Reversing a Grievous Judicial Errorby Promoting an Accurate Historical Perspective of the Founder’s True Intent Regarding the Separation of Church and State
By: Thomas Lee Abshier, ND
A historically inaccurate interpretation of the concept of ‘the separation of church and state’ was adjudicated into legal precedent in the 1947 case of Everson v. Board of Education.
All other “Defense of Christianity” court & legislative battles can be won by reversing Everson.
All “Defense of Christianity” court & legislative battles ultimately will be lost if Everson stands.
Determine the historically accurate intention of the Founders with regard to the Separation of Church and State.
Pass legislation reversing the spiritually blind 1947 interpretation of the Founders’ intent in Separating Church and State.
Use this new legal foundation as precedent to reverse the trend of ever more bold attempts by the courts to remove every vestige of Christianity from American public life.
Everson v. Board of Education involved a complaint that the government was supporting a specific Christian denomination when it reimbursed school children for their bus fare to a Catholic school. The Court ruled that since the Founders were clear in their stand to not establish a specific Christian denomination, that giving government funds to a Catholic school (albeit indirectly) was tantamount to establishing a State religion.
The Supreme Court ruled wrongly in Everson because of their narrow view of context and intent of the Framers of the Constitution. The intent of the Founders was to create a Christian nation, governed by men of Christian character. They intended to deeply weave the spirit of Christianity into the procedures, actions, and intents of the fabric of politics, legislation, adjudication, and administration of government. They did not want a government beholden to a particular view of Christianity. They did not want a denominational interpretation being dictated by the priests of any religious order. They knew that allowing a narrow interpretation of Christianity to rule creates a de facto theocracy, the tyranny of a religious state. Our Founders wanted Christianity to be lived out in the dramas of a secular/non-church stage of every-day life where every act of life is sacred, every relationship is a communion between God and man, and the rules governing these divine vignettes are a perfect reflection of the Words of Life found in the Holy Bible. The Founders desired America to be the agent in the establishment of God’s Kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven.
In the Everson decision, the 1947 Supreme Court ruled that supporting a child in his/her attendance at a Catholic school was equivalent to the State giving support to a particular Christian denomination. This judgment is an inaccurate analysis of the purpose and significance of providing support to a particular denomination. The government is not in any way preferring or establishing a specific denomination as long as the government gives (or is willing to give) equal consideration & compensation to all Christian denominations needing similar help in transporting all students to school.
The spirit of the Establishment clause implies a lack of special preference or advantage given to a particular denomination. Such broad-based support of the full spectrum of Christian denominations is provided when all individual Christian denominations are given equal opportunity for public assistance. The effect of supporting all the individual pieces of a system is to support the whole of the system. In fact, support of the whole of Christianity was the desired effect of the Founders.
The net effect of supporting all denominations is to dilute out the individual support of any specific denominational doctrine. In effect, we are abiding by the words of scripture which advocate honoring all parts of the body. Each Christian denomination has its own strengths and weaknesses. But by considering them all, the fullness of the Word of God finds a voice of advocacy for each of its parts. By treating all Christian denominations equally, by giving all a voice in the affairs of state, and by letting the more reasonable and persuasive argument win, the effect is to allow the greatest wisdom and truth of the whole Word of God to manifest in the affairs of society.
The intent of the Founders regarding education was clear; they clearly desired the inculcation of Godly Christian character in children. Given that it is impossible to determine the perfect non-denominational practice or belief system, the government simply chose to support all forms of Christian education. The question of whether such broad-based support was a violation of Church and State was not considered relevant because the affairs of state were decided eventually by those grown-up children who then each brought their own understanding of God’s will and His perfect Way to the houses of legislature. A full mix of denominational doctrine provides a healthy and varied ecology of ideas from which to allow the seeds of the perfect doctrine to grow and mature into law.
The intent of the Supreme Court may have been to simply rule accurately on the validity of the connection between Church and State. But this is questionable since the context of the phrase used in Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptist Association was quoted so badly out of context. (i.e. the phrase was originally used to assure the church that government would not interfere in the worship/religion of the Church). In the Everson case, the effective use of the phrase was to imply that there was no place at all that a specific denomination could play in a political/governmental setting. But in fact, this was not the intent of the Constitution or its Founders. The effect of Everson has been to prevent any Christian denomination from having any influence on government. In turn, Everson has been the precedent and interpretation used by literally hundreds of cases to remove Christianity from government and public life.
Thus, the Everson decision became the case law which provided legal precedent to coerce our law-abiding society to remove Christianity from government. The decision was based on flawed legal reasoning and ignoring of the higher principles and intent of the Constitution. But once accepted into the body of law, that erroneous legal principle can be used as a foundation for a whole new structure of law. In fact, this is exactly what has happened. We are no longer building a society based on Christian principles, which was the highest intent of the Founders.
