By Bill Federer
The longest serving member of the United States Congress was Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd, who was born NOVEMBER 20, 1917.Elected as a Democrat to Congress in 1953, and serving in the Senate from 1959-2010, he never lost an election.
“Inasmuch as our greatest leaders have shown no doubt about God’s proper place in the American birthright, can we, in our day, dare do less?…
In no other place in the United States are there so many, and such varied official evidences of deep and abiding faith in God on the part of Government as there are in Washington….
Senator Robert Byrd continued:
Senator Byrd went on:
The ship’s revered chaplain, Brewster, who later joined the Mayflower, has open on his lap the Bible. Very clear are the words, ‘the New Testament according to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.’
On the sail is the motto of the Pilgrims, ‘In God We Trust, God With Us.’
The same phrase, in large words inscribed in the marble, backdrops the Speaker of the House of Representatives…”
Senator Byrd added:
Moses is included among the great lawgivers in Herman A MacNeil’s marble sculpture group on the east front.
Engraved on the metal on the top of the Washington Monument are the words: ‘Praise be to God.’
Numerous quotations from Scripture can be found within its (the Library of Congress) walls.
And still another reference: ‘The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not’ (John 1:5)…”
“Millions have stood in the Lincoln Memorial and gazed up at the statue of the great Abraham Lincoln.
The sculptor who chiseled the features of Lincoln in granite all but seems to make Lincoln speak his own words inscribed into the walls.
‘…That this Nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.’
It then continues:
‘As was said 3000 years ago, so it still must be said, The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.’…
Senator Robert Byrd concluded:
“On the south banks of Washington’s Tidal Basin, Thomas Jefferson still speaks:
‘God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?
Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.’
Jefferson’s words are a forceful and explicit warning that to remove God from this country will destroy it.”
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The British captured nearly a thousand American ships, impressing and enslaving thousands of Americans.
The British made alliances with Shawnee leader Tecumseh, who rallied Indians to attack American settlements.
Incited by Tecumseh and armed through British aid, the Red Stick Creek Indians attacked Fort Mims, Alabama, on August 30, 1813.
Driven by rumors the British were paying cash for scalps, the Red Sticks killed over 500 men, women and children in the largest Indian massacre in American history.
Outraged, many volunteered for the Army, including Davy Crockett, Sam Houston, and Daniel Boone, though Boone was turned down due to his age of 78.
They British attacked on Lake Eire.
They invaded the U.S. Capitol and burnt the White House, the Library of Congress, the Treasury, the Patent Office and the Navy Yard.
They captured Maine’s cities of Eastport, Castine, Hampden, Bangor and Machias.
They bombarded Fort McHenry and attacked New Orleans.
At the beginning of the War, President James Madison had addressed Congress, March 9, 1812:
“The British Government, through its public minister here, a secret agent of that Government was employed…fomenting disaffection…and in intrigues with the disaffected, for the purpose of…destroying the Union…
The discovery of such a procedure…will not fail to render more dear to the hearts of all good citizens that happy union of these States which, under Divine Providence, is the guaranty of their liberties.”
On June 1, 1812, President James Madison told Congress:
“We behold…on the side of Great Britain a state of war…Whether the United States shall continue passive under these progressive usurpations and these accumulating wrongs…shall commit a just cause into the hands of the Almighty Disposer of Events.”
In a Proclamation of War, June 19, 1812, President James Madison stated:
“I do moreover exhort all the good people of the United States…as they feel the wrongs which have forced on them the last resort of injured nations…to consult the best means under the blessing of Divine Providence of abridging its calamities.”
President Madison, who had introduced the First Amendment in the First Session of Congress, proclaimed a National Day of Public Humiliation and Prayer, July 9, 1812:
“A day, to be set apart for the devout purpose of rendering the Sovereign of the Universe and the Benefactor of mankind the public homage due to His holy attributes;
of acknowledging the transgressions which might justly provoke the manifestations of His divine displeasure; of seeking His merciful forgiveness, and His assistance in the great duties of repentance…
and especially of offering fervent supplications that in the present season of calamity and war He would take the American people under His peculiar care and protection…
turning the hearts of our enemies from the violence and injustice which sway their councils against us, He would hasten a restoration of the blessings of peace.”
