Concerned Citizens Council Lecture Series ACLU: Dr. Steven Schafersman


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(streaming link to audio recording of lecture below) Concerned Citizens Council Lecture Series "Why West Texas Really Needs The ACLU"
Dr. Steven Schafersman Monday October 15, 2007

The audio recording of the lecture can be streamed via the following link. The introduction begins after about thirty seconds of background noise.

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Concerned Citizens Council Lecture Series ACLU: Dr. Steven Schafersman

  1. 1. | Why West Texas Really Needs the American Civil Liberties Union An Issue of Constitutional Liberties Steven D. Schafersman, Ph. D. President, Texas Citizens for Science, m Board Member, Permian Basin Chapter of the ACLU of Texas, httg: //www. acIutx. org Concerned Citizens Council Lecture Series Big Spring, Texas - October 15, 2007
  2. 2. | Why West Texas Really Needs the ACLU DISCLAIMER I All opinions stated in this presentation are my own, not those of the ACLU, but I will attempt to be clear about ACLU goals. I I am not an official spokesperson for the ACLU. I My philosophical, political, and religious views do not necessarily match those of other ACLU members, which are quite varied. I We will briefly examine many areas of Constitutional law litigation in which the ACLU is involved, but I am really knowledgeable only about Establishment Clause cases. I Finally, I am a scientist and an activist, not an attorney. I actively write, speak, and lobby on behalf of the accuracy and reliability of science in public school education as protected by the Establishment Clause, not for many other areas of Constitutional law in which the ACLU is involved, so I may not be able to answer questions about every topic.
  3. 3. | Why West Texas Really Needs the ACLU Outline of the Presentation Tonight I The United States Constitution and The Bill of Rights I The Origin and History of the American Civil Liberties Union I The Purpose of the ACLU: Defending the Bill of Rights I The First Amendment and the Establishment Clause I The Meaning of Church/ State Separation I Textbook and science censorship by the Texas SBOE I Ector County ISD Bible Course and why it is illegal I “Freedom of Religious Expression” Law and why it is illegal I U. S. and Texas Flag Pledges and why they are illegal I The Myth of “America is a Christian Nation"
  4. 4. The United States Constitution . : l ' . 7 . V- , ‘ i ' l. t»I , l(1"9. L _ M _ QM ‘ n. ‘.‘ l. I , , 'A : r-. :»~-»_~; * . . l l ‘ _ f I ' u . _ ‘W31 I ‘F _: _“i. -9/ Kit-l ‘ "» , l *3 'i' H J L " " I. , '. ' . . _’ _ _ 55 ~»; . 7- " ‘ " IT) xi‘ ‘I T I’ l‘. ‘. ‘ 53.“. mi 1" *9‘ ‘o . ' . _“r ll I . x r}, - . -~ _ «- ’. .*. f’. ry-y‘ . ‘ _ L -5, I. l , ~ Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States September 17, 1787 Independence Hall, Philadelphia
  5. 5. H The United States Constitution DLJGILSII Squralion of Pmu-5 and Checks Ild Ilnlnnccs (. S’fVlIA a: nun: hue lull 1.: o mulflnui Landau‘. -niv 5-lulu. » . .'uuIn. Ina : :nah I, .-- J . n-1. l'lI'i'. IlIur - «rd I’! -Ct-a u udnl «Jim Van Arr. ‘ - . .-1 at annual gnu-I 1.1.: T: hm: an. ndllil U: urchin‘: ht-ul wt’! -um 5 H-n. n . ll rum‘ an an: llncntur -- -ru 1 UR! ‘ . -- llufllfuul The Primary Purpose of the Constitution: Creation of a System of Govemment
  6. 6. The Bill of Rights «'4' , ‘-_ . . _' r. 1’ ‘. _l , ' _ ‘fl! /Q‘ so . - 9:1 {/ /I'/ /I/ A.5;(fl"o’u‘r ' a James Madison presents The Bill of Rights to the First Congress December 15, 1791 - < C A __, i Federal Hall, New York City ' ’ I 3‘ -. *:’Q'. 4 —
