Thank you. It's my pleasure to be with you. And I get to talk to
you this morning about some views of the First Amendment, and it really
has changed over time because I deal with a lot of secular
universities, deal with a lot of law schools, a lot of arenas where
they deal with the First Amendment. And to hear people talk about the
First Amendment today, to hear most people in the grass-roots talk
about the First Amendment, they really have no idea of the origins of
it. And so what I want to talk to you about is the changing aspects of
the First Amendment Now, in doing that I think it's easier to start
with where we are today.
I brought two little cases that have happened just in recent months that
I thought would be fairly interesting just as a good indicator of where we
The first one is a case that came out of Mississippi. The name of the
case is Engebretsen versus Jackson Public School District, Jackson, Mississippi.
State Senator Roger Wicker, who is now a U.S. Congressman here in D.C. State
Senator Wicker was responding to something the federal courts had done in
Mississippi. Two federal courts, two separates occasions got together and struck
down community prayer services lead by ministers and churches to have a
community time of prayer and fellowship together. And the court said, "You know,
if you did that, you'd have to be public about it, and that would be
unconstitutional. I mean, you can't have a community prayer service where people
know about it. So we strike that down."
So with decisions like that going, people like Roger Wicker said, "You
know, this really is going to whack up the minds of our kids and what they can
and can't do with religious expression." So they passed a very simple little law
in Mississippi. They said in order to clarify for teachers and superintendents
and school boards, but especially for students, we want students to know that
voluntary prayer is always constitutional. And they just went to the bottom line
and they said, "All right. Whatever else you hear in court decisions, know that
this is America. If you want to pray you, you can pray. Voluntary prayer is
Well, amazingly that simple, tiny, short, succinct, little law was
challenged and taken to court. At federal court they ruled against it. As a
matter of fact, when the decision came down on January the 10th, the Fifth
Federal Circuit Court of Appeals said, "No", they said, "You've got this all
wrong." They said, "Voluntary prayer is not
They said, "You can't pray if you want to pray." They said, "We have
examined the issue. We have found only one occasion in which we will permit
students to pray." And they said, "That's high school graduation." Now why high
school graduation? Well, the Court explained.
The Court pointed out that high school graduation was a
once-in-a-lifetime event, and since prayer was also a once-in-a-lifetime event,
it went together real well with a high school graduation.
state of religious expression in America.
But the best case I like is this one here, Jane Doe versus Santa Fe
Independent School District. And it's interesting because it dealt with whether
students at a public school graduation could have a graduation prayer. And
Federal Judge Samuel Kent said, "Why certainly you can have a graduation prayer.
You just have to make sure you pray the right words." And I'll read to you right
out of the case. It says, "This Court will allow prayer if it's a typical
nondenominational prayer. Prayer can refer to God or the Almighty, but the
prayer must not refer to Jesus. And make no mistake, this Court is going to have
a United States Marshal in attendance at graduation. If any student offends this
Court and mentions Jesus in a prayer, that student will be summarily arrested
and will face six months incarceration." It says, "Anyone who violates these
orders is going to wish that he or she had died as a child when this Court gets
through with it."
Whoa! Now, we don't get six months in jail for manslaughter or burglary
or assault, but pray in the name of Jesus and that will get you there. Now what
is the deal with this? Why do these decisions happen? And literally I can show
you stacks of hundreds of these. They all have two common factors. First,
there's the courts tell us that this is what's required by the constitutional
First Amendment, separation of church and state. This is this constitutional
mandate. Second is we're told that this is required by the intent of our
Founding Fathers. This is what they intended for religion in
They were all secularists. They didn't believe in God; a bunch of
atheists, agnostics, deists. And that's why the courts are exactly alike and
give the kind of decisions they do. After all, it's secularism that's made us
great and they didn't want this kind of stuff going on.
So we have this being taught. As a matter of fact in the bicentennial of
the Bill of Rights, there was a study done across America and 69 percent of the
nation said that they thought that the phrase "separation of church and state"
was actually written in the First Amendment. Well, obviously, if you read the
First Amendment, it says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an
establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Very
clearly there is no separation phrase that appears anywhere in that amendment,
and that's the amendment they use to beat us back and say, "Well, you can't do
that; separation of church and state." And it's just absolutely not
I remember one time I was arguing with one of our own Congressmen.
I mean, he's
one of our guys right down the line, a real hero. And we were talking about some
moral issues and moral values, and he said, "Well, it's good stuff, but we just
can't do that stuff up here." I said, "Well, why?" And he said, "Well,
separation of church and state."
And I said, "Well, what about it?" He said, "Well, the Constitution won't
let us. Separation of church and state." And I said, "What Constitution?" He
said, "Well, we can't do it. First Amendment, you know." I said, "No, I don't
know." He said, "Separation of church and state." I said, "It's not in the
Constitution. It's not in the First Admendment".
See, this is the problem we have. Even our own folks a lot of times think
that there's this prohibition out there required by the Constitution, and yet
the constitutional language contains nothing of that sort. Now when you nail the
left to the wall and say, "It's not there, that language is not in the
Constitution", they say, "Well, technically you're correct, but that was the
intent of the Founding Fathers who gave us the Constitution. I mean, that is why
they gave us the First Amendment."
Well, interesting thing there, because we can know exactly what our
Founding Fathers wanted. Article 1, Section 5 of the Constitution requires that
everything said on the floor of the House and Senate be recorded in public
record so we can read it at any point in time. It's one of the ways the Founding
Fathers wanted government to be accountable to we, the people, is they wanted to
make sure everything that went on was written down so we could see
So we can go to any public library, pull out the records of Congress and
we can read the entire debates when our Founding Fathers framed that amendment.
There were 90 Founding Fathers who gave us that amendment.
