By Frances Rice, President, National Black Republican Association.
Congratulations to the black Republican candidates who won their primaries several months ago, as well as on June 22nd, the most notable of whom is Tim Scott of South Carolina who received over 68 percent of the vote in the Republican Party runoff. A Charleston resident, Scott is also a state representative and previously served 13 years on the Charleston County Council. He is vying to become South Carolina’s first black Republican congressman in more than a century. If successful in November, Scott would be among the first black Republican legislators elected since the 2003 retirement of J.C. Watts from Oklahoma.
Scott and the other black Republican nominees, if elected in 2010, would join the ranks of the first blacks who were elected to Congress during the Reconstruction era – all Republicans. On the list that is posted on the NBRA website are the first two black Senators and the 21 black members of the House of Representatives.
Hiram Rhodes Revels of Mississippi was the first black elected as a United States Senator, serving from 1870 to 1871. He was followed in the Senate by black Republican Blanche K. Bruce of Mississippi. Republican Joseph Rainey of South Carolina was the first black to enter the House of Representatives.
During the era of Reconstruction, Democrats – using the Ku Klux Klan – launched a reign of terror against Republican leaders, especially black Republican elected officials. A series of brutal acts by Democrats were among the reasons there were no more black Republicans elected to Congress for nearly one hundred years, until the election of Edward Brooks of Massachusetts in 1966.
Racism in the Democrat Party – past and present – is buried by the liberal press since it does not fit the media template in which the Republican Party is painted as a racist party. The charge that the Republican Party lacks diversity prevails in spite of the existence of around two million black Republicans in America. Ignored by the media is the fact that a black man, Michael Steele, is chairman of the Republican National Committee.
Invisible to liberal journalists are talented black Republicans such as NFL hall of famer Lynn Swann; boxing promoter Don King; singer/songwriter Lloyd Marcus; actor/wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson; rapper/actor James “LL Cool J” Todd Smith; and businessman/talk show host Herman Cain.
Virtually no credit is given to Republican leaders for their inclusiveness, including President George W. Bush who appointed more blacks to high-level positions than any president in our nation’s history. Bush’s appointees included Gen. Colin Powell as the first black Secretary of State and Dr. Condoleezza Rice as the first black female Secretary of State. Both of these accomplished black Republicans were derided as “House Negroes” by Democrats.
While denouncing the Republican Party because so few blacks attend Republican meetings, journalists overlook how the denigration of black Republicans by Democrats instills in most blacks a reluctance to become politically active in the Republican Party.
Systematically ignored by the press are Republican-sponsored meetings attended by large numbers of blacks. Journalists avoided the regional faith-based imitative meetings held during the Bush Administration and attended by thousands of blacks. The liberal media displayed a decided lack of interest in the Washington, DC leadership conferences sponsored by Republican Senators Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson and Rick Santorum that attracted over 500 blacks each year. Few reporters covered the meetings hosted by the Republican Party of Florida for seven years where over 500 black Republicans attended each time. Although all media outlets were invited to the NBRA Black Republican Forum held in New York City, where football hero Lynn Swann was the keynote speaker, only C-Span bothered to show up.
The media also pays scant attention to the numerous black Republican elected officials serving around the country, most of whom were elected in largely Republican districts. Some excellent examples can be found in the sunshine state, including Florida Representative Jennifer Carroll (R-Fleming Island); Mayor Gow Field of Lakeland; County Commissioner Carolyn Mason of Sarasota and City Commissioner Phillip Walker of Lakeland. Also noteworthy is NBRA Vice Chairman Richard St. Paul who was elected to serve on the New Rochelle City Council in New York.
The press perked up a bit after a record number of black Republicans, 32 candidates, threw their hats into the political ring for the 2010 elections. Those who won their primaries and secured their Republican Party’s nomination in the past few months are: Star Parker (California’s 57th congressional district); Issac Hayes (Illinois’ 2nd congressional district); Chuck Smith (Virginia’s 3rd congressional district); Marvin Scott (Indiana’s 10th congressional district); Damon Dunn (candidate for California Secretary of State); C. Morgan Edwards (North Carolina State Senate); Gwen Patrick (California House District 52); Stephen Broden (Texas House District 30); James White (Texas House District 12); Marilyn Jackson (Texas House District 51).
