Monday, August 19, 2019

Chief Justice Earl Warren and America's Christian Roots

Most conservatives remember Chief Justice Earl Warren with less than kind feelings.  Warren is sometimes called the "father of Judicial Activism" by those on the right.  Several of his key decisions include:
- Engel v Vitale, which prohibited mandatory prayer in public schools.
- Griswold v. Connecticut, which struck down a state law designed to limit access to contraception.
- Reynolds v. Sims, which essentially promoted federal authority over that of the state on matters of representation.
These, along with other decisions (many of which promoted federal supremacy or gave special privileges to criminals) have left a lasting bitter taste on the palette of most on the right.  After all, many of these decisions have served as precedents for the establishment of even greater federal authority and more activism on the part of the Judicial branch of government. 

Despite this apparent hostility to Warren, there is one topic on which he and conservatives can find common ground. While attending a prayer breakfast in Washington D.C., Justice Warren delivered a speech in which he lauded America's unique Christian origin and heritage.  Time Magazine was there to capture the Chief Justice's words:
I believe no one can read the history of our country without realizing that the Good Book and the Spirit of our Savior have from the beginning been our guiding geniuses.  Whether we look to the first Charter of Virginia or to the Charter of Massachusetts Bay, or to the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, the same objective is present.  A Christian government of Christian principles. I believe the entire Bill of Rights came into being because of the knowledge our forefathers had of the Bible and their express belief in it: freedom of belief, of expression, of assembly, of petition, the dignity of the individual, the sanctity of the home, equal justice under the law, and the reservation of power to the people.  I like to believe we are living today in the spirit of the Christian religion.  I like also to believe that as long as we do so no great harm can come to our country. 
When we examine the three documents referenced by Justice Warren (the first Charter of Virginia, the Charter of Massachusetts Bay and the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut), we discover that Warren wasn't wrong.  The Virginia Charter makes clear that one of its primary goals was, "the propagating of the Christian Religion to such People, as yet live in Darkness and miserable Ignorance of the true Knowledge and Worship of God."  The Massachusetts Bay Charter has a similar goal, namely to bring "the Natives of the Country, to the Knowledge and Obedience of the only true God and Savior of Mankind, and the Christian Faith, which is...the principal end of this Plantation."  And finally from the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, we read that one of its main goals was, "to maintain and preserve the liberty and purity of the gospel of our Lord Jesus, which we now profess."

Naturally we should point out that these same colonies would go on to debate the specifics of what it meant to be a Christian, and whose brand of Christianity was THE true interpretation of Jesus' divine message.  Images of Ann Hutchinson squaring off with John Winthrop, or the Danbury Baptists appealing to the likes of the heathen Thomas Jefferson are too obvious to ignore.  That being said, I believe Justice Warren's message rings clear.  Despite the arguments over whose Christianity is THE American Christianity, the cultural, social and spiritual fabric of what became the United States is undeniably Christian in origin.  Benjamin Franklin's appeal to a collective "public religion" (a sort of shared Christian "Wi-Fi" network) seems to fit best.  Different faiths may access the shared Wi-Fi for different purposes, but ultimately they are sharing the same network.     


18 comments:

Our Founding Truth said...

Despite the arguments over whose Christianity is THE American Christianity, the cultural, social and spiritual fabric of what became the United States is undeniably Christian in origin

It depends what Christianity is. If Christianity is the bible, how can it be Christian if Christ is not the foundation of the national charter? He wasn't even the foundation of the colonies. Legally, it was formed a secular nation, full of enlightenment rationalism. Even the ff's golden rule isn't Christian. The gospel and ten commandments are absent from the compact of the nation.

Today, transvestites teach 4 and 5 year olds in public schools, and not just in cali. This country was not founded on Christ, no matter what John Jay said. It's only a matter of time till it completely implodes and the church is persecuted by all government agencies.







Brad Hart said...

I don't share your doomsday prognostication but I agree that the government of the United States wasn't founded on Christ. Also, I think there is a difference between Christianity and Christ (as strange as that may seem).

Our Founding Truth said...

I don't share your doomsday prognostication

It's not my doomsday prognostication. Read Dan 9, 11, Isa 10, 11, Eze 37-40, 1, 2 Thessalonians and all of Revelation.

The apostacy comes BEFORE (happening now) the rapture and Armageddon, not after.

Christ speaking:


"Immediately AFTER the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."

MAT 24:29-31

That means Jesus comes AFTER the antichrist. The EU is already forming a confederation along with the UN for a globalist leader.

He's either alive now or in the near future.




Brad Hart said...

Ok, I don't share your beliefs of the end times.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Our Founding Truth said...
It depends what Christianity is. If Christianity is the bible


Blogger Brad Hart said...
Ok, I don't share your beliefs of the end times.

