Should the 10 Commandments be banned from public life?(Part 6, David Barton’s Affidavit in support on 10 Commandments)

I read back on Dec 8, 2011 that Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council, a social conservative advocacy organization, said in 2011 that President Obama has been “hostile” and “disdainful” toward Christianity. Rick Perry actually said President Obama had a war on religion. One of the most basic things that our founding fathers did is base our laws on the ten commandments. At the Supreme Court there is one depiction showing Moses sitting, holding two blank stone tablets. There is one depiction showing Moses standing holding one stone tablet. There are two stone tablets depicted with Roman Numbers I-X carved in the oak doors. 

David Barton has studied the history of the founding of our country for many years and I wanted to share a portion of adocument he wrote concerning the 10 Commandments:

David Barton – 01/03/2001
(View the footnoted version on Liberty Council’s website)

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

EASTERN DISTRICT OF KENTUCKY

LONDON DIVISION

SARAH DOE and THOMAS DOE, on behalf

of themselves and their minor child, JAN DOE

Plaintiffs,

v Civil Action No. 99-508

HARLAN COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT;

DON MUSSELMAN, in his official capacity

as Superintendent of the Harlan Country

School District,

Defendents.

______________________________________________

AFFIDAVIT OF DAVID BARTON IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS’ OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR CONTEMPT, OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, FOR SUPPLEMENTAL PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

STATE OF TEXAS

COUNTY OF PARKER

HOW THE TEN COMMANDMENTS ARE EXPRESSED

IN CIVIL LAW IN AMERICAN HISTORY

Honor God’s name.

33. Judge Zephaniah Swift, author in 1796 of the first legal text published in America, explained why civil authorities enforced the Decalogue prohibition against blasphemy and profane swearing:

Crimes of this description are not punishable by the civil arm merely because they are against religion. Bold and presumptuous must he be who would attempt to wrest the thunder of heaven from the hand of God and direct the bolts of vengeance where to fall. The Supreme Deity is capable of maintaining the dignity of His moral government and avenging the violations of His holy laws. His omniscient mind estimates every act by the standard of perfect truth and His impartial justice inflicts punishments that are accurately proportioned to the crimes. But short-sighted mortals cannot search the heart and punish according to the intent. They can only judge by overt acts and punish them as they respect the peace and happiness of civil society. This is the rule to estimate all crimes against civil law and is the standard of all human punishments. It is on this ground only that civil tribunals are authorized to punish offences against religion.

34. In 1824, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania (in a decision subsequently invoked authoritatively and endorsed by the U. S. Supreme Court ) reaffirmed that the civil laws against blasphemy were derived from divine law:

The true principles of natural religion are part of the common law; the essential principles of revealed religion are part of the common law; so that a person vilifying, subverting or ridiculing them may be prosecuted at common law.

The court then noted that its State’s laws against blasphemy had been drawn up by James Wilson, a signer of the Constitution and original Justice on the U. S. Supreme Court:

The late Judge Wilson, of the Supreme Court of the United States, Professor of Law in the College in Philadelphia, was appointed in 1791, unanimously by the House of Representatives of this State to “revise and digest the laws of this commonwealth. . . . “ He had just risen from his seat in the Convention which formed the Constitution of the United States, and of this State; and it is well known that for our present form of government we are greatly indebted to his exertions and influence. With his fresh recollection of both constitutions, in his course of Lectures (3d vol. of his works, 112), he states that profaneness and blasphemy are offences punishable by fine and imprisonment, and that Christianity is part of the common law. It is vain to object that the law is obsolete; this is not so; it has seldom been called into operation because this, like some other offences, has been rare. It has been retained in our recollection of laws now in force, made by the direction of the legislature, and it has not been a dead letter.

35. The Decalogue’s influence on profanity and blasphemy laws was reaffirmed by subsequent courts, such as the 1921 Supreme Court of Maine, the 1944 Supreme Court of Florida, and others.

36. Many additional sources may be cited, but it is clear that the civil laws against both profanity and blasphemy-many of which are still in force today-were originally derived from the divine law and the Ten Commandments. These examples unquestionably demonstrate that the third commandment of the Decalogue was an historical part of American civil law and jurisprudence.

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