.

“Shall make no law” meant the Federal Congress could not introduce, debate, vote on or send to the President any bill respecting an establishment of religion.

The word “respecting” meant “concerning” or “pertaining to.”

It was simply telling the Federal government “HANDS OFF” all religious issues.

When anything regarding religion came before the Federal government, the response was to be that it had no jurisdiction to decide anything on that issue, neither for nor against.

“Establishment” did not mean “acknowledgment.”

“Establishment” did not mean believing in Christianity or believing in God.

Establishment was a clearly understood term.

It meant setting up one particular Christian denomination as the official denomination.

With varying levels of official state endorsement and favoritism, countries typically had some kind of established Church:

England had established the Anglican Church;
Sweden had established the Lutheran Church;
Scotland had established the Church of Scotland;
Holland had established the Dutch Reformed Church;
Russia had established the Russian Orthodox Church;
Serbia had established the Serbian Orthodox Church;
Romania had established the Romanian Orthodox Church;
Greece had established the Greek Orthodox Church;
Bulgaria had established the Bulgarian Orthodox Church;
Finland had established the Finnish Orthodox Church;
Ethiopia had established the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church;
Italy, Spain, France, Poland, Austria, Mexico, Costa Rica, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, Vatican City had established the Roman Catholic Church; and
Switzerland had established Calvin’s Ecclesiastical Ordinances.

The attitude of the original 13 States was that they did not want the new Federal Government to follow the pattern of most Western nations and pick one denomination with its headquarters in the Capitol.

Allegorically, they did not want a Federal Walmart Church to come into town and put out of business their individual State “mom & pop department store” denominations.

To make the purpose of the First Amendment unquestionably clear, they went on to state that the Federal Congress could not make a law which prohibited “THE FREE EXERCISE” of religion.

Ronald Reagan stated in a Radio Address, 1982:

“Founding Fathers…enshrined the principle of freedom of religion in the First Amendment…

The purpose of that Amendment was to protect religion from the interference of government and to guarantee, in its own words, ‘the free exercise of religion.'”

Like dealing a deck of cards in a card game, the States dealt to the Federal Government jurisdiction over a few things, like providing for the common defense and regulating interstate commerce, but the rest of the cards were held by the States.

Justice Joseph Story wrote in hisCommentaries on the Constitution, 1833:

“The whole power over the subject of religion is left exclusively to the State Governments, to be acted upon according to their own sense of justice and the State Constitutions.”

Just as today some States allow minors to consume alcohol and other States do not;
some States allow the selling of marijuana and others do not;
some States have smoking bans and others do not;
some States allow gambling and others do not, and
some States allow prostitution (Nevada and formerly Rhode Island) and the rest do not;
at the time the Constitution and Bill of Rights were ratified some States allowed more religious freedom, such as Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, and other States, such as Connecticut and Massachusetts, did not.

But it was up to the people in each State to decide.

Congressman James Meacham of Vermont gave a House Judiciary Committee report, March 27, 1854:

“At the adoption of the Constitution, we believe every State – certainly ten of the thirteen – provided as regularly for the support of the Church as for the support of the Government.”

When did things change?

Charles Darwin theorized that species could evolve.

This inspired a political theorist named Herbert Spencer to suggest that laws could evolve.

This influenced Harvard Law Dean Christopher Columbus Langdell to develop the case precedent method of practicing law, which influenced his student, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

The 14th Amendment was passed in 1868 with the original intent to guarantee rights to freed slaves in the Democrat South.

Activist Justices quickly began to use the 14th Amendment very creatively to take jurisdiction away from the States over issues such as unions, strikes, railroads, polygamy, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly.

The freedom of religion was still under each individual State’s jurisdiction until Franklin D. Roosevelt.

FDR was elected President four times, which led to the 22nd Amendment being passed to limit all future Presidents to only two terms.

During his 12 years in office, FDR concentrated power in the Federal Government to an unprecedented degree.

Franklin D. Roosevelt nominated Justice Hugo Black to the Supreme Court in 1937.

Justice Hugo Black concentrated power in the Federal government by taking jurisdiction over religion away from each State.

He did this by simply inserting the phrase “Neither a State” in his 1947 Everson v Board of Education decision:

“The ‘establishment of religion’ clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a State nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions or prefer one religion over another.”

He conveniently ignored innumerable references to and requirements in the various State Constitutions regarding religion.

In a word, he took the handcuffs off the Federal government and placed them on the States.

After this, Federal Courts began evolving the definition of “religion” away from that originally used by George Mason and James Madison in the Virginia Declaration of Rights, 1776:

“Religion…the duty we owe our Creator and the manner of discharging it.”

This progression can be seen in several cases.

“ETHICAL” = RELIGION

In 1957, the IRS denied tax-exempt status to an “ethical society” stating it did not qualify as a 501(c)3 tax-exempt “church” or “religious society.”

The case went to the Supreme Court, where Justice Warren Burger wrote in Washington Ethical Society v. District of Columbia (1957):

“We hold on this record and under the controlling statutory language petitioner [The Washington Ethical Society] qualifies as ‘a religious corporation or society’…

It is incumbent upon Congress to utilize this broad definition of religion in all its legislative actions bearing on the support or non-support of religion, within the context of the ‘no-establishment’ clause of the First Amendment.”

“SECULAR HUMANISM” = RELIGION

In 1961, Roy Torcaso wanted to be a notary public in Maryland, but did not want to make “a declaration of belief in the existence of God,” as required by Maryland’s State Constitution, Article 37.

In the Supreme Court case Torcaso v Watkins (1961), Justice Hugo Black included a footnote which has been cited authoritatively in subsequent cases:

“Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism and others.”

Justice Scalia wrote in Edwards v. Aguillard(1987):

“In Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 U.S. 488, 495, n. 11 (1961), we did indeed refer to ‘SECULAR HUMANISM’ as a ‘religio[n].'”

“A SINCERE AND MEANINGFUL BELIEF” = RELIGION

During the Vietnam War, Mr. Seeger said he could not affirm or deny the existence of a Supreme Being and wanted to be a draft-dodger, claiming to be a conscientious objector under the Universal Military Training and Service Act, Section 6(j) that allowed exemptions for “religious training and belief.”

