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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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‘To destroy us…our enemies must first seduce us from the house of God’ -Yale President Timothy Dwight

 

American Minute with Bill Federer
A grandson of Princeton president Jonathan Edwards, he could read at age 4 and entered Yale at 13.He was a chaplain in the Continental Army until his father died.

Then, as the eldest of 13 children, he worked the family farm to pay off debts.

He served in Massachusetts’ first State Legislature.

His name was Timothy Dwight IV, and he died JANUARY 11, 1817.


He was Yale’s 8th president, 1795 to 1817.

In his 22 years at Yale, he created Departments of Chemistry, Geology, Law, and Medicine.

He also founded Andover Theological Seminary.

Timothy Dwight pioneered women’s education, and was critical of slavery and encroachment on Indian lands.

He befriended Henry Opukahaia, the first Hawaiian convert to Christianity, which led to missionaries sailing to the Islands.

During his administration, Yale grew from 110 to 313 students, with one of his students, Samuel Morse, inventing the telegraph.

Originally a Puritan college, Yale students had become enamored with “French infidelity” and the deistic “cult of reason.”

Dwight met with students and answered their questions on faith.

By the time of his death, JANUARY 11, 1817, a third of the graduates were professing Christians, and 30 entered the ministry.

On July 4, 1798, Timothy Dwight gave an address in New Haven titled “The Duty of Americans at the Present Crisis.”

In this address, he explained how Voltaire’s atheism inspired the French Revolution and it’s Reign of Terror, 1793-1794, where 40,000 people were beheaded and 300,000 were butchered in the Vendee:

“About the year 1728, Voltaire, so celebrated for his wit and brilliancy and not less distinguished for his hatred of Christianity and his abandonment of principle, formed a systematical design to destroy Christianity and to introduce in its stead a general diffusion of irreligion and atheism.

For this purpose he associated with himself Frederick the II, king of Prussia, and Mess. D’Alembert and Diderot, the principal compilers of the Encyclopedie, all men of talents, atheists and in the like manner abandoned.

The principle parts of this system were:

1. The compilation of the Encyclopedie: in which with great art and insidiousness the doctrines of … Christian theology were rendered absurd and ridiculous; and the mind of the reader was insensibly steeled against conviction and duty.

2. The overthrow of the religious orders in Catholic countries, a step essentially necessary to the destruction of the religion professed in those countries.

3. The establishment of a sect of philosophists to serve, it is presumed as a conclave, a rallying point, for all their followers.

4. The appropriation to themselves, and their disciples, of the places and honors of members of the French Academy, the most respectable literary society in France, and always considered as containing none but men of prime learning and talents.

In this way they designed to hold out themselves and their friends as the only persons of great literary and intellectual distinction in that country, and to dictate all literary opinions to the nation.

5. The fabrication of books of all kinds against Christianity, especially such as excite doubt and generate contempt and derision.

Of these they issued by themselves and their friends who early became numerous, an immense number; so printed as to be purchased for little or nothing, and so written as to catch the feelings, and steal upon the approbation, of every class of men.


6. The formation of a secret Academy, of which Voltaire was the standing president, and in which books were formed, altered, forged, imputed as posthumous to deceased writers of reputation, and sent abroad with the weight of their names.

These were printed and circulated at the lowest price through all classes of men in an uninterrupted succession, and through every part of the kingdom.”


Timothy Dwight continued:

“In societies of Illuminati…the being of God was denied and ridiculed….

The possession of property was pronounced robbery.

Chastity and natural affection were declared to be nothing more than groundless prejudices.

Adultery, assassination, poisoning, and other crimes of the like infernal nature, were taught as lawful…provided the end was good….

The good ends proposed by the Illuminati…are the overthrow of religion, government, and human society, civil and domestic.

These they pronounce to be so good that murder, butchery, and war, however extended and dreadful, are declared by them to be completely justifiable…

The means…were…the education of youth…every unprincipled civil officer…every abandoned clergyman…books replete with infidelity, irreligion, immorality, and obscenity…

Where religion prevails, Illumination cannot make disciples, a French directory cannot govern, a nation cannot be made slaves, nor villains, nor atheists, nor beasts.

To destroy us therefore, in this dreadful sense, our enemies must first destroy our Sabbath and seduce us from the house of God…”

Timothy Dwight concluded:

“Religion and liberty are the meat and the drink of the body politic.