The two other black Republicans who won their June 22nd primaries, in addition to Tim Scott, are Bill Randall (North Carolina 13th congressional district) and Bill Marcy (Mississippi 2nd congressional district).
A laughable feature of the media’s reporting on Tim Scott is the assertion by liberal journalists that Republicans had to overcome their racism in order to nominate Scott. The reporters used the racist past of South Carolina as the basis for their slam against Republicans. Never mind the fact that the Democratic Party controlled South Carolina for over 100 years after the Civil War, and it was the Democrats who were discriminating against blacks. As is explained in the article “The Myth of the Racist Republicans” by Gerard Alexander, which is posted on the Claremont Institute’s website, the 30-year odyssey of the South switching to the Republican Party begun in the 1970’s by Richard Nixon was not an appeal to the racists.
In a 2002 article posted on the Internet, the co-architect of Nixon’s Southern Strategy, Pat Buchanan, explained the genesis and purpose of the strategy. Buchanan wrote that Nixon declared that the Republican Party would be built on a foundation of state’s rights, human rights, small government and a strong national defense, and leave it to the Democrat Party – the party of Maddox, Mahoney and Wallace — to “squeeze the last ounce of political juice out of the rotting fruit of racial injustice.”
The racist Democrats (some of whom became known as “Dixiecrats” when they formed the “State’s Rights Democratic Party” just for the 1948 election) did not all join the Republican Party- the party of freedom and equality for blacks. In fact, those racists declared they would rather vote for a “yellow dog” than a Republican. Sadly, most blacks today have taken on the hatred for the Republican Party from the Democrats without understanding the origin of that hatred.
Once Democrats cease their insidious racism toward black Republicans, African-Americans will no longer feel that their votes are taken for granted. They will, in increasing numbers, seize control over their own destinies. They will vote for candidates based on the content of their policies, not merely the label of their party.
That truly was the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who was — as the media seems to have forgotten — a Republican.
South Carolina state Rep. Tim Scott thanks supporters on Tuesday, June 8, 2010, in North Charleston, S.C. Three African-American Republicans win races in the South. Samuel P. Jacobs on the victors’ chances this fall—and whether the Bush-era bid for a bigger GOP tent is gaining new momentum.
Republicans looking for a feel-good story about widening their party’s tent need look no further than South Carolina’s First Congressional District where Tim Scott, a black lawmaker from Charleston, beat Paul Thurmond, the son of erstwhile segregationist Senator Strom Thurmond. There hasn’t been an African-American Republican in the House of Representatives since Oklahoma Rep. J.C. Watts exited in 2003. Scott’s solidly Republican district will almost certainly send him to Washington in the fall, making him the fourth black Republican to be elected to Congress in the modern era.
“If we have three to five elected this fall,” Johnson says, “that is better than any election since Reconstruction.”
But Scott wasn’t the only black Republican to score a win on Tuesday night. In North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District, former military man Bill Randall won a run-off, setting him for an uphill contest against Democratic incumbent Brad Miller. In Mississippi’s 2nd Congressional District, Bill Marcy, a retired Chicago police officer, won the GOP nomination. Marcy, too, faces a Democratic incumbent, Bennie Thompson, unlikely to lose his seat.
• John Avlon: Crazy Texas Republicans Timothy F. Johnson, founder of the Frederick Douglass Foundation, a group dedicated to adding African-Americans to the party of Lincoln’s ranks, originally had his eye on 32 black candidates running on the Republican ticket this cycle. The primary process has winnowed that group down. He says he expects a half-dozen or more black candidates to make it to the general election, and a smaller subset to actually win a ticket to Washington. While candidates like Scott, Randall, and Marcy defy the good ol’ boy image of the GOP in the south, African-American candidates like Ryan Frazier and David Castillo have appeared out West.
“For far too long, all Americans have assumed that all blacks think alike and vote alike,” Johnson says. “We don’t. We’re just as opinionated as the rest of America. No president should assume that because their skin color is the same as mine that they ultimately have my vote.” The black Republicans getting the most attention these days are Star Parker, running in California’s 37th District, and Florida’s Allen West. Parker has attracted party glitterati like Sarah Palin to her side, but her district, which includes Long Beach and Compton, is about as blue as they come. West, a retired lieutenant colonel, has a real shot of bumping off Democratic Rep. Ron Klein.