Since Everson, the courts and media have used the mantra of “Separation of Church and State” to brainwash the public into believing that the Constitution and Founders intended to keep Christianity out of government. While this misinterpretation of the Constitution may not have been intentional and calculated by the Court, it appears that the decision has been used as a cornerstone of legal precedent by those who seek to throw off the bonds of moral restraint imposed by Biblical law. Psalm 2:1-4 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
The generalized principles of Christianity and the conduct of Government were tightly connected in both the practice and intent of the Founders. The consideration of Christian principles in politics and all acts of America’s governance was the highest Constitutional intent of the Founders. On July 4, 1821, John Quincy Adams declared, “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this; it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”
The Founders recognized that the Bible must be considered as a whole to arrive at a non-denominational implementation of Christian social policy. No Christian sect or denomination would be given special consideration or advantage in policy debate. This is the intent behind the non-establishment of a State Religion in the 1st Amendment. The purpose was to avoid creating a theocracy by preventing the establishment of a Federal Denomination. Secondarily, the purpose was to prevent the government from imposing a particular denominational doctrine on the individual. Even so, the Founders intended that we be a Christian nation, not a nation of religious pluralism.
The effect of the 1st Amendment is to allow each person to believe and practice a religion as he/she deems right and true. Each person is responsible to God for his/her beliefs about God. Our Founders created a new system of government where freedom of conscience is the cornerstone of religious freedom.
But freedom has its limits; every person is subject to the authority of God and the State for his/her behavior. Thus, given the power of the State to enforce the law, it is best for the people to place themselves under righteous laws, and the most righteous law is God’s Law. Society must decide how it will regulate personal behavior by establishing law that codifies the boundaries of acceptable and unacceptable conduct. Punishment and reward are the tools of enforcement of the laws established by society. Those who hate Jesus rebel at the idea of being subject to a government which creates laws and society dedicated to following His Way.
The words “Separation of Church and State” are not in the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson used this phrase in a January 2,1802 letter to the Danbury Baptist Association. The Association was concerned that since the Constitution had now codified their right to the free exercise of religion, and that the government may someday forget that it was God that gave that inalienable right and then assume that the government could also rescind it. Jefferson assured them that government would not interfere with their worship.
“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God; that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship; that the legislative powers of the government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between church and State.”
Non-Christian religions are free to practice as they choose as long as they do not disrupt society with unseemly behavior. Each person must make his own decision as to his belief about the nature of God, the proper relationship with God, and the behavior required by God.
Implicit within the 1947 Everson v. Board of Education decision, was an expansion of the definition of the word “church” and an associated hypersensitivity against including any Christian practice or philosophy in public life which might be attributed to a Christian denomination. Once this broadened prohibition against denominational involvement in government was well engaged, the prohibition was again broadened to prohibit the favoring of Government of one religion over another. The effect has been to bring us to the point of being a nation of religious pluralism. We now consider it a virtue and a foundational Constitutional intent that we are to be a government and nation which favors no religion.
The Founders had intended to not establish a national Christian denomination, but they did intend Christian principles and non-denominational Christianity to be the moral backbone and religion of the country. This concept was emphasized by the House Judiciary Committee in its report of March 27, 1854 when it declared “…At the time of the adoption of the Constitution and the amendments, the universal sentiment was that Christianity should be encouraged…That was the religion of the Founders of the Republic, and they expected it to remain the religion of their descendants.” Everson gave legal precedent authority to government to withhold public monies from any public function which had within it a specific denominational support. More recently, this prohibition of spending public monies has been generalized to disallowing the participation of any Christian activity in government. Everson began the slide to an ever more stringent examination of all governmental expenditures and the resultant supposed Constitutional prohibition against any religious expression in government. The spending of money to support a denomination was the initiation of the legal basis for prohibiting Christianity to be expressed in any way in the governmental context.
The Everson decision has opened the way to expunge every vestige of Christian practice and principle from government. In turn, every alternative/non-Christian system of thinking, living, worshipping, and governing will become the accepted moral basis for establishing law. Over time there will be ever more blatant legislative prohibitions against Christian thought in the government. Taken to its end, Christian worship and beliefs (e.g. prohibition of homosexuality, adultery, polygamy, incest, euthanasia, abortion, prostitution, and intoxication) will be declared unlawful, and there will be pressure to rewrite the Bible as a Politically Correct document.
There have always been those rebels against the Lordship of Jesus; those who have tried to remove Christianity from its intended preeminent place in American culture and government. Those who rebel against Jesus have attempted to remove Christianity by an act of Congress and by Court decision several times in the 1800s. The Court ruled in “The Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States “decision (1892) that “This is a Christian Nation” citing 87 examples. They noted that there were many more, but that 87 should be sufficient. When some individuals attempted to end Federal expenditures for Chaplains, etc., the Congress, through both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, in 1853 & 1854 ruled that this is a Christian nation, and that the Founders believed that government should encourage general Christianity, so that it would “remain the religion of their descendants.”