Withdraw one of them and in languishes, consumes, and dies.

If indifference…becomes the prevailing character of a people…their motives to vigorous defense is lost, and the hopes of their enemies are proportionally increased…

Without religion we may possibly retain the freedom of savages, bears, and wolves, but not the freedom of New England.

If our religion were gone, our state of society would perish with it and nothing would be left which would be worth defending.”

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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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DEC. 24 – CHRISTMAS EVE – Columbus, Cook and President Truman

American Minute by Bill Federer
On Christmas Eve, DECEMBER 24, 1492, Columbus’ ship, the Santa Maria, ran aground on the island of Haiti. Columbus left 40 men and named the settlement la Navidad, promising to return the next year.

On Christmas Eve, DECEMBER 24, 1777, Captain James Cook discovered Christmas Island, the largest atoll in the Pacific, where he observed eclipse of the sun.

On Christmas Eve, DECEMBER 24, 1946, President Harry S Truman lit the National Christmas Tree, saying:

“Our…hopes of future years turn to a little town in the hills of Judea where on a winter’s night two thousand years ago the prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled.

Shepherds keeping the watch by night over their flock heard the glad tidings of great joy from the angels of the Lord singing, ‘Glory to God in the Highest and on Earth, peace, good will toward men.’

The message of Bethlehem best sums up our hopes tonight.

If we as a nation, and the other nations of the world, will accept it, the star of faith will guide us into the place of peace as it did the shepherds on that day of Christ’s birth long ago.”

The next year, on Christmas Eve, DECEMBER 24, 1947, President Truman lit the National Community Christmas Tree, stating:

“Down the ages from the first Christmas through all the years of nineteen centuries, mankind in its weary pilgrimage through a changing world has been…strengthened by the message of Christmas.

The angels sang for joy at the first Christmas in faraway Bethlehem.

Their song has echoed through the corridors of time and will continue to sustain the heart of man through eternity…

A humble man and woman had gone up from Galilee out of the City of Nazareth to Bethlehem…

St. Luke’s brief chronicle that Mary ‘brought forth her firstborn son, wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn’…

At this point in the world’s history, the words of St. Paul have greater significance than ever before.

He said: ‘And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.'”

On Christmas Eve, DECEMBER 24, 1948, President Truman lit the National Community Christmas Tree and stated:

“The moving event of the first Christmas was the bringing forth of the first born in the stable in Bethlehem.


There began in humble surroundings the home life of the Holy Family glorified in song…down through the centuries…

With one accord we receive with joy…the message of the first Christmas…

What could be more appropriate than for all of us to dedicate ourselves to the cause of peace on this Holy Night…”

Truman continued:

“The religion which came to the world heralded by the song of the Angels has endured for nineteen centuries…It remains today the world’s best hope for peace if the world will accept its fundamental teaching that all men are brothers.

‘God that made the world and all things therein…hath made of one blood all nations of man for to dwell on all the face of the earth.’

In the spirit of that message from the Acts of the Apostles, I wish all of you a Merry Christmas.”

On Christmas Eve, DECEMBER 24, 1949, President Harry S Truman lit the National Christmas Tree, stating:

“The first Christmas had its beginning in the coming of a Little Child…Through that child love…the love of the Holy Family could be shared by the whole human family…

I have been reading again in our family Bible some of the passages which foretold this night. It was that grand old seer Isaiah who prophesied in the Old Testament the sublime event which found fulfillment almost 2,000 years ago.

Just as Isaiah foresaw the coming of Christ, so another battler for the Lord, St. Paul, summed up the law and the prophets in a glorification of love which he exalts even above both faith and hope.

We miss the spirit of Christmas if we consider the Incarnation…a far-off event unrelated to our present problems.

We miss the purpose of Christ’s birth if we do not accept it as a living link which joins us together in spirit as children of the everliving and true God.

In love alone – the love of God and the love of man – will be found the solution of all the ills which afflict the world today…

With increasing purpose, emerges the great message of Christianity…

In the spirit of the Christ Child – as little children with joy in our hearts and peace in our souls – let us, as a nation, dedicate ourselves anew to the love of our fellowmen…the message of the Child of Bethlehem, the real meaning of Christmas.”

On Christmas Eve, DECEMBER 24, 1952, President Harry S Truman lit the National Community Christmas Tree, stating:

“As we light this National Christmas tree tonight, here on the White House lawn – as all of us light our own Christmas trees in our own homes – we remember another night long ago.