“This is not about trying to get 40 out of 40,” Johnson, who is vice chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party, says. “We’re showing that black candidates do run as Republicans. Many of them have the heart but they are learning as the go.”
Four percent of African-Americans voted for John McCain in 2008. Only 1.5 percent of delegates in the Republican National Convention were black. The lily-white affair played so poorly that party officials have dedicated themselves to diversifying the ranks by the time the 2012 convention rolls around in Tampa Bay. At minimum, the GOP is aiming to have 10 times as many black delegates in Florida, raising the number from 36 to 360.
Johnson’s ultimate goal? Having as many black Republicans in Congress as black Democrats. But that will take time—and even a few black Republican congressmen winning in November would be historic.
“If we have three to five elected this fall,” Johnson says, “that is better than any election since Reconstruction.”
Samuel P. Jacobs is a staff reporter at The Daily Beast. He has also written for The Boston Globe, The New York Observer, and The New Republic Online.
For inquiries, please contact The Daily Beast at email@example.com.
South Carolina Republicans shattered racial traditions this week by voting to nominate an Indian-American woman for the state’s governorship and an African-American for the U.S. Congress—punctuating a year in which the GOP has fielded more non-white candidates nationally than any since the 19th century.
Nearly 40 African-Americans ran for the U.S. House or Senate as Republicans this year, according to the Frederick Douglass Foundation, a black Republican group. Eight black hopefuls have secured the GOP nomination in primaries, and several more are in the running in states where primaries haven’t yet been held.
Notable was the choice this week in a predominantly white congressional district in South Carolina of Tim Scott, a 44-year-old African-American, over the son of former U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond—a figure who once symbolized segregation in the Deep South.
Mr. Scott, a state House member and former chairman of the Charleston County council, tweeted Tuesday night that “history is made in S.C.!” Mr. Scott is now the favorite to win the election in November and thus become the first black Republican in Congress since Rep. J.C. Watts (R., Okla.) retired in 2003.
But a contradiction remains: Despite the GOP’s ability to attract minority candidates it has trouble luring minority voters. The vast majority of the non-white candidates running as Republicans already have lost, dropped out or are expected to lose this season.
A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Wednesday shows that support for the GOP among blacks and Hispanics has fallen sharply from earlier this decade. And the presence of an incumbent black Democratic president is likely to hinder African-American support for Republican presidential candidates in 2012.
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, who is also black, has emphasized to minority groups his party’s historic origins as the opponent of slavery and its connections to the first black members of Congress during Reconstruction. He says the GOP’s success in fielding minority candidates this year is a watershed in returning diversity to the GOP but that the party must do much more to make an economic case to non-white voters.
“For anyone to think that this is somehow a panacea, and all African-Americans and Hispanics will start signing up for the GOP, you’re crazy,” Mr. Steele said in an interview. “We’ve got work to do. I’m not blind to that reality.”
Timothy F. Johnson, founder of the Frederick Douglass Foundation, said 2010 is a milestone—especially in tapping into the fundamental conservatism of many African-Americans on some social issues. “Blacks are conservative but they vote Democratic,” Mr. Johnson said.
African-Americans tend to be significantly more conservative on social and cultural issues than whites, particularly on homosexuality, according to a 2006 survey by the Pew Research Center. The study indicated that 40% of black respondents were socially conservative, compared to 26% of whites.
Some of the more successful black Republican candidates this year have tapped into African-American conservative religious activism more effectively than white candidates in the past.
Isaac Hayes, the GOP nominee seeking to knock out U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who has represented the 2nd District of Illinois for 15 years, is a youth minister at Chicago’s 20,000-member Apostolic Church of God—where President Barack Obama delivered a 2008 Father’s Day speech.
Mr. Hayes said he was drawn to the GOP during the administration of former President George W. Bush because of social issues, such as opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion. Mr. Hayes emphasizes those stances in conversations with voters, many of whom are evangelical Christians who have tended to vote Democratic because of economic issues.
“It’s a really good opportunity for us because right now, black Americans realize that the Democratic Party has not represented our best interests,” Mr. Hayes said. “That doesn’t mean that Republicans have done everything right, but people are open to trying a different way.”