In United States v Seeger, (1965), U.S. Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark stated:

“The test of religious belief within the meaning in Section 6(j) is whether it is a sincere and meaningful belief occupying in the life of its possessor a place parallel to that filled by the God of those admittedly qualified for the exemption.”

“BELIEFS ABOUT RIGHT AND WRONG” = RELIGION

Another draft-dodger case involved Elliot Welsh. The U.S. Supreme Court, in Welsh v. United States (1970), decided that belief in a “deity” is not necessary to be “religious”:

“Having decided that all religious conscientious objectors were entitled to the exemption, we faced the more serious problem of determining which beliefs were ‘religious’ within the meaning of the statute…

Determining whether the registrant’s beliefs are religious is whether these beliefs play the role of religion and function as a religion in the registrant’s life…

Because his beliefs function as a religion in his life, such an individual is as much entitled to a ‘religious’ conscientious objector exemption under Section 6(j) as is someone who derives his conscientious opposition to the war from traditional religious convictions…

We think it clear that the beliefs which prompted his objection occupy the same place in his life as the belief in a traditional deity holds in the lives of his friends, the Quakers…

A registrant’s conscientious objection to all war is ‘religious’ within the meaning Section 6(j) if this opposition stems from the registrant’s moral, ethical, or religious beliefs about what is right and wrong and these beliefs are held with the strength of traditional religious convictions.”

“ATHEISM” = RELIGION

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, (W.D. WI) decision inKaufman v. McCaughtry, August 19, 2005, stated:

“A religion need not be based on a belief in the existence of a supreme being…Atheism may be considered…religion… ‘Atheism is indeed a form of religion…’

The Supreme Court has recognized atheism as equivalent to a ‘religion’ for purposes of the First Amendment…

The Court has adopted a broad definition of ‘religion’ that includes non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as theistic ones…

Atheism is Kaufman’s religion, and the group that he wanted to start was religious in nature even though it expressly rejects a belief in a supreme being.”

Overlooking that the Constitution is only to be changed by Amendments voted in by the majority of the people, the Supreme Court admitted in Wallace v Jaffree (472 U.S. 38, 1985) that the original meaning of the First Amendment was modified “in the crucible of litigation,” a term not mentioned in the Constitution:

“At one time it was thought that this right merely proscribed the preference of one Christian sect over another, but would not require equal respect for the consciences of the infidel, the atheist, or the adherent of a non-Christian faith such as Islam or Judaism.

But when the underlying principle has been examined in the crucible of litigation, the Court has unambiguously concluded that the individual freedom of conscience protected by the First Amendment embraces the right to select any religious faith or none at all.”

The Federal Courts gradually gave the word “religion” a new definition which included “ethical,” “secular humanism,” “a sincere and meaningful belief,”  “beliefs about right and wrong,” and “atheism.”

Under this new definition, so as not to prefer one “religion” over another, Federal Courts have prohibited God, which, ironically, has effectively established the religion of atheism in the exact the way the First Amendment was intended to prohibit.

This was warned against by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart in his dissent in Abington Township v. Schempp, 1963:

“The state may not establish a ‘religion of secularism’ in the sense of affirmatively opposing or showing hostility to religion, thus ‘preferring those who believe in no religion over those who do believe’…

Refusal to permit religious exercises thus is seen, not as the realization of state neutrality, but rather as the establishment of a religion of secularism.”

Ronald Reagan referred to this decision in a radio address, February 25, 1984:

“Former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart noted if religious exercises are held to be impermissible activity in schools, religion is placed at an artificial and state-created disadvantage.

Permission for such exercises for those who want them is necessary if the schools are truly to be neutral in the matter of religion. And a refusal to permit them is seen not as the realization of state neutrality, but rather as the establishment of a religion of secularism.”

U.S. District Court, Crockett v. Sorenson, W.D. Va,. 1983:

“The First Amendment was never intended to insulate our public institutions from any mention of God, the Bible or religion. When such insulation occurs, another religion, such as secular humanism, is effectively established.”

Ronald Reagan stated in a Q & A Session, October 13, 1983:

“The First Amendment has been twisted to the point that freedom of religion is in danger of becoming freedom from religion.”

Ronald Reagan stated in a Ceremony for Prayer in Schools, September 25, 1982:

“In the last two decades we’ve experienced an onslaught of such twisted logic that if Alice were visiting America, she might think she’d never left Wonderland.

We’re told that it somehow violates the rights of others to permit students in school who desire to pray to do so. Clearly, this infringes on the freedom of those who choose to pray…

To prevent those who believe in God from expressing their faith is an outrage.”

Is it just a coincidence that the ACLU’s agenda is similar to the Communist agenda read into the Congressional Record, January 10, 1963 by Congressman Albert S. Herlong, Jr., of Florida (Vol 109, 88th Congress, 1st Session, Appendix, pp. A34-A35):

“Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of ‘separation of church and state.'”

Ronald Reagan stated in a Radio Address, 1982:

“The Constitution was never meant to prevent people from praying; its declared purpose was to protect their freedom to pray.”

Judge Richard Suhrheinrich stated inACLU v Mercer County, 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, December 20, 2005:

“The ACLU makes repeated reference to ‘the separation of church and state.’ This extra-constitutional construct has grown tiresome.

The First Amendment does not demand a wall of separation between church and state. Our nation’s history is replete with governmental acknowledgment and in some case, accommodation of religion.”

The Supreme Court stated in Lynch v Donnelly, 1984:

“The Constitution does not ‘require complete separation of church and state.'”

Associate Justice William Rehnquist wrote in the U.S. Supreme Court caseWallace v. Jafree, 1985, dissent, 472 U. S., 38, 99:

“The ‘wall of separation between church and state’ is a metaphor based on bad history, a metaphor which has proved useless as a guide to judging. It should be frankly and explicitly abandoned.