_____________________

And there you have it, folks. Whose Bible? Whose translation? Whose interpretation?

For that very reason, the Founders were forced to simply keep the federal government out of it, for there was no way all of the 13 states could ever agree. Once you got started, you could argue scripture 'til doomsday and never get the constitution ratified.

It was not for lack of religion or Christianity, it was that there was TOO damn much of it.

Our Founding Truth said...

And there you have it, folks. Whose Bible? Whose translation? Whose interpretation""""

If Brad believes AFTER means before, it has zero to do with what u said







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Brian Tubbs said...

Brad,

Thanks for your post. I shared it on Twitter.

I understand the point you were making -- or, more precisely, the point made by Chief Justice Warren that you were highlighting and explaining.

"Our Founding Truth" is correct that the Founding Fathers didn't officially found the United States on orthodox, biblical, doctrinal Christianity. Something I'm sure you and I would agree with him on. And Warren would have agreed with him on. But...

It is not the job of the United States government to evangelize for Christ or to teach biblical doctrine. I don't want the Supreme Court weighing in on the meaning of the Bible. My goodness. That would be a complete mess!

I'm content with the institutional separation of church and state that we have.

But what Warren is getting at -- and ironically what some of his decisions undermined -- is that the public square, and the US government, should be FRIENDLY toward and RESPECTFUL of Christianity in general. Reason? Because we owe a lot of our founding fabric to Christianity - at least cultural Christianity.

Thank you for the article.

-Brian

Our Founding Truth said...

But...It is not the job of the United States government to evangelize for Christ or to teach biblical doctrine. I don't want the Supreme Court weighing in on the meaning of the Bible. My goodness. That would be a complete mess!

That is a loaded paragraph. Both Federalists and democrats advocated the federal government to evangelize Christ (to the Indians), when it suited their purpose. TJ did it for political purposes, but the fact remains, he violated modern separation doctrine and JM warned him to be careful about it. I remember Throckmorton distorted that entire ordeal and never gave me an honest answer.

In fact, separation doctrine is not scriptural, therefore, the federal government should promote Christ. How they didn't understand this is incredible.

The supreme court issue is the strawman argument JM used. They would use the bible, and precedent just like in other cases. The Lord wants the supreme court to weigh in on the meaning of the bible. That means they have to read it. That's the best case scenario and blessing would follow. How many would get saved, for instance? It would also have the effect of the authority for all branches of government, not just the judiciary, and clearly establish the union on the only foundation that can work. The solution is the opposite JM advocated. How could there be a discrepancy? The bible is clear on homosexuality, slavery, abortion, etc.









Our Founding Truth said...

Some southerners distorted the slavery issue, and they failed because it was obvious their form of slavery is not advocated in either testament. Even their slavery was antithetical to the slavery of ancient Israel.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Tubbs: But...It is not the job of the United States government to evangelize for Christ or to teach biblical doctrine. I don't want the Supreme Court weighing in on the meaning of the Bible. My goodness. That would be a complete mess!

OFT: That is a loaded paragraph. Both Federalists and democrats advocated the federal government to evangelize Christ (to the Indians), when it suited their purpose.




Again you're cheating the language, Jim. Evangelizing Christianity [which they did] is not the same thing as "evangelizing Christ," which they did not.

Until you make that crucial distinction, you are fouling our blog.

Our Founding Truth said...

Again you're cheating the language, Jim. Evangelizing Christianity [which they did] is not the same thing as "evangelizing Christ," which they did not.""""

Tell that to the pastors who conducted swrvices in the churches they built.

Tom Van Dyke said...

what are you talking about the United States government built no churches

it's illegal

Our Founding Truth said...

The United States built churches for the indians.

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Tom Van Dyke said...

The United States built churches for the indians.


Source, por favor?



Regardless, even if arguably true, it is not the discussion we are actually having.

"Again you're cheating the language, Jim. Evangelizing Christianity [which they did] is not the same thing as "evangelizing Christ," which they did not."

Tell that to the pastors who conducted swrvices in the churches they built.



The Christianity they "evangelized" was devoid of the objects of faith, and was only presented as a cultural philosophy.


"You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are.

Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise intention; and to tie the knot of friendship and union so fast, that nothing shall ever be able to loose it..."--
GWash to the Indians, 1779


Don't overshoot the evidence, Jim. David Barton has many truths in his portfolio, but has compromised them ruinously with undisciplined overreach. The Founders saw [Christian] religion as a self-evident public good--and accommodated and even encouraged it--but stopped at its utility in this world. They left the questions of salvation and metaphysics--the question of "Christ"--for the next world.



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