In fact, in 1876 eight years after the Fourteenth Amendment had been ratified, and following two Supreme Court cases on that Amendment a noted commentator reported: The Rule adopted by the Supreme Court of the United States in interpreting the Fourteenth Amendment makes it inapplicable to the religious liberty or any other right of the citizen as determined by the state of which he is resident.
The Court in the cases of Paul vs. Virginia and of the New Orleans Slaughter-house (16 Wallace, p. 36), laid down the principle. There is nothing in the last three amendments to the Constitution that reaches the question of religion, and nothing anywhere else in this instrument that places the states under the slightest restraint with reference to this subject; and hence it is true, as remarked by Justice Story [one of the Supreme Court’s most noted legal scholars, appointed by President James Madison in his Commentaries on the Constitution (section 1879), that “the whole power over the subject of religion is left exclusively to the state governments, to be acted upon according to their sense of justice and the state constitutions.”
When one understands the intent of these two Amendments, it is not surprising that no previous Court had ever coupled them as did the 1947 Everson Court. † In fact, in 1970, Justice William Douglas openly acknowledged that by coupling the Fourteenth Amendment and the Bill of Rights, the Court had not only usurped state authority over many areas but that it had also created an American revolution that involved the imposition of new and far reaching constitutional restraints on the states.
Nationalization of many civil liberties has been the consequence of the Fourteenth Amendment, reversing the historic position that the foundations of those liberties rested largely in state law and so the revolution occasioned by the Fourteenth Amendment has progressed as Article after Article in the Bill of Rights has been incorporated in it [by the Court] and made applicable to the states. The Everson decision represented a disturbing and unprecedented judicial paradigm shift.
David Barton - You can't compartmentalize worship. You can't say that you will worship God from 10:05am until 11:10am on Sunday and from 7:00pm to 8:00pm on Wednesday evenings. Worship must transcend every area of your life.
In Balch Spring, Texas, senior citizens meeting at a community senior center were prohibited from praying over their meals. In Russellville, Kentucky, a library employee was barred from wearing her necklace because it had a small cross on it; and in Clymer, Pennsylvania, a school employee was suspended for wearing a necklace with a cross. Although states print hundreds of thousands of custom license plates plates ordered and purchased by individual citizens, Oregon refused to print “PRAY,” Virginia refused to print “GOD 4 US,” Vermont refused to print ROMANS5,” and Utah refused to print “THANK GOD,” claiming that such customized license plates violated the “separation of church and state.”
In cities in Texas, Indiana, Ohio, Georgia, and Nebraska, not only were citizens not permitted to hand out religious literature on public sidewalks or preach in public areas, but several were arrested for doing so. In Memphis, Tennessee, a library offered shelves for displaying community advertisements and announcements. When a local church placed a notification of its upcoming Christmas program and a small Nativity scene on the shelf, the library required the removal of Joseph, Mary, Jesus, and the Wise Men from the scene, leaving only the farm animals.
In Eau Claire, Wisconsin, college students serving as residential assistants were prohibited from holding Bible studies in their own private dorm rooms, even though discussion groups on any other topic were permitted. In York, Pennsylvania, because a prosecuting attorney mentioned seven words from the Bible in the courtroom (a statement that lasted less than five seconds), a jury sentence was overturned for a man convicted of brutally clubbing to death a 71-year-old woman in order to steal her Social Security check.
In the name of “separation of church and state,” courts and public officials have clearly imposed unreasonable restrictions on religious free speech across the general public sphere; and they have imposed even more egregious restrictions on students and education. For example: If students are given the latitude of creating artwork of their own choosing, it is unconstitutional for them to include a religious image in their artwork. JOKI v. BD. OF EDUC. OF THE SCHUYLERVILLE CENTRAL SCH. DIST., 1990; C. H. v. OLIVA, 2000; FLEMING v. JEFFERSON COUNTY SCH. DIST., 2002; PECK v. BALDWINSVILLE CENT.SCH. DIST., 2005 Student artwork containing religious symbols (such as a Bible or a cross) may be treated as gang symbols, profanity, and satanic signs. BANNON v. SCH. DIST. OF PALM BEACH COUNTY, 2004.
David Barton - The wonder of worship. Apply it and you will never, ever be the same. How many of you have ever ridden a camel before? Will you please lift your hand?