I mean, these guys are as diverse as they are going to get, and you got
90 guys arguing about it for months, what the First Amendment is, what it will
do, what it won't do, what they are going to permit, what they won't tolerate,
et cetera. And all those debates are recorded in the records of Congress. So all
you have to do is look it up.
Now, what's striking about this is 90 Founding Fathers that gave us the
First Amendment, and you can read those months of debates, and in months of
debates by the 90 Founding Fathers who gave us the amendment the court says
means separation of church and state, not one single one of those 90 Founding
Fathers ever even mentioned the phrase "separation of church and state" anywhere
during the debates at all. Now, it does seem like if that had been their intent
for the First Amendment, somebody would have said something about it. The phrase
does not appear one time in months of discussion.
Well, then what in the world did they want? Oh, they reached a consensus
by August. They said, "Look, what we are after is we don't want in America what
we had in Great Britain. We don't want the federal government to make us all one
denomination. We don't want to all be Catholics, or all be Anglicans. We don't
want that", which is why the First Amendment says that Congress shall make no
law respecting that establishment.
As a matter of fact, James Madison on August 15, 1789 in the records of
Congress made it exceptionally clear. He said, "The purpose of the First
Amendment is to prevent the federal establishment of a single national
denomination." Now, if you want to call that separation of church and state, go
for it, because that was their intent for separation of church and state. But to
say that that amendment meant that you couldn't have public religious
expression, no way. You see, if the separation phrase didn't come from these
guys, it didn't come from the First Amendment, it didn't come from the Congress
who framed it, then where in the world did it come from? You are probably aware
that it comes from Thomas Jefferson. Now, most people who even know that really
don't even know the background of that.
Now, Jefferson was the first anti-Federalist President elected in the
United States. His platform was real simple: Keep the federal government out of
our lives, off our backs, just a simple platform.
And the most anti-federal denomination in America at that time were
There were 29 Baptist ministers involved in the ratification conventions for
ratifying the U.S. Constitution. 28 of the 29 Baptist ministers opposed the
federal Constitution. They didn't want centralized government.
They were opposed to it. So when Jefferson gets in, this is their hero. He's a
guy who doesn't like federal government either. As a matter of fact, it's kind
of fun. Jefferson said the federal government should be responsible for three
One is international affairs. We ought to have a good state
Two is protecting our borders; good defense.
And three is delivering the mail.
That's it. That's as far as he wanted to see the federal government
So, Jefferson, the anti-Federalist, is now President of the United States
and the Baptists loved it. Their guy is there. He was a real champion for the
Baptists. In Virginia, he fought against the established church there in
Virginia. So they loved it. He starts getting letters of congratulations from
Baptist groups across the nation. And one of those letters came from the
Reverend Jeremiah Dodge, who was head of the Danbury Baptist Association in
Danbury, Connecticut. That letter was dated November 7, 1801 and it's a fairly
concise letter, had three major points in it. It said, "Thomas, we
think that God has raised you up for such a time as this. You are certainly an
answer to our prayers." Number two, "We're going to be praying for you
throughout your administration. We think God is going to do great things with
you." Number three, "By the way, we strenuously object to the fact that the
First Amendment guarantees us our free exercise of
You think now why would you object to having a constitutional guarantee
for the free exercise of religion? And their point was quite simple. Free
exercise of religion is an unalienable right that's given by God, it does not
belong to government. They expressed their concern that just having free
exercise of religion in the Constitution might some day mean the government
would feel itself empowered to regulate religion just because it appears there.
They didn't even want it mentioned at all.
Well, Jefferson understood their concern that the federal government
might step in and somehow limit public religious expression. And so he wrote
back to them in his letter in return to them, it's dated January 1, 1802. In
that letter, it's fairly short, concise, he goes through and says, point number
one, "Thank you for your congratulations. Thank you for your prayers." Point
two, "I'm also looking forward to good things in this administration." Point
three, he said, "You are not going to have to worry about the federal government
stopping a public religious activity." He said, "The First Amendment's raised a
wall of separation between church and state", and went on to assure them that
because of the First Amendment wall of separation, the government wouldn't
inhibit religious activities in public.
Now, isn't it interesting that Jefferson's phrase is now used completely
out of context of his letter and do exactly what he said it wouldn't do. I mean,
the purpose of the First Amendment is to keep the federal government from
telling us what we can with religion. And guess what, in a case in 1989 called
Allegheny versus ACLU, interesting declaration from the Supreme Court. They said
they had become a national theology board. That's true. They now
tell us where to pray, when to pray, if to pray, even what we say in our
prayers, tell us if we can have a nativity scene or not, tell us if we can have
a cross in a cemetery, tell us if Arizona University can have a cross on their
chapel, tell us in Portland, Oregon if they can have a cross in the fire hall
because two firemen up there died and they wanted to remember the firemen. All
sorts of things across the nation, city seals, you name it,
telling people what they can do with their religious
opposite of what Thomas Jefferson said would happen. But nobody knows that
phrase any more. Nobody uses his full letter or even knows that it was written
to him to explain it.
So you look at Jefferson's explanation, and by the way, this is not
something that Jefferson just spoke about once. There are four
other locations in
which he explained the purpose of the First Amendment is to keep the federal
government from stopping religious activities: His second inaugural address, a
letter that he wrote to Judge Samuel Miller, a letter that he wrote to the
Methodist Episcopal Church, all sorts of places he talks about that; he did not
use the separation phrase.
Now, let me mention something about the separation phrase. There are
about 250 Founding Fathers that we have. You have 90 who gave us the Bill of
Rights. You got 55 at the Constitutional Convention. You got 56 who signed the
Declaration. All totalled, you add up, there's about 250 of these guys. We've
not been able to find more than six that ever even used the phrase "separation
of church and state" and we found no one who's used it twice. Even Jefferson who
used it, only used it once in that one letter, and that letter was written 13
years after the First Amendment was finished. It was not a statement of policy.
