Carpathian, sadly but predictably, in the face of remonstrance has continued his attempts to support ghettoising, stigmatising and silencing the voice of the Christian in public; making himself a poster-child of a clear and present danger to liberty in our time.
>>Religious activities should all be private.
Any prospects for religious conversion should be invited to listen to the message from that faith but the message itself should be a private affair.
There are parents who may not want their children exposed to certain religions or religious teachings and that barrier to religion should be considered a fundamental right and honored by all faiths.>>
Of course, conveniently (by redefining faith into an imagined projected blind fideism) such implicitly exempt their own faith, evolutionary materialist scientism and secular humanism and/or its fellow travellers.
But, such a mentality is strikingly at odds with the classic expression of protection of civil liberties found in the First Amendment of the US Constitution, Mother of democratic constitutions in our time. Accordingly, I replied and think that it is worthwhile to headline that response:
>>>On the 1st Amdt US Const, starting with what Congress submitted:
Transcription of the 1789 Joint Resolution of Congress Proposing 12 Amendments to the U.S. Constitution
Congress of the United States
begun and held at the City of New-York, on
Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.
THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.
RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.
ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution . . . .
Article the third… Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances . . . .
Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg, Speaker of the House of Representatives
John Adams, Vice-President of the United States, and President of the Senate
John Beckley, Clerk of the House of Representatives.
Sam. A Otis Secretary of the Senate
Thus, we see the same grand statement style that structures the Constitution as a whole:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America . . . . [Main Body, Arts I – VII] . . . . Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth. In Witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names. . . . . [AMENDMENTS].
Such a style, of course, underscores that the part be interpreted in light of the whole in its context.
Instantly, we see an emphasis on the blessings of liberty, a theological, covenantal reference that points to the Reformation era biblically rooted understanding of the double covenant of nationhood under God and good government of the nation with the consent of the governed, equally under God. (The modern secularist notion of splitting apart God and People is alien to the frame at work, and it leads to pernicious misunderstandings.)
If there is doubt as to what Blessings of Liberty refers to, observe the Congessional proclammation of a national call to penitent prayer in May 1776, on the eve of the Declaration as already cited, which in the context of the double-covenant view is a clear acknowledgement of the emerging USA being founded under God:
May 1776 [over the name of John Hancock, first signer of the US Declaration of Indpependence] : In times of impending calamity and distress; when the liberties of America are imminently endangered by the secret machinations and open assaults of an insidious and vindictive administration, it becomes the indispensable duty of these hitherto free and happy colonies, with true penitence of heart, and the most reverent devotion, publickly to acknowledge the over ruling providence of God; to confess and deplore our offences against him; and to supplicate his interposition for averting the threatened danger, and prospering our strenuous efforts in the cause of freedom, virtue, and posterity.. . . Desirous, at the same time, to have people of all ranks and degrees duly impressed with a solemn sense of God’s superintending providence, and of their duty, devoutly to rely, in all their lawful enterprizes, on his aid and direction, Do earnestly recommend, that Friday, the Seventeenth day of May next, be observed by the said colonies as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that we may, with united hearts, confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and, by a sincere repentance and amendment of life, appease his righteous displeasure, and, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness; humbly imploring his assistance to frustrate the cruel purposes of our unnatural enemies; . . . that it may please the Lord of Hosts, the God of Armies, to animate our officers and soldiers with invincible fortitude, to guard and protect them in the day of battle, and to crown the continental arms, by sea and land, with victory and success: Earnestly beseeching him to bless our civil rulers, and the representatives of the people, in their several assemblies and conventions; to preserve and strengthen their union, to inspire them with an ardent, disinterested love of their country; to give wisdom and stability to their counsels; and direct them to the most efficacious measures for establishing the rights of America on the most honourable and permanent basis—That he would be graciously pleased to bless all his people in these colonies with health and plenty, and grant that a spirit of incorruptible patriotism, and of pure undefiled religion, may universally prevail; and this continent be speedily restored to the blessings of peace and liberty, and enabled to transmit them inviolate to the latest posterity. And it is recommended to Christians of all denominations, to assemble for public worship, and abstain from servile labour on the said day.
