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.