On November 4, 1812, in his Fourth Annual Message, President James Madison stated:
“The war in which we are actually engaged in…was preceded by a patience without example under wrongs accumulating without end…
Appeal was accordingly made…to the Just and All-powerful Being who holds in His hand the chain of events and the destiny of nations…
We prosecute the war with united counsels…until peace be so obtained…under the Divine blessing.”
On February 24, 1813, President James Madison told Congress:
“Great Britain had already introduced into her commerce during the war a system…resting on a mass of forgery and perjury…making an unfortunate progress in undermining those principles of morality and religion which are the best foundation of national happiness….
The general tendency of these demoralizing and disorganizing contrivances will be reprobated by the civilized and Christian world.”
On March 4, 1813, President James Madison stated in his Second Inaugural Address:
“I should be compelled to shrink if I…felt less deeply a conviction that the war with a powerful nation…is stamped with that justice which invites the smiles of Heaven on the means of conducting it to a successful termination.”
On May 25, 1813, in a Special Session Message to Congress, President James Madison stated:
“The contest in which the United States are engaged appeals…to the sacred obligation of transmitting entire to future generations that precious…independence which is held in trust by the present from the goodness of Divine Providence.”
On July 23, 1813, President James Madison proclaimed a National Day of Public Humiliation and Prayer:
“In times of public calamity such as that of the war…it is especially becoming that the hearts of all should be…turned to that Almighty Power in whose hands are the welfare and the destiny of nations…
For…He has blessed the United States with a political Constitution founded on the will and authority of the whole people and guaranteeing to each individual security, not only of his person and his property, but of those sacred rights of conscience so essential to his present happiness and so dear to his future hopes…
that He would pardon our manifold transgressions and awaken and strengthen in all the wholesome purposes of repentance…so He would…bestow His blessings on our arms in resisting the hostile…
If the public homage of a people can ever be worthy of the favorable regard of the Holy and Omniscient Being to whom it is addressed, it must be that in which those who join in it are guided only by their free choice, by the impulse of their hearts and the dictates of their consciences…that religion, that gift of Heaven for the good of man, freed from all coercive edicts…
and making no appeal but to reason, to the heart, and to the conscience, can spread its benign influence everywhere and can attract to the divine altar those freewill offerings of humble supplication.”
On December 7, 1813, in his Fifth Annual Message, President James Madison stated:
“It has pleased the Almighty to bless our arms both on the land and on the water….On Lake Erie, the squadron under the command of Captain Perry having met the British squadron of superior force, a sanguinary conflict ended in the capture of the whole…
We may humbly repose our trust in the smiles of Heavenon so righteous a cause.”
On September 1, 1814, in a National Proclamation after the British had invaded the Capitol, President James Madison stated:
“The enemy by a sudden incursion have succeeded in invading the capitol…though for a single day only, they wantonly destroyed the public edifices…
The glory acquired by their fathers in establishing the independence which is now to be maintained by their sons with the augmented strength and resources with which time and Heaven had blessed them.”
On September 20, 1814, in his Sixth Annual Message, President James Madison stated:
“The capture of nearly a thousand American vessels and the impressment of thousands of American seafaring citizens…by the Government of Great Britain…
Our beloved country…persevering hostility…must carry with it the good wishes of the impartial world and the best hopes of support from an Omnipotent and Kind Providence.“
On November 16, 1814, President James Madison proclaimed a National Day of Public Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer:
“In the present time of public calamity and war a day may be recommended to be observed by the people of the United States as a day of public humiliation and fasting and of prayer to Almighty God…for…His blessing on their arms, and a speedy restoration of peace…
voluntarily offering…humble adoration to the Great Sovereign of the Universe, of confessing their sins and transgressions, and of strengthening their vows of repentance.”
When the war ended, President James Madison addressed Congress, February 18, 1815:
“I lay before Congress copies of the treaty of peace and amity between the United States and His Britannic Majesty…We accord in grateful acknowledgments for the protection which Providence has bestowed upon us.”
On March 4, 1815, President James Madison proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving:
“To be observed by the people of the United States with religious solemnity as a day of thanksgiving and of devout acknowledgments toAlmighty God for His great goodness manifested in restoring to them the blessing of peace.
No people ought to feel greater obligations to celebrate the goodness of the Great Disposer of Events and of the Destiny of Nations than the people of the United States…
To the same Divine Author of Every Good and Perfect Gift we are indebted for all those privileges and advantages, religious as well as civil, which are so richly enjoyed in this favored land…especially for the restoration of the blessing of peace.”
It was the idea of Beardsley Ruml, the treasurer of Macy’s Department Store who became chairman of New York’s Federal Reserve Bank.
Ruml was helped by Bernard Baruch and Milton Friedman.
The Federal Government would forgive people not paying their annual lump sum taxes at the end of 1941 if they signed up to have future taxes withheld from each paycheck.
It was called the “Pay-As-You-Go” tax.
It was part of the patriotic war enthusiasm which included slogans such as:
“UNCLE SAME NEEDS YOU”;
“BUY WAR BONDS”;
“SMASH THE AXIS-PAY YOUR TAXES.”
So much money came in from the “Pay-As-You-Go” tax with so few complaints that it continued after the war.
John F. Kennedy told Congress, April 20, 1961:
“Introduced during the war when the income tax was extended to millions of new taxpayers, the wage-withholding system has been one of the most important and successful advances in our tax system in recent times.
Initial difficulties were quickly overcome, and the new system helped the taxpayer no less than the tax collector.”
But Americans were not always so taxed.
Jefferson noted in his 2nd Annual Message, 1802:
“We are able, without a direct tax, without internal taxes, and without borrowing, to make large and effectual payments toward the discharge of our public debt and the emancipation of our posterity from that mortal canker…
It is an encouragement, fellow-citizens, of the highest order to proceed as we have begun in substituting economy for taxation.”
President Andrew Jackson stated in his 8th Annual Message, December 5, 1836:
“There is no such provision as would authorize Congress to collect together the property of the country, under the name of revenue, for the purpose of dividing it equally or unequally among the States or the people.
Indeed, it is not probable that such an idea ever occurred to the States when they adopted the Constitution.”
Andrew Jackson told Congress, May 27, 1830:
“Through the favor of an overruling and indulgent Providence our country is blessed with general prosperity and our citizens exempted from the pressure of taxation, which other less favored portions of the human family are obliged to bear.”
Jackson stated December 5, 1836:
“No people can hope to perpetuate their liberties who long acquiesce in a policy which taxes them for objects not necessary to the legitimate and real wants of their Government…
The practical effect of such an attempt must ever be to burden the people with taxes, not for the purposes beneficial to them, but to swell the profits of deposit banks and support a band of useless public officers…
There would soon be but one taxing power, and that vested in a body of men far removed from the people…
The States…would not dare to murmur at the proceedings of the General Government, lest they should lose their supplies;
all would be merged in a practical consolidation, cemented by widespread corruption, which could only be eradicated by one of those bloody revolutions which occasionally overthrow the despotic systems of the Old World.”
Jackson stated in his Farewell Address, 1837:
“There is, perhaps, no one power conferred on the Federal Government so liable to abuse as the taxing power…
Plain as these principles appear to be, you will yet find there is a constant effort to induce the General Government to go beyond the limits of its taxing power and to impose unnecessary burdens upon the people…to fasten upon the people this unjust and unequal system.”
Get the book, The Interesting History of Income Tax
Prior to 1913, other than during the Civil War, the Federal Government was financed primarily from tariff taxes on imports, called imposts.
President Franklin Pierce stated in his First Annual Message to Congress, December 5, 1853:
“Happily, I have no occasion to suggest any radical changes in the financial policy of the Government.
Ours is almost, if not absolutely, the solitary power of Christendom having a surplus revenue drawn immediately from imposts on commerce.”
This story if true is disturbing on many levels. It says nothing of the executive branch requiring any approval from Congress, or even that Congress has approved anything.
Excerpt “The Obama administration is currently drawing up a set of rules about how the US military can defend against or conduct cyberattacks, the New York Times reports. The Obama administration is also allowing intelligence agencies to declare potential threats. But even if these threats are nothing more than a suspicion without evidence, the military now has the authority to attack foreign nations, regardless of whether or not the US is involved in a conflict with them.
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?
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)
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:
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
The White House
I understand from public reports that you taught a course in Constitutional law at the University of Chicago some years ago, though I have not seen a publication of your class syllabus for that course. I note, too, that you were graduated from Harvard University School of Law. I assume that you took a course in Constitutional law while attending Harvard, though a transcript of your Harvard course work indicating such a course has not been published.
News accounts during the past weeks report great controversy over a new requirement that religious institutions will soon be required to fund all medical requirements of their employees. I note with interest that you, too, have commented on it, apparently concluding that these institutions must pay for medical services just like all other institutions covered by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Liberty of conscience, especially in religious matters, certainly is at the heart of this dispute. It occurred to me that you would have a clear view of this issue, having taught Constitutional law for a time. Since your public statements give no indication that you are familiar with the Religion Clause, I wondered how that could be in light of your time teaching it. Then it occurred to me that you had the same experience as others of us who have taught at the college or university level — we do not always get to the end of our syllabi. In the case of the Constitution, that could mean that you did not get to the Bill of Rights in your course.
As everyone knows, the Founding Fathers placed freedom of religion in the first two clauses of the Bill of Rights (First Amendment). They did so because this issue was foremost in the public mind. Assuming that you did not get a chance to study the religion clause, and therefore, did not lecture on it at the University of Chicago, let me briefly sum up the essence of the matter. I believe that this could help you to understand liberty of conscience better.
We all know that George Mason and Thomas Jefferson led the way towards religious liberty in Virginia in the 1770s. This resulted in the famous Virginia Statute on Religious Liberty in 1786. Before that, however, two important statements about religious liberty were promulgated. The first was the Constitution of the State of Virginia, published in 1776 including a “Bill of Rights,” the last section of which stated the following:
That religion, or the duty we owe our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore 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 towards each other.
Months before the enactment of the 1786 statement on religious liberty, a second very important document appeared. It was James Madison’s famous argument, presented to the state legislature for enactment, against state support for churches and in favor of religious liberty based on liberty of conscience which was already enshrined in the state constitution — noted above. It had that odd title often used in the late 18th century: A MEMORIAL AND REMONSTRANCE. In addition to the emphasis on liberty of conscience, defined in the Virginia Bill of Rights, Madison stressed a point that is significant for today’s arguments about liberty of conscience and proposed state action. Said Madison, “We maintain therefore that in matters of Religion, no man’s right is abridged by the institution of Civil Society, and that religion is wholly exempt from its cognizance.” He continued, “If religion be exempt from the authority of the Society at large, still less can it be subject to that (authority) of the Legislative Body.” Madison goes on to say rulers who encroach on the barriers between liberty of conscience and the power of civil society “are Tyrants.”
All other states by 1780 had provisions in their constitutions for liberty of conscience, each almost a mirror image of the others. It’s not surprising, therefore, that when it came time during the first session of Congress to draft a Bill of Rights for the federal Constitution, the first clause was a religion clause. That it was intended to mirror the liberty of conscience clauses of the state constitutions is evident in the developing drafts of the religion clauses by the Congress in the summer of 1789. Joseph Gales, comp., The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States (Washington, 1834), pp. 434, 729, 766, records the following development of the religion clause:
(June 8) The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, infringed.
(August 2) Congress shall make no law establishing religion, or to prevent the free exercise thereof, or to infringe the rights of conscience.
(August 15) No religion shall be established by law, nor shall the equal rights of conscience be infringed.
(September 25) Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof …
The September statement is the one that came back from the printer. After much study, my view is that since printers were also editors in that era, the reflexive “thereof” was an editorial change that did not change the standing practice of seeing “freedom of religion” and “liberty of conscience” as interchangeable phrases.
The point here, President Obama, is that Congress, in drafting the religion clauses of the Bill of Rights, was reflecting provisions found in all of the state constitutions at the time of the American Revolution — all providing for liberty of conscience. This reflected a common phrase in America, dating back a century and a half, namely, ”God alone is Lord of the conscience and has made it free from the doctrines and commandments of men.”