  7. 7. The Bill of Rights Amendments 1-‘I0 oi the Consultation 1. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment oi religion. or prohibiting the free exercise thereoi; or abridging the freedom oi speech. or oi the press; or the right oi the people peaceably to assemble. and to petition the government for a redress oi grievances. 2. A well regulated militia. being necessary to the security oi a free state. the right oi the people to keep and bear arms. shal not be infringed 3. No soldier shal, in time oi peace be quartered in any house, vrlhout the consent oi the owner. nor In time oi war. but in a manner to be prescribed by law. 4. The right oi the people to be secure In their persons, houses. overs. and eilects. against unreasonable searches and seizures. shdl not be violated, and no warrants shall issue. but upon probable cause. supported by oath or aiilrrnation. and parlcularty describing the place to be searched. and the persons or things to be seized. 5. No person shall be held to answer for a capital. or otherwise infamous crime. unless on a presentment or indictment oi a grrld jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval iorces. or in the rnllltia. when in actual service in time oi war or public danger: nor shall any person be subject for the same oilense to be twice put in jeopardy oi lite or limb: nor shall be cormelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himseli. nor be deprived oi life. liberty. or property. without due process of law: nor shal private property be talien tor public use. without lust compensation. 6. in all crirnind prosecutions. the accused shal enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial. by an lmputial jury oi the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed. which district shall have been previously ascertained by law. and to be informed oi the nature and cause oi the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him: to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor. and to have the assistance of counsel for his deiense. 7. In suits at common law. where the value in controversy shal exceed twenty dollars. the right of trial bryiury shit be preserved, and no tact tried by I JUN. shall be otherwise reexamined in any court oi the United States. than according to the rules of the common law. 8. Excessive ball shall not be required. nor excessive ilnes Imposed. nor cruel and unusual punishments inilicted. 9. The enumeration in the Constitution, oi certain rights. shdl not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. 10. The powers not delegated to the Unlnd States by the constitution. nor prohibited by it to the states. are reserved to the states respectively. or to the people.
  8. 8. The Bill of Rights THE BILL OF RIGHTS The First Ten Amendments to the U. S. Constitution TI! ll" IV 3 . «mu on 5 P 3'
  9. 9. | The American Civil Liberties Union The American system of government is founded on two counterbalancing principles: that the majority of the people governs through democratically elected representatives; and that the power even of a democratic majority must be limited, to ensure individual rights. Majority power is limited by the Constitution's Bill of Rights, which consists of the original ten amendments ratified in 1791, plus the three post- Civil War amendments (the 13th, 14th and 15th) and the 19th Amendment (women's suffrage), adopted in 1920.
  10. 10. 1 The American Civil Liberties Union The mission of the ACLU is primarily to preserve these Constitutional protections and guarantees: Your 1*‘ Amendment rights: freedom of speech, association and assembly; freedom of the press; and freedom of religion and from govemment establishment of religion. Your 4"‘, 5"‘, and 6"‘ Amendment rights to due process: fair treatment by the government whenever the loss of your liberty or property is at stake, right to counsel, and personal searches and seizures require a warrant. Your 8"‘ Amendment right to not be tortured. Your 9"‘ Amendment right to privacy: freedom from unwarranted government intrusion into your personal, private, and medical affairs. Your 14th Amendment right to due process and equal protection under the laws: equal treatment and protection of life, liberty, and property regardless of race, sex, religion, ethnicity, national origin, or sexual orientation.