Then a Child was born in a stable. A star hovered over, drawing wise men from afar. Shepherds, in a field, heard angels singing…That was the first Christmas and it was God’s great gift to us…

Year after year it brings peace and tranquility to troubled hearts in a troubled world.

And tonight the earth seems hushed, as we turn to the old, old story of how‘God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’

Let us remember always to try to act and live in the spirit of the Prince of Peace. He bore in His heart no hate and no malice-nothing but love for all mankind. We should try as nearly as we can to follow His example…

We believe that all men are truly the children of God. As we worship at this Christmastide, let us worship in this spirit…

Through Jesus Christ the world will yet be a better and a fairer place…

I wish for all of you a Christmas filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and many years of future happiness with the peace of God reigning upon this earth.”

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‘The creature, Frankenstein-like, is determined to destroy the creators.’-Eisenhower

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American Minute by Bill Federer
The thirteen States were afraid that the new Government they created might become too powerful, as King George’s government had been.They insisted handcuffs be placed on the power of the Federal Government.

These were the First Ten Amendments or Bill of Rights, ratified DECEMBER 15, 1791.

The Preamble of the Bill of Rights stated:

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“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…

RESOLVED…that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as Amendments to the Constitution of the United States…”

The Amendments did not limit States or citizens, but the Federal Congress:

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.”

Regarding this, Thomas Jefferson wrote to Samuel Miller, January 23, 1808:

“I consider the government of the U.S. as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling 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 U.S.

Jefferson continued:

“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.”

The Constitution of the United States of America-Analysis and Interpretation, prepared by the Legislative Reference Service of the Library of Congress (Edward S. Corwin, editor, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, 1953, p. 758), stated:

“In his Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833, Justice Joseph Story asserted that the purpose of the First Amendment was not to discredit the then existing State establishments of religion,

but rather ‘to exclude from the National Government all power to act on the subject.'”

John Bouvier’s Law Dictionary, published in Philadelphia by the J.B. Lippincott Company, 1889, stated in its definition of Religion:

“The Constitution of the United States provides that ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.’

This provision and that relating to religious tests are limitations upon the power of the Congress only

The Christian religion is, of course, recognized by the government, yet…the preservation of religious liberty is left to the States.”

Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story explained in his Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, 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.”

Mercy Otis Warren wrote inObservations on the new Constitution, and on the Federal and State Conventions, 1788:

“The origin of all power is in the people, and they have an incontestable right to check the creatures of their own creation.”

President Dwight Eisenhower stated at a Governors’ Conference, June 24, 1957:

“The national government was itself the creature of the States…Yet today it is often made to appear thatthe creature, Frankenstein-like, is determined to destroy the creators.”

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GREED and the GOSPEL – two threads in history – and American Indians

 American Minute by Bill Federer
 GREED and the GOSPEL are two threads that run through the past 2,000 years.Those motivated by GREED took land from Indians; held slaves; were East India Tea Company merchants who imported opium into China; or hung signs “Help Wanted-No Irish Need Apply”; or voted for candidates promising financial security even though they spread immorality and disregard for human life.


Those motivated by the GOSPEL donated money, food and clothes, opened orphanages andmedical clinics, dug wells in native villages, fought to abolish slavery, founded hospitals, took in homeless, dispensed emergency aid, inoculated children, taught farming techniques, visited those in prison, provided literacy programs and disaster relief.

Such were:

Scottish Missionary to Nigeria Mary Slessor who promoted women’s rights and ending twin killing;

Baptist Missionary Lottie Moon, who helped famine victims in China;


Scottish Missionary to the Congo David Livingstone who worked to end the Muslim slave trade;

Adoniram Judson, missionary to Burma, who created a Burmese-English Dictionary;

Missionary to India William Carey, who helped end the practice of ‘sati’ – the burning widows on their husband’s ashes;


George Muller, who founded orphanages in the slums of England;

Missionary to China Gladys Aylward, who helped end the binding of little girls’ feet;

Hudson Taylor, who was a missionary and physician in China;

Irish missionary Amy Carmichael, who worked with orphans in India;


Olympic athlete Eric Liddell, who was a missionary and teacher in North China;

Jake DeShazer, who was a prisoner-of-war turned missionary to Japan;

Nate Saint and Jim Elliot, who were missionary martyrs to Ecuador’s Auca Indians;


and Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who said:

“I see Jesus in every human being. I say to myself, this is hungry Jesus, I must feed him. This is sick Jesus. This one has leprosy or gangrene; I must wash him and tend to him. I serve because I love Jesus.”


