Wednesday, July 02, 2008

On America's Judges

Conservative, evangelical Christians like myself often castigate the courts. Indeed, there are ample examples of a judiciary that 1) is out of touch with America’s uniquely Christian heritage; 2) lacks common sense; 3) is preoccupied with an agenda outside of the Constitution.

One of my very favorite patriots, John Adams said: “"We have no government armed in power capable of contending in human passions unbridled by morality and religion ... Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” It is bad enough when normal citizens are immoral and irreligious. It is quite another when judges are so.

But rather than opine on the negatives, I’d like to rehearse just a few of the many wonderful statements of some of America’s judges.

John Jay, First Chief Justice
"Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers. It is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest, of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."

The United States Supreme Court, 1811 –John Marshall, Chief Justice
"The morality of the country is deeply ingrafted upon Christianity, and not upon the doctrines or worship of other religions. In people whose manners are refined, and whose morals have been elevated and inspired with a more enlarged benevolence, it is by means of the Christian religion."

The United States Supreme Court, 1844 –Roger Brooke Taney, Chief Justice
"Why may not the Bible, and especially the New Testament be read and taught as a divine revelation in the school? Where can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament?"

James Wilson, a signer of the Constitution and an original Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court "Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority of that law which is divine....Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual assistants. Indeed, these two sciences run into each other."

Pennsylvania Supreme Court, 1824

"A malicious intention, to vilify the Christian religion and the scriptures, would prove a nursery of vice, a school of preparation to qualify young men for the gallows, and young women for the brothel, and there is not a skeptic of decent manners and good morals, who would not consider such a common nuisance and disgrace...

"No free government now exists in the world, unless where Christianity is acknowledged, and is the religion of the country. Christianity is part of the common law. Its foundations are broad and strong and deep. It is the purest system of morality and only stable support of all human laws."

The United States Supreme Court, 1892 --Holy Trinity v. United States. After offering a general survey of America's Christian history, and speaking out against the practice of polygamy, the Holy Trinity court stated: “These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.”

The U.S. Supreme Court, 1952
Justice William O. Douglas, writing for the majority, affirmed “we are a religious people and our institutions presuppose a Supreme Being.”

Chief Justice Earl Warren was quoted in Time, Feb. 15, 1954:

“I believe no one can read the history of our country...without realizing that the Good Book and the spirit of the Savior have from the beginning been our guiding geniuses...Whether we look to the first Charter of Virginia...or to the Charter of New England...or to the Charter of Massachusetts Bay...or to the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut...the same objective is present: a Christian land governed by Christian principles...I believe the entire Bill of Rights came into being because of the knowledge our forefathers had of the Bible and their belief in it: freedom of belief, of expression, of assembly, of petition, the dignity of the individual, the sanctity of the home, equal justice under law, and the reservation of powers to the people...I like to believe we are living today in the spirit of the Christian religion. I like also to believe that as long as we do so, no great harm can come to our country.”

Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story
"It yet remains a problem to be solved in human affairs whether any free government can be permanent where the public worship of God, and the support of religion, constitute no part of the policy or duty of the state in any assignable shape."

Supreme Court of New York, 1811
"Offenses against religion and morality strikes at the root of moral obligation, and weaken the security of the social ties…..This First Amendment declaration never meant to withdraw religion…Whatever strikes at the root of Christianity tends manifestly to the dissolution of civil government, because it tends to corrupt the morals of the people, and to destroy good order. "

Supreme Court of South Carolina, 1846
"Christianity has reference to the principles of right and wrong; It is the foundation of those morals and manners upon which our society is formed; it is their basis. Remove this and they would fall. Morality has grown upon the basis of Christianity...

"What constitutes the standard of good morals? Is it not Christianity? There certainly is none other. Say that cannot be appealed to, and what would be good morals? The day of moral virtue in which we live would, in an instant, if that standard were abolished, lapse into the dark and murky night of pagan immorality."

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