It was just summing up what we already knew: The federal government is not going
to stop this. Now, that's Jefferson's position.
And when you look even at what happened in courts, if you go
through the courts
in the first 150 years of the federal court system, you go through the courts,
you will find that on only two occasions did the entire federal court system
mention the phrase "separation of church and state". One was 1878 where not the
court, but the plaintiffs raised Jefferson raised the separation phrase. So the
court went back and dug out his letter and reprinted Jefferson's full letter on
separation, which of course gave it a completely different
Only two times in 150 years is Jefferson used at all. Do you know what?
In the last 50 years, Thomas Jefferson has been cited in over 3,000 cases in the
last 50 years in the current court system. Now isn't that amazing that Jefferson
has become the absolute spokesman for the First Amendment. This is the only guy
who knows anything about it. He used the phrase once in 60 volumes of writings
and he's the only guy qualified to speak about the First Amendment. That tells
us how much of our history we have forgotten.
Do you know why Jefferson was not used in the first 150 years as an
authority on the Constitution? Quite frankly, because he would not permit it. As
a matter of fact, there's a great book that was written about Thomas Jefferson
that really brought this point out. Again, Jefferson's President 1801,
anti-Federalist. And one of his supporters was a Dr. Joseph Priestley, who was
also a Reverend Joseph Priestley.
Now, Priestley is the guy who, he's a scientist; he discovered oxygen,
isolated it as a gas. He also isolated seven other gases, But he was a minister
of the church as well. And he was an anti-Federalist. He was a great friend of
Jefferson's. So what he did was he wrote a biography of Thomas Jefferson.
Jefferson is now in the White House he wrote this biography of Jefferson while
he's still alive. He sent it to Thomas. He said, "Thomas", he said, "I want to
you look over this. See if you've got any corrections to offer. Did I get
anything wrong? I want it to be accurate. Tell me what you
So Jefferson took this biography about himself, he read it and wrote back
to Priestley. He said, "I found one glaring mistake. There's one thing you have
to change in here." And this is Jefferson's response. He said, "One passage in
the paper you enclosed me must be corrected. And it's the following:" This is
the quote out of the paper. "And all say that it is yourself more than any other
individual that planned and established it", that is the Constitution. The paper
says Jefferson, you are the constitutional authority of the day. Nobody knows
more about the Constitution than you do. And Jefferson says "You've got to take
that out of this book." As he explained, he says, "I was in Europe when the
Constitution was planned and I never saw it until after it was established." He
was not even in America at the time. That's why you can search the picture of
the Constitutional Convention until you die and you'll never find Thomas
Now consider this. This is amazing. Jefferson was not involved in the
formation of the Constitution. He was not one of the 90 Founding Fathers
involved in the formation of the First Amendment, the Bill of Rights. Now you've
got 55 eyewitnesses to the Constitution who know its intent. You've got 90 at
the First Amendment debates who know its intent. That's 145 eyewitnesses to the
intent of the First Amendment.
And here's a guy who was smart enough to say, "Don't count me as
an authority. I
wasn't there." He's an attorney. He understands the best evidence. The best
evidence you see in a courtroom, you don't allow people to testify to secondhand
evidence. You've got to see it. You've got to be an eyewitness to it. And he
says, "Don't count me as a constitutional authority. I wasn't there." You know,
using Jefferson in that setting is a lot like going to into a courtroom today
for a murder trial and the judge says, "Now", he says, "if you saw anything
happen here, I don't want you to testify, but you if read about it in the
newspaper, I'm going to let you testify." Wait a minute.
we've done with Jefferson being an authority on the First
You see if you go back 50 years ago, we had a whole different string of
authorities that we used on the First Amendment. For example, 50 years ago you
would have recognized the face of this guy, Gouverneur Morris. And see, by the
way, this is one of the things that we do have as a problem today in America is
the weakness of our own historical education. 55 members of the Constitutional
Convention. How many can we name? You know, four, five, six? 90 guys who gave us
the First Amendment. How many of those guys can we call by name? Two, three? We
used to know who they were. And this is a great example. We used to know all
about Gouverneur Morris. Gouverneur Morris was the final man to sign the
Constitution of the United States. He was the most active member of the
Constitutional Convention. He spoke on the floor of the Convention 173 times.
That was more than any other Founder at the Convention. Now consider, the most
active member at the Convention, the final guy to sign the Constitution, and
we've never heard of him. But I guarantee you you'll recognize his handiwork.
This is the man who physically wrote the Constitution of the United States. He's
the penman of the
Now, doesn't it make just a little bit of sense that the guy who wrote
the Constitution might understand the intent of the
I mean, maybe that's a stretch, but it certainly seems to make
But when is the last time we've had a court quote Gouverneur Morris or
even care what he said? And one of the cases we're involved with in
Court, one Supreme Court Justices made a very ill-advised statement, which is
nothing new for that group; they do that on a fairly regular
basis anyway. But this particular case the Justice said, "Well, you know, 200
years ago, that's a long time. We just can't be sure what our Founding Fathers
wanted 200 years." Absolute nonsense. Go to the public library, look for the
writings of George Washington. George Washington has 97 volumes of personal
writings that have been published.
Now, that's a man with an opinion on every subject under the sun, and
literally, from abortion to homosexuals in the military, he wrote about all of
them. The Founding Fathers were prolific writers.
Jefferson has 60 volumes of writings, John Adams has 33, Franklin has 40,
Hamilton has 60. They wrote it all down. He's no different. Gouverneur Morris
wrote the Constitution in 1787. 1789 it's ratified. 1790, 1791 he wrote two
books on the Constitution.