Nikki Haley, the Indian-American mother of two who won the runoff in South Carolina’s GOP gubernatorial primary this week, hit core conservative themes in her long-shot campaign—opposing health-care reform, taking a hard line on immigration and underscoring her conversion to Christianity. She is now the favorite to win the governorship in November. Ms. Haley would become the second child of Indian immigrants to be elected a governor in the U.S., joining Louisiana’s Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal, who was elected in 2007.
Other black Republican nominees considered viable in the November general election include Stephen Broden, a Dallas pastor running in the 30th District of Texas and Michael Faulkner, a former NFL player and pastor running in the 15th District of New York.
Yet even as the GOP scored successes this year with minority candidates, the overall perception of the party among black and Hispanic voters has fallen significantly. The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that 14% of black voters and 24% of Hispanic voters felt positively about the Republican party. That number is far below that of late 2000, when Republicans appeared to be gaining strength among some African-Americans and were seen positively by 20% or more.
Similarly, the sentiment of Hispanics, who were assiduously courted by Mr. Bush, has soured sharply as Republicans have led the charge for tougher policies on immigration. Support for the party fell to 24% in this weeks poll from levels that ranged from one-third to more than 40% in the first half of the decade.
The Rev. Joe Darby, senior pastor of Charleston, S.C.’s 3,000-member Morris Brown AME Church, said the nomination of Mr. Scott may change the face of the GOP but doesn’t represent a shift in appeal to most African-Americans. “I’m not going to hope my breath and think this is a brave new world for the Republican Party,” Mr. Darby said.
Mr. Steele, the RNC chairman, says 2010 will be a historic turnaround for the Republicans in building minority support around economic growth issues, even if only one or two black candidates ultimately win election to Congress.
“I had none,” Mr. Steele said. “If I get one, let alone three, that is the starting point of turning that page.”
Write to Valerie Bauerlein at firstname.lastname@example.org
“Low-skilled jobs typically held by minorities in the inner city are being outsourced, yet let’s continue to support/vote for Democrats so they can raise taxes on the rich to close the economic gap.”
Leftists call it “greed,” I call it “common sense”. Most corporations get into business to make a profit and share the dividends of theirs profit with their shareholders. In the midst of making money allocating scarce goods and resources (capitalism), these corporations hire people giving these employees means of economic subsistence. Since the 1960s, because of increased labor costs, many corporations have outsourced their companies into countries where the cost of operating is cheaper. In other words, as prices to operate business in America go up, profit margins go down-so it only makes sense that these businesses harbor in places that will help increase their profit margins. That’s not greed, that’s Business 101.
During the Great Depression, whatever toils experienced by White America were felt at least two-fold by those in the Black community. The same holds true today. While the national unemployment rate hovers around 10 percent, it’s over 50 % higher in the Black Community. Understanding how tax policy and regulation can have a retardant or stimulative effect on the economy is pivotal. Hence why Conservatives like Jack Kemp wanted the Federal Government to play an integral part in “Enterprise Zones/Communities”. In Enterprise Zones/Communities, states and federal taxes are lowered temporarily. Moreover, regulation that would otherwise be confiscatory is lifted in order to foment economic activity and increase employment in areas with high poverty and other social maladies that are often correlated with decrepit social conditions.
I always ask my liberal brothers and sisters to explain the contradictory nature of complaining about lack of jobs and opportunities when they support a political ideology that supports raising taxes and increasing the regulatory burdens placed by bureaucrats–which has an inevitable effect on employment opportunities. So, if low employment opportunities are a huge problem, why support politicians who are for hurting the small business owners who are most likely to employ low-skilled workers who disproportionately represent the inner city cohort?
Moreover, many business owners assert that since demand is low due to the recession, the temporary “tax-credits” that are being offered by the Obama administration aren’t going to be enough of an incentive for small businesses to hire new workers.
Black Conservatives and Republicans are “sell-outs”, but the criminals involved in the penal system aren’t?
After years of working in the inner city, some people who have come to know me through my writings have called me a “sell-out” by virtue of not identifying with the Black monolith, politically. As unabashed Black Conservatives and/or Republicans, it’s just the name of the game that we have to deal with. I must admit, it’s growing on me (like fungus would grow on a host)-albeit very uncomfortable since I pride myself in being a “conscious” (semi-Afrