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Bill of Rights’ Most Important Liberty: Religion


waving flagWritten by Bethany Blankley

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The Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution, listed non-negotiable constitutionally guaranteed freedoms in specific order, unchanged since 1791. James Madison, its chief architect, listed freedom of religion first; then speech, press, assembly, petition, right to keep and bear arms, and freedom from forced quartering of military members in one’s home.

Freedom from civil government overreach and interference was essential to establishing sustainable civil order and a just rule of law; the first ten amendments — only 468 words — were added to protect what the founders considered “preexisting rights” from federal government “encroachment.”

Freedom of religion was un-mistakenly listed as the first freedom of the Bill of Rights. And the term “religion” was well understood from its original context derived from the State of Virginia’s Bill of Rights. In Article 1, Section 16, Virginia’s Bill of Rights defines “religion” as “the duty which we owe to our Creator… the manner of discharging… [of which] can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence.”

(Many significant words and phrases used to write the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution were selected from preexisting documents and individual state constitutions’ declaration of rights, which provided more detailed definitions.)

Virginia’s Bill of Rights legally defined “religion” as a means to secure freedom from government coercion, which enabled a foundational protection for other freedoms. The Bill of Rights, by defining religion, allows people to believe and act by “reason or conviction” without fear of being coerced to violate their “dictates of conscience.” In this way, religion is jurisdictional– the Bill of Rights ensures that the government cannot force a citizen to violate his/her conscience.AAA02

James Madison articulated in Memorial and Remonstrance:

“The Religion … of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as they may indicate. This right in its nature is an unalienable right. It is unalienable; because the opinions of men … cannot follow the dictates of other men: It is unalienable also; because what is here a right towards men, is a duty towards the Creator. … This duty is precedent both in order of time and degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society.”GOD

Madison believed that citizens were first “subject[s] of the Great Governor of the Universe,” who must first make his/her “allegiance to the Universal Sovereign” before they could consider being a “member of Civil Society.”ONE NATION

He considered religion first and foremost “immune” from any and all civil authorities. The wording used for the First Amendment’s two religion clauses were specifically straightforward: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …” All matters of religion were exempted from civil authority.

Madison asserted:

“In matters of Religion, no man’s right is abridged by the institution of Civil Society, and that Religion is wholly exempt from its cognizance.”

want_rel_liberty_rAs a legal and jurisdictional matter, Madison asserted that all men are first subject to God as an immutable fact based on the Christian worldview (Mark 12:17, Psalm 24:1). It was imperative to specify that no government could ever have authority over one’s relationship with God. Understanding that even governmental authority itself originates from God (Romans 13:1) — moral standards could not be mutually exclusive from rule of law.

Furthermore, freedom of conscience, under the jurisdiction of freedom of religion, established the next four freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment. They include freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to peacefully assemble, and freedom to petition the government for a redress of grievances. These four freedoms granted constitutional security for “residual sovereignty” of the people, not the government. The Bill of Rights ensured freedom of religion as the foundation for all other liberties. No other amendments were possible if freedom of religion had not first been guaranteed as an unalienable right.One Nation Under God

Bethany Blankley; http://BethanyBlankley.com

Bethany Blankley is a political analyst for Fox News Radio and has appeared on television and radio programs nationwide. She writes about political, cultural, and religious issues in America. She worked on Capitol Hill for four U.S. Senators and one U.S. Congressman, for a former New York governor, and for several non-profits. She earned her masters degree in theology from The University of Edinburgh, Scotland and her bachelors degree in politics from the University of Maryland. Follow her @bethanyblankley & BethanyBlankley.com.049590d9aa5e45170821a5ba6f11ac12  SCOTUS Death lost forever liberty 

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What founders want to teach Obama this July 4


waving flagPosted By author-image Chuck Norris On 06/28/2015

Article printed from WND: http://www.wnd.com

URL to article: http://www.wnd.com/2015/06/what-founders-want-to-teach-obama-this-july-4

I commend President Obama for giving the eulogy at the funeral of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who was gunned down along with eight other precious souls during a Bible study at their Charleston Church. Obama said some honorable and moving words about the fallen. He also spoke at length about amazing grace – and even sang about it.

