|Teach Our History|
Early Court Decisions on the Separation of Church and State
"Religion is of general and public concern and on its support depend, in great measure, the peace and good order of government, the safety and happiness of the people. By our form of government, the Christian religion is the established religion; and all sects and denominations of Christians are placed upon the same equal footing and are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty."
"[W]e are a Christian people and the morality of the country is deeply engrafted upon
Christianity and not upon the doctrines or worship of those imposters [other religions]....
[We are a] people whose manners... and whose morals have been elevated and inspired...
by means of the Christian religion.
"The assertion is once more made that Christianity never was received as part of the common law
of this Christian land; and... if it was, it was virtually repealed by the Constitution of the United States...
"Christianity is part of the common law of the land, with liberty of conscience to all. It has always been
so recognized.... If Christianity is a part of the common law, its disturbance is punishable as common law.
The U.S. Constitution allows it as part of the common law.... The observance of Sunday is one of the
usages of the common law recognized by our U.S. and State Governments.... Christianity is part and
parcel of the common law.... Christianity has reference to the principles of right and wrong... it is the
foundation of those morals and manners upon which our society is formed; it is their basis. Remove it
and they would fall... it [morality] has grown upon the basis of Christianity."
"By our... laws against vice and immorality we do not mean to enforce religion; we admit that to be impossible. But we do mean to protect our customs, no matter that they may have originated in our [Christian] religion; for they are essential parts of our social life.... Law can never become entirely infidel; for it is essentially founded on the moral customs of men and the very generating principles of these is most often religion."
"It would be strange for a people Christian in doctrine and worship, many of whom or whose
forefathers had sought these shores for the privilege of worshipping God in simplicity and purity of faith,
and who regarded religion as the basis of their civil liberty and the foundation of their rights, should,
in their zeal to secure to all the freedom of conscience which they valued so highly, solemnly repudiate
and put beyond the pale of the law the religion which was dear to them as life and dethrone the God
who they openly and avowedly professed to believe had been their protector and guide as a people."
"Bigamy and polygamy are crimes by the laws of all civilized and Christian countries. They are crimes by the laws of the United States....
To extend exemption from punishment for such crimes would be to shock the moral judgment of the community.
To call their advocacy a tenet of religion is to offend the common sense of mankind....
"No purpose of action against religion can be imputed to any legislation, state or national, because this is a religious people.... These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic [official, governmental] utterances that this is a Christian nation."
"We are a Christian people... according to one another the equal right of religious freedom and acknowledging with reverence the duty of obedience to the will of God."
"The First Amendment, however, does not say that in every and all respects there shall be a separation of Church and State....
Otherwise the State and religion would be aliens to each other -- hostile, suspicious, and even unfriendly....