Southern Democratic governors, fearing that Truman might eventually succeed in his civil rights goals, denounced his agenda and proposed a meeting in Florida of what they called a “southern conference of true Democrats” to plan their strategy to halt civil rights progress. That summer at the Democratic National Convention when Truman placed strong pro-civil rights language in the national Democratic platform, the result was a walkout of southern delegates. Southern Democrats then formed the Dixiecrat Party and ran South Carolina Democratic Governor Strom Thurmond as their candidate for President. Thurmond’s bid was unsuccessful. Truman was the first democratic president to make bold civil rights proposals democratic Gov. Strom Thurmond Truman’s civil rights efforts were significant; and the website for the Democratic National Committee properly acknowledges Truman’s important contributions. In fact, in their section called “A Brief History of the Democratic Party,” Democrats declare: “With the election of Harry Truman, Democrats began the fight to bring down the barriers of race and gender.” Notice the word “began.” That is an accurate description; starting with Harry Truman, Democrats began – that is, they made their first serious efforts – to fight against the barriers of race; yet, as already noted, Truman’s efforts were largely unsuccessful because of his own Democratic Party.
“Strom Thurmond and Tom Moss”
Strom Thurmond Collection, Clemson University republican senator Strom Thurmond hired tom moss, the first African American to serve in the office of a southern senator the DNC website acknowledges that for democrats, it was Truman who began the change.
Look a little more closely at the Democrats’ own history of their Party. On their official website, after noting that, “Thomas Jefferson founded the Democratic Party in 1792,” they list a number of years highlighting significant Democratic achievements: 1798, 1800, 1808, 1812, 1816, 1824, 1828, 1832, 1844, and 1848 – a long flurry of Democratic activity. Yet after 1848, what is the next date mentioned? It skips from 1848 to the beginning of the next century. Why would Democrats skip over their own history from 1848 to 1900? Perhaps because it’s not the kind of civil rights history they want to talk about – perhaps because it is not the kind of civil rights history they want to have on their website. The Democrat’s website is accurate when it says that the Democratic efforts for civil rights “began” with Truman in 1946, for there certainly is much about civil rights that they would rather not talk about before that time.
The Democratic Party website conveniently omits nearly half-a-century of its history The President following Democrat Harry Truman was World War II hero Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower, elected in 1952. Eisenhower was well aware of the southern Democratic congressional commitment to racial segregation. Understanding that it would be difficult to make substantial changes in law, and that the progress would be slow at best, Eisenhower determined to eliminate racial discrimination in all areas under his authority. He therefore issued executive orders halting segregation in the District of Columbia and federal agencies. Furthermore, he was the first President to appoint a black American – Frederic Morrow – to an executive position on the White House staff; and although he also proposed a vigorous civil rights legislative protection plan for blacks in the southern Democratic States, Democrats in Congress were able to prevent any legislative progress. Given his pro-civil rights record, it is not surprising that in his 1956 reelection, Eisenhower – like Republican Presidents before him – received significant support from black voters.
Democratic leaders long stood in the doorways of schoolhouses and told black school children that we don’t want you in here to get the good education that our children are getting. Today, as many black students have become mired in urban schools that are often failing or deteriorating, Democrats are once again standing in the doorway, this time to keep black students from getting out.
Consider the situation in Washington, D. C., where 84 percent of the city’s students are black: despite the fact that nearly $13,500 is spent each year on every student in the District, D. C. schools currently rank among the worst of all schools in the nation. Congress therefore moved to help by providing a $7,500 voucher for low-income students trapped in failing schools – a voucher they could redeem to attend a better school – a school chosen by that student and his or her parents. When that congressional proposal came to a vote, ninety-nine percent of Democrats voted against that bill allowing students in failing schools to choose a better school – only one percent of Democrats in Congress supported vouchers and parental school choice in education, 289 even though nationally nearly 70 percent of African Americans with children support educational choice – a level of support well above that of the general population.
While Democrats once stood in the doorways of public schools and told black students, “We don’t want you in here,” they are again standing in the doorways of public schools, this time telling black students that they don’t want them out – that they want them to remain in failing schools. It appears that for a century-and-a-half, Democrats have often taken wrong positions on educational opportunity for black Americans.
Returning to the 19th century, in 1883, the U. S. Supreme Court – using the same abominable logic it displayed in the deplorable Dred Scott decision – struck down the 1875 civil rights laws that prohibited segregation and racial discrimination. Regrettably, it would be almost seventy years after this before the Supreme Court would relent and partially undo some of the painful effects of its pro-segregation decision by reinstating part of the intent of the Republican civil rights law of 1875.
