Publisher's note: Ted McDonald has broken new publishing ground, here at BCN, by taking a Diane Rufino post, "The Government Shall Not Prohibit the Free Exercise of Religion", and condensing it in an abridged manner similar to Reader's Digest of old.
Remember, this is Ted and not Diane doing this; however, as publisher, I consider this indeed a proper service, and welcome Ted's abridged understanding of Diane's well considered words. Thank-you Ted for honoring Diane's work enough to re-state it again, even in this condensed version.
TMc Note: I was taught to scan articles by reading the first and last sentence of each paragraph. This method is used below.
Link to the Original Publication:
And that was Obama's failure to acknowledge and thank God in his Thanksgiving message to the nation.
I think we are witnessing something that our Founders warned us about ..... A government which is growing HOSTILE to religion. Jefferson, by his own wishes, wanted to be remembered as the Father of Religion... the man who secured the rights to free exercise and the right to be secure in one's own religion such that the government wouldn't establish one religion and punish a person for allegiance to another faith or denomination).
When atheist groups such as Freedom from Religion, which represent less than 1% of the population, can sue to remove a religious artifact or a prayer or a word/phrase, they are suing because "It makes me uncomfortable to hear the prayer." In particular, it makes us uncomfortable because the government is becoming increasingly more hostile to us and to those who think like us. Liberty is becoming more fragile.
I write this as a plea to keep the pressure on public officials to respect the exercise of the Christian faith. It is sheer hypocrisy to hear people, like Obama and Freedom from Religion groups, use the very freedoms that our reverent fore-fathers secured for us, based on religious principle, to destroy other fundamental freedoms.
For those who have taken the time to study our founding history and turn to primary sources rather than nonsense put out by groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, we know that once our founding patriots fought the American Revolution to win our independence from Great Britain and secure the blessings of individual liberty for Americans, our early leaders had to figure out how best to protect those blessings for future generations and in fact, for posterity. They did so by basing our founding documents on certain philosophies and values that they knew would enlarge liberty rather than limit and endanger it.
There were many philosophies floating around at the time.
The first is the existence of God; the second is the immortality of the human soul; and the third is a future state of rewards and punishments. The laws of man may bind him in chains or may put him to death, but they never can make him wise, virtuous, or happy."
James Wilson, signer of the Constitution and Supreme Court justice (from 1789-1798) said: "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."
There are atheist groups who challenge our Founders and the Constitution and say that they indeed intended to create a secular state. State and local governments, and not the federal regime, were the basic and most fundamental political units of the day.
Thomas Jefferson, father of religious freedom in the United States (and I mean freedom to worship and NOT freedom from religion), envisioned that there would be two documents in every house... a Bible and the US Constitution. As time went on, the Bible was gradually replaced by other text books such as Noah Webster's Primer. It used to take a "community to raise a child," but now that community is destroying children because the federal government demands that religion and morality take no part in that rearing.
The government is slowly eroding our religious rights. Even lawyers and constitutional groups criticized her for not recognizing the phrase as "Jefferson's summation of religious rights." I guess rights and liberties are in the eyes of the beholder.
The two clauses of the 1st Amendment right of Religion - the "Free Exercise" Clause and the "Establishment Clause" - exist in a delicate balance. The US Congress may not have "established a law prohibiting the free exercise of," but the Supreme Court, under its illegal judicial activist power, has achieved that game result.
In a free society, people do not require constitutional authority to act and conduct themselves. We know something just isn't right in this land established for individual liberty.
Atheist groups claim that they can't ride down a street or by a public square if they should see the word "Christ" or see a picture of a baby Jesus. There are historical and traditional roots to our holidays and people have a right to know what they are. I, personally, see these symbols as paying proper respect to the holiday not as promoting a religion and maybe if people, and particularly judges, stopped thinking so myoptically, perhaps this country could maintain the integrity of the First Amendment as it was intended and stop the persecution of Christians.
The Constitution was drafted to transfer a limited list of responsibilities from the States to the federal government. We don't give up rights to the government just because of some relationship it may think it has.
Every authority on the Constitution, including the Federalist Papers, the transcripts from the state ratifying conventions, and the voluminous writings and warnings of our Founders point us in one unambiguous direction - that the Constitution delegated limited and clearly-enumerated powers to a federal government (over the "sword and the purse"; those powers primarily related to foreign policy, coining money, raising an army, providing a navy, declaring war, establishing patent laws, establishing a post office, establishing uniform laws of naturalization, and regulating of interstate commerce...), with the bulk of sovereign power to remain with the States, where government is closest and most responsive to the People. To deny this principle would be to admit that the servant is above his master; that the representatives of the people are superior to the people themselves; that men, acting by virtue of powers, may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid."