These spread Judeo-Christian ideals like ‘women and children first,’ philanthropy, charity, volunteerism, civil rights, and tolerance.

Though conquistadors unfortunately lusted for gold, they were followed by sincere missionaries like Bartolome’ de Las Casas, who ministered to native peoples.

American Indians were caught in the struggle between GREED and the GOSPEL.


Many Indians sided with the French against the British during the French and Indian War. When the French lost, the Indians lost land.

Many Indians sided with the British during the Revolutionary War as Britain limited colonial westward expansion in 1763. When the British lost, Indians lost more land. (Treaty of Greenville, 1795)


Many Indians sided with the British during the War of 1812. When the British lost, Indians lost more land. (Treaty of Fort Jackson, 1814)

Gold was discovered in Georgia and settlers rushed in. A Democrat controlled Congress hurriedly passed the Indian Removal Act of 1830, signed by a Democrat President. Four thousand Cherokee died in their forced march to Oklahoma. (Treaty of Fort Armstrong, 1832; Treaty of Echota, 1835)

Some Indians sided with the Confederacy during the Civil War. When the South lost, Indians lost more land.


During America’s history, there were well-intentioned missionaries motivated by the GOSPEL: John Elliott, Pierre Marquette, David Brainerd, Francis Makemie, John Stewart, Marcus Whitman, and Hiram Bingham.

On April 26, 1802, President Jefferson extended a 1787 act of Congress in which special lands were designated:

“For the sole use of Christian Indians and the Moravian Brethren missionaries for civilizing the Indians and promoting Christianity.”


After the Louisiana Purchase, Jefferson asked Congress to ratify a treaty with the Kaskaskia Tribe, negotiated by William Henry Harrison-the future 9th President. The Kaskaskia Treaty, DECEMBER 3, 1803, stated:

“And whereas the greater part of the said tribe have been baptized and received into the Catholic Church, to which they are much attached,

the United States will give annually, for seven years, one hundred dollars toward the support of a priest of that religion, who will engage to perform for said tribe the duties of his office, and also to instruct as many of their children as possible, in the rudiments of literature,

and the United States will further give the sum of three hundred dollars, to assist the said tribe in the erection of a church.”


In 1806 and 1807, two similar treaties were made with the Wyandotte and Cherokee tribes.

President Jackson stated in a Message to Congress, January 20, 1830:

“According to the terms of an agreement between the United States and the United Society of Christian Indians the latter have a claim to an annuity of $400…”


President Jackson commented in his 2nd Annual Message, December 6, 1830:

“The Indians…gradually, under the protection of the Government and through the influence of good counsels, to cast off their savage habits and become an interesting, civilized, and Christian community.”


In the 1850’s, the territory of the Five Civilized Tribes in the eastern Oklahoma had missions, schools and academies:Presbyterians’ Dwight Mission (Cherokee, 1820, 1828);
Chuala Female Academy (Choctaw, 1842);
Tullahassee Manual Labor Boarding School (Cherokee, 1848);
Congregational-American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions’s Wheelock Academy (Choctaw, 1832);
Methodist Episcopal Church’s Quapaw Mission (1843); and
Bloomfield Academy for Chickasaw Females (1852).

President Lincoln stated in his 3rd Annual Message, December 3, 1863:

“It is hoped that the treaties will result in…permanent friendly relations with such of these tribes…

Duty to these wards of the Government demand our anxious and constant attention to their material well-being, to their progress in the arts of civilization, and, above all, to that moral training which under the blessing of Divine Providence will confer upon them the elevated and sanctifying influences, hopes and consolations, of the Christian faith.”

In 1869, the Board of Indian Commissioners noted in its annual report: “the religion of our blessed Savior is…the most effective agent for the civilization of any people.”

President Grant stated in his First Annual Message, December 6, 1869:

“I have attempted a new policy toward these wards of the nation…

The Society of Friends is well known as having succeeded in living in peace with the Indians in the early settlement of Pennsylvania…

They are known for their opposition to all strife, violence, and war, and are generally noted for their strict integrity and fair dealings.