Then, after the key successful victories that brought the full-bore French intervention that was the strategic hinge of ultimate victory:
December 1777: FORASMUCH as it is the indispensable Duty of all Men to adore the superintending Providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with Gratitude their Obligation to him for benefits received, and to implore such farther Blessings as they stand in Need of; And it having pleased him in his abundant Mercy not only to continue to us the innumerable Bounties of his common Providence, but also to smile upon us in the Prosecution of a just and necessary War, for the Defence and Establishment of our unalienable Rights and Liberties; particularly in that he hath been pleased in so great a Measure to prosper the Means used for the Support of our Troops and to crown our Arms with most signal success: It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive powers of these United States, to set apart THURSDAY, the eighteenth Day of December next, for Solemn Thanksgiving and Praise; That with one Heart and one Voice the good People may express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts, and consecrate themselves to the Service of their Divine Benefactor; and that together with their sincere Acknowledgments and Offerings, they may join the penitent Confession of their manifold Sins, whereby they had forfeited every Favour, and their humble and earnest Supplication that it may please GOD, through the Merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of Remembrance; That it may please him graciously to afford his Blessing on the Governments of these States respectively, and prosper the public Council of the whole; to inspire our Commanders both by Land and Sea, and all under them, with that Wisdom and Fortitude which may render them fit Instruments, under the Providence of Almighty GOD, to secure for these United States the greatest of all human blessings, INDEPENDENCE and PEACE; That it may please him to prosper the Trade and Manufactures of the People and the Labour of the Husbandman, that our Land may yet yield its Increase; To take Schools and Seminaries of Education, so necessary for cultivating the Principles of true Liberty, Virtue and Piety, under his nurturing Hand, and to prosper the Means of Religion for the promotion and enlargement of that Kingdom which consisteth “in Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Holy Ghost.”[i.e. Cites Rom 14:9] [Source: Journals of the American Congress From 1774 to 1788 (Washington: Way and Gideon, 1823), Vol. I, pp. 286-287 & II, pp. 309 – 310.]
By the next year, we see in the 1778 Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union (which would be fought over in the 1860’s in a bloody civil war pivoting on the contradictions and compromises brought about by tolerating slavery):
And Whereas it hath pleased the Great Governor of the World to incline the hearts of the legislatures we respectively represent in Congress, to approve of, and to authorize us to ratify the said Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union. Know Ye that we the undersigned delegates, by virtue of the power and authority to us given for that purpose, do by these presents, in the name and in behalf of our respective constituents, fully and entirely ratify and confirm each and every of the said Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union . . . . In Witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands in Congress. Done at Philadelphia in the State of Pennsylvania the ninth day of July in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy-Eight, and in the Third Year of the independence of America.
In short, the double covenant view I am putting on the table is not a mere idiosyncrasy to be brushed aside as of no significance. Instead, the persistent refusal to acknowledge easily documented well-founded historic and legal-covenantal truth is what needs to answer to some serious questions.
In that context, dating the US Constitution in terms of both The Year of our Lord AND of the independence of the US gives a big hint as to the significance of the already cited declaration of Independence. Indeed, the Constitution patently set out to deliver on new reformed government under God that would hold the legitimacy envisioned in the second paragraph of the declaration, viz:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, [cf Rom 1:18 – 21, 2:14 – 15, 13:1 – 10], that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security . . .
Note, the context of understanding law espoused is stated in the first paragraph: “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”
That puts Blackstone’s point and that of Locke citing Hooker up-front, centre. Let us again cite Blackstone, as this was the primary legal textbook of reference in the era in question and for a century and more beyond:
Man, considered as a creature, must necessarily be subject to the laws of his creator, for he is entirely a dependent being . . . consequently, as man depends absolutely upon his maker for every thing, it is necessary that he should in all points conform to his maker’s will. This will of his maker is called the law of nature. For as God, when he created matter, and endued it with a principle of mobility, established certain rules for the perpetual direction of that motion; so, when he created man, and endued him with freewill to conduct himself in all parts of life, he laid down certain immutable laws of human nature, whereby that freewill is in some degree regulated and restrained, and gave him also the faculty of reason to discover the purport of those laws . . . These are the eternal, immutable laws of good and evil, to which the creator himself in all his dispensations conforms; and which he has enabled human reason to discover, so far as they are necessary for the conduct of human actions. Such among others are these principles: that we should live honestly [NB: cf. Exod. 20:15 – 16], should hurt nobody [NB: cf. Rom 13:8 – 10], and should render to every one his due [NB: cf. Rom 13:6 – 7 & Exod. 20:15]; to which three general precepts Justinian[1: a Juris praecepta sunt hace, honeste vivere. alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. Inst, 1. 1. 3] has reduced the whole doctrine of law [and, Corpus Juris, Justinian’s Christianised precis and pruning of perhaps 1,000 years of Roman jurisprudence, in turn is the foundation of law for much of Europe].
