Remember What Made America Great: Quotes from America’s Youngest Appointed Supreme Court Justice
While many Supreme Court Justices have strayed from what their roles is as justices at the Supreme Court level and engaged in legislating from the bench and being nothing more than political operatives in those seats, some in our history actually spoke straightforward about America, who she is supposed to be, how she was founded and the freedom purchased for her by our forefathers.
This Independence Day, I thought I would share some quotes with you for the youngest appointed Supreme Court Justice America had, Joseph Story. While there are many chanting to Make America Great Again, and I agree with the slogan, the only way to do that is to repent before God, the God of the Bible, and begin, once again, to execute justice under the law. Nothing else will makes us great again. We will only continue to sink into the mire, unless God would turn us to Himself.
Turn thou us unto thee, O LORD, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old. -Lamentations 5:21
In speaking of law, Story said at a speech at Harvard:
“There never has been a period of history, in which the Common Law did not recognize Christianity as lying at its foundation.” (1829)
In response to a pamphlet written by Rev. Jasper Adams, President of the College of Charleston, South Carolina, titled ‘The Relation of Christianity to Civil Government in the United States’, Story said:
“My own private judgment has long been (and every day’s experience more and more confirms me in it) that government can not long exist without an alliance with religion; and that Christianity is indispensable to the true interests and solid foundations of free government.” (1833)
He would later write in a ruling:
“Christianity…is not to be maliciously and openly reviled and blasphemed against, to the annoyance of believers or the injury of the public….
It is unnecessary for us, however, to consider the establishment of a school or college, for the propagation of…Deism, or any other form of infidelity.
Such a case is not to be presumed to exist in a Christian country…
Why may not laymen instruct in the general principles of Christianity as well as ecclesiastics…
We cannot overlook the blessings, which such laymen by their conduct, as well as their instructions, may, nay must, impart to their youthful pupils.
Why may not the Bible, and especially the New Testament, without note or comment, be read and taught as a Divine Revelation…its general precepts expounded, its evidences explained and its glorious principles of morality inculcated?
“What is there to prevent a work, not sectarian, upon the general evidences of Christianity, from being read and taught in the college by lay teachers?
It may well be asked, what is there in all this, which is positively enjoined, inconsistent with the spirit or truths of the religion of Christ?
Are not these truths all taught by Christianity, although it teaches much more?
Where can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament?” (1844, Vidal v. Girard’s Executors)
In expositing the US Constitution, Story wrote:
“At the time of the adoption of the Constitution, and of the Amendment to it now under consideration, the general, if not the universal, sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the State so far as was not incompatible with the private rights of conscience and the freedom of religious worship.
An attempt to level all religions, and to make it a matter of state policy to hold all in utter indifference, would have created universal disapprobation, if not universal indignation.
But the duty of supporting religion, and especially the Christian religion, is very different from the right to force the consciences of other men or to punish them for worshiping God in the manner which they believe their accountability to Him requires…
The rights of conscience are, indeed, beyond the just reach of any human power. They are given by God, and cannot be encroached upon by human authority without a criminal disobedience of the precepts of natural as well as of revealed religion…
“The real object of the First Amendment was not to countenance, much less to advance Mohammedanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity, but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment which should give to a hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government.” (1840, Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United States)
In his Commentaries on the Constitution, Story wrote why the central government was restrained in the jurisdiction of religion, and notice he appeals to Christianity as religion, not anything else.
“In some of the States, Episcopalians constituted the predominant sect; in other, Presbyterians; in others, Congregationalists; in others, Quakers; and in others again, there was a close numerical rivalry among contending sects.
It was impossible that there should not arise perpetual strife and perpetual jealousy on the subject of ecclesiastical ascendancy, if the national government were left free to create a religious establishment.
The only security was in the abolishing the power.
But this alone would have been an imperfect security, if it had not been followed up by a declaration of the right of the free exercise of religion…
Thus, the whole power over the subject of religion is left exclusively to the State governments, to be acted upon according to their own sense of justice and the State constitutions.” (1833, Commentaries on the Constitution)
Why will America not look at their history and turn themselves back to the God who established us when our forefathers came to these shores and were set to glorify Him and advance His Gospel and His Kingdom here in the West? It is because we have grown hard of heart and fail to heed His Word and those He has sent us to guard us from becoming a lawless people. May God have mercy on us this Independence Day and return us to Himself.