These considerations induced me to give the management of a few reservations of Indians to them…The result has proven most satisfactory.”


President Grant stated in his 2nd Annual Message, December 5, 1870:

“Reform in…Indian affairs has received the special attention…

The experiment of making it a missionary work was tried with a few agencies given to the denomination of Friends (Quaker), and has been found to work most advantageously…

Indian agencies being civil offices, I determined to give all the agencies to such religious denominations as had heretofore established missionaries among the Indians, and perhaps to some other denominations…to Christianize and civilize the Indians, and to train him in the arts of peace.”


President Grant stated to Congress, January 1, 1871:

“Civilized Indians of the country should be encouraged in establishing for themselves forms of Territorial government compatible with the Constitution…

This is the first indication of the aborigines desiring to adopt our form of government, and it is highly desirable that they become self-sustaining, self-relying, Christianized, and civilized.”


President Grant stated in his 3rd Annual Message, December 4, 1871:

“The policy pursued toward the Indians has resulted favorably…

Through the exertions of the various societies of Christians…many tribes of Indians have been induced to settle upon reservations, to cultivate the soil, to perform productive labor of various kinds, and to partially accept civilization…

I recommend liberal appropriations to carry out the Indian peace policy, not only because it is humane, Christianlike, and economical, but because it is right.”

Oklahoma had missions run by Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Mennonites, Quakers, Moravians and Mennonites, who had a mission among the Comanches at Post Oak Mission and at Colony.

Catholics had missions in the Potawatomi Nation at Sacred Heart Abbey, at Anadarko on the Kiowa-Comanche-Apache Reservation, and in north central Oklahoma among the Osage, Ponca, and Otoe.


In 1884, one of the first missionaries to the Yupik Indians in Alaska was John Henry Killbuck, great-grandson of Lenape Chief Gelelemend, who in 1778 made the first Indian Treaty with the United States and later was converted to Christianity by German Moravian missionaries.


President Cleveland issued the Proclamation respecting Church property in Alaska, November 14, 1896:

“Whereas…the Russian Empire ceded to the US the Territory of Alaska…the churches which have been built in the ceded territory…shall remain the property of such members of the Greek Oriental Church…

The Cathedral Church of St. Michael…The Church of the Resurrection…called the Kalochian Church, situated near the battery number at the palisade separating the city from the Indian village….Three timber houses…for lodging of priests. Four lots of ground belonging to the parsonages.”


Growing up in a Quaker family, Herbert Hoover spent several months as a boy living on the Osage Indian Reservation in Oklahoma Territory.

After becoming a multi-millionaire in the mining industry and organizing the feeding of Europe after World War I, Hoover became the 31st U.S. President.


He chose as his Vice-President Charles Curtis, the nation’s first Native American Vice-President, from the Kaw tribe in Kansas.

Hoover reorganized and provided increased funding to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The next President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, had John Collier serve as Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1933-45.


The son of a successful Atlanta businessman, John Collier pressured Congress to pass the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 which preserved Indian identity by restoring native lands, improving reservation medical services, and promoting development of business opportunities for Indians.

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Was America once a Christian nation?

By Bill Federer via American Minute
Was America once a Christian nation?

Exclusive: Bill Federer looks at Obama’s 2006 statement in light of state constitutions

“Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation.”  – President Barack Obama, June 28, 2006

Wouldn’t it be interesting to find out “whatever we once were”?

Originally, laws that governed personal behavior were under states’ jurisdiction, not federal.

People today are aware that some states allow minors to consume alcohol, and others do not; some states have smoking bans, and others do not; some states allow gambling, and others do not; some states attempt to limit the Second Amendment, and others do not; some states allow gay marriage, and others do not; and one state allows prostitution, while the rest do not.

At the time the Constitution was written, religion was under each individual state’s jurisdiction, and each state expanded religious tolerance at its own speed.

The U.S. Constitution went into effect June 21, 1788, when two-thirds of the states ratified it.

What was in those original 13 state Constitutions concerning religion at the time those states ratified the U.S. Constitution? [Caps added throughout for emphasis.]

DELAWARE – first to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1776 state constitution:

“Every person … appointed to any office … shall … subscribe … ‘I … profess faith in GOD THE FATHER, and in JESUS CHRIST His only Son, and in the HOLY GHOST, one God, blessed for evermore; and I do acknowledge the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine inspiration.'”