The point should be clear enough, but to clench it over, let us note the precedent of the Dutch DoI of 1581 under William the Silent of Orange and against Phillip II of Spain, which was directly influenced by Vindiciae of 1579, and which makes it plain that Natural Law was understood in a specifically Christian [in fact Calvinist] context and used in the first modern declaration of independence in an unmistakeable way:
. . . a prince is constituted by God to be ruler of a people, to defend them from oppression and violence as the shepherd his sheep; and whereas God did not create the people slaves to their prince, to obey his commands, whether right or wrong, but rather the prince for the sake of the subjects (without which he could be no prince), to govern them according to equity, to love and support them as a father his children or a shepherd his flock, and even at the hazard of life to defend and preserve them. And when he does not behave thus, but, on the contrary, oppresses them, seeking opportunities to infringe their ancient customs and privileges . . . then he is no longer a prince, but a tyrant, and the subjects are to consider him in no other view . . . This is the only method left for subjects whose humble petitions and remonstrances could never soften their prince or dissuade him from his tyrannical proceedings; and this is what the law of nature dictates for the defense of liberty, which we ought to transmit to posterity, even at the hazard of our lives. [–> note the direct parallel to the preamble, US Const] . . . . So, having no hope of reconciliation, and finding no other remedy, we have, agreeable to the law of nature in our own defense, and for maintaining the rights, privileges, and liberties of our countrymen, wives, and children, and latest posterity from being enslaved by the Spaniards, been constrained to renounce allegiance to the King of Spain, and pursue such methods as appear to us most likely to secure our ancient liberties and privileges [–> note the direct parallel to the US DoI].
Now, in that light let us look with fresh insights at the 3rd article in the Congressional Resolution of March 4 1789, latterly known as the 1st Amdt US Const:
>>Article the third… Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;>>
1 –> Congress resolves and submits to the people for their ratification.
2 –> There shall be no grand federal landeskirk of the united states, building on the principle of Westphalia 1648 of locality in religion, adjusted to republican circumstances and with better protection of dissenters.
3 –> at this time of course something like nine of the thirteen states had established local state churches, the free exercise clause specifically protected freikirke.
4 –> Thus the letter by Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists of Connecticut, is properly to be understood as affirming that Jefferson respected this as setting up a wall of protection for freedom of conscience, worship and religion from interference by the state, especially the state in alliance with a grand landeskirk or some unholy cartel of such at state level.
5 –> In our time, where evolutionary materialist, scientism based secular humanism and its fellow travellers constitute a de facto anti-church cartel, American Dissenting Christians face precisely that kind of interference that this clause was intended to be a bulwark against.
>>or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;>>
6 –> Notice, freedom to speak and to publish through media are protected in exactly the context of freedom of faith and its expression.
7 –> Yes, the primary sort of speech and publication being protected is just what Carpathian and others of like ilk would trammel, stigmatise, ghettoise and censor in the name of protecting their ears and eyes from being reminded of Him who they are fain to forget and dismiss.
8 –> The irony of this is itself a rebuke to such a radical secularism.
>> or the right of the people peaceably to assemble,>>
9 –> This is of course, again in the direct context of religious expression with application to general expression.
10 –> Peaceful assembly implies in homes, in houses of worship, in public spaces, on the streets so long as the assembly be not riotous or a mob seeking to threaten.
11 –> And, again, Carpathian and ilk are found in the lists as enemies of freedom. A sad but not unexpected irony.
>> and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances>>
12 –> As in, it was a grievance that the Constitution did not sufficiently and explicitly protect Dissenters from encroachment by potentially hostile establishments that led these to champion a bill of amendments culminating in this one as first in the list.
13 –> So, again, we find the despised evangelicals helping to build liberty.
14 –> And, the power to petition challenges the Laodicean, self-satisfied mentality of power elites that tend to lock out unwelcome voices and views. (As in, Jesus at the church door, knocking and asking to be let in . . . instead of simply forcing his way in while posing on his authority as Lord of the church; as strong a statement of Divine respect for human freedom as one can ever find, even freedom to follow a march of folly.)
It is high time for fresh thinking.>>>
We need to understand what we are facing, and we need to realise that given what is happening on the ground all around us, this is not just an isolated crank, but someone blurting out without full understanding, an agenda — nay, “a long train of abuses and usurpations . . .” — that is clearly increasingly manifest in our time.
We need to wake up and act decisively in defence of liberty, or we will be the generation that fails in the long and sometimes challenging relay of passing the blessings of liberty to remotest posterity. END