But then he stirred what I call the nebulous and confusing religious pot by stating: “If we can find that grace, anything is possible. If we contacted that grace – can tap that grace, everything can change.”

“If we can find”? “If we contacted … can tap”? “If”?

The president is right that “anything is possible” and “everything can change” with God’s amazing grace. But he ought not to have spoken with such ambiguity, doubt and conditionality as “if” finding grace were wishing upon a star or discovering a needle in a haystack.

America’s founders – as well as most presidents throughout history – were unequivocally certain about the role of faith in our republic. They were without hesitation or doubt when they spoke about the bedrock of religion in society and human hearts. Our founders knew without it, they were sunk as well as our nation.

On the eve of another Independence Day, I think it’s critical that we reconsider exactly how our founders expected religion to breathe life into our nation and play out in society. If we don’t, we run the risk of crippling our country and shredding it at its seams. Indeed, we’ve already traveled too far down the road of religious degradation by omitting God from classrooms to historic monuments. We have also bastardized our founders’ first tenet of religion (First Amendment) and totally abandoned their understanding and call for its primary purpose in our republic. Let me explain.

Our founders’ first tenet of religion is captured in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. You know the words: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” In short, religious liberty will reign in our new nation. Congress shall protect individuals from forced sectarianism unlike it was done in England, and choice and freedom are to be protected and secured from the tyranny of government.burke

Well, that isn’t our First Amendment today, or at least how most secular progressives interpret it. They explain and use it solely as a buffer from keeping religious opinion or discussion – in any way, shape or form – out of every governmental or public arena. But that is the polar opposite of the First Amendment’s very purpose, which was to protect and preserve religious practice and liberty in any place, including in the halls of government.

As I wrote in my New York Times best-seller, “Black Belt Patriotism,” though Jefferson is generally hailed as the chief of church-state separation, proof that Jefferson was not trying to rid government of religious (specifically Christian) influence comes from these facts: He endorsed using government buildings for church meetings, signed a treaty with the Kaskaskia Indians that allotted federal money to support the building of a Catholic church and to pay the salaries of the church’s priests, and repeatedly renewed legislation that gave land to the United Brethren to help their missionary activities among the Indians.

Some might be completely surprised to discover that just two days after Jefferson wrote his famous letter citing the “wall of separation between Church & State,” he attended church in the place where he always had as president: the U.S. Capitol. The very seat of our nation’s government was used for sacred purposes. The Library of Congress’ website notes, “It is no exaggeration to say that on Sundays in Washington during the administrations of Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809) and of James Madison (1809-1817) the state became the church.”

President John Adams spoke about how central God was to be in our republic, when he said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

And to what religion was Adams referring? He gave us an answer when he wrote, “The general principles on which the Fathers achieved independence were the only Principles in which that beautiful Assembly of young Gentlemen could Unite. … And what were these general Principles? I answer, the general Principles of Christianity, in which all these Sects were united.”

Our Founders believed religion (specifically Christianity) would serve as the basis for morality and decency. They warned us specifically that, to abandon that foundation for our ethics, would leave society in civil unrest—just as we see today in run amuck classrooms and homes across the nation and people treating one another with such malevolence.

George Washington also warned future Americans of this very problem in his presidential farewell address: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. … And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

Well, the present leaders of our nation (including the Supreme Court) have turned a deaf ear to Washington’s warning and taken him up on his challenge to try to maintain “morality … without religion.”tyrants

America is now like it was in the time of the Judges in the Old Testament: “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). That’s how it is today – with God being abandoned, so is our moral basis, and everyone is doing what is right in their own eyes. We’ve lost our moral compass, and that includes our president.

As a result, the president is as lost as the most wayward and rebellious youth. Instead of conveying any form of positive Washington conviction about the role of religion, President Obama casts conditional clauses (“If”) and doubt. He might have sounded like a preacher this past week in Charleston, but the truth is he is a charlatan chameleon when it comes to religion and specifically Christianity. Indeed he’s been known to mock it as he did in 2006 when he gave the following secular progressive diatribe against it.

As my friend and editor of WND, Joseph Farah, noted in 2012, Obama’s speech was given before an audience led by socialist Jim Wallis at the Call for Renewal conference. It starts getting interesting around the 26-minute mark, when Obama first made the point publicly that “whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation.”

