Skip to comments.Religion in the Original 13 Colonies
Posted on 08/18/2010 11:22:30 AM PDT by ml/nj
By the year 1702 all 13 American colonies had some form of state-supported religion. This support varied from tax benefits to religious requirements for voting or serving in the legislature. Below are excerpts from colonial era founding documents citing these religious references.
Most instances of state-supported religion were removed before 1850, and the remaining requirements became null and void after the passing of the 14th Amendment on July 28, 1868. New Hampshire and North Carolina removed the nullified religious references from their state constitutions in 1875 and 1877 respectively.
[Much more at the linked site]
(Excerpt) Read more at undergod.procon.org ...
Maybe that's what every school kid is being taught today but it is completely false. (My daughter's HS American History text had the BS about religiou liberty. She graduated HS in 1997.) And it is being repeated with regularity by enemies of the United States in connection with the current debate about the GZM.
The Pilgrims came here to practice their religion, exclusively their religion. The Mayflower Compact is sometimes though to be a great democratic document because the Pilgrims did agree to majority rule. The Compact was actually a device to suppress the religious minority known to be on board the Mayflower. The members of the Pilgrim congregation knew they had a majority and they intended to use it.
I'm not sure what is now taught about the founding of Rhode Island in 1643 by Roger Williams. But I was taught that Roger Williams broke away from Massachusetts to form a colony where religious toleration would be the norm. Even Williams was only referring to toleration of various sects of Christianity as Rhode Island's 1643 charter makes obvious. If William's "religious tolerance" is being taught today, it might make little skulls full of mush curious as to why Williams had to leave that Shangri-la of religious freedom established by the Pilgrims.
Eight of the States had official religions at the time of the adoption of the Bill of Rights. The five that did not had provisions which discriminated against those who did not believe in Christianity or at least a Judeo-Christian G-d.
The website I quoted above doesn't have it quite right about the 14th Amendment either. The 14th Amendment "passing" didn't mean anything. It needed to be ratified; and it is questionable whether that ever happened. But even so the notion of "incorporation" of the Bill of Rights into the 14th Amendment was slow to occur. It was REJECTED in 1873 in the "Slaughterhouse Cases" and as recently as 1922 when the Court ruled that "the Constitution of the United States imposes upon the States to confer upon those within its (sic?) jurisdiction ... the right to free speech." (Prudential v. Cheek - 1922) So it's pretty clear that the 14th Amendment did not make State religious requirements obsolete. It wasn't until 1940, and all the drafters of the 14th Amendment were long dead, that in Cantwell the Court discovered that the 14th Amendment prohibited all those religious requirements that the original colonies and states had had.
Actual factual history ping
The beginning of the 1st amendment is something that has been overlooked for a long time now. “Congress Shall Make no Law”... I understand how you can incorporate many of the rights outlined in the BOR against the states. The right of the people to keep and bear arms or be secure in their persons and houses are individual rights that applies to all persons no matter what state they are in. However, when the amendment starts out with Congress Shall make no law, how is that a restriction against the states? It clearly is a restriction against the Federal Government.
To me it says that a wall is built around the federal government, forbidding them from getting involved in the issue, instead, liberal/libertarians have used it to make the federal government the ultimate power in all things religious.
Yup. I can’t stand these libertarians that feel as if they are the keepers of knowledge on the First Amendment. They use their superiority to pound communities into not having manger scenes on public property. They use it to say that it’s okay to have mosques built two blocks away from 9/11. Yet, these same people ignore the “Congress shall make no law” part of the first amendment. They also ignore the community standards where 99% of the community either want the manger scene or don’t care whether a manger scene is on public property. They also use it to force a mosque down the throats of a community who is vastly against having it there. Even in the bluest of states.
That's a relatively (unfortunately) common canard here, but no less false for your posting of it.
Try some reading.
Liberal/libertarian is accurate, the liberals and the libertarians are united in restructuring America as a secular multicultural, anti-Christian, cesspool, and erasing the conservative, religious culture of our first 170 years, the liberals/libertarians have made incredible strides since the 1960s in forcing the leftist cultural, racial, antiGod portion of the libertarian agenda on us.
The history is correct, except for one glaring error. The 14th Amendment didn’t “nullify” anything that had to do with religion at the state level. In fact, the Congress of 1870 considered a separate amendment sponsored by Elisha Hurlbut (spelling may be wrong) that would have done that and rejected it. Subsequently, James G. Blaine’s amendment was rejected, although state versions were adopted in 37 states. No one who passed the 14th would agree that it did anything other than a few specific things to help ex-slaves. Paul Freud has written the best book on this subject.