Interesting to see what he said in both of those books. Gouverneur Morris
said, "Religion is the only solid basis of good morals.
Therefore, education should teach the precepts of religion and the duties
of man toward God." Does that sound anywhere close to our educational policy
today? Ah, what did he know? He just wrote the
See, this is the irony of not knowing our history. We're told our
Founding Fathers wanted a complete secularization of education; they didn't want
religion anywhere close to it, and yet the guy who writes the document says, "It
has to be. This is the way we designed it. It's got to be
And then you get into people like this man. Now, this man is James
Wilson. James Wilson is a distinguished Founding Father. There are
only six Founding
Fathers who signed both the Declaration and the Constitution; he's one of the
six. In addition, he's the second most active member at the Constitutional
Convention. And significantly, after George Washington became President, he
chose James Wilson as an original Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. So here's
James Wilson, who helps fight for our independence, who helps lead us through it
to it, who helps write the Constitution, the second most active member, he's now
in the court. You would think that the guy might understand constitutional
intent. And like the other Founding Fathers, he's a prolific
For those of you that were with us last night at the Capitol, you saw
that we have a lot of their original writings. We own about 70,000 writings that
predate 1812. I own thousands of the Founding Fathers' original handwritten
documents. Not only was he a Supreme Court Justice, but while he was a Justice
on the Supreme Court, he started the first American law school, the first
American forum of legal education. And this is a textbook that he used. This is
one that he wrote. This is an original that he gave to students there. Of
course, classes then were 15 to 20 students, but this is what the students
studied. And it's interesting to see what he says about the relationship between
law and the Bible, between law and religion. Because as you are aware today,
that's a very touchy situation. Just ask Judge Moore about that. I mean, this is
one of the things, you can't have a judge that does something religious in a
courtroom. That's deplorable. At least that's the current mindset. That's why he
got in so much trouble. Judge John Devine in Texas, he is now in his third
lawsuit because he has the Ten Commandments up in his courtroom. We have had
Judge Constangy in North Carolina who got in all sorts of trouble for allowing
prayer in his courtroom. I mean, there's something that says religion and law,
you can't mix those two.
And then you look at what James
Wilson taught. He says, "Human law must rest its authority, ultimately,
upon that authority, which is divine." He starts out saying, "Kids, if
you are going to have good civil law, it's got to be built on God's
word. You've got to build on divine law. There's no way to separate
those two." And the law books of the day, for example, Blackstone's
Commentaries on the Law, which Thomas Jefferson said was the Bible for
American attorneys, Blackstone's Commentaries on the Law explained
that. It said, "Whatever God has ruled on in the sacred scriptures,
human legislatures are not free to change." And he gave the example. He
said, "For example, in the case of murder, God has said everything that
needs to be said about murder, including how to punish it; therefore,
legislatures are not free to do anything different." But the textbook said, "However, God has not told us how to import
or export wool, so we can do that in the legislature. We can decide what we are
going to do." The textbook is very clear. If God has ruled on it, legislatures
are not free to do otherwise. So he continued and he said, "Far from being
rivals or enemies," he said, "religion and law are twin sisters. They are
They are mutual assistants. Indeed these two sides should run into
each other." Boy,
he got that right. They do run into each other; it's like a head-on train
collision now. But back then it was like two yoke of oxen pulling the same
direction. They were friends. They were twins.
They were mutual assistants. They did exactly the same direction
One other guy I want to point to that I have a lot of fun with is this
man, William Samuel Johnson. He's a signer of the Constitution, obviously,
therefore, qualified to speak to its intent, but he's also a leading educator of
the day. As a matter of fact, it turns out he's the first President of Columbia
College. And he did an interesting practice back in his day, he spoke at public
school graduations. Now public schools are nothing new. The first public school
law in America was 1642. Public schools were 120, 130 years old when the
Founding Fathers were around. Do you know they did the same kind of things at
public school graduations that we have debates over today? I mean, you know what
the trouble is? For example, the case we were involved in in 1992 that went to
the Supreme Court, it was called Lee versus Weisman, that dealt with can you
have a graduation invocation, graduation benediction.
It came out of Providence, Rhode Island, which is a good place to start
because they have had public schools up there for over 300
started when the school went to Rabbi Leslie Gutterman.
They said, "Rabbi, would you deliver an invocation/benediction for
us this year?"
And the Rabbi said, "I'd be happy to." Then the school board went to him and
said, "Now, Rabbi, we need to remind you of a few simple things here. Number
one, this is a secular setting. Number two, this is a secular meeting. Number
three, we need for you to pray a secular prayer."
Now what is
a secular prayer? How would you pray a secular prayer? I mean, how do you know
if it's secular? Well, he got the idea what they were after is a politically
correct, nonoffensive prayer. And he tried his best to accommodate that. As a
matter of fact, his prayer was so bland that when this case was challenged and
taken to court in District Court there was actually a discussion over whether or
not he had prayed.