Rep. John Roy Lynch, a Congressman from Mississippi mentioned earlier, had grown up as a slave until freed by the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Within a decade, he had become Speaker of the House in Mississippi and later received presidential appointments from Republican Presidents Benjamin Harrison and William McKinley. Lynch was appointed an army officer during the Spanish-American War, earned a law degree, and was the Chairman of the Republican Party in Mississippi. He was a leader who served his State and nation well. Despite the serious racial problems of his day, Lynch’s love for his country was still very evident and reflected the patriotism still present among African Americans today:
I love the land that gave me birth; I love the Stars and Stripes. This country is where I intend to live – where I expect to die. To preserve the honor of the national flag and to maintain perpetually the Union of the States, hundreds – and I may say thousands – of noble, brave, and true-hearted colored men have fought, bled, and died. The Supreme Court prolonged segregation for a century by striking down early civil rights laws republican U. S. rep. john r. lynch.
Georgia Democratic Governor Marvin Griffin also attacked Eisenhower’s actions, and praised Arkansas Governor Faubus for his attempt to prevent blacks from entering Central High School. Governor Griffin promised that as long as he held office, he would “maintain segregation in the schools; and the races will not be mixed, come hell or high water.” To prepare for the possibility that Eisenhower might do in Georgia what he had done in Arkansas, legislation was introduced in the Democrat-controlled Georgia legislature so that if desegregation were attempted, the public schools of the State would be dissolved and replaced with State-run private schools so that Arkansas democrat governor Orval Faubus fought for segregation; republican president Dwight d. Eisenhower fought for integration blacks could be excluded. These types of schools became known as “segregation academies.” Meanwhile in Arkansas, Democratic Governor Faubus, unable to prevent black students from attending school because of the federal protection they received, simply shut down the schools for the next year to prevent further attendance. And Virginia Democratic Governor James Almond – like other southern Democratic Governors – shut down public schools rather than permit black students to attend.
In 1960 in Louisiana, where Democratic Governor Jimmie Davis supported segregation, 277 four federal marshals were required to accompany little Ruby Bridges so that she could attend a public elementary school in New Orleans. When Ruby entered that class, every other parent withdrew their children and for the entire year, little Ruby was the only student in that classroom – just Ruby and her schoolteacher from Boston.
So deep-seated was the racism among southern Democratic leaders that when the 1964 civil rights bill became law, Lester Maddox, who became Democratic Governor of Georgia, sold the fast-food business he owned rather than serve blacks in his restaurant. And in 1960, Mississippi Democratic Governor Hugh White had even requested democrat governor George Timmerman closed state facilities to evangelist Billy graham because graham included African Americans in his rallies that evangelist Billy Graham segregate his crusades 280 – something Graham refused to do. And when South Carolina Democratic Governor George Timmerman learned that Billy Graham had invited African Americans to a Reformation Rally at the State Capitol, he promptly denied use of the facilities to the evangelist.
This type of Democratic response against black Americans – and against the whites who supported them – was common across much of the South; and the reasons given by Democratic leaders to justify this disgusting behavior was simply, “States’ Rights” – the same rhetoric they had used a century earlier, first to justify slavery and the creation of a slave-holding nation and then to enact laws enforcing segregation and withholding voting rights from black Americans for the next eighty years after the Civil War. During the era of desegregation, in an effort to remake the image of racism so long and so properly associated with the southern cry of “States Rights,” southern leaders began to claim that the southern Confederate battle flag – the quintessential symbol of a perverted States’ Rights philosophy – was actually a symbol of heritage rather than hate. Consequently, many today wrongly – but innocently – believe that the battle flag of the South is about heritage and not about hate – something easily refuted by historical facts and documents.
Returning to the school desegregation situation, some southern Democratic Governors did work for integration – including Tennessee Governor Frank Clement, Florida Governor LeRoy Collins, and Kentucky Governor Happy Chandler – but the confederate flag IS about heritage, but it is the wrong kind of heritage democrat governors clement and chandler worked for integration these tended to be the exceptions among southern Democratic Governors rather than the rule, and their admirable behavior was clearly overshadowed by the negative behavior of the others.
David Barton tells us that according to the records for late November of 1800, Congress spent the first few weeks organizing the rooms, the committees, their loca john adams the records of congress commence in 1774 . Then, on December 4, 1800, Congress made an interesting decision: Congress decided that the Capitol building would also serve as a church building! 76
The use of this building as a church building is confirmed not only by the records of Congress but also by the diaries of those who served in Congress at the time. For example, while John Quincy Adams was a U. S. Senator, he recorded in his diary for October 30, 1803: Attended public service at the Capitol where Mr. Ratoon, an Episcopalian clergyman from Baltimore, preached a sermon. 77
The week before, he had written: [R]eligious service is usually performed on Sundays at the Treasury office and at the Capitol. I went both forenoon and afternoon to the Treasury. 78 Very few citizens realize that the Capitol building – as well as other government buildings – served as church buildings, but such was the case!
