Posts tagged ‘freedom of religion’

“to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance”

George Washington’s “Letter to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport RI”

Congregation Shearith Israel in New York City

Letter to the Hebrew Congregation at Newport, from George Washington, August 18, 1790:

Gentlemen:

While I received with much satisfaction your address replete with expressions of esteem, I rejoice in the opportunity of assuring you that I shall always retain grateful remembrance of the cordial welcome I experienced on my visit to Newport from all classes of citizens.

The reflection on the days of difficulty and danger which are past is rendered the more sweet from a consciousness that they are succeeded by days of uncommon prosperity and security.

If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good government, to become a great and happy people.

The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy — a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.

It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

It would be inconsistent with the frankness of my character not to avow that I am pleased with your favorable opinion of my administration and fervent wishes for my felicity.

May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants — while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.

May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy.

G. Washington

Source: George Washington: A Collection, ed. W.B. Allen (Liberty Fund: Indianapolis, 1988)

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I Have a Dream!

I say to you, my friends, even though we face difficulties today, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights. I have a dream, that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

I have a dream, that one day all across this country, all people will …. [more]

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I Have a Dream

I say to you, my friends, even though we face difficulties today, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights. I have a dream, that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

I have a dream, that one day all across this country, all people will sit down together voluntarily at the table of brotherhood without being compelled by the heavy hand of the state or by forces of political correctness. (And especially free of the heavy, groping hands of strangers dressed up as TSA agents touching our children and our private parts.)

I have a dream, that one day even the state of California, a state suffering from the heavy hand of the government, being oppressed with high taxes and numerous regulations, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and liberty, and its elected officials will recognize that those who govern least govern best.

I have a dream, that one day all of our children will be literate, numerate, and have a basic understanding of economics (TANSTAAFL).

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The “health care reform” that ate everything

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment

It requires a perverse genius to construct a “health” “care” “reform” that destroys everything from religious liberty to full-time employment, while requiring multitudes of new tax collectors and other bureaucrats and ever fewer doctors and nurses.

Obamacare’s Hierarchy of Privilege: No one who favors the law wants to be bound by it.

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Government by consent of the governed

There are village tyrants, as well as village Hampdens, but none who acts under color of law is beyond reach of the Constitution.
. . .
The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials, and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One’s right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.

Those who begin coercive elimination of dissent soon find themselves exterminating dissenters. Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard.

It seems trite but necessary to say that the First Amendment to our Constitution was designed to avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings. There is no mysticism in the American concept of the State or of the nature or origin of its authority. We set up government by consent of the governed, and the Bill of Rights denies those in power any legal opportunity to coerce that consent. Authority here is to be controlled by public opinion, not public opinion by authority.

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.

West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624, 1943 (emphasis added)

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Look! Squirrel!

If I could reach into the heart of humankind and pluck one flaw from its unknowable depths, it would be our seemingly irresistible desire to tell one another what to do. Think of the results! The Democratic Party would vanish in an instant. The federal budget would shrink to the size of a compact car payment. And all religions would be Christianity at its best. We could still continue to enjoy our pride, lust, greed and gluttony while feeling morally superior to our neighbors’ pride, lust, greed and gluttony. We just wouldn’t be able to do anything about it. It would be like — oh, I don’t know — like living in America again. Free country. To each his own. That’s what makes for horse races. And all that.
. . .
My point is that we are in the grips of a truly corrupt, abusive, incompetent, and philosophically unAmerican administration. If it were led by a white Republican, the media would be disassembling it brick by brick — and rightly so. But it is run by a black Democrat, so instead, reporters are lying, covering up, and shouting “Squirrel!” to distract us whenever the truth starts to emerge.

I understand how emotionally satisfying it must be to win court cases like this — I do. But gay Americans (who, after all, live in the same republic, the same economy, and the same world as straight Americans) ought to get hip to the fact that this time, they’re the squirrel.

Gay Squirrel!

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