  11. 11. The United States Constitution r il. ' ' ' . -rt‘-—— '- In the United States, the oath of , l’‘ ‘‘1{, _‘ . ,L "_ "I office for the President of the 4’: ‘7"’s3' T. ..‘ ~ ' V ‘ United States is specified in the 5‘ L’) '3.-. ‘ "‘~ ‘ - t — U. S. Constitution (Article II, “ " . ‘ ' Section 1): T , ,.« ‘”i’~‘, _~ K, » ' l - . ' -if-—‘ ,1‘ “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) ‘ 4' ' that I will faithfully execute the “A Office of President of the United l r t W». ’ States, and will to the best of my ; " T‘ Ability, tzteseme. __tzr9;e<;1_and j _ 1 5 g
  12. 12. The United States Constitution The war-making powers of the United States are specified in the Constitution (Article I, Section 8): “The Congress shall have Power: To declare War. ..and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water. " Bush's Iraq War of Choice has cost the United States: ° Over $600 billion of borrowed money ° Over 3,800 U. S. military deaths - Over 22,000 U. S. military casualties - Over 100,000 Iraqi deaths - Millions of Iraqi refugees - Current budget deficit is $4 trillion
  13. 13. The Bill of Rights HOW IS PRESIDENT GEORGE w. BUSH DOING? He has violated every right! First Amendment ' Federal funding of faith-based organizations - Federal funding of abstinence-only education ' Attempts to get vouchers to pay for religious schools with public tax money Attempts to stifle funding and scientific conclusions about anthropogenic global warming, evolution, origin of the universe. origin of life, human overpopulation. etc. Fourth Amendment - Warrantless searches of telecommunications data of US. citizens - Warrantless wire-tapping of U. S. citizens - Warrantless searches of library and bookstore records of U. S. citizens Fifth Amendment ' Ignoring habeas corpus - Indefinite detainment without legal counsel or judicial arraignment hearing - Seizure and extreme rendition to secret U. S. prisons in foreign countries Sixth Amendment - Indefinite and secret detainment without speedy and public trial - No trials, no witnesses, no defense counsel Eighth Amendment - Physical and mental torture of numerous individuals held captive in U. S. prisons Ninth Amendment ' Implied rights of privacy, clean air and water, freedom from hunger and thirst. etc.
  14. 14. The Bill of Rights HOW IS THE ACLU DOING? Every item beLo_vv_is_t>eing Iitigat_eg_ by the £. _C_L_U_l - First Amendment - Federal funding of faith—based organizations ' Federal funding of abstinence-only education - Attempts to get vouchers to pay for religious schools with public tax money - Attempts to stifle funding and distort scientific conclusions about anthropogenic global warming. evolution, origin of the universe, origin of life, human overpopulation, etc. ' Fourth Amendment - Warrantless searches of telecommunications data of U. S. citizens - Warrantless wire-tapping of U. S. citizens - Warrantless searches of library and bookstore records of U. S. citizens ' Fifth Amendment - Ignoring habeas corpus (the right to appear before a judge. leam the charges, obtain bail. etc. ) - Indefinite detainment without legal counsel or judicial arraignment hearing ' Seizure and extreme rendition to secret U. S. prisons in foreign countries ' Sixth Amendment - Indeflnite and secret detainment without speedy and public trial ' No tn‘a| s, no witnesses, no defense counsel - Eighth Amendment - Physical and mental torture of numerous individuals held captive in U. S. prisons - Ninth Amendment - Implied rights of privacy. clean air and water, freedom from hunger and thirst. etc.
  15. 15. The Nobel Prize Al Gore, who won the popular vote for President in 2000, but lost the electoral vote by a controversial 5-4 1 . Supreme Court decision, was just _ awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. President George W. Bush—who cares nothing about science, literature, economics, and peace- . » A proves that you don't have to be ' Nobel Prize material to be President of the United States.
  16. 16. | The American Civil Liberties Union The ACLU works to extend rights to segments of our population that have traditionally been denied their rights, including Native Americans and other people of color; lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people; women; mental-health patients; prisoners; people with disabilities; and the poor. lflhe rights of society's most vulnerable members are denied, eveQ¢body's rights are The ACLU was founded by Roger Baldwin, Crystal Eastman, Albert Desilver and others in 1920. It is nonprofit and nonpartisan and has grown from a roomful of civil liberties activists to an organization of more than 500,000 members and supporters. The ACLU handles nearly 6,000 court cases annually from its offices in almost every state. The ACLU has maintained the position that civil liberties must be respected, even in times of national emergency. The ACLU is supported by annual dues and contributions from its members, plus grants from private foundations and individuals. It does not receive any government funding.
