Friday, June 25, 2010

The Pagan World by David Barton

For example, Supreme Court Justice James Iredell observed: According to the modern definition [1788] of an oath, it is considered a “solemn appeal to the Supreme Being for the truth of what is said by a person who believes in the existence of a Supreme Being and in a future state of rewards and punishments according to that form which would bind his conscience most.” Signer of the Constitution Rufus King explained: In our laws by the oath which they prescribe, we appeal to the Supreme Being so to deal with us hereafter as we observe the obligation of our oaths.

The Pagan world were and are without the mighty influence of this principle which is proclaimed in the Christian system their morals were destitute of its powerful sanction while their oaths neither awakened the hopes nor fears which a belief in Christianity inspires. George Washington, too, believed that an oath inherently contained a sense of religious obligation. In his “Farewell Address,” he asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths?

And John Adams similarly declared: Oaths in this country are as yet universally considered as sacred obligations. Also indicative of this belief is the fact that when the convention of South Carolina ratified the Constitution in 1788, it proposed that in Article VI the word “other” should be inserted after the word “no,” implying that an oath or affirmation to support the Constitution was itself a religious test. Numerous other sources further illustrate the fact that the taking of an oath presupposed a belief in God. For example, the 1799 Kentucky Constitution declared: The manner of administering an oath or affirmation shall be esteemed by the General Assembly the Legislature the most solemn appeal to God.

Other constitutions contained the same declaration. Chancellor James Kent a Father of American Jurisprudence noted that an oath of office was a “religious solemnity” and that to administer an oath was “to call in the aid of religion.” In the case People v. Ruggles (1811), Kent ruled that “Christianity was parcel of the law and to cast contumelious insulting reproaches upon it tended to weaken the efficacy effectiveness of oaths,” again affirming the intrinsic relationship between taking an oath and a belief in God.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Religion and the Constitution by David Barton

The question of what the Founders intended as the proper relationship between religious expressions and “public” life (whether in education, law, government, or throughout society in general) is clearly documented in their numerous writings on this subject. Those records establish their intent and thus clarify their two references to religion in the Constitution.

The first reference is in Article VI, Section 3: No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States. The second is in the First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Through the years, these two constitutional requirements have formed the basis of many judicial decisions. Historically, legal scholars have examined both phrases when seeking the intent of either; the understanding of each was made more complete through the examination of both. The goal was always to identify and establish the original context and purpose of those two religious provisos before attempting to apply them.

However, in Everson (1947) the modern Court discarded this objective. It first divorced the First Amendment from its original purpose and then reinterpreted it without regard to either historical context or previous judicial decisions. The result was that the Court abandoned the traditional constitutional meaning of “religion” as a single denomination or system of worship and instead substituted a new “modern” concept which even now remains vague and nebulous, having changed several times in recent years.

By this substitution, the Court created a new and foreign purpose for the First Amendment and completely rewrote its scope of protections and prohibitions. In attaching today’s “enlightened” perceptions to yesterday’s acts, the Court demonstrated an unscholarly, and even disquieting approach to both law and history. As explained by Founder Noah Webster, † not only misinterpretation but even serious error can result when original meanings are ignored: In the lapse of two or three centuries, changes have taken place which in particular passages obscure the sense of the original languages.

The effect of these changes is that some words are being now used in a sense different from that which they had and thus present wrong signification or false ideas. Whenever words are understood in a sense different from that which they had when introduced mistakes may be very injurious. To avoid the “injurious mistakes” which may arise from misinterpreting the First Amendment, one need simply establish the original intent of that Amendment.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Multiple Ballots by David Barton

The fourth device was suppressive election procedures. This included the use of “multiple ballots.” That is, a Republican voter might be required to cast a ballot in up to eight separate locations – or sometimes to vote for each individual Republican on the ballot at a separate location – before the ballot would be counted. Democratic officials often failed to inform black voters of this complicated procedure and their ballots were therefore disqualified. 320 Democrats also used what were called “hide-and-seek polling places,” moving voting boxes to unknown locations at the last minute and then posting armed guards in case any black should stumble upon the hidden voting box. Democrats used discriminatory literacy tests to prevent African Americans from voting.