It is impossible to build sound constitutional doctrine upon a mistaken understanding of Constitutional history…The establishment clause had been expressly freighted with Jefferson’s misleading metaphor for nearly forty years…

There is simply no historical foundation for the proposition that the framers intended to build a wall of separation…Recent court decisions are in no way based on either the language or intent of the framers…

But the greatest injury of the ‘wall’ notion is its mischievous diversion of judges from the actual intentions of the drafters of the Bill of Rights.”

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart wrote in Engle v Vitale, 1962, dissent:

“The Court…is not aided…by the…invocation of metaphors like the ‘wall of separation,’ a phrase nowhere to be found in the Constitution.”

In the U.S. Supreme Court decision, McCullum v Board of Education, it stated:

“Rule of law should not be drawn from a figure of speech.”

Justice William O’Douglas wrote inZorach v Clausen, 1952:

“The First Amendment, however, does not say that in every and all respects there shall be a separation of Church and State…

We find no constitutional requirement which makes it necessary for government to be hostile to religion and to throw its weight against efforts to widen the effective scope of religious influence…

We cannot read into the Bill of Rights such a philosophy of hostility to religion.”

Ronald Reagan told the Annual Convention of the National Religious Broadcasters, January 30, 1984:

“I was pleased last year to proclaim 1983 the Year of the Bible. But, you know, a group called the ACLU severely criticized me for doing that. Well, I wear their indictment like a badge of honor.”

Are anti-faith groups using the evolved interpretation of the First Amendment to take away the liberties which the original First Amendment was intended to guarantee?

Dwight Eisenhower is quoted in the TIME Magazine article, “Eisenhower on Communism,” October 13, 1952:

“The Bill of Rights contains no grant of privilege for a group of people to destroy the Bill of Rights.

A group – like the Communist conspiracy – dedicated to the ultimate destruction of all civil liberties, cannot be allowed to claim civil liberties as its privileged sanctuary from which to carry on subversion of the Government.”

Ronald Reagan worded it differently on the National Day of Prayer, May 6, 1982:

“Well-meaning Americans in the name of freedom have taken freedom away. For the sake of religious tolerance, they’ve forbidden religious practice.”

Ronald Reagan stated at an Ecumenical Prayer Breakfast, August 23, 1984:

“The frustrating thing is that those who are attacking religion claim they are doing it in the name of tolerance and freedom and open-mindedness. Question: Isn’t the real truth that they are intolerant of religion?”

Did Jefferson intend to outlaw the acknowledgment of God and limit students, teachers, coaches, chaplains, schools, organizations, and communities from public religious expression?

In light of mandates in President’s Healthcare law which forces individuals to violate their religious beliefs or be subject to “temporal punishments” for non-compliance, it is incumbent upon Americans to read again the words of Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom:

“Almighty God hath created the mind free, and…all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments…are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of religion…

That to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical…

That therefore the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence, by laying upon him an incapacity…unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages, to which…he has a natural right…

That to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion…is a dangerous fallacy which at once destroys all religious liberty because he being of course judge of that tendency will make his opinions the rule of judgment and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own…

Be it enacted by General Assembly that no man…shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief,

but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of Religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities.”

Ronald Reagan addressed the Alabama State Legislature, March 15, 1982:

“The First Amendment of the Constitution was not written to protect the people of this country from religious values; it was written to protect religious values from government tyranny.”

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But for a Word

This is a repost of a post that I put up a year ago, but it is still relevant and I decided that it was worth reposting!

In the post I put up previously about the founding Father’s  there was something that struck me! Roger Sherman stated:

 There is one amendment proposed by the convention of South Carolina respecting religious tests, by inserting the word other, between the words no and religious in that article, which is an ingenious thought, and had that word been inserted, it would probably have prevented any objection on that head. But it may be considered as a clerical omission and be inserted without calling a convention; as it now stands the effect will be the same”

This was written in his second letter to the New Haven Gazette on the 25th of December 1788. It made me wonder how much history would have changed if that word, other, had been inserted in between the words no and religious? 

Article. VI.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

From the Congressional Debates of 1789, we have this discussion on Religious Amendments:

August 15, 1789 First Federal Congress (Amendments-religious reference)

[House of Representatives]

The House again went into a Committee of the Whole on the proposed amendments to the Constitution. Mr. Boudinot in the chair.

The fourth proposition being under consideration, as follows:

(Religious Reference)

Article 1. Section 9. Between paragraphs two and three insert ‘no religion shall be established by law, nor shall the equal rights of conscience be infringed.

Mr. SYLVESTER had some doubts of the propriety of the mode of expression used in this paragraph. He apprehended that it was liable to a construction different from what had been made by the committee. He feared it might be thought to abolish religion altogether.

Mr. VINING suggested the propriety of transposing the two members of the sentence.

Mr. GERRY said it would read better if it was no religious doctrine shall be established by law.

Mr. SHERMAN thought the amendment altogether unnecessary, inasmuch as Congress had ‘no authority whatever delegated to them by the Constitution to make religious establishments; he would, therefore, move to have it struck out.’

Mr. CARROLL As the rights of conscience are, in their nature, a peculiar delicacy, and will little bear the gentlest touch of governmental hand; and as many sects have concurred in opinion that they are not well secured under the present constitution, he said he was much in favor of adopting the words. He thought it would tend more towards conciliating the minds of the people to the government than almost any other opinion he heard proposed. He would not contend with gentlemen about the phraseology, his object was to secure the substance in such a manner as to satisfy the wishes of the honest part of the community.

Mr. MADISON said he apprehended the meaning of the words to be, that Congress should not establish a religion, and enforce the legal observation of it by law, nor compel men to worship God in any manner contrary to their conscience. Whether the words are necessary or not, he did not mean to say, but they had been required by some of the state conventions, who seemed to entertain an opinion, that under the clause of the Constitution, which gave power to Congress to make all laws necessary and proper to carry into execution the constitution, and the laws made under it, enabled them to make laws of such a nature as might infringe the rights of conscience, and establish a national religion; to prevent these effects he presumed the amendment was intended, and he thought it as well expressed as the nature of the language would admit.

Mr. HUNTINGTON said that he feared, with the gentleman first up on this subject, that the words might be taken in such latitude as to be extremely hurtful to the cause of religion. He understood the amendment to mean what had been expressed by the gentleman from Virginia; but others might find it convenient to put another construction on it. The ministers of their congregations to the eastward were maintained by contributions of those who belong to their society; the expense of building meeting houses was contributed in the same manner. These things were regulated by bylaws. If an action was brought before a federal court on any of these cases, the person who had neglected to perform his engagements could not be compelled to do it; for a support of ministers or buildings of places of worship might be construed into a religious establishment.

By the charter of Rhode Island, no religion could be established by law; he could give a history of the effects of such a regulation; indeed the people were now enjoying the blessed fruits of it. He hoped, therefore, the amendment would be made in such a way as to secure the rights of conscience, and the free exercise of religion, but not to patronize those who professed no religion at all.

Mr. MADISON thought, if the word ‘National’ was inserted before religion, it would satisfy the minds of honorable gentlemen. He believed that the people feared one sect might obtain a pre-eminence, or two combined together, and establish a religion, to which they would compel others to conform. He thought if the word ‘National’ was introduced, it would point the amendment directly to the object it was intended to prevent.

Mr. LIVERMORE was not satisfied with the amendment; but he did not wish them to dwell long on the subject. He thought it would be better if it were altered, and made to read in this manner, that Congress shall make no laws touching religion, or infringing the rights of conscience.

Mr. GERRY did not like the term National, proposed by the gentleman from Virginia, and he hoped it would not be adopted by the House. It brought to his mind some observations that had taken place in the Conventions at the time they were considering the present constitution. It had been insisted upon by those who were called anti-federalists, that this form of government consolidated the union; the honorable gentleman’s motion shows that he considers it in the same light. Those who were called anti-federalists at that time, complained that they were in favor of a federal government, and the others were in favor of a National one; the federalists were for ratifying the constitution as it stood, and the others did not until amendments were made. Their names then ought not to have been distinguished by federalists and anti-federalists, but rats and anti-rats.

Mr. MADISON withdrew his motion but observed that the words single ‘no National religion shall be established by law’, did not apply that the government was a national one; the question was then taken on MR. LIVERMORE’s motion, and passed in the affirmative 31 for it, and 20 against it.(5)

(End of Religious Reference)

I find it odd that people can read the amendment and clearly understand that the government is not allowed to infringe on the rights of the press, and yet as the same time ignore the statement that this same government is forbidden from infringing upon the rights of the people to practice their religion and to assemble peaceably as they will.

ARTICLE THE THIRD.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition to the government for a redress of grievances.

I also find it odd that those we elect to serve us and defend and protect the Constitution of the United States of American, assume that their role is instead to change that very document into something that suits their ideas of what should be. We have a responsibility to those who come after us to teach them the true meaning of what the oath of affirmation says.

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

We have strayed very far from our beginnings, so far that children today seem to believe that our President serves as a Monarch, instead as part of a trinity of three equal branches of government with each having their own established jobs to do. We have let Presidents take power by way of Presidential Signings that has no real basis in law, and yet they use this power to force their will upon the people even when the people who elected them cry out for change. Our current discussion of limiting the rights of the people is another power grab that goes totally against the Constitution and knowing it, our leaders intend to do all they can to steal this right away from the people. This was not unforeseen by those very writers of the Constitution:

“A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, being the best security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; but no person religiously scrupulous shall be compelled to bear arms.”

Mr. GERRY: This declaration of rights, I take it, is intended to secure the people against the mal-administration of the Government; if we could suppose that, in all cases, the rights of the people would be attended to, the occasion for guards of this kind would be removed. Now, I am apprehensive, sir, that this clause would give an opportunity to the people in power to destroy the constitution itself. They can declare who are those religiously scrupulous and prevent them from bearing arms.

What, sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty. Now, it must be evident, that, under this provision, together with their other powers, Congress could take such measures, with respect to a militia as to make a standing army necessary. Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins. This was actually done by Great Britain at the commencement of the late revolution. They used every means in their power to prevent the establishment of an effective militia to the eastward. The Assembly of Massachusetts, seeing the rapid progress that administration were making to divest them of their inherent privileges, endeavored to counteract them by the organization of the militia; but they were always defeated by the influence of the Crown.

These gentlemen knew what it was like to be under an oppressive government. They understood the probability that there would come a time when our government no longer served the people but instead used force to impose their will upon them. They wanted to prevent this from happening.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.

Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now.

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.

“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms…disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes… Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” (Quoting Cesare Beccaria)

The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.

The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits.

No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another, and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him.

To take from one because it is thought that his own industry and that of his father’s has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association—the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.

I think myself that we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious. (Back then!)

When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.

I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive.

Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.

The god who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time: the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them.

And the day will come, when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His Father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva, in the brain of Jupiter.

In matters of style, swim with the current;
In matters of principle, stand like a rock.

What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?

The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all.

The majority, oppressing an individual, is guilty of a crime, abuses its strength, and by acting on the law of the strongest breaks up the foundations of society.

When wrongs are pressed because it is believed they will be borne, resistance becomes morality.

Were we directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap, we should soon want bread.

The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty…. And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.

Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add “within the limits of the law,” because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual.

It is strangely absurd to suppose that a million of human beings, collected together, are not under the same moral laws which bind each of them separately.

Liberty is the great parent of science and of virtue; and a nation will be great in both in proportion as it is free.

He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.

I have sworn on the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.

I have never been able to conceive how any rational being could propose happiness to himself from the exercise of power over others.

To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.

In a government bottomed on the will of all, the…liberty of every individual citizen becomes interesting to all.

I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.

Say nothing of my religion. It is known to God and myself alone. Its evidence before the world is to be sought in my life: if it has been honest and dutiful to society the religion which has regulated it cannot be a bad one.

The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.

Most bad government has grown out of too much government.

Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.