In ruling to exclude Christian principles from governmental life, the Supreme Court has violated its oath to uphold the Constitution. This means the Supreme Court has violated its oath to uphold the intent of the Founders. As such, those rulings which are in opposition to Constitutional intent must be reversed by the Congress (House & Senate).
Action #1: Submit a Bill to the Senate reversing the Everson v. Board of Education (1947) decision. The bill shall be known as the “Reverse Everson” Bill. The legislative intent of the Reverse Everson bill will include discussion and validation of the concept that we are a Christian nation as seen in the writings of the Founders. The validity of the government supporting Christian education (in both public and denomination-based education) has a strong historical, Founders-based, and acts-of-Congress precedent. The actions of the Founders who wrote the First Amendment made it clear that they approved of, endorsed, and engaged in direct Congressional actions to support efforts in Christian education, (e.g. President Jefferson signed a treaty that appropriated US federal monies to support a Catholic priest as a missionary to educate the Kaskaskia Indians in the principles of Christianity & to build a church building).
The Reverse Everson Bill will allow States, counties, and towns to support religion-based educational institutions and Christian instruction as they see fit. Such a bill is Constitutional. The US Congress would not have established a National religion by such an act. The Founders who wrote the First Amendment engaged in support of Christian education. Their actions thus gave an object lesson illustrating their intent to define the Establishment of a National religion in its most literal sense. Such an act of Congress was NOT considered by the Founders to be a de facto establishment of a National Religion, as is implied in the Everson case. The Reverse Everson bill is merely returning the right of the States to support those educational institutions it deems morally worthy of support.
Note: The Legislature is able to garner the required votes to pass a bill to reverse the erroneous and unGodly decision of the Court when the Legislators have a heart for the Christian God. But, Godly Christian legislators are only elected when the hearts of the people are likewise lovers of the God of the Bible. A moral/spiritual reawakening, akin to the “Great Awakening” that united the Colonies before the Revolutionary War is needed. Likewise, a Black Regiment, the army of clergy fighting for the souls of America must come out and be heard and lead the people of God in righteous political participation. We need a battle cry, a banner we can all support, it is, “Reverse Everson”. In 2004, we need a national Primary and General election platform committed to the passage of a bill to correctly frame Everson with an accurate historical understanding of the Separation of Church and State. A National campaign to take back America for Jesus could unite and activate the sleeping Christian Church to participate in political action.
The Everson v. Board of Education decision is the legal precedent, the legal root of evil, which has forced the acceptance of unGodly/un-Christian laws such as abortion, legalized sodomy, prayer removal from classrooms, and the removal of the 10 commandments from public display in government. In short, Everson renders a Constitutional interpretation which mandates against including any Christian teaching, symbols, or principles in the public life, institutions, and law of America.
Action #2: When the “Reverse Everson” bill passes both Houses and becomes law, it will then become precedent for a renewal of Christianity in government. It will now be possible to legally challenge and overturn all the decisions since 1947 which have excluded non-denominational Christianity from government.
e.g. Overturn Engle v. Vitale (1962) banning of school prayer. (Note: This court case did not cite precedent for the ruling other than the “Separation of Church and State”.)
e.g. Overturn School District of Abbington Township v. Schrempp (1963), This case banned Bible reading in the public schools.
e.g. Overturn Lawrence v. Texas, (2003). The right to commit sodomy was justified under the right to privacy (14th Amendment – right to Due Process). In so ruling the Court declared that the State (Texas) had no right to legislate laws consistent with God’s Biblical principles (i.e. it could not condemn sodomy).
e.g. Overturn Roe v. Wade (1963). This ruling established the right to abortion, (i.e. killing of unborn children for purposes other than to save the mother’s life, e.g. ectopic pregnancy).
Action #3: If the Supreme Court rules to overthrow the “Reverse Everson” bill, Congress should then initiate impeachment proceedings. Those Supreme Court Justices who concur with the opinion of the 1947 court deserve removal.
The process of Congress passing “Reverse Everson” will give full air to the logic, history, and intent of the Founders’ effort and desires to create a Christian Nation. Those who persist in ruling against overt Christianity in government after such a clear and full examination will thereby clearly reveal themselves as judging law on another standard other than the context and intent of the Constitution.
The judgment of the law based on a non-Christian agenda has been an ongoing attempt by the Court to engage in a line by line, decision by decision effort to rewrite the Constitution. Such action is in effect a legal Coup. At the end of their legal revision, we will no longer be living under the same government as was bequeathed to us by our Founders. We now clearly see the evidence of our Constitutional inheritance being slowly dissipated. Our nation of Christian principles is being replaced by traitorous felons as they dishonor & squander the heritage bought by the blood of patriots.
Action #4: Allegiance to generalized Biblical Christian principles should be established as a prerequisite litmus test of moral worthiness to serve on the Federal bench and the Supreme Court.