  17. 17. 1 The American Civil Liberties Union It should be obvious that the ACLU is absolutely INDESPENSIBLE! It's work on behalf of Constitutional liberties for U. S. citizens and other humans is vital for the political and moral health of our country. The ACLU is IRREPLACEABLE as an institution, since it works to safeguard the foundational freedoms, liberties, and protections guaranteed by the Constitution. The ACLU is both a conservative and liberal institution. It is conservative in the sense that it tries to conserve traditional values, i. e. our Constitutional rights and liberties. It is liberal in the sense that it tries to promote freedom for individuals, organizations, and society (liberal and liberty derive from the same root). The ACLU is not always immediately successful. The past seven years have witnessed the most sustained attack on Constitutional rights and protections in the modern era, and we are continuing to suffer from that attack. Litigation takes a long time. Politics is faster.
  18. 18. | The United States Constitution The Bill of Rights: First Amendment I “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. ..” U Establishment Clause I Separationist Interpretation (strict separation, no aid) I Accommodationist Interpretation (some aid permitted, such as for health, safety, transportation, etc. ) I Both interpretations are Non-Preferentialist (cannot prefer one religion over another or religion over non-religion) 0 Free Exercise Clause
  19. 19. 1 Separation of Church and State I False Claim: There is nothing in the Constitution or Bill of Rights about separation of church and state. The Establishment Clause only prohibits Congress from establishing a national religion, so government can promote religious agendas. I “I don't believe there's such a thing as the separation of church and state. In fact, the First Amendment to the Constitution actually calls on the United States Congress to make sure, to ensure that people are allowed to practice their religion. " Texas Rep. Leo Berman I Truth: Separation of Church and State is a metaphor of the Establishment Clause. ‘‘In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between church and State. "’ Justice Huge Black
  20. 20. | Fourteenth Amendment An essential addition to The Bill of Rights to make their liberties available to all citizens at all levels of government. I “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. ’’ I Under the “| ncorporation Doctrine” of the 14"‘ Amendment, the Supreme Court has held since 1868 that the protections of The Bill of Rights apply to state, county, and municipal governments, even though the Amendments state that they apply only to Congress. I Decades were required to make freedom from religious establishment a reality. The process continues today.
  21. 21. Religion and N on-Religion False Claim: The Establishment Clause only prohibits preference of one religion over another, not religion over non-religion, so governments can promote—through legislation and statute—broadly religious goals and agendas. “Freedom of religion should not be mistaken for freedom from religion. ” Govemor Rick Perry Truth: “Government should not prefer one religion to another, or religion to irreligion. ” Justice David Souter, Justice Hugo Black, etc. , in several Supreme Court decisions. The slightest empathy or reflectance would demonstrate why freedom ftcmi religion is necessary: Everyone would want to be free fig religions other than their own. That's hundreds of religions to be free from!
  22. 22. | Religious and Secular I False Claim: When religion is removed from the public schools, it is replaced by a “religion of secularism, ” which hurts religious students. I “We don't need to shield our children from religious expression and allow them to only be exposed to the religion of secularism in our schools. " Governor Rick Perry I Truth: The U. S. Constitution requires that our various governments and government institutions—such as public schoo| s—must be secular. Secularism is the middle, neutral state between religion and anti-religion. Individuals can choose to be religious, non- religious (secular), or anti-religious, but the state must be secular by Constitutional law.