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This second plaque in the Small Senate Rotunda notes that on November 22nd, President John Adams delivered the first Presidential speech ever given in this building – a speech given to the first joint-session of Congress assembled in the original Senate Chamber. His speech was quite short, but in it, President John Adams offered his prayer for this city. According to the Records of Congress, John Adams prayed:
May this territory [Washington, D.C.] be the residence of virtue and happiness! In this city, may that piety and virtue, that wisdom and magnanimity, that constancy and self-government which adorned the great character whose name it bears, be forever held in veneration! Here and throughout our country, may simple manners, pure morals, and true religion flourish forever! 75 This is quite a prayer for Washington, D. C. – and for the nation – and it was a prayer which occurred in the room immediately behind the plaque – the original Senate Chamber now called the Old Supreme Court Chamber).
Another item of significance connected with this part of the Capitol is one of the first official acts of Congress. This occurred when our Founders moved into and first occupied this room and the adjoining chamber, and this action is recorded in the Annals of Congress.
David Barton explains that the records of Congress are required by the constitutional mandate of Article I, Section 5, ¶ 3, which requires that written records be kept of the proceedings in Congress. The Founders required this because they wanted government open, accessible, and accountable to the people.
With the congressional records, citizens, at any time, may read what our elected officials are doing and saying – or not doing and not saying – and then hold them accountable. Every debate and every vote which has taken place in Congress from 1774 to the present is recorded in these public records. And it is because of these records that we know exactly what happened when Congress moved into this building.
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The sofa was then taken up and borne out of the Hall into the Rotunda, where it was set down, and the members of both Houses, and strangers, who were fast crowding around, were with some difficulty repressed, and an open space cleared in its immediate vicinity; but a medical gentleman, a member of the House, (who was prompt, active, and self-possessed throughout the whole painful scene,) advised that he be removed to the door of the Rotunda opening on the east portico, where a fresh wind was blowing. This was done; but the air being chilly after being taken to the Speaker’s room, Mr. Adams sank into a state of apparent insensibility, gradually growing weaker and weaker, till on Wednesday evening, February 23, at a quarter past 7 o’clock, he expired without a struggle. and loaded with vapor, the sofa was, at the suggestion of Mr. Winthrop, once more taken up and removed to the Speaker’s apartment, the doors of which were forthwith closed to all but professional gentlemen and particular friends. While lying in this apartment, Mr. Adams partially recovered the use of his speech, and observed in faltering accents, “This is the end of earth;” but quickly added, “I am composed.” . . .
“This is the end of earth. I am composed.” These were the last words of John Quincy Adams, and they were uttered in a room adjoining the Old House Chamber, a room now called the Lindy Boggs Reading Room. At the time that Mr. Adams was carried there, however, that room was the chamber of Speaker of the House Robert Winthrop. It was in the Speaker’s chamber that Adams died; that room still contains the actual couch on which he died as well as a bust of him on the wall, recording what occurred in that room.
The circumstances surrounding the death of John Quincy Adams are of particular interest, for death in those days was viewed differently from what it is today. Since the Bible teaches in Hebrews 2:14-15 that one indication of a genuine relationship with Christ was a freedom from the fear of death, observers were interested in how an individual reacted when he faced death. As one political historian in 1854 noted:
[I]t is customary, even among Christian people, to withhold final judgment of a man’s Christian character till it is seen how he makes his death. The manner of a man’s death often works a change – sometimes a revolution – in public opinion respecting the nature of his life.
What, then, did observers see when John Quincy Adams faced death? That occasion occurred in the Old House Chamber on Monday, February 21, 1848. A local newspaper reporter recorded what transpired on that day:
Just after the yeas and nays were taken on a question, and the Speaker had risen to put another question to the House, a sudden cry was heard on the left of the chair, “Mr. Adams is dying!” Turning our eyes to the spot, we beheld the venerable man in the act of falling over the left arm of his chair, while his right arm was extended, grasping his desk for support. He would have dropped upon the floor had he not been caught in the arms of the member sitting next to him. A great sensation was created in the House; members from all quarters rushing from their seats and gathering round the fallen statesman, who was immediately lifted in to the area in front of the Clerk’s table. The Speaker instantly suggested that some gentlemen move an adjournment, which being promptly done, the House adjourned. A sofa was brought, and Mr. Adams, in a state of perfect helplessness, though not of entire insensibility, was gently laid upon it.