It was not until the 1947 Everson decision that the SCOTUS “discovered” that the 14th applied the Establishment Clause to the states that any such “nullification” would have been based on the 14th. That “discovery” was written into the opinion in Everson by Hugo Black, Klansman and anticatholic bigot. The doctrine of separation of church and state that the incorporation of the Establishment Clause accomplished was fundamental Klan doctrine, as well as secular humanist doctrine. Black’s immediate object was to create constitutional precedent that could be used to cripple Catholic schools and other Catholic institutions by depriving them of state funding, but the longer term goal of the secular humanists is well known.
The article is otherwise very good, but I wish the author would get this straightened out.
Yes, the federal government was very much Christian; it just wasn’t denominational and was expressly forbidden to meddle in the religious affairs of the states.
I wonder what you make of this from Article VI of the Constitution:
No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.The Federal Government was constituted by Christians, but they didn't form a Christian Government as most of the States had done.
Chuck Norris defends his view by including selective quotes. The problem with such a defence is that there are plenty of quotes by the very same people he listed, that contradict his conclusion.
“For we know that the common law is that system of law which was introduced by the Saxons on their settlement of England, and altered from time to time by proper legislative authority from that time to the date of the Magna Charta, which terminates the period of the common law ... This settlement took place about the middle of the fifth century. But Christianity was not introduced till the seventh century; the conversion of the first Christian king of the Heptarchy having taken place about the year 598, and that of the last about 686. Here then, was a space of two hundred years, during which the common law was in existence, and Christianity no part of it ... That system of religion could not be a part of the common law, because they were not yet Christians.”
- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814, responding to the claim that Chritianity was part of the Common Law of England, as the United States Constitution defaults to the Common Law regarding matters that it does not address.
“The Europeans are all deeply tainted with prejudices, both ecclesiastical and temporal, which they can never get rid of. They are all infected with episcopal and presbyterian creeds, and confessions of faith. They all believe that great Principle which has produced this boundless universe, Newtons universe and Herschells universe, came down to this little ball, to be spit upon by Jews. And until this awful blasphemy is got rid of, there never will be any liberal science in the world.”
- John Adams.
***How does this pare the Treaty of Tripoli, 1796? ***
If I remember correctly, someone here at FR posted an article showing those words WERE NOT in the version given to the Arab rulers there at that time.
That’s interesting; and it would nullify the argument made in the article by Chuck Norris posted above.
Wrong. Show me in plain words where the 14th Amendment forbade states from establishing religion, an authority that was recognized even under the 1st Amendment.
I wonder what you would make of the Northwest Ordinance, the many days declared by Congress as days of “Thanksgiving and Humiliation”, the holding of Christian services in the Capitol, the use of the Bible in DC’s schools under Jefferson, etc. The point about the religious test is clear if you understand the history of Anglicanism in Britain and the English CIvil War.
The government understood itself to be free to be Christian in a non-denominational fashion. In fact, even the Treaty of Paris, which formally ended the war, began with the words “In the name of the Holy and Undivided Trinity...”
I do agree with you that the US government wasn’t Christian in the sense of the English or French governments. Perhaps we are arguing past each other.
Why don't you read my comments next time before you post.
Ok you got me. The United States was never a Christian nation. The people that came here and founded this nation weren’t Chrisitians. You’re very clever.
LOL, but that was not what I said.
If you read The Preamble to The Bill of Rights you will see that none of them were ever intended to be applied to the States.(All States have their own Constitution, most all of with their own equivalent of the bill of rights).
The idea of incorporation was invented by the Federal Courts in the 1925 edict Gitlow v. New York. An act which violated all 3 tenants of Common law.
1: The Text of the Federal Constitution.( in nether the Federal Constitution nor the 14th amendment does it say the BOR apply to the States, that is why most every State has their own BOR)
2: The common understanding/past practice of the Constitution.(Nobody ever incorporated the bill of rights upon the states before.)
3: Past judicial precedent.(2 past rulings saying the BOR was not incorporated)
But the 1925 Federal court much like many courts after 1913 dident care about the law as they have presumed themselfs to be the final athoirty on what the law is. So in 1925 as they would so many times they dictated brand new constitutional law. No 2/3rd of congress or the states preposing, no 3/4th of the states Consenting with ratification.