The Supreme Court, after the decision in Marbury v. Madison (1803), assigned itself the grand position of ultimate arbiter and interpreter of the US Constitution. As we can clearly see, and as Jefferson advocated strongly, it is impossible to comprehend that the States would have agreed to a system that assured their subordination.
One only need look at the Court's decision in McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) to see the implications of having the federal government resolving disputes over what the meaning of the Constitution should be. Although he eventually embraced the Constitution adopted by his fellow delegates, and he gave proper assurances as to the true intention of the document in the Federalist Papers, he continued to believe that Congress should have more legislative powers than those expressly stated in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.
The facts of the case are as follows: After an initial failed attempt to establish a National Bank 1791, Congress finally established one in 1816. The question before the Court, then, ("the subject of fair inquiry") was 'How far such means may be employed?' In other words, what is the proper scope of the Necessary and Proper Clause.
Article I, Section 8, clause 18 reads: "To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof."
Note that Jefferson nor the State of Maryland were challenging the supremacy of the Constitution. How broad would the Necessary and Proper powers be construed?
The Supreme Court centered its analysis on the view of Jefferson and Hamilton, in part because they were both involved in the debate surrounding a National Bank before Congress in 1791. In 1800, James Madison wrote that Jefferson's interpretation of the clause is "precisely the construction which prevailed during the discussions and ratifications of the Constitution," and "it cannot too often be repeated that this limited interpretation is absolutely necessary in order for the clause to be compatible with the character of the federal government, which is possessed of particular and defined powers only, rather than general and indefinite powers."
Hamilton countered with a lesson on the meaning of the word "necessary," just as Bill Clinton gave America a lesson on the meaning of the word "is". In other words, it could be broad enough to be interpreted as Congress sees fit. Hamilton might just have been the father of the "living document" view of the Constitution.
Jefferson was highly critical of the Marbury decision as violating states' interests and destroying the balance of power between the states and federal government and by 1819 was growing ever more leery of.
And finally, the Court ruled that Maryland could not tax the national bank: "That the power to tax involves the power to destroy; that the power to destroy may defeat and render useless the power to create; that there is a plain repugnance in conferring on one Government a power to control the constitutional measures of another, which other, with respect to those very measures, is declared to be supreme over that which exerts the control, are propositions not to be denied. To carry it to the excess of destruction would be an abuse, to presume which would banish that confidence which is essential to all Government."
Notice three things with this decision:
Ironically, even Hamilton insisted, in Federalist #78, that unless the people had solemnly and formally ratified a change in the meaning of the Constitution, the courts could not proceed on any other basis.
We saw the same type of misplaced emphasis and incorrect interpretation by the Supreme Court when it interpreted the Commerce Clause under FDR's administration. Religious rights have been eroded in a series of decisions stemming from this poisoned interpretation. When William Rehnquist joined the Supreme Court as Chief Justice in 1968, there was a significant increase in the use of the Federalist Papers in deciding cases touching on the Constitution.
So, we see the slow but constant erosion of the Constitution's protection of liberty by the erosion of its fundamental and critical elements of check and balance. From the very beginning, with Jefferson's term as President, the Court and the other branches systematically concentrated power in the federal government and did so with a willing and an intentional blind eye to the assurances and warnings provided by our Founders (in disregard to their oaths).
The federal government cannot be permitted to hold a monopoly on the interpretation of the Constitution and on what it believes is best for the American people, when everything our Founders stood for and promoted was the notion that people must be protected from their government. And that would be the point at which Americans would need to embrace the words of the Declaration of Independence which reads: "That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."
That being said, and that point hopefully having been made, we need to be concerned with the government's growing hostility to religion and its ever-growing disengagement with the American people and its independent agenda. The bedrock foundation of a strong moral society is a stable family unit with properly-defined roles and responsibilities.
We are becoming a nation of conflict and of hate because we've allowed religion to be taken out of public life and out of our schools.
Let's continue to realize how important the Christian faith is to the integrity of this country and keep the pressure on and reflect and pray and find out how we can best advocate for our religious principles and at the same time for the principles that underlie and expand our liberty. A stand for religious principles is a stand for liberty.
I have been called many names for speaking out for the importance of religion and for the rightful recognition of Christianity in America.