The fifth device included the use of so-called Black Codes to restrict the freedoms and economic opportunities of blacks. Rep. Robert Brown Elliott reported:

Among the first acts of legislation adopted by several of the southern Democratic States were laws which imposed upon the colored race onerous oppressive disabilities and burdens and curtailed their rights in the pursuit of life, liberty, and property to such an extent that their freedom was of little value. . . . They colored citizens were, in some States, forbidden to appear in the towns. . . . They were required to reside on and cultivate the soil – without the right to purchase or own it. They were excluded from any occupations of gain i.e., paying jobs and were not permitted to give testimony in the courts in any case where a white man was a party.

Beginning as early as 1865, southern Democrats passed Black Codes to prevent blacks from holding office, owning agricultural property, entering towns without permission, serving on juries, racially intermarrying, or voting. They even passed – in flagrant violation of the U. S. Constitution – laws preventing blacks from owning knifes or firearms, thus exposing them to Klan violence without any way to defend themselves. National observers at that time concluded that the Democratic South was simply trying to institute a new form of slavery through the use of these Black Codes. Representative Richard Cain of South Carolina agreed: republican U. S. rep. Robert brown Elliott democratic laws left blacks unprotected against the Klan.

When the government of the United States had made the black man free – when Congress, in the greatness of its magnanimity generosity prepared to give to every class of men their rights, and in reconstructing the southern States guaranteed to all the people their liberties – you Democrats refused to acquiesce in agree to the laws enacted by Congress – you Democrats refused to “accept the situation” – to recognize the rights of that class of men in the land. You sought to make the reconstruction acts a nullity, if possible. You sought to re-enslave the black man by every means in your power.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Southern Democracy by David Barton

Democrats understood how important it was to their survival to prevent blacks from voting. In fact, an illustration from that period showed an allegory of the Bible story of Samson, who lost his strength when his hair was cut. In that illustration, the woman – named “Southern Democracy” – has used her razor – called “the lost cause regained” – to southern democrats removed voting rights from African Americans democratic groups rejoicing over the loss of voting rights for African Americans Democratic leaders of that day, including General Nathan Bedford Barbecue” and that Democrats are burning various books in the foreground, including the Holy Bible. As this illustration confirmed, limiting black voting became cut the black Samson’s hair and cause him to lose his strength; and what is his hair – his strength? It is called “suffrage,” or voting. With the strength – or the vote – of black Americans removed, various democratic groups and leaders were rejoicing in the background: Confederates, the KKK, pro-slavery forces, and several famous Forrest, the first Grand Wizard of the Klan. By the way, notice the phrase “The Democratic the major goal for southern Democrats.

Given the explicit federal voting protections that had been established by the 14th and 15th Amendments and the numerous federal civil rights laws, it was no easy task for Democrats to circumvent those protections. It required devious and cunning methods, and southern Democratic legislatures implemented almost a dozen separate devices to deprive blacks of political representation and to keep them from voting.

The first device was the poll tax, a fee paid by a voter before he could vote. The fee was high enough that most poor were unable to pay the tax and therefore was unable to vote; and while some southern whites were poor, nearly all southern blacks were poor, having just emerged from slavery and not yet having established an independent means of living. Democrats in Tennessee enacted a poll tax in 1870, as did Democrats in Delaware in 1873. In 1874, Texas proposed a poll tax right after Democrats reclaimed power from Republicans; in 1876, North Carolina enacted a poll tax; 315 and other Democratic States followed.

Literacy tests were the second means that Democrats used to disenfranchise blacks. Literacy tests required a voter to demonstrate a certain level of specific knowledge before he could vote. In some cases, the test was 20 pages long for blacks, and those administering the tests were white Democrats who nearly always ruled that blacks were illiterate. Don’t misunderstand: literacy tests were not about whether someone could read or write; this literacy tests often contained questions requiring knowledge of obscure and little-known facts. For example, in Alabama the test included questions such as, “Where do residential electors cast ballots for president?” or “Name the rights a person has after he has been indicted by a grand jury.” Ironically, Democrats steadfastly opposed sound education for blacks but then required that blacks have an above average education before they could vote! Clearly, these southern Democrats did not intend for blacks to vote.

The third device used to disenfranchise black Americans was “Grandfather” clauses. “Grandfather” clauses were laws passed by Democratic legislatures allowing only those individuals to vote whose father or grandfather had been registered to vote prior to the passage of the 15th Amendment. Since voting in the South for decades prior to that Amendment had been almost exclusively by whites, this law ensured that poor and illiterate whites could vote but not blacks.