The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first. Read more at

John Petrie’s Collection of

Thomas Jefferson Quotes

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He lost two sons in the Revolution and was the only clergyman to sign the Declaration…via American Minute

By Bill Federer
He lost two sons in the Revolution and was the only clergyman to sign the Declaration.A delegate from New Jersey, he declared:

“Gentlemen, New Jersey is ready to vote for independence…The country is not only ripe for independence, but we are in danger of becoming rotten for the want of it!”

He served on 120 Congressional Committees and was a primary proponent of the separation of powers, insisting checks be placed on the power of government.

His name was John Witherspoon, and he died NOVEMBER 15, 1794.

Born in Scotland, he was a descendant of the Reformer John Knox.


John Witherspoon was President of Princeton where he taught 9 of the 55 writers of the U.S. Constitution, including James Madison.

His other Princeton students included a U.S. Vice-President, 3 Supreme Court Justices, 10 Cabinet Members, 13 Governors, 21 Senators and 39 Congressmen and 114 ministers.

After his wife died in 1789, he headed up a committee in the New Jersey legislature to abolish slavery.

John Adams described John Witherspoon as “A true son of liberty…but first, he was a son of the Cross.”


The same day Congress declared a Day of Fasting, May 17, 1776, Rev. Witherspoon told his Princeton students:

“If your cause is just, if your principles are pure, and if your conduct is prudent, you need not fear the multitude of opposing hosts.

He is the best friend to American liberty, who is most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion, and who sets himself with the greatest firmness to bear down profanity and immorality of every kind.

Whoever is an avowed enemy of God, I scruple not to call him an enemy of his country…”


John Witherspoon concluded:

“It is in the man of piety and inward principle, that we may expect to find the uncorrupted patriot, the useful citizen, and the invincible soldier…

God grant that in America true religion and civil liberty may be inseparable

and that the unjust attempts to destroy the one, may in the issue tend to the support and establishment of both.”

When peace was made with Britain, John Witherspoon exhorted all in his “Thanksgiving Sermon” to live for:

“…the Glory of God, the public interest of religion and the good of others, as civil liberty cannot be long preserved without virtue.

A Republic must either preserve its virtue or lose its liberty.”

Interested in more on John Witherspoon?  Continue reading…


John Witherspoon resisted “tyranny of conscience,” citing:

“There is not a single instance in history, in which civil liberty was lost, and religious liberty preserved entire….

If therefore we yield up our…property, we at the same time deliver the conscience into bondage…

Governments are to defend and secure rights of conscience.”


In his “Pastoral Letter,” Rev. Witherspoon explained:

“Universal profligacy makes a nation ripe for divine judgments and is the natural means of bringing them to ruin;

reformation of manners is of the utmost necessity in our present distress.”

In regards to man’s need for redemption, Rev. Witherspoon explained:

“The corruption of our nature…is the foundation-stone of the doctrine of redemption. Nothing can be more absolutely necessary to true religion, than a clear conviction of the sinfulness of our nature and state…”


He continued:

“Men of lax and corrupt principles take great delight in speaking to the praise of human nature, and extolling its dignity, without distinguishing what it was at its first creation from what it is in its present fallen state…

The evil of sin appears from every page of…the history of the world…

Nothing is more plain from scripture…than that man by nature is in fact incapable of recovery without the power of God specially interposed.”


In his Lectures on Divinity, Rev. John Witherspoon stated:

“Religion is the grand concern of us all…the salvation of our souls in the one thing needful.”

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‘We are under tremendous attacks…by Communists who…state that capitalism – democracy – carries…the seeds of its own destruction’- Eisenhower

By Bill Federer
“We are under tremendous attacks…We are attacked by the Communists who in their own documents state that capitalism – democracy – carries within itself the seeds of its own destruction,”

stated President Dwight Eisenhower.

Continuing his address, NOVEMBER 9, 1954, to the National Conference on the Spiritual Foundation of American Democracy at the Sheraton-Carlton Hotel, Washington, DC, President Eisenhower stated:

“We are talking about the spiritual foundations of our form of government…

Now Dr. Lowry said something about my having certain convictions as to a God in Heaven and an Almighty power.

Well, I don’t think anyone needs a great deal of credit for believing in what seems to me to be obvious…

It seems to me that this relationship between a spiritual faith, a religious faith, and our form of government is so closely defined and so obvious that we should really not need to identify a man as unusual because he recognizes it…”


Eisenhower added:

“Milton asserted that all men are born equal, because each is born in the image of his God.

Our whole theory of government finally expressed in our Declaration…give the reasons to mankind why we had established such a government: ‘Man is endowed by his Creator…’

No matter what Democracy tries to do in terms of maximum individual liberty…in the economic…in the intellectual…in providing a system of justice, and a system of responsibility…when you come back to it, there is just one thing…man is worthwhile because he was born in the image of his God.”


Eisenhower concluded:

“The challenges of today…are…because…our spiritual convictions as to the worth-whileness of this form of government, weakens…

Democracy is nothing in the world but a spiritual conviction, a conviction that each of us is enormously valuable, because of a certain standing before our own God.

Now, any group that binds itself together to awaken all of us to these simple things…is, in my mind, a dedicated, patriotic group that can well take the Bible in one hand and the a flag in the other, and march ahead.”

On NOVEMBER 9, 1940, President Franklin D Roosevelt prayed:

“In a year which has seen calamity and sorrow fall upon many peoples elsewhere in the world may we give thanks for our preservation…


Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage;

We humbly beseech Thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of Thy favor and glad to do Thy will…

Save us from violence, discord, and confusion…

Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues.


Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in Thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to Thy law, we may show forth Thy praise among the nations of the earth…

In the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in Thee to fail; Amen.”

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Is History Repeating Itself?

When America decided that it could no longer tolerate the abuse and excess’ of King George, and declared their independence from Great Britain, they set forth in that declaration a list of the reasons for their decision. Compare their reasoning then to the current circumstances that we find ourself in. They are very similar in many instances. Take a look at a portion of the Declaration of Independence:

“The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the                      Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary                  government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for                          introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of                    our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all                cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”

It seems in reading this, that we are no longer a free people, with a governing body that is represented by regular Americans, instead we have devolved into the very monarchy of King George that we spent treasure and lives to overcome and establish a Republic called The United States of America!

Our Constitution gave us an out if and when we faced this situation, that was in Article V which says:

“on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress;”

This is a proposal that is gaining popularity, especially with the promotion of people like Mark Levin. This is a proposal that relies on the States desiring the freedom which has been taken from them. It is also a process that takes time and we truly have no idea what a vindictive and manipulative federal government would do in the meantime, or even if they, who have decided that the laws do not mean anything if they don’t like them, or that they are inviolate and unable to be changed if they do.

We don’t know if the administration which has made it clear that they would like to make life painful to the American people would accept the legality of the states making decisions that benefit them. We also don’t know if our Supreme Court would rule that this is Constitutional. This leaves a lot of questions about what we would do then.

But what do we do now? Do we allow the current situation to continue? If we do, we will no longer be a free people, but rather slaves to a government that thinks that it knows what is best for all, that they have the moral right to redistribute not only the wealth that a private citizen earns, but the property that they have strived for in many cases their whole lives. An administration that thinks that it knows best what food you should eat, what news you should read, what faith you should practice, and even what words are acceptable for you to think!

In other words, we will not be The United States of America because the states will really no longer exist, but instead every directive will come from the Federal Government and they will be our God.

When the founding patriots decided that they had reached their limit and informed King George of their grievances, they knew that they would have to fight for freedom.

“Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

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, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

The time is rapidly approaching when we as American Citizens must choose the path of our future. We must choose while we have the opportunity, because if we do not, it will be chosen for us. A Constitutional Convention is one choice and it is one that I think that most people would agree on. However there is the possibility that we will not be able to make that choice. It that is the case there will only be two choices. Thomas Jefferson informed us that there was a possibility that we may have to change our government in The Declaration of Independence:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable 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. — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this let Facts be submitted to a candid world.”

When our government no longer have our permission to govern and instead are forcing us into the positions of slaves to it, we have the right under the Constitution to remove our government and take the rights that they lay claim to, away from them. We are told that it should not be done lightly and for transient cause. What is going on in our Federal Government is not a transient cause. Instead, it is rapidly developing into permanent enslavement. We can look at the reasons that we declared our independence in the first place and compare them to today’s conditions and see that they are almost identical.  It is our right, our duty, to throw off such Government, and provide new Guards for our future security. We are in the throes of Tyranny with a leader and governing body that no longer follows the law, abides by the Constitution, nor address’ the complaints of the people. We must choose wisely, but above all we must choose!

Cross posted at MareZilla

Cross posted at Grumpy’s Opinions

This image was selected as a picture of the we...

This image was selected as a picture of the week on the Malay Wikipedia for the 26th week, 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Amendments passed limiting Fed. Gov. – Washington thanked WHO…? via American Minute

By Bill Federer

OCTOBER 3, 1789, from the U.S. Capitol in New York City, President George Washington issued the first Proclamation of a National Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer to Almighty God.

Why?

Just one week earlier the first session of the U.S. Congress successfully approved the Bill of Rights, which put ten limitations on the power of the new Federal Government.

The States were concerned the Federal Government would get too powerful.

ThePreamble to the Bill of Rights explained:

“The Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added…as amendments to the Constitution of the United States.”

The First of the Ten Amendments restricting the Federal Government’s abuse of its powers began:

“CONGRESS shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,

OR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF;

or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;

or the right of the people peaceably to assemble,

and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

       President George Washington thanked God for the “Constitutions of government…particularly the national one now lately instituted,” stating in his Proclamation, OCTOBER 3, 1789:

“Whereas it is the DUTY of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of ALMIGHTY GOD, to obey His will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and 


Whereas 
both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me

‘to recommend to the People of the United States A DAY OF PUBLIC THANKSGIVING AND PRAYER to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of ALMIGHTY GOD, 

especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to ESTABLISH A FORM OF GOVERNMEN

T for their safety and happiness;’ 

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the twenty-sixth day of November next, to be devoted by the People of these United States to the service of that GREAT AND GLORIOUS BEING, who is the BENEFICENT AUTHOR of all the good that was, that is, or that will be;

That we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks,

for His kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation;

for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of HIS PROVIDENCE, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war;

for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed,

for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to ESTABLISH CONSTITUTIONS OF GOVERNMENT for our safety and happiness, and PARTICULARLY THE NATIONAL ONE NOW LATELY INSTITUTED,

for the CIVIL AND RELIGIOUS LIBERTY with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;

and in general for all the great and various favors which He hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to THE GREAT LORD AND RULER OF NATIONS, and beseech Him

to pardon our national and other transgressions,

to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually;

to render OUR NATIONAL GOVERNMENT a blessing to all the People, by constantly being A GOVERNMENT OF WISE, JUST AND CONSTITUTIONAL LAWS, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed;

to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord;

TO PROMOTE THE KNOWLEDGE AND PRACTICE OF TRUE RELIGION AND VIRTUE, and the increase of science among them and us;

and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3rd of October, IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.

-George Washington.”

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‘There is a time to preach and a time to fight’ – John Peter Muhlenberg via American Minute

by Bill Federer
He preached a message on Ecclesiastes 3:1:”For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”

He closed his message by saying:

“In the language of the Holy Writ, there is a time for all things. There is a time to preach and a time to fight. And now is the time to fight.”

This was John Peter Gabriel Muhlenburg, a 30 year old member of the Virginia House of Burgesses…and a pastor.

At the end of his sermon, January 21, 1776, John Peter Muhlenburg threw off his clerical robes to reveal the uniform of an officer in the Continental Army.

Drum began to roll, men kissed their wives, then walked down the aisle to enlist.

The next day, Pastor Muhlenberg led 300 men of his church to marched off and join General Washington’s Continental Army as the 8th Virginia Regiment.

John Peter Muhlenberg was born OCTOBER 1, 1746, and he died the same day sixty-one years later, OCTOBER 1, 1807.

As a youth, he lived with relatives in Germany from 1763-1767, and returned to America to finish his schooling at the Academy of Philadelphia (University of Pennsylvania).

He served Lutheran congregations, though he was ordained as an Anglican minister, as was the requirement in Colonial Virginia.


In 1774, he was elected to the House of Burgesses and became a delegate to the First Virginia Convention.

John Peter Muhlenberg heard Patrick Henry’s famous speech, “Give me liberty or give me death,” in 1775, and was moved to enlist.

General George Washington personally asked him to raised soldiers and serve as their Colonel.

John Peter’s brother, Fredrick Augustus Mulenberg, was a Lutheran minister in New York who opposed John Peter joining Washington’s army:

“You have become too involved in matters which, as a preacher, you have nothing whatsoever to do…”

Then the British bombarded New York and burned Fredrick’s church right in front of him, resulting in Fredrick joining the patriotic cause.

John Peter Muhlenberg fought until the end of the war, being promoted to the rank of Major-General.

He endured the freezing winter of Valley Forge and saw action at Brandywine, Germantown, Monmouth, and Stonypoint.

He helped force British General Cornwallis to surrender at Yorktown.

After the war, John Peter Muhlenburg was elected to Pennsylvania’s Supreme Executive Council in 1784, and then Vice-President of Pennsylvania in 1787.

In 1789, he was elected a Representative to the first U.S. Congress.

In 1790, he was a member of the Pennsylvania’s State Constitutional Convention and in 1793, was the first founder of the Democratic-Republican Societies.

John’s father, Henry Muhlenberg, was a founder of the Lutheran Church in America.

John’s brother, Fredrick Augustus Mulenberg, was also elected to the U.S. Congress and became the first Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Both ordained pastors, John and Frederick Muhlenberg served in the first session of the U.S. Congress which passed the First Amendment, making sure that the new Federal Government would never “prohibit the free exercise” of their religion, nor take away the freedom of speech, press, the right of the people peaceably to assemble, or petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

John Peter Muhlenberg was elected a U.S. Senator in 1801.

He served as a Trustee of the University of Pennsylvania, which honored him with a statue.

In 1889, the State of Pennsylvania placed a statue of John Peter Muhlenberg in the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall.

His statue is in front of the Shenendoah County Courthouse.

John Peter Gabriel Muhlenburg was memorialized in a poem by Thomas Buchanan Read, titled “The Rising,” published inWilliam Holmes McGuffey Fifth Eclectic Reader(Cincinnati & New York: Van Antwerp, Bragg & Co., revised ed., 1879, Lesson LXV, pp. 200-204):

…Within its shade of elm and oak
The church of Berkley Manor stood:
There Sunday found the rural folk,
And some esteemed of gentle blood.

In vain their feet with loitering tread
Passed ‘mid the graves where rank is naught:
All could not read the lesson taught
In that republic of the dead.

The pastor rose: the prayer was strong;
The psalm was warrior David’s song;
The text, a few short words of might,-
“The Lord of Hosts shall arm the right!”

He spoke of wrongs too long endured,
Of sacred rights to be secured;
Then from his patriot tongue of flame
The startling words for Freedom came.

The stirring sentences he spake
Compelled the heart to glow or quake,

And, rising on his theme’s broad wing,
And grasping in his nervous hand
The imaginary battle-brand,
In face of death he dared to fling
Defiance to a tyrant king.

Even as he spoke, his frame renewed
In eloquence of attitude,

Rose, as it seemed, a shoulder higher;
Then swept his kindling glance of fire
From startled pew to breathless choir;

When suddenly his mantle wide
His hands impatient flung aside,
And, lo! He met their wondering eyes
Complete in all a warrior’s guise.
A moment there was awful pause,-

When Berkley cried, “Cease, traitor! Cease!
God’s temple is the house of peace!”

The other shouted, “Nay, not so,
When God is with our righteous cause:
His holiest places then are ours,
His temples are our forts and towers
That frown upon the tyrant foe:

In this the dawn of Freedom’s day
There is a time to fight and pray!”

And now before the open door-
The warrior priest had ordered so-
The enlisting trumpet’s sudden soar
Rang through the chapel, o’er and o’er,
Its long reverberating blow,

So loud and clear, it seemed the ear
Of dusty death must wake and hear.
And there the startling drum and fife
Fired the living with fiercer life;

While overhead with wild increase,
Forgetting its ancient toll of peace,
The great bell swung as ne’er before:
It seemed as it would never cease;

And every word its ardor flung
From off its jubilant iron tongue
Was, “War! War! War!”

“Who dares”-this was the patriot’s cry,
As striding from the desk he came -
“Come out with me, in Freedom’s name,
For her to live, for her to die?”

A hundred hands flung up reply,
A hundred voices answered “I!”

In Washington, D.C., at the corner of Connecticut Ave. and Ellicott St., there is a bronze memorial to John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg, with the inscription:

JOHN PETER GABRIEL MUHLENBERG
1746-1807
SERVING
HIS CHURCH
HIS COUNTRY
HIS STATE

…THE “FIGHTING PARSON OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION”

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We Have Rejected God – A Poem


‘Congress shall make no law…to infringe the rights of conscience.’- Fisher Ames via American Minute

By Bill Federer

He sat in the pew next to George Washington at St. Paul’s Chapel in New York during the religious service following Washington’s Presidential Inauguration.null
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He helped ratify the U.S. Constitution and was a Congressman from Massachusetts.

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On August 20, 1789, he proposed as the wording of the First Amendment (Annals of Congress, 1:766):

Congress shall make no law establishing religion, or to prevent the free exercise thereof, or to infringe the rights of conscience.”

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His name was Fisher Ames.

Fisher Ames compared monarchy to a republic, as recorded by Ralph Waldo Emerson in Essays, Second Series, (chapter 7, “Politics,” p. 97, 1844; Library of America, 1983):

“Monarchy is a merchantman, which sails well, but will sometimes strike on a rock, and go to the bottom; whilst a republic is a raft, which would never sink, but then your feet are always in water.”

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Of America’s Republic, Fisher Ames wrote in an article titled “Monitor,” published in The New England Palladium of Boston, 1804, (Works of Fisher Ames, compiled by a number of his friends, Boston: T.B. Wait & Co., 1809, p. 272):

“We now set out with our experimental project, exactly where Rome failed with hers. We now begin, where she ended.”

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Warning against the temptation to increase government, Fisher Ames stated in “Speeches on Mr. Madison’s Resolutions” (Works of Fisher Ames, compiled by a number of his friends, Boston: T.B. Wait & Co., 1809, p. 48):

“To control trade by law, instead of leaving it to the better management of the merchants…(is) to play the tyrant in the counting house, and in directing the private expenses of our citizens, are employments equally unworthy of discussion.”

At the Massachusetts Convention, January 15, 1788, Fisher Ames warned that democracy without morals would eventually reduce the nation to the basest of human passions, swallowing freedom:

“A democracy is a volcano which conceals the fiery materials of its own destruction.”

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Fisher Ames commented in “The Dangers of American Liberty,” 1805 (published in Works of Fisher Ames: with a selection from his speeches and correspondence, Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1854, pp. 349):

“The known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness, which the ambitious call, and the ignorant believe to be, liberty.”

Russell Kirk described Fisher Ames in The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot (Washington D.C.: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2001, chapter 3, p. 81-85):

“As time runs on, Ames grows more intense. Democracy cannot last…When property is snatched from hand to hand…then society submits cravenly to the immorality of rule by the sword…

Of all the terrors of democracy, the worst is its destruction of moral habits. ‘A democratic society will soon find its morals…the surly companion of its licentious joys’…

Is there no check upon these excesses?…The press supplies an endless stimulus to popular imagination and passion; the press lives upon heat and coarse drama and incessant restlessness. ‘It has inspired ignorance with presumption’…

‘Constitutions,’ says Ames, ‘are but paper; society is the substratum of government’…

Like Samuel Johnson, (Ames) finds the key to political decency in private morality.”

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Aaron McLeod wrote in “Great Conservative Minds: A Condensation of Russell Kirk’sThe Conservative Mind” (October 2005, Alabama Policy Institute, Birmingham, AL, chp. 3, p. 9-10}:

“Ames was pessimistic about the American experiment because he doubted there were sufficient numbers of men with the moral courage and charisma to preserve the country from the passions of the multitudes and the demagogues who master them.

He was convinced that the people as a body cannot reason and are easily swayed by clever speakers and political agents. In his words, ‘few can reason, all can feel’…

nullDemocracy could not last, Ames thundered, ‘for despotism lies at the door; when the tyranny of the majority leads to chaos, society will submit to rule by the sword.‘”

Aaron McLeod continued:

“To Ames, what doomed the American experiment was the democratic destruction of morals…

Ames believed that justice and morality in America would fail, and popular rule cannot support justice, without which moral habits fall away.

Neither the free press nor paper constitutions could safe-guard order from these excesses, for the first is merely a stimulus to popular passion and imagination, while the other is a thin bulwark against corruption.

When old prescription and tradition are dismissed, only naked force matters.”

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George Washington died December 14, 1799.

Fisher Ames delivered a eulogy “An Oration on the Sublime Virtues of General George Washington,” February 8, 1800, at Boston’s Old South Meeting-House, before the Lieutenant Governor, the Council, and both branches of the Massachusetts Legislature (Boston: Young & Minns, 1800, p. 23):

“Our liberty depends on our education, our laws, and habits…

It is founded on morals and religion, whose authority reigns in the heart, and on the influence all these produce on public opinion before that opinion governs rulers.”

Fisher Ames wrote inThe Mercury and New-England Palladium of Boston(Vol. XVII, No. 2,8,Tuesday, January 27, 1801, p. 1; John Thornton Kirkland,Works of Fisher Ames, 1809, p. 134-35; The Works of Fisher Ames, compiled by a number of his friends, T.B. Wait & Co., Boston, 1809, p. 134-135; Seth Ames, ed., Works of Fisher Ames, Vol. II, New York: Birt Franklin, 1971, pp. 405-406; Frederick C. Kubicek, Evolution-Guilty As Charged, Shippensburg, PA; Treasure House, 1993, p. 125):

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“It has been the custom of late years to put a number of little books into the hands of children, containing fables and moral lessons…

Many books for children are…injudiciously compiled…the moral is drawn from the fable they know not why…

Some of the most admired works of this kind abound with a frothy sort of sentiment…the chief merit of which consists in shedding tears and giving away money…

Why then, if these books for children must be retained…should not the Bible regain the place it once held as a school book? Its morals are pure, its examples captivating and noble.

The reverence for the Sacred Book, that is thus early impressed, lasts long – and probably, if not impressed in infancy never takes firm hold of the mind.

One consideration more is important: In no book is there so good English, so pure and so elegant – and by teaching all the same book they will speak alike, and the Bible will justly remain the standard of language as well as of faith.”

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D. James Kennedy summarized Fisher Ames words in “The Great Deception” (Fort Lauderdale, FL: Coral Ridge Ministries, 1989; 1993, p. 3; The Great Deception-a speech delivered December 1, 1992, Ottawa, IL):

“We have a dangerous trend beginning to take place in our education. We’re starting to put more and more textbooks into our schools. We’ve become accustomed of late of putting little books into the hands of children, containing fables and moral lessons.

We’re spending less time in the classroom on the Bible, which should be the principal text in our schools. The Bible states these great moral lessons better than any other man-made book.”

At age 46, Fisher Ames was elected Harvard’s president, but he declined due to an illness which eventually led to his death.

On July 4, 1808, exactly 32 years to the day after America declared its Independence, Fisher Ames died at the age of 50.

One of the most famous orators in Congress, Fisher Ames was quoted in theEncyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (Bela Bates Edward, editor of Quarterly Observer, Brattleboro, VT: Joseph Steen & Co.; Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo & Co.; New York: Lewis Colby, 1851, p. 78):

“No man ever did or ever will become truly eloquent without being a constant reader of the Bible, and an admirer of the purity and sublimity of its language.”

 American Minute is a registered trademark. Permission is granted to forward. reprint or duplicate with acknowledgement tovwww.AmericanMinute.com
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Ideas That Have Shaped America


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