Obama went on, “Even if we had only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools?” Obama asks rhetorically. “Would it be James Dobson’s or Al Sharpton’s? Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is OK – and that eating shellfish is an abomination? Or we could go with Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount – a passage that is so radical that it’s doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application. So before we get carried away, let’s read our Bibles now. Folks haven’t been reading their Bibles.”muslim-obama

Regarding Obama’s words, I conclude not with my comments but those of John Witherspoon, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and president of the College of New Jersey (1768-94; now Princeton University), who said, “He is the best friend to American liberty, who is most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion, and who set himself with the greatest firmness to bear down on profanity and immorality of every kind. Whoever is an avowed enemy of God, I scruple not to call him an enemy to his country.”You cannot be right for America if you're wrong with God

(Next week, I’ll expand on my thoughts here in my Independence Day weekend column, “In God we still must trust.” In the meantime, I highly encourage your reading of my New York Times bestseller, “Black Belt Patriotism,” where you will find loads more about what our founders actually thought, practiced, and wanted for our country)

The Founders Put Article 5 in Place to Stop an Out of Control Federal Government


Posted on February 21, 2015 by Conservative Byte

URL of the Original Posting Site: http://conservativebyte.com/2015/02/founders-put-article-5-place-stop-control-federal-government/

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A Response to Publius Huldah

Michael Farris, J.D., LL.M.
Chancellor, Patrick Henry College

Anonymous blogger Publius Huldah attacks the Founder’s solution for a runaway federal government with a series of ad hominems and misdirections. A perpetual naysayer, she can propose no better solution of her own, other than the extra-constitutional doctrine of nullification. Huldah betrays her lack of credibility in the opening line of her email when she says there is no such thing as a Convention of States. Contrary to her assumption, that phrase is not a fabrication of ours. It comes from the very first Article V application which was filed by the state of Virginia in 1789.1 If she objects to that phrase, she had best take it up with the Founders. The bulk of her article is a giant ad hominem directed against our organization and Professor Robert Natelson. Behind all this bluster, her argument rests on two easily refuted facts: (1) the Constitutional Convention of 1787 was a runaway convention, and (2) James Madison had concerns that Article V didn’t lay out the convention process in sufficient detail. I have already debunked the first claim as a myth in my response to Mr. DeWeese, so here I will focus on the second.

It is true that at the Constitutional Convention Madison raised some questions about “the form, quorum, &c” of such a convention. But according to Madison’s own notes, the motion to add a Convention of States to Article V passed “nem. con.” “without objection.”2 Apparently Madison had his doubts put to rest, or he didn’t consider them important enough to vote against the proposed change to Article V. If a Convention of States were the terrible constitutional reset button that Huldah describes, surely Madison, or at least one of the other Framers, would have voted against it.

As it turns out, the Founders strongly supported it. In fact, Madison later expressed his staunch support for Article V in Federalist No. 43. In praise of Article V he wrote:

“The mode preferred by the convention, seems to be stamped with every mark of propriety. It guards against that extreme facility, which would render the constitution too mutable; and that extreme difficulty, which might perpetuate its discovered faults.”

There can be no doubt that Madison, like the other Founders, was a champion for Article V.

Mr. DeWeese and Ms. Huldah can’t get their own story straight. DeWeese attacks the credibility of the Founders, particularly James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, by accusing them of illegally adopting the Constitution. Huldah, on the other hand, expects us to venerate this supposed tyrant and hang on his every word. How strange that they should so heavily rely on the same man they accuse of a felony.more evidence

Of course, as I have argued at length, history vindicates Madison and the other Framers. We are quite right to listen to them, and their unanimous support for a Convention of States speaks volumes.

1 1 ANNALS OF CONG. 258–59 (J. Gales, Sr. ed., 1834) (H.R. May 5, 1789), available at http://article5library.org/gettext.php?doc=1418.

2 5 DEBATES ON THE ADOPTION OF THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION 551 (Jonathan Elliot ed., 1827), available at http://files.libertyfund.org/files/1909/1314.05_Bk.pdf.

FOR MORE ANSWERS TO OBJECTIONS, AND MYTHS ABOUT THE CONVENTION OF STATES GO TO www.conventionofstates.com

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