“...America is a Christian nation.”

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Wesley Briggman, Feb 27, 2018.

  1. Wesley Briggman Active Member
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    We Are Losing The Cultural War

    Doctor Price has an impressive biography as a Baptist preacher.

    "Yet, our Supreme Court once included in a ruling, “America is a Christian nation.” is a statement he made in the article referenced above.

    However, I have not found any such SCOTUS ruling to give credence to his a statement.

    Has the SCOTUS ever made such a ruling?
     
  2. Jerome Well-Known Member
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    Price is probably referring to the nineteenth-century Holy Trinity case, which has been criticized by Scalia and other conservative justices:

    http://scholarship.law.wm.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1025&context=wmlr

    "In his dissenting opinion in Zuni Public School District...Justice Scalia lamented that the majority’s statutory analysis resurrected 'Church of the Holy Trinity...Phoenix-like, from the ashes.' He was referring, of course, to Holy Trinity Church v. United States....At issue in Holy Trinity was the Alien Contract Labor Act of 1885, which made it illegal for employers to pay the migration costs of aliens under contract to perform 'labor or service of any kind' in the United States. The government sought to apply the statute against a church that had paid the migration costs for an English clergyman under contract to become the church’s rector. Relying in part on House and Senate committee reports, the Supreme Court famously declared that 'a thing may be within the letter of the statute and yet not within the statute, because not within its spirit, nor within the intention of its makers.' The Court went on to conclude that the church’s conduct was not prohibited because Congress intended for the statute to apply only to contracts to import manual laborers"

    "the Court’s Holy Trinity opinion presents an impassioned, lengthy overview of the United States’ history and status as a Christian nation and reasons that against this backdrop, Congress simply could not have intended for the Alien Contract Labor Act to prohibit contracts by churches to pay the passage of Christian ministers."

    "Justice Scalia has addressed Holy Trinity in countless lectures and in his book on statutory interpretation, calling it the 'prototypical' example of how a statute ought not to be interpreted and deriding it as the precedent cited 'whenever counsel wants us to ignore the narrow, deadening text of the statute, and pay attention to the life-giving legislative intent. It is nothing but an invitation to judicial lawmaking.' Justice Kennedy similarly has criticized Holy Trinity as a case that empowers courts 'to rummage through unauthoritative materials to consult the spirit of the legislation in order to discover an alternative interpretation of the statute with which the Court is more comfortable.'"
     
  3. HankD Well-Known Member
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    Again Wesley it is a matter of perception. It depends upon who sets the criteria.

    The violent Jihadists have determined that America is a Christian nation and worthy of forced conversion to Islam or slavery or destruction.
     
  4. Reynolds Well-Known Member
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    Scalia was not perfect.
     
  5. Jerome Well-Known Member
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    Video by Bryan Chapell, president emeritus of Covenant Theological Seminary and a Council member of The Gospel Coalition alongside Albert Mohler, Mark Dever, Russell Moore, etc.:

    The Gospel Coalition - Was the United States Ever a Christian Nation?

     
  6. Baptist Believer Well-Known Member
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    While he might be a good preacher, he is obviously not a historian or a clear thinker.

    He quotes the 1940s vs. 2000s comparison (originally written by T. Cullen Davis* in the 1980s as an opinion piece, not research, that has been liberally "updated" since) that compares classroom management problems with major societal problems. Even a few moments of thought about that comparison reveals that it is simply rhetoric, not fact.

    As Jerome properly pointed out, it is almost certainly the "Holy Trinity" decision. Revisionist historian David Barton has made the quote quite popular (found in the commentary (dictum) section of the ruling that notes that America has a long and rich religious history), by taking two different statements and splicing them together:


    Barton made this "quote" an essential part of his early presentations in the 1990s, and it gained a lot of power. That was before the internet, so it was a difficult quote for normal people to check on their own. Personally, when I was doing my own research on Barton's writings and videos in the 1990s, I was unable to check the quote because our local Fort Worth library didn't have the books of Supreme Court decisions (U.S. Reports) available before 1900. It was only years later that I was able to review the case myself to see that Barton had also completely misrepresented this case too.

    * T. Cullen Davis (of Fort Worth, my city) came to national fame in 1976 when he was charged with the murder of his ex-wife's lover and daughter on the grounds of his mansion here in town. In 1978, he was charged with hiring a hitman to murder his ex-wife and the judge in their divorce trial. Through a series of legal maneuvers and soap-opera-style twists, he was not convicted on any of the counts. However, he served as the inspiration for J.R. Ewing for the prime-time soap opera, "Dallas."
     