They weren't even sure it was a prayer or not. "Does that look like a
prayer to you?" "I don't know. I guess it could be. Well, I don't know, maybe
not." See, what had happened was his graduation oration, he dealt with civic
duties and patriotism, responsibility and justice and all these great things,
but he made the mistake of using the G word. He mentioned that word one time in
there, the God word. And so they said, "Oh, look there, he mentioned God. It had
to be a prayer." So it worked its way to the Supreme Court and by a 5-4 decision
of the U.S. Supreme Court we lost, but by a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court said
that if a student were to hear the public acknowledgment of God, if a student
were to hear God mentioned aloud in public, the Supreme Court said that would
constitute not only religious, but also psychological coercion against students;
can't do that. Supposedly that's because the Founding Fathers didn't want
So let me show you what he did at public school graduations. William
Samuel Johnson said, in the speech that he gave, he said, "You this day,
gentlemen, have received a public education, the purpose whereof has been to
qualify you better to serve your Creator and your country." Ooh, that's the
purpose of public education? And then he continues, he says, "Now", he said,
"your first great duty, students, if you are sensible, are those you owe to
Heaven, to your Creator, and your Redeemer. Let these be ever present to your
minds and exemplified in your lives and conduct", and for the next 20 minutes he
went through specific Bible verse after specific Bible verse. The very next one
he said, he said, "Students, we're told in Acts 17:28 that in Him we live and
move and have our being." He said, "I want you to remember that apart from Jesus
Christ you can do nothing in your life." And he went through verse after verse
after verse after verse. This is what they did, now, they didn't just give
prayers at graduations, they gave sermons at graduations, probably should have
had altar cloths at graduations. But these are the guys who signed the
Constitution, and we're told, "Oh, no, Jefferson, his separation of church and
state phrase. Well, we can't do that." There's a good reason we didn't use
Jefferson for the first 150 years, because he was not an authority. These guys
were. These are the guys that we used.
And I even
have fun going to the least religious Founding Fathers.
Nobody debates that Ben Franklin is one of the absolute least religious
of the Founding Fathers, no question about it. But "least" is a comparative
term. "Least" as compared to what? Well, he's the least religious one compared
to the other Founding Fathers. As a matter of fact, when I go in to secular
universities and the law schools, I love to take nothing but the writings of
Franklin and Jefferson because just out of their writings I can make these two
guys look like a couple of Bible-thumping evangelicals. That's just out of their
writings. And I concede they are the least religious of these
And there's two great examples I want to give you from
And as I do this, I want you to keep in mind that he is the least
religious Founding Father. We all agree on that. At this point in his career
he's 81 years old. Now the arrange lifespan in America at that time, at the time
of the Constitution we mentioned, the average lifespan was 35 years old. So
there he sits at 81, that's fairly impressive. If you go to Independence
National Hall in Philadelphia, go across the street to what they call Franklin
Court, and you'll find there the early form of a wheelchair that they used to
get him on and off the floor of the Convention. His body's falling apart. Now
his mind is still sharp, but his body is just not working like it used to. And
the longest speech he gave at the Convention was Thursday, June 28, 1787. And in
that particular speech he said, "Gentlemen", he said, "in the beginning of the
contest with Great Britain when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer
in this room for divine protection." He said, "Our prayers, Sir, were heard and
they were graciously answered." He said, "All of us who were engaged in the
struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending providence in
our favor. And have we now forgotten this powerful friend? Or do we imagine that
we no longer need His
He said, "I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more
convincing proofs I see of this truth - that God governs in the affairs of men."
He said, "If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it
probable that an empire can rise without His aid?"
"We've been assured in the sacred writings, that 'except the Lord build
the House they labour in vain that build it.1" He said, "I firmly believe this;
and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this
political building no better than the builders of Babel."
He said, "I therefore beg leave to move that henceforth prayers
assistance of Heaven and its blessings on our deliberations be held in this
Assembly every morning before we proceed to business."
Now, I might point out that's not bad for the least religious of the
Founding Fathers. He's chewing the other guys out for not praying enough. And
how does he do it? Why, he just beats them over the head with the scriptures;
quotes to them out of Genesis 10 and Psalms 127 and Matthew 6. And he's the
least religious Founding Father, and he's calling for prayer in what? A
government setting? The least religious guy?
And better yet is the letter that he wrote, one of the last letters he
wrote in life, because Franklin was approached by his old friend, Thomas Paine.
Thomas Paine, you may recall, is the guy who wrote The Age of Reason. The Age of
Reason was a very specific attack on Christianity, a very general attack on
religion. The Age of Reason set forth two hundred years ago the same arguments
that we still hear today. Thomas Paine said, "Religion is a terrible thing for
the nature. Look at all the atrocities committed in the name of religion, look
at all the wars caused by religion. Keep religion out of the nation." He said,
"Now, if you can't do that, at least isolate it; keep it at home, keep it at
church, but don't let it get out in real life. You don't want it in education or
law or government. The same thing we hear today. But before Thomas Paine wrote
that work, he took and he sent to Ben Franklin a manuscript copy and wrote those
all of his ideas down and he said, "Ben, before I publish this, I want you to
look over it and tell me what you think about it."
Franklin got the manuscript, he went through it, he read it and wrote
back what I consider to be one of the greatest letters in American history. Now,
recall, before I show you excerpts from that letter, that Franklin was really
good with turning a statement, his proverbs, his pithy statements. Remember Poor
Richard's Almanac, all those little things he could spin? The early bird gets
the worm, and a penny saved is a; penny earned, and all the kind of stuff that
he went through. He does a lot of the proverbs-type, pithy statements in
He says, "Thomas," he said, "I've read your work with interest and you've
asked for my opinion. Okay, I'll give it to you." He said, "But," he said, "at
present I shall only give you my opinion that the consequence of printing this
piece" - attacking religion - "will be a great deal of odium drawn on yourself,
mischief to you, and no benefit to others. He that spits in the wind, spits in
his own face."
Whoa! Now, this is Ben Franklin, our least religion Founding Father,
saying, "You've got to be kidding me. Secularize society? You've got to be
crazy." He said, "Thomas," he said, "were you to succeed, even if you could do
it," he said, "do you imagine any good would be done by it?" He said, "Think how
great a portion of mankind has need of the motives of religion to restrain them
from vice, to support their virtue. We need religion in public life." He said,
"I would advise you, therefore, not to attempt unchaining the tiger, but to burn
this piece before it is seen by any other person."