  23. 23. | The Problem I Public officials I term the “4Rs"—Radical Religious Right Repub| icans—aggressive| y use the power of their state offices to force their sectarian religious values and beliefs onto moderate citizens and secular institutions. 0 Censorship of public school textbooks, especially biology texts Vouchers for private schoo| s—a| most all are religious schools Proselytization of students using Bible study classes (HB 1287) Requiring recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance with “under God” phrase, requiring a “moment of silence, ” and adding “under God” to the Texas Pledge (HB 1034) '3 Forcing religious speech on captive student audiences under the guise of “freedom of religious expression" (HB 3678) U Abstinence only; against stem cell research; extorting faith-based pre-marriage counseling; attempts to ban abortion, etc. DUE]
  24. 24. i Texas Constitution and Vouchers I Article 1 - BILL OF RIGHTS I Section 7 - APPROPRIATIONS FOR SECTARIAN PURPOSES I “No money shall be appropriated, or drawn from the Treasury for the benefit of any sect, or religious society, theological or religious seminary; nor shall property belonging to the State be appropriated for any such purposes. ” I Over half the states have had a statewide referendum on the question of giving public tax money to private religious schools. l_n every case, vouchers failed by a 2-1 margin. The same would occur in Texas if the legislature would allow a vote. I City councils and state legislatures have tried to implement limited voucher programs, but most of these have failed in state and federal court decisions; e. g., Florida.
  25. 25. | School Vouchers - An Accommodation I Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, 2002 (narrow 5-4 SC decision) 0 Valid secular purpose (e. g., assistance to failing public schools) 0 Public financial assistance is neutral, not directed to religious schools (but almost all private schools are religious) CI Public financial assistance given to parents, not schools (but it quickly goes to schools) I Results: 0 Voucher programs focus on meeting Supreme Court guidelines 0 Voucher proposals for ‘‘failing’’ urban schools, autistic students, etc. 0 Legislative efforts and ploys to cause public schools to fail: under- funding schools, over-testing students, delaying teachers salary raises, requiring “teacher accountability, ” charter schools, virtual academies, promoting home-schooling, etc.
  26. 26. iWHY? Why do the 4Rs engage in their blatant unconstitutional activity? I They want to counter the Constitutional secular and neutral nature of government institutions, especially the public school system, which they perceive as anti-religious. I They wish to reinforce the almost pervasive religious proselytization of_ch_ildren in Texas society, so to do their part in their evangelical lTl| SSl0n. I They know they can succeed in steps, by keeping the pressure on and gradually winning small victories, ultimately winning larger victories. I Courts may rule against them, but courts can change, and precedents can be overturned. After all, stare decisis is dead. And since Supreme Courtjustices have promised to uphold the principle gurigg their confirmation hearings, but failed to do so, hypocrisy is ea , too.
  27. 27. Maior 54 Decisions of the Term iiwrr urlv X ~--- - Ii~ -, ‘. | urn: -‘, nl1l"'—I‘F ‘ in ii an -2’. r>¢‘I2k'1.‘/ Tr‘ '-rm ‘ol‘'-'l‘. 'Ii"‘ -. Al --. -m. »x. —.~ Aaoannnp: Irx-.11‘-‘ "'I Fin *1 -i. '. J". 'i I“ ,1‘ Luiyi I, )|3‘l< [1 '', 1. . .il . .~-4 -:0 : I'. I ; al lunch - Lo. -:; ixu . .l4 . 'A'. <'i; <‘1i’r: r i. W‘: ,»-vi’ . ~« . .. -. i.. ~4-«I-i ; auu. - 1-44.», ,4iltJ. ' 2: Pay C-o-lnlrmibr = ..« u. - he 1 .1 L Q’ I . .ll'iI . Us In In-an cIu—yul-m nu i-‘~41. ~. .~n—- v. - I ~. L 1i"ii«h - l. I nu : ria; v§' "fluff: Einiiimlal ‘3u. l.». -En . I - "tr-' 4-": V" -ii. .., ii , p- . i=. ~nii: .i. c lJ. |lI v. 'jlf'r_ l"l n nulniinny “ 1| -~. >o1 i‘ in-: ~i) , '-3:5 . |i| . N '1 ‘.1 . ‘ JUJ. _v_2.i_l_ JIJ. ..
  28. 28. Who are the Radical Religious Right Republicans in Texas doing the most damage to our Constitutional liberties? I Governor Rick Perry I House Speaker Tom Craddick I Representative Warren Chisum I Representative Charlie Howard I Former Rep. Kent Grusendorf I Super Lobbyist James Leininger
  29. 29. | Textbook Censorship was common and is still ongoing in Texas. I Biology, earth science, environmental science, history, economics, civics, social studies, literature, health education, and many other textbooks—including the dictionary—have been censored by the radical religious right majority on the State Board of Education for decades, and education in Texas has suffered, especially science educafion. I The topic of evolution in biology textbooks was especially damaged in the 1960s and 1970s, when the subject was watered-down, relegated to insignificance, and even removed from some textbooks. Anti-evolution disclaimers were stamped in biology texts! I Efforts began in 1980 to challenge the censorship problem.
  30. 30. i The Textbook Adoption System is Still Broken The Texas SBOE still has too much power. I Science textbook publishers engage in self-censorship, anticipating what content the Texas State Board of Education will permit. I An abstinence-only policy was implicitly mandated by the SBOE. I The topic of contraception was omitted from all health education textbooks in 2004, despite the facts that 0 over 60% of Texas high school students engage in sexual activity, 0 Texas has one of the highest teenage illegitimate pregnancy rates, and 0 Texas has one of the highest teenage STD and HIV rates. I The politically-appointed Texas Commissioner of Health refused to intervene or say anything, despite TCS's written requests.
  31. 31. | There is no law requiring that accurate and reliable science be taught or pseudoscience to not be taught in public schools. Instead, every significant court case involving creationism and intelligent design was decided in science and society’s favor on the basis of a First Amendment, Establishment Clause violation. Every court concluded that the defendants tried to force sectarian religion into science classrooms (or keep evolution out of them). Evolution v. Creationism or Intelligent Design Creationism Cases: :1 3 '. l Epperson v. Arkansas, 1968 (Supreme Court: anti-evolution law overturned) Wright v. Houston ISD, 1972 (District Court: evolution ruled not a secular religion) McLean v. Arkansas, 1982 (District Court: balanced treatment law overturned; creation science not science, but a religious doctrine) Edwards v. Aguillard, 1987 (Supreme Court: equal-time law overturned; creation science ruled not legitimate science) Freiler v. Tangipahoa Parish, 1997 (District Court: disclaimer law overtumed) Kitzmiller v. Dover, 2005 (District Court: disclaimer law overtumed; intelligent design ruled to be creationism, a religious doctrine)
  32. 32. i Conclusions about the Establishment Clause and Textbook Censorship I The accuracy and reliability of our country’s science education system depends on a Constitutional clause that prohibits the establishment of religion! I Textbook censorship is just one part of a much larger problem involving the promotion of sectarian religion by public officials. I “Human civilization becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe. ” H. G. Wells, The Outline of History I The Texas 4Rs are courting catastrophe by gaming the system to achieve their sectarian self-interests. They regularly pervert science education (and other cultural values) by using the powers of their offices to le islate fundamentalist Protestant Christian doctrines that Texas secu ar public institutions must accept.
  33. 33. Other Violations of the Establishment Clause and Church / State Separation in Texas 4 Proselytization of students using Bible study classes (HB 1287). Example: Ector County ISD is facing very expensive litigation from the Texas ACLU. As is the case with most public high school Bible courses, the ECISD course is being taught in a non-scholarly, non- secular manner, and this is unconstitutional. The new Permian Basin ACLU Chapter was formed in the wake of this lawsuit. 4 Requiring recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance with “under God" [| )_hrase, reguirinlgl a “moment of silence, " and adding “under God" to the exas Ple ge ( B 103-4% The national Pledge is currently under litigation and the Texas ledge soon will be. If the unconstitutional two- word phrase is removed, the Pledges will become legal. 4 Forcing religious speech on captive student audiences under the uise of “freedom of religious expression” (HB 3678). The law and its “ odel Policy" were written by an anti-Separationist attorney and sponsored by two anti-Separationist Texas Representatives. This very e regious new law violates several Supreme Court decisions supporting t e Establishment Clause, and will soon be litigated and overturned.