  7. Baptist Believer Well-Known Member
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    No, but he was absolutely correct on this count.
     
  8. Reynolds Well-Known Member
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    No. Look at the actions of the founders. Look at how the men who ratified the COTUS handled Christianity and government.
     
  9. Baptist Believer Well-Known Member
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    I have read many of the foundational primary source documents during the period where the Constitution was being developed. Have you?

    What you will find is that there was a diversity of opinion regarding religious things, but after the Revolution, there was a strong move to keep the federal government out of religious matters - to ensure that the federal government took a position of neutrality.

    Madison's "A Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments" and the Virginia Bill for Religious Liberty are just two examples of this. There are many more.

    Revisionist historians like to quote the minority (losing) position and claim that they represent the dominant viewpoint.
     
  10. Reynolds Well-Known Member
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    No.
    Was The Bible used in public schools? House, Senate, and Supreme Court opened by prayer? Judeo-Christian symbols put on buildings and monuments throughout the nation?
     
  11. Revmitchell Well-Known Member
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    While the US has never been "formerly" a Christian nation it has been in effect. Congress had bibles printed, we used bibles as the primary text book in our schools for many years, there were many many political sermons preached from pulpits all over the US for years, there is no doubt that the forming of the US was closely tied to Christianity and based on biblical principles.

    Don't let the left wingers fool ya. They have not discredited Barton as much as they wished they had nor should they.
     
  12. Wesley Briggman Active Member
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    Don't forget to look at the actions of the founders in relating to the native Americans in a Christian manner. Oh, and...
     
  13. Reynolds Well-Known Member
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    As a whole, Christianity in the U.S. did not at that time view Indians as humans.
     
  14. Revmitchell Well-Known Member
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    that is not true they did view them as heathens
     
  15. Reynolds Well-Known Member
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    Some did. Most put them in the same sub human category they put slaves.
     
  16. Revmitchell Well-Known Member
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    You don't know that.
     
  17. Reynolds Well-Known Member
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    Yes I do.
    Jefferson being a notable exception, except for the fact he was not a Christian.
     
  18. Revmitchell Well-Known Member
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    Naaa
     
  19. Jerome Well-Known Member
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    When Native Americans Were Slaves | JSTOR Daily

    "after the Pequot War of 1637, Puritans shipped captured Pequots to bondage in a small Puritan community on the coast of Nicaragua called Providence Island. There they were called 'cannibal negros' to distinguish them from the native Moskitos, with whom the Puritans wished to maintain good relations. Guasco calls this 'Anglo-America’s first true slave society.' Soon after, in 1641, Massachusetts became the first North American colony to legally authorize slavery."

    Disgusting stuff.
     
  20. FollowTheWay Well-Known Member
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    A great deal of insight into what the writer of the Holy Trinity case opinion (Justice David Josiah Brewer) meant when he declared the United States to be a Christian nation was provided in his subsequent book, The United States: A Christian Nation, published in 1905. This is a quote from that book.
    Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States - Wikipedia

    "But in what sense can it be called a Christian nation? Not in the sense that Christianity is the established religion or that people are in any matter compelled to support it. On the contrary, the Constitution specifically provides that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Neither is it Christian in the sense that all of its citizens are either in fact or name Christian. On the contrary, all religions have free scope within our borders. Numbers of our people profess other religions, and many reject all. Nor is it Christian in the sense that a profession of Christianity is a condition of holding office or otherwise engaging in public service, or essential to recognition either politically or socially. In fact, the government as a legal organization is independent of all religions. Nevertheless, we constantly speak of this republic as a Christian Nation—in fact, as the leading Christian Nation of the world. This popular use of the term certainly has significance. It is not a mere creation of the imagination. It is not a term of derision but has substantial basis—one which justifies its use.[4][5]"
    *************************************************************************************************************
    I believe this is the proper interpretation of the statement that the United States is a Christian nation." It's an observation that the majority of its citizens are of the Christian faith (fact) but recognizes that this has no bearing on recognizing the right of every citizen to practice the religion of their choice. This is the true meaning of the freedom of religion established by the Constitution, not the inferred "right" for Christians to impose their beliefs on the rest of the citizens.