He said, "By the way, if men are so wicked with religion, what would they
be without it?" He said, "I intend this letter itself as a proof of my
friendship." He said, "I'm just trying to save you grief. You don't understand
what's going to happen here." And truly, Thomas Paine did not. As a matter of
fact, when he died, no church would accept his body in their graveyard when he
died. They buried him in a cow pasture.
That's where he ends up. And he's supposed to be the great hero of the
American Revolution? He was so ostracized. That is so typical of the culture of
the Founding Fathers. "There is no way we're going to support anyone who wants
the secularize this society." And Ben Franklin, the least religious of our
Founders, is the leading voice on this.
See, that's where we've moved so far in the wrong direction, and when you
look at how well we understood this. There is a great example that happened in
185-, I guess it would have happened at that time in 1852. There's a group that
came to the Congress with signed petitions that said we want secular government
in America. We want you to get rid of the chaplains in the House and Senate. We
want you to get rid of chaplains in the military, Army and Navy. We want
religion out of education. We want this thing secularized. Well, Congress took
those petitions, they referred them to the House and the Senate Judiciary
Committees where they investigated for one full year to see if they should do
this; should they secularize the American government and American
Well, that Senate report came back in 1853. It's a matter of public
record, it's a public document. It's interesting to see what the Senate said
about the Founding Fathers. 1853, now this is 75 years after the American
Revolution, and look at what we so understood in America. The Senate report
said, "The Founders had no fear or jealousy of religion itself and they did not
wish to see us an irreligious people. They didn't want to us to be secular."
They said, "They did not intend to spread over all the public authorities and
the whole public action of the nation, the dead and revolting spectacle of
atheistic apathy." They said, "There ain't no way we're going to secularize
this. That would cause the Founding Fathers to spin in their
And the next year, the House report came out in 1854, and look what the
House report said. They said, "Had the people, during the Revolution 75 years
ago, had their suspicion of any attempt to war against Christianity, that
Revolution would have been strangled in its cradle. If they thought they were
doing anything that limited Christianity, they wouldn't have picked up a gun."
It says, "At the time of the adoption of the Constitution and the Amendments" -
including the First Amendment, because that's what these people were appealing
to was the First Amendment, they wanted to secularize it - they said, "At the
time of the adoption of the Constitution and the Amendments, the universal
sentiment was that Christianity should be encouraged, but not any one
denomination." They said, "In this age there can be no substitute for
Christianity. That was the religion of the Founders of the Republic, and they
expected it to remain the religion of their descendants." And they closed out by
saying, "The great, the vital, the conservative element in our system is the
belief of our people in pure doctrines from the divine truths of the Gospel of
That's the House Judiciary? Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Maybe that's a
seminary. No, it was the House Judiciary, which we couldn't get that from a
theological school today. And this is what our government leaders were saying
back then. We understood so well what the Founding Fathers wanted with religion
in America, religion throughout our culture, and that's why even if you look at
the Supreme Court decisions all the way up until, say 1952, a great decision in
1952 called Zorach versus Clauson. The question before the Supreme Court was
whether they should secularize education, should they take religion and
religious instruction out of education, because we were still teaching the Bible
in schools in 1952. And so the decision came down, this is what the U.S. Supreme
Court said in 1952, they said, "Whoa!" They said, "Take the Bible and take
religion out of U.S. public schools?" They said, "When the State encourages
religious instruction or when it cooperates with religious authorities by
adjusting the schedule of public events to sectarian needs, it follows the best
of our traditions."
"You don't really think we're going to secularize education. That would
go against all of our traditions. I mean, this is the best of our traditions
when we cooperate with religious authorities in giving religious instruction."
They said, "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 can't find anything in the Constitution that even comes close to
letting us do that." They said, "That would be preferring those who believe in
no religion over those who do." Guess where we are today?
Let's see, this is 1952? Whoa! We go from 1952 to here, giving six-month
jail sentences to kids who pray out loud in the name of
That's a pretty radical change in a relatively short period of
Well, the change obviously came in the 60's with the Earl Warren court.
It started here in 1962, Engel v. Vitale when the Court said, "You know, this
thing about praying in schools, we can't let you do that any more. The Founding
Fathers never wanted that." Now this is great. The ACLU and the left types love
to point to this and say, "This activity right here is one of the chief reasons
the Founding Fathers gave us the Constitution. They didn't want this going on.
That's why we have the First Amendment. The Founding Fathers they found school
prayer reprehensible, repugnant. They didn't want it."
And my response has always been real simple. Okay. If they didn't want
it, why in the world didn't they take it out? Why was it constitutional for 170
years? Why was it a practice going in their day? Why did they pray at school?
Why did they encourage prayer at school if they were so opposed to it? Of
course, that always stops them. But they assume that people don't know our
history. And so when you throw history back at them, it's a little tough to deal
with. And in '63, of course, the Court said, "Oh, this thing about the Bible,
can't let you do that either. The Founding Fathers wouldn't have wanted
that." And I think the most absurd case I've seen is one that came down in Stone
v. Graham, where the Court said, "You know, we've noticed that schools in
Kentucky have The Ten Commandments hanging on the walls." Well, duh. They hang
in all State Legislatures, they hang in the Supreme Court, they hang in most
courtrooms across the nation.
