America's Declaration of Independence announced the American view that people have God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and rejected the divine right of kings belief. It did NOT insinuate in the slightest, much less assert, that God is a figment of man's imagination and religion should be banned from the public square.
America has been God blessed and God grateful.
Still, secular extremists are still assiduously pursuing their un-American agenda: ending any governmental acknowledgement of God and giving them .
freedom from religion in the public square.
Michael Newdow, the California atheist determined to drop "under God" from "The Pledge of Allegiance," is also litigating to remove "In God We Trust."
America's Founders would be aghast, but the majority United States Supreme Court decision in Everson v. Board of Education, decided in 1947, misconstrued the religious clauses in such a way as to give Mr. Newdow and his ilk hope.
The Supreme Court stated: "The 'establishment of religion' clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever from they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect 'a wall of separation between Church and State.' Reynolds v. United States, supra, 98 U.S. at page 164."
The Supreme Court majority further stated that the First Amendment "requires the state to be a neutral in its relations with groups of religious believers and non-believers...."
To the extent that the Supreme Court asserted that governmental cannot "aid all religions" and must be neutral as between religion and irreligion, the Court essentially rewrote the religious clauses of the First Amendment while purporting to interpret it.
The American Center for Law and Justice has filed an amicus brief in the "In God We Trust" case explaining that the majority opinion in Everson went much too far to please secular extremists:
"The Establishment Clause was never intended as a guarantee that a person will not be exposed to religion or religious symbols on public property, and the Supreme Court has rejected previous attempts to eradicate all symbols of this country’s religious heritage from the public’s view. Although enterprising plaintiffs can find support for just about any proposition in the Court's multifarious Establishment Clause pronouncements, a claim that the national motto violates the First Amendment borders on frivolous."
America's Founders would find it absurd, but not the Everson majority and their supporters. A multiude of nefarious decisions are progeny of Everson, and more will follow until and unless Everson is revisited and overruled.
The Foundation for Moral Law has filed an amicus brief in the "In God We Trust" case highlighting the fundamental flaw in the Everson majority opinion:
"neutrality between religion and non-religion … is a myth lacking both logical and historical underpinnings."
That amicus brief expalins that, "complete neutrality concerning religion in the public square does not exist and was never intended in our law." Neutrality between religions was intended, NOT neutrality between religion and non-religion. As James Madison said, religion is "the duty owed the Creator." Thus, atheism is not a religion, but a rejection of religion.
Secular extremists rely on a misinterpretation of Thomas Jefferson's private letter referencing a wall between church and state, while ignoring that fact that he attended religious services in the Capitol as President and also stated, "No nation has ever existed or been governed without religion. Nor can be."
The words "under God" were added to "The Pledge of Allegiance" after the Everson decision, but the "In God We Trust" motto is traceable to the national anthem and the War of 1812. Francis Scott Key's "Star-Spangled Banner" declared:
"Blest with vict'ry and peace may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – 'In God is our Trust.'"
The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment does not state that an unbreachable wall between church and state shall be established. It simply says that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."
The use of the words "In God We Trust" do not force religion on anyone or establish religion as that phrase was understood when the First Amendment was drafted and adopted.
The federal district court in which the "In God We Trust" case was filed by Mr. Newdow ruled that there is nothing unconstitutional about the motto, relying on a previous case that concluded, "[It] is quite obvious that the national motto and the slogan on coinage and currency 'In God We Trust' has nothing whatsoever to do with the establishment of religion."
To America's Founders, quite obvious; not to the oblivious.
History is on the side of governmental acknowledgement of God and support for religion generally.
Example: Before the Civil War, the Senate Judiciary Committee not only supported military and Congressional chaplaincy, but explained why: "[The Founders] had no fear or jealousy of religion itself, nor did they wish to see us an irreligious people; they did not intend to prohibit a just expression of religious devotion by the legislators of the nation, even in their public character as legislators; they did not intend to spread over all the public authorities and the whole public action of the nation the dead and revolting spectacle of atheistical apathy."
THAT is the agenda of the secular extremists.
Eliminating public acknowledgements of God, like Thanksgiving and Christmas (national holidays), and support for religion generally (such as "under God," "In God We Trust" and ten Commandments and creche displays) is exalting atheism instead of God and perverting the Constitution.
Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.
Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.
The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.
Gaynor currently contributes regularly to www.MichNews.com, www.RenewAmerica.com, www.WebCommentary.com, www.PostChronicle.com and www.therealitycheck.org and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.