  34. 34. The United States is a “Christian Nation” Myth ''I just have to say in all candor that since this nation was founded primarily on Christian principles, personally. I prefer someone who has a grounding in my faith. " Senator John McCain, October 1, 2007 Senator McCain also said he agreed with a recent poll that 55 percent of Americans believe the U. S. Constitution establishes a Christian nation. ''I would probably have to say yes, that the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation, " he said. Later, McCain sought to clarify his remarks: "Whatl do mean to say is the United States of America was founded on the values of Judeo-Christian values, which were translated by our founding fathers which is basically the rights of human dignity and human rights, " he said. "I believe that anyone can be president of the United States of any faith, " Mccain said, saying he was angry his remarks were misinterpreted but "there's nothing I can do about it. “ This Is, of course, classic back-peddling, since McCain realized that he had over-reached In his zeal to establish himself with the core Republican voters—rellglous fundamentallsts—and his statements were blatantly untrue. At least McCain regrets telling untruths.
  35. 35. The United States is a “Christian Nation” Myth "Our laws and institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and institutions are emphatically Christian. " United States Supreme Court 1892, Holy Trinity Church v United States The quote above is spurious, a hoax. http: IIsupreme. ]ustla. comIusI143l457Icase. html http: IIwww. languageandlaw. orglTEXTSICASESlI-lOLYTRlN. HTM This case is cited most often for its determination of how legislative intent can be determined. The case is famous for being misinterpreted as a religion case, from a line in obiter dicta in which Justice Brewer claimed that the United States is a "Christian nation. " Many people have cited that as the case's holding, though that is incorrect. httpzllemwikipedia. orgIwikiIl-loly_Trinity_Church_v. _United_States Holy Trinity did not establish the United States as a Christian nation. http: IImembers. trlpod. comI-canclstIbrewer. htm http: /Imembers. tripod. comI-candstltrinityhtm
  36. 36. The United States is a “Christian Nation” Myth "We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God. " James Madison, Fourth President of the United States This statement appears nowhere in the writings or recorded utterances of James Madison and is completely contradictory to his character as a strong proponent of the separation of church and state. It is a spurious hoax. http: IIwww. snopes. comIpolltlcsIrellglonIcapital. asp
  37. 37. The United States is a “Christian Nation” Myth "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here. " Patrick Henry, May 1765, Speech to the House of Burgesses The quote above is a hoax, a forgery. Patrick Henry never wrote or stated this. http: IIwww. rellgloustoleranceprglbadquotes. htm http: IIwww. geoclties. comlpeterroberts. geolRelig-PolitlcslPl-lenry. htrnlfinsquo http: IIrnembers. tripod. coml-candstltnppagelmlsqldznhtm http: IIen. wikiquote. orgIwikiIPatrick_Henry
  38. 38. i The United States is a “Christian Nation” Myth In 1797, six years after the adoption of the Bill of Rights, the United States government signed a treaty with the Muslim nation of Tripoli that contained the following statement (numbered Article 11 in the treaty): "As the Government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the law, religion or tranquility of Musselmen; and as the states never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mohometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinion shall ever produce an interruption of harmony existing between the two countries. " This treaty was negotiated by an emissary appointed by President George Washington and signed by President John Adams. It was ratified by the U. S. Senate with no debate and no disagreement.