What's wrong with them hanging in schools? As a matter of fact, I speak
to four hundred groups a year, and I have been in hundreds and hundreds and
hundreds and hundreds of churches; I've only found three copies of The Ten
Commandments hang in all the hundreds of churches that I've been in. I have
learned that I can find The Ten Commandments real quickly going to a government
building, not to a church building; I go to a government building if I want to
find The Ten Commandments. I walk outside the Texas Legislature, the Capitol
there, the Northwest Mall, they built a seven-foot high, five-foot wide,
one-foot deep marble engraving of all The Ten Commandments right there, just
like it is outside the Capitol in Denver, just like all the states are that
Now, here the kids at school have this hanging on the wall and the
question was raised, they said, "You know, what if one of the kids were to see
that Ten Commandments hanging over there on the wall, and what if they were to
walk over there and read it? Is it constitutional for a student to voluntarily",
that is the key word, "is it constitutional for a student to voluntarily read a
copy of The Ten Commandments?" And we felt there's no way the Court is going to
tell us the kids can't see what's hanging all over government buildings in
America. But, of course, we were wrong. The Court said, "No," they said,
"There's no way." They said, "If the posted copies of The Ten Commandments were
to have any effect at all, it would be to induce the school children to read
And if they were to read them, they might meditate on them. And if they
were to meditate on them, they might respect and obey them, and
this would be
Now, the basis of civil law in the Western World for two thousand years
has been The Ten Commandments, not religious law but civil
Things like don't steal and don't kill and don't perjure - oh, we can't
use that one any more - but don't steal and don't kill. Perjury is now kind of
out of limits; that's no longer a part. I mean, the whole legal concept of
divorcing that out and we see where we are when we no longer have respect for
that fundamental system of laws that we had for so long.
So that's where the change occurred, and that is where, this is the
court, and I tell you this is the court that popularized the phrase separation
of church and state. This is the first civic courts to start using Jefferson's
phrase without using the full letter to Jefferson's phrase. And there's where
things have really gone wrong.
So the question today is how do we get back there? And people,
conservative say, "Get back to the Constitution." That's a nice, appealing piece
of rhetoric, but it just flat will not work. And please forgive me, don't think
I'm being heretical. I'm quoting the Founding Fathers on that. You know, when
you go to the Constitutional Convention, they actually discussed what role the
Constitution would have in the governing of America, and they concluded the
Constitution actually would have a fairly minimal role governing America. And
this is the way they explained it. This guy, John Francis Mercer has a great
quote on this.
He said, "It's a great mistake to suppose that the paper we will propose
will govern the United State." He said, "If you think the Constitution is going
to govern America," he said, "that's a major league error."
He said, "It's the men that will bring in the government, and the
interests they have in
maintaining it, that's what will govern us." He said, "The paper will only mark
out the mode and the form. Men are the substance who administer the business."
He said, "All we have the Constitution for is to show us how to elect people.
It's the people we elect that's more important than the Constitution we
I'll give you an example. That 1992 case, Lee v. Weisman, we were called
into the case specifically to give the Supreme Court the information on the
historical views of the Founding Fathers concerning graduation prayers,
invocations, benedictions. We did that. And we went through the Founding
Fathers, like William Samuel Johnson, who not only prayed, but he had sermons at
public school graduations. We went through all this history showing that the
Founding Fathers were involved in all of this, obviously, therefore, the
Constitution required no hostility to graduation prayers. Those who wrote the
Constitution required no hostility, so don't be hostile; let prayers go on. We
still lost the case five to four, but one of the justices felt so compelled, was
so struck by the arguments that he wrote an entire concurring opinion strictly
on our brief, what we had given the Court on historical evidence. Because this
is new to them. You've got the Founding Fathers participating in school prayer,
condoning school prayer, actually advocating school prayer.
This justice said, "The fact that the Founding Fathers would do that with
school prayer proves one of two things." A justice of the Supreme Court has
said, "It proves either, first, that the Founding Fathers were a complete bunch
of hypocrites because they knew it was wrong to pray in public and they did it
anyway; or number two, it just proves the Founding Fathers didn't understand the
All right. How good is the Constitution in the hand of justices like
that? See, that's exactly what they told us. And we said, "No, no, no.. It's not
the Constitution. The Constitution tells you how to get these people in office."
We have to chose the right kind of people to put in office. And see, that's the
challenge we have, and that's why when you go to people like William Paterson,
who was a General in the American Revolution. William Paterson was also a signer
of the Constitution. William Paterson was also placed on the U.S. Supreme Court
by George Washington. There's another one of the signers of the Constitution on
the original Supreme Court. Justice Paterson was a very popular speaker to all
sorts of groups, political groups, civic groups, educational groups, and his
speeches are recorded. And he made the same point. He said, "It's the not the
Constitution that will keep America great." He said, "What will keep America
great is embroiled by what God has told us
in the scriptures." And he would close his speech with one single Bible versus,
Proverbs 29:2. It says, "When the righteous rule, the people rejoice; when the
wicked rule, the people groan." See, that's the whole simplicity of civil
government. It's not evolved in your documents, although I argue we've got the
best Constitution of anybody in the world. But that Constitution is worthless if
we don't put the right kind of people up beside that Constitution to handle that
They'll read it any way they want to read it. See, and that's the
difficulty with not putting in the right kind of leaders. So I'll close with
this thought. The final thought here comes from this man, James A. Garfield. He
was the 20th President of the United States. If you happened to be in the
Capitol last night, you saw me show you an original letter. I recently purchased
an original letter written by James A. Garfield. In that original letter, James
A. Garfield records that he had just preached the gospel of Jesus Christ
nineteen times in a series of revival meetings, thirty-four folks came to
Christ; he personally baptized thirty-one of them. Now, no, that's not your
activity today, but that's exactly what Presidents used to do back then. We had
no trouble with faith being in public life. Look what this minister, and by the
way, he became a minister of the gospel before he became President of the United
States, look what he told us one hundred years ago. He said, "Now more than ever
before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that
body be ignorant, reckless and corrupt, it's because the people tolerate
ignorance, recklessness and corruption. If that body be intelligent, brave and
pure, it's because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in
the national legislature." He said, "If the next centennial", which is where we
are now, "if the next centennial does not find us a great nation, it will be
because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the
nation do not aid in controlling the political forces." Bingo. Here we
Do you know just between 1994 and 1998, two election cycles, Christian
voter turnout dropped by twenty percent in the last two election cycles? In
1998, nine million less Evangelicals voted than voted in 1994. Our problem is we
get frustrated and instead of going and kicking somebody, we go home; we take
our ball and go home. In politics, when you get frustrated at somebody, get more
active. I mean, don't let our folks get depressed and say, "Well, I'm tired of
it. These guys don't do anything. I'm staying home." The more we stay home, the
more they are going to do it out; there, the more they are going to keep heading
the wrong direction. Our frustration has to be turned into action, not into
inactivity. And that's where we have to grow up as a movement. And when we get
frustrated over what Congress is doing, great, let's get more active. We'll go
get a bunch of friends and we'll go kick somebody real good. But we don't do
that. We go home and complain about it. And
that's where it has to turn around this election cycle. We've got to see things
change in this nation.
