The progressive war on Christmas has become one of the fundamental constants of the universe. Here is one of the more egregious examples from this year’s annual battle to make sure all things religious are exiled from any property that may be considered public and the dreaded Merry Christmas is never uttered.
The mythical separation of church and state was once again used as a justification for vanquishing this cross, which was used for decades. All it took was one complaint and the ACLU bullied the small town into submission with a lawsuit they could not possibly afford to fight. Yes, the separation church and state is mythical. It is a fairytale created by Justice Hugo Black when he wrote his decision for the 1947 Supreme Court case Everson versus Board of Education. Justice Black claimed that the establishment clause of First Amendment prevented any government organization, at any level, from participating in any type religious activity because that clause built a wall of separation of church and state. This ruling was a complete departure from the reality that existed in this country from the very instant of the ratification of the Bill of Rights right up until the instant he delivered this ruling. It completely contradicts the transcripts from the writing of the Bill of Rights and the transcripts of the ratification debates in the States. Here is what James Madison had to say during the debates when this clause was written:
Mr. Madison said, he apprehended the meaning of the words to be, that Congress should not establish a religion, and enforce the legal observation of it by law, nor compel men to worship God in any manner contrary to their conscience.
It is quite clear from this quote, the Establishment Clause prevents the federal government from passing laws that would establish an official religion and it prevents the passage of laws that would force individuals to worship in a specific manner. Rather than use the official transcripts, Justice Black based this sweeping new constitutional doctrine on a personal letter between Thomas Jefferson and the Danbury Baptist Church. To add insult to injury, he completely distorted the actual text and meaning of that letter.
What makes the Everson ruling even more inaccurate; Justice Black completely disregarded the free exercise of religion clause of the First Amendment. This clause specifically prevents the federal government from passing laws that would prevent individuals from freely exercising their religious beliefs. Free exercise of religion is one of the most important god-given natural rights that every individual is endowed with. Here is what George Mason had to say about free exercise of religion when he wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights in 1776.
That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity, towards each other.
The Virginia Declaration of Rights served as the model for the US Bill of Rights and George Mason played a prominent role in the writing of the US Constitution,
Justice Hugo Black completely massacred one more fundamental constitutional principle when he wrote the Everson ruling = The United States Bill of Rights only applies to the federal government. It never applied to the States and it most certainly never applied to cities and towns. That is abundantly clear from the transcripts of the State ratifying conventions for the Constitution when a Bill of Rights was demanded, from the transcripts in the House of Representatives and Senate when the Bill of Rights was written, and from the transcripts when the Bill of Rights was ratified by the States. How can the establishment clause prevent a town from having a cross on a Christmas tree or any other type of religious display? It cannot. There is no constitutional basis or this lawsuit nor any similar lawsuit filed by the ACLU.