PENNSYLVANIA – second to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1776 state constitution, signed by Ben Franklin:

“Each member, before he takes his seat, shall … subscribe … ‘I do believe in one GOD, the Creator and Governor of the Universe, the Rewarder of the good and the Punisher of the wicked. And I do acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine Inspiration.'”

NEW JERSEY – third to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1776 state constitution:

“All persons, professing a belief in the faith of any PROTESTANT sect, who shall demean themselves peaceably under the government … shall be capable of being elected.”

GEORGIA – fourth to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1777 state constitution:

“Representatives shall be chosen out of the residents in each county … and they shall be of the PROTESTANT religion.”

CONNECTICUT – fifth to ratify the U.S. Constitution, retained its 1662 Colonial Constitution, which was established PROTESTANT CONGREGATIONAL, till 1818:

“By the Providence of GOD … having from their ancestors derived a free and excellent Constitution … whereby the legislature depends on the free and annual election. … The free fruition of such liberties and privileges as humanity, civility and CHRISTIANITY call for.”

MASSACHUSETTS – sixth to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1780 state constitution, written by John Adams:

“Any person … before he … execute the duties of his … office … [shall] subscribe … ‘I … declare, that I believe the CHRISTIAN religion, and have a firm persuasion of its truth.’ … The legislature shall … authorize the support and maintenance of public PROTESTANT teachers of piety, religion and morality.”

MARYLAND – seventh to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1776 state constitution:

“No other test … ought to be required, on admission to any office … than such oath of support and fidelity to this State … and a declaration of a belief in the CHRISTIAN religion.”

SOUTH CAROLINA – eighth to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1778 state constitution:

“No person shall be eligible to a seat … unless he be of the PROTESTANT religion. … The CHRISTIAN PROTESTANT religion shall be deemed … the established religion of this State.”

NEW HAMPSHIRE – ninth to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1784 state constitution:  “No person shall be capable of being elected … who is not of the PROTESTANT religion.”

VIRGINIA – 10th to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1776 state constitution, bill of rights, written by James Madison and George Mason:

“It is the mutual duty of all to practice CHRISTIAN forbearance, love, and charity towards each other.”

NEW YORK – 11th to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1777 state constitution:

“The United American States … declare … ‘Laws of nature and of NATURE’S GOD … All men are created equal; that they are endowed by their CREATOR with certain unalienable rights … Appealing to the SUPREME JUDGE of the world … A firm reliance on the protection of DIVINE PROVIDENCE’ …”

NORTH CAROLINA – 12th to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1776 state constitution:

“No person, who shall deny the being of GOD or the truth of the PROTESTANT religion, or the Divine authority either of the Old or New Testaments, or who shall hold religious principles incompatible with the freedom and safety of the State, shall be capable of holding … office.”

RHODE ISLAND – 13th to ratify the U.S. Constitution, retained its 1663 Colonial Constitution till 1843, which stated:

“By the blessing of God … a full liberty in religious concernements … rightly grounded upon GOSPEL principles, will give the best and greatest security … in the true CHRISTIAN faith and worship of God. … They may … defend themselves, in their just rights and liberties against all the enemies of the CHRISTIAN faith.”

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Lafayette Black wrote inEngel v. Vitale, 1962:

“As late as the time of the Revolutionary War, there were established Churches in at least eight of the 13 former colonies and established religions in at least four of the other five.”

John K. Wilson wrote in “Religion Under the State Constitutions 1776-1800″ (Journal of Church and State, Volume 32, Autumn 1990, Number 4, pp. 754):

“An establishment of religion, in terms of direct tax aid to Churches, was the situation in nine of the 13 colonies on the eve of the American revolution.”

The Journal of the U.S. House recorded that on March 27, 1854, the 33rd Congress voted unanimously to print Rep. James Meacham’s report, which stated:

“At the adoption of the Constitution, we believe every State – certainly 10 of the 13 – provided as regularly for the support of the Church as for the support of the Government. …

“Down to the Revolution, every colony did sustain religion in some form. It was deemed peculiarly proper that the religion of liberty should be upheld by a free people. …

“Had the people, during the Revolution, had a suspicion of any attempt to war against Christianity, that Revolution would have been strangled in its cradle.”

Over the years, the Christians in these states extended tolerance to other denominations, to Jews, to monotheistic religions, to any religion and eventually to atheists.

Activists judges creatively used the 14th Amendment to remove authority over many issues from state jurisdiction.