This decision that I've told you about that's so whacky, about now you
get all this time in jail for praying in the name of Jesus, judges gave us that
decision. If you don't know who Margaret McCann and Susan Oki Mollway and Wayne
Michael and Diana Moss, if you don't know those names, you need to learn them.
They'll scare you to death. That's what we got on the judiciary for the next 30
to 40 years, and that is the legacy of a President. And that's why
we have to really be careful in the next election. If we want the First
Amendment to look different, we've got to start putting people in who have a
The Constitution is great, but it's the philosophy of the judges that
make the difference.
God bless you guys. I enjoyed being with you.
Somebody spiked the Kool-Aid
We are in very deep crap; unfortunately most
people are clueless as to the spiritual battles being fought over this country
and how close we are to loosing.
Going through life I have tried to live by
what in engineering terms is the KISS method, Keep It Simple Stupid, I try not
to use the second “s” or substitute it with a different word, reason being most
people are not stupid, ill-informed maybe, unknowledgeable of the subject
maybe, but rarely stupid. With this article, an over-all explanation of how we
got into this state of chaos will be attempted.
The two most important issues in the world
are religion and politics; both subjects are intertwined in the formation of
this country; from the Biblical violations that were the religious
underpinnings that gave us our Declaration of Independence (27 Biblical
violations), to the Bible used at the swearing in ceremonies of our elected
There was a time not that long ago that the
majority of the people in the United States of America believed the principals put forth in the Bible, in God,
in Jesus, in the Holy Spirit; that understood the concept of Heaven and Hell,
that understood the concept of good and evil and understood the concept of
These days many people snub their nose at the Christian
belief that Jesus is the Son of God! It was that fundamental belief and the
want to practice their Christian belief that led to the pilgrims coming to the
“New World” to the Christians establishing the Declaration of Independence, it
was Christians who fought the Revolutionary War and then it was Christians who
wrote up and then ratified the Constitution. For some reason this is no longer
taught in the school systems.
Unfortunately being human, people forget
their ways and misinformation gets taught instead of the fundamentals (KISS) of
Christianity and in the 1800’s we had “Christian brother” killing “Christian
brother” in the Civil War.
Somewhere in the bowels of the National
Cathedral is a statue of Abraham Lincoln in prayer. President Lincoln was once
asked If God was on the side of the North or the South, his response “Sir, my
concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on
God’s side, for God is always right” with both sides professing Christianity and
killing people it becomes difficult to envision “whose” side God is on.
World War II had the Christians of Germany
massacring Blacks, Gypsies, Jews or anybody who got in there way it took a
large number of American Christians to stop the massacres.
Some people naturally gravitate toward power
and there is nothing wrong with that when it is not abused, but when the
Preachers, the Rabbi’s and the Iman’s are confused enough not to speak out on
injustices that come from abuses of power and money everyone suffers.
Where does the misinformation come from;
people who laugh at the concept of God, also laugh at the concept of Satan.
People that have no knowledge of Spiritual Warfare, because “we” are to
enlightened to believe in Angles and Demons, “we” are way too intelligent to
think of the Bible as anything other than a child’s fairy tale.
WAKE-UP, Satan, devil, Lucifer, serpent,
ancient serpent, dragon, evil spirit, demon or demons is mentioned or addressed
at least 217 times in the Bible. In the spiritual world these are some big,
ugly, powerful creatures (thugs). This battle between the forces of good and
evil has been going on for thousands of years. We are but a small pawn, a
deposit on a pledge (foot soldier) in a very large battlefield. It is
inexcusable for a man or woman of the cloth who has read the Bible not to
realize that for most people this will be a difficult concept but try to think
of God as a Father and Jesus as his son, his son that is willing to fight for
us and think of Satan as a Thug. (Remember KISS method)
Satan the Thug and his buddies are alive and
well, he got his butt kicked by Jesus at the cross but that didn’t finish him
off, it did piss him off. But it also gave us someone akin to a big brother or
big friend or mighty warrior to call upon when we get into trouble.
Friendships are not free or easy, they take a
lot of work, Jesus died because of his desire to be our friend. Just like in
real life if you want a friend be a friend. You have to acknowledge that you
have a friend and remember to call to get help, wait too long and you can get
slapped around pretty good by the Thugs.
Jesus is the best nonjudgmental friend we
could possibly have, ever killed any one, had an abortion, lied, cheated, stole
he knows, he understands, talk to him he will understand (this does not mean
you get a free ride, there are still consequences for actions).
The Thugs and the bullies will torment you
just like Thugs (Satan) and (his) bullies have throughout the course of time
but a friend wouldn’t.
Do not think for one moment that you are big
enough to take on Satan and his demons yourself; the founders of this nation
knew they needed help and the smart ones asked for help every day. Were they
perfect? No, they made mistakes but they acknowledged their friend who walked
beside them and helped in the establishment of this nation.