In 1925 for the first time in history the “progressive” court applied the 1st amendment the States, calming the 14th amendment as their backing.(A clam already specifically refuteated by a prior Supreme Court, as well as the ratifiers of the same.(The ones not under federal guns))
My ancestor, Edward de Bompasse (Englishman) came here from Leydon on the Fortune in 1621 because he was being persecuted for his religion. The same with Jacques Remy who was a french Huguenot who came in 1654.
James Madison's first draft of the first amendment included the words “National Church.” Clearly, that was the intent, no National Church.
150 years later, the intent was was completely negated by Hugo Black and the ACLU’s Leo Pfeffer in Everson.
As even a casual examination of the annotated translation of 1930 shows, the Barlow translation is at best a poor attempt at a paraphrase or summary of the sense of the Arabic; and even as such its defects throughout are obvious and glaring. Most extraordinary (and wholly unexplained) is the fact that Article 11 of the Barlow translation, with its famous phrase, "the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion," does not exist at all. There is no Article 11. The Arabic text which is between Articles 10 and 12 is in form a letter, crude and flamboyant and withal quite unimportant, from the Dey of Algiers to the Pasha of Tripoli. How that script came to be written and to be regarded, as in the Barlow translation, as Article 11 of the treaty as there written, is a mystery and seemingly must remain so. Nothing in the diplomatic correspondence of the time throws any light whatever on the point
If the Arabic version didn’t have the 11th Article mentioned, then the argument posed by Chuck Norris completely fails. That said, why would it be included in the US English version?
It appears that Barlow added it for his own reasons. He had an axe to grind. I had some articles on Barlow but they’ve been removed from the net. He’d be an Obama fan today.
Placemark for reading.
I understand what you are saying concerning incorporation and the bill of rights. But, my understanding of the constitution is that the rights for individuals are merely codifications of an already existing granted right. The right comes from God and the government merely recognizes the right. That being the case, if the local (such as a state) government does not recognize our God given rights, I guess we could certainly move to another state. But I think it is inherent that the Federal government is there to protect our God given right. That is why I believe that the Federal government stepping in to ensure blacks be allowed to vote in the 1960’s with the voting rights act was lawful and just.
Government in general is there to protect your God given rights, Not specifically the Federal government. Although to get that protection you have ceded to both your state Government and the Federal government a small number of other rights in their respective constitution’s.
Just because you have not ceded the right to free speech to the Federal Government does not mean you cannot cede that right to the State Government.
To say otherwise is madness given the extraordinary finite scope of the Federal Government.
It slipped out of my original post but Voting rights is in the 15th not 14th amendment. Voting rights of course has absolutely nothing to do with the Bill of Rights. But even before the 15th amendment it was a State issue, quite logically as there are NO Federal elections in the United States in which the people part take. Only State and local elections.
This belongs under bloggers. Or religion.
Take it up with the Admin, Pal. I quoted something Keith Ellison said the day before as lame support for the Ground-Zero Mosque. His argument is being echoed by ignorant people all over the country. I sought to take down that argument in the way I thought best. If you don't think is in the spirit of "News/Activism" you're not paying attention.
“I’m not sure how you mean that. We have many elections in which we elect federal, state and local officials. Whether you want to call that a Federal election or not is up to you. But we are electing federal officials in almost all elections.”
What I mean is that there are no Election in the United States run by the Federal Government or held between the whole population of the United States.
Tn the 3 cases in which you are “Electing Federal Officials” President, house, and senate. You are in fact electing someone entirely from and within your State.
As you know In presidential elections nobody actually votes for the president but instead your voting for your state’s electors.
In the senate your voting for someone running state wide and as you know originally we were never even suppose to do that.
In the House elections your voting for someone out of your Congressional district which is not only entirely within the state but is itself defined by your state.
” That being the case, the Federal government certainly has a say in what manner the Federal officials are elected.”
There was no explicit authority in the Constitution for the federal Government to have any special control over the election of their officials prior to the 14th amendment, and even that is questionable.
The U.S. Constitution states when the legislatures will stand for election and the manner in which they are elected. As you noted, the state legislatures used to appoint the Senators but the 17th amendment did away with that. While these elections are run locally, they are done under the federal rules and for federal jobs. That means the Federal government does have a say so in how the Federal legislature is elected. Along with the President.
From: Treaty with Tripoli 1796 : Hunter Miller's Notes at:http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/bar1796n.asp#n3
See: Avalon Project - The Barbary Treaties at: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/barmenu.asp