  39. 39. The Declaration of Independence . ... — . —_. . . _,'~ M ’ ‘. til 1 i ‘ ' . "1 " G l ‘ ; / J _-4 ‘I p‘ 'v, f ‘ ‘; s¢1,_7 ; J‘, "’. ,I}l , - r l‘‘‘; _ ‘ ‘ - ‘, < . in ‘, *.>~¥ s—_, .-J, . —. .. ~.. .323. --~ . — 1 . ___. ‘.'*-V'r-; vI‘: "gs, ' "; J‘ , we? ! n , l ' ‘, '- ' ’ , — —_. ,‘; __. ._: .‘-" Scene at the Presentation of the Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776 Independence Hall, Philadelphia I» (. '0.-'(. iRLS5 Jm' . .. o. '. - _ . , . , . ‘$5: nnanmms ~: ‘¢r'. um Lon ». - c- . s-- briirc: .if-3tni'mcu. .
  40. 40. N The United States is a “Christian Nation” Myth Claim: The Declaration of Independence refers to God as an important founding element of the new United States. Facts: 5. The Declaration of Independence is an important historical document of our country, but it is not a founding document of our government. It is a declaration, not a constitution. 6. The Declaration refers to a Deistic God—“Nature's God, ” "Creator, " and “Supreme Judge of the wor| d"—NOT Jesus or the Christian God. 7. The Deistic language was used to base the Declaration on Natural Law, which is the Law instituted in Nature by the Creator God (in which the Founding Fathers all believed). 8. The actual founding documents of the United States, the Constitution and The Bill of Rights, do not mention or invoke God or religion of any kind. In fact, they expressly separate religion from government in several key passages.
  41. 41. The United States is a “Christian Nation” Myth , g , _ All of the major Founding Fathers, many of j H "‘ V ' ') I H 0 I‘ 'l I” ‘H the Signers of the Declaration of ‘ A independence, many of the Framers of the ’ l , . Constitution, and the first six Presidents of j ' ' _ T . the United States were Deists. . , 1 ’ These include George Washington, .1 H‘ 5" Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, — John Adams, James Madison, James Monroe, Thomas Paine, Alexander . A . Hamilton, Benjamin Rush, John Quincy . ‘ . ' Adams, and many others. These men were religious, believed in a God, but WERE NOT CHRISTIANS. in l‘ ‘ i * l ‘ * ’ fact, many of them disliked or despised L, . , _, , , Christianity. An abundance of historical . ‘ . : - 1‘ " - — P ‘ scholarship attests to these facts.
  42. 42. The United States is a “Christian Nation” Myth Mark Weldon Whitten iiiriwnnl lryie rms M. Dunn In 1778, James l. iladisorr said to the Virginia Convention on Ratifying the Constitution: "Freedom arises from the multiplicity of sects. which pervades America and which is the best and only security for religious liberty in any society. For where there such a variety of sects, there cannot be a majority of any one ct to oppress and persecute the rest. " Deists valued reason, science. and knowledge. not religious superstitions. They disliked the sectarian tendency of most religions. The Founders would have agreed with Thomas Paine, who v-. ~'rote. “I believe in one God, and no more. ..| do not believe in the creed professed by the jRoman, Protestant, and other churches] not by any church I know oi. iyly own mind is my own church. " (Age of Reasorii
  43. 43. The United States is a “Christian Nation” Myth ‘C -14 / l ‘I I’ . . '‘. HT? ’ I: V‘! - . . , , _ . , ~r m- . ..-e '1‘ fill 113 -U U) D L13 S l. ‘ ‘U N H "1" '1 '1‘ T '1‘ ‘. l ‘(T3 T' . M--Ivan '--rt~~ cr rnr ', Irr: U|Al ’-‘-VI 'AAC K-Amnicx AND R. LAURENCE MOORE The founding fathers were horrified by witch hangings conducted by Christian Puritans, by religious persecutions, and by atrocities committed by state-enforced Christian churches in Europe. The founding fathers were attracted to a deistic concept of God, a kinder, more humanitarian God than the jealous, cruel, vindictive God of the Bible. The Framers of the Constitution believed in what is today termed Church/ State Separation. They were religious men, but they wanted to keep religion separated from government. They wrote the Constitution and Bill of Rights to ensure that the emotional excesses of religions would not harm citizens by gaining control of the state's official powers. They would have been horrified with conditions in the United States today.