Though our government has seemingly abandoned ties to the past, for the student of history, it is still fascinating to find out “whatever we once were.”  —

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FORGOTTEN THANKSGVINGS you have probably never heard about!

American Minute By Bill Federer
After the victory of the Battle of Saratoga during the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress proclaimed the first National Day of Thanksgiving, November 1, 1777:”The grateful feeling of their hearts… join the penitent confession of their manifold sins… that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of remembrance…

and… under the providence of Almighty God… secure for these United States the greatest of all human blessings, independence and peace.”


After John Paul Jones, commanding theBonhomme Richard, captured the British ship HMS Serapis, the Continental Congress declared a Day of Thanksgiving, which Governor Thomas Jefferson chose to proclaim for Virginia, November 11, 1779:


“Congress… hath thought proper… to recommend to the several States… a day of public and solemn Thanksgiving to Almighty God, for his mercies, and of Prayer, for the continuance of his favour…

That He would go forth with our hosts and crown our arms with victory;

That He would grant to His church, the plentiful effusions of Divine Grace, and pour out His Holy Spirit on all Ministers of the Gospel;

That He would bless and prosper the means of education, and spread the light of Christian knowledge through the remotest corners of the earth…

I do therefore… issue this proclamation… appointing… a day of public and solemn Thanksgiving and Prayer to Almighty God… Given under by hand… this 11th day of November, in the year of our Lord, 1779… Thomas Jefferson.”

After traitor Benedict Arnold’s plot to betray West Point was thwarted, the Continental Congress proclaimed a Day of Thanksgiving, October 18, 1780:

“In the late remarkable interposition of His watchful providence, in the rescuing the person of our Commander-in-Chief and the army from imminent dangers, at the moment when treason was ripened for execution…


it is therefore recommended… a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer… to confess our unworthiness… and to offer fervent supplications to the God of all grace… to cause the knowledge of Christianity to spread over all the earth.”


After British General Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, Congress proclaimed aDay of Thanksgiving, October 11, 1782:

“It being the indispensable duty of all nations… to offer up their supplications to Almighty God…

the United States in Congress assembled… do hereby recommend it to the inhabitants of these states in general, to observe… the last Thursday… of November next, as a Day of Solemn Thanksgiving to God for all his mercies.”

After the Treaty of Paris ended the Revolutionary War, John Hancock, the former President of the Continental Congress now Governor of Massachusetts, proclaimed a Day of Thanksgiving, November 8, 1783:

“The Citizens of these United States have every Reason for Praise and
Gratitude to the God of their salvation… I do… appoint… the 11th day of December next (the day recommended by the Congress to all the States) to be religiously observed as a Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer,

that all the people may then assemble to celebrate… that he hath been pleased to continue to us the Light of the Blessed Gospel…

That we also offer up fervent supplications… to cause pure Religion and Virtue to flourish… and to fill the world with his glory.”

After the U.S. Congress passed the First Amendment, it requested President George Washington issue a National Day of Thanksgiving, which he did, October 3, 1789:

“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 government for their safety and happiness;’


Now, therefore, I do recommend…Thursday, the 26TH DAY of NOVEMBER … 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 andhumble Thanks… for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government…

particularly the national one now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed… to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue.”

After the Treaty of Ghent ended the War of 1812, President James Madison proclaimed a Day of Thanksgiving, March 4, 1815:

“The Senate and House of Representatives…signified their desire that a day may…be observed by the people of the United States with religious solemnity as a Day of Thanksgiving and of devout acknowledgments to Almighty 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.


His kind Providence originally conducted them to one of the best portions of the dwelling place allotted for the great family of the human race.

He protected…them under all the difficulties and trials to which they were exposed in their early days…

In the arduous struggle…they were distinguished by multiplied tokens of His benign interposition…

He…enabled them to assert their national rights and to enhance their national character in another arduous conflict, which is now so happily terminated by a peace and reconciliation with those who have been our enemies.

And 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…

I now recommend…a Day on which the people of every religious denomination may in their solemn assemblies unite their hearts and their voices in a freewill offering to their Heavenly Benefactor of their homage of Thanksgiving and of their songs of praise.

Given…in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifteen… James Madison.”

American Minute is a registered trademark. Permission is granted to forward. reprint or duplicate with acknowledgement tovwww.AmericanMinute.com
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