President Obama, let me make one more point that you probably might know about. The Constitution of the State of Illinois, dated December 15, 1971, begins with a preamble which states, “Grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political, and religious liberty He has permitted us to enjoy and seeking His blessing … we establish this constitution.” Then Section 3, entitled “Religious Freedom,” states: “The free exercise of religion and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination shall forever be guaranteed.” And it adds, “Liberty of conscience is hereby secured.” Last time I checked, most of the other states have the same or similar clauses in their constitutions as does your home state of Illinois.
President Obama, there seems to be only one conclusion that can be reached in a study of liberty of conscience clauses in American constitutions from the early days of the Revolution to the present hour. It is this: People’s religious views, excepting outrageous and unreasonable actions, cannot be infringed upon by anyone, especially not by the civil government (state).
It would seem to me that as America’s Chief Magistrate, after reviewing the development of liberty of conscience as outlined above, and having taught Constitutional law, you would be especially careful to support liberty of conscience when issuing executive orders or departmental regulations.
Finally, you may find that the liberty of conscience of citizens constrains or limits some things you may wish to do. That, however, is a condition of your office given the separation of powers in the Constitution.
Exercising my religious liberty, I pray for you often.
L. John Van Til, Ph.D.
Dr. L. John Van Til is a fellow for law & humanities with The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College.
Publication date: February 16, 2012
When did it just become another meaningless piece of paper that binds neither the Congress nor the President? When did the States give up their rights? How do the people of the United States hold their Representatives accountable?
We seem to have entered a time period when the very people that we elect to office to fulfill the responsibility laid out in our founding document, have decided that that document that the founders of this country fought and died for, no longer apply to them. How do we hold them accountable when they refuse to obey the law and when they refuse to hold the President accountable when he refused to obey the law? Is the law meaningless now? If so, why are “We the people” bound by the law? Below is a response I gave on another post from yesterday “Soft Secession“, if you haven’t read it, it was reblogged from Western Hero and is well worth taking the time to read. He has a lot of excellent point and possible solutions.
“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 shewn 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”
I don’t know about you my friend but these words have just as much meaning to me today, as they did to the founders when they signed the “Declaration of Independence.”
Do you believe that the President is fulfilling Article IV Section 4 of the Constitution which states “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.”
Or do the States not have the rights outlined in Section V which states “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;”
When did the Presidents responsibility end and how do you make a lawless President obey the laws? Especially when the Congress itself refuses to do their job? Why are the people bound by a lawless Congress that keeps putting more and more taxation and burden upon them? At what point does the Constitution itself become nothing more than a piece of paper? When that happens, who is bound to it? Only the people? When does a republic cease to exist? Where have the States given up the rights that they kept for themselves? Why should those in power not be held accountable to the very documents that established this country?
- Freedom From Tryanny (loopyloo305.wordpress.com)
- Publius Huldah (grumpyelder.com)
- This is not America anymore (grumpyelder.com)
- What is the constitutional remedy for a lawless president? (bellalu0.wordpress.com)
Driven into Pennsylvania by the British, the Continental Army set up camp at Valley Forge, DECEMBER 19, 1777, just 25 miles from British occupied Philadelphia. Lacking food and supplies, soldiers died at the rate of twelve per day. Of 11,000 soldiers, 2,500 died of cold, hunger and disease. A Committee from Congress reported “feet and legs froze till they became black, and it was often necessary to amputate them.” Soldiers were there from every State in the new union, some as young as 12, others as old as 60, and though most were white, some were African American and American Indians. Quaker farmer Isaac Potts reported seeing General Washington kneeling in prayer in the snow. Hessian Major Carl Leopold Baurmeister noted the only thing that kept the American army from disintegrating was their “spirit of liberty.” In a letter written to John Banister, Washington recorded: “To see men without clothes to cover their nakedness, without blankets to lay on, without shoes, by which their marches might be traced by the blood from their feet…and at Christmas taking up their…quarters within a day’s march of the enemy…is a mark of patience and obedience which in my opinion can scarce be paralleled.”
Congressmen Coble Goodlatte et al, Obama eligibility fraud felonies, How many felonies does Obama commit before anyone in the US Government speaks out? (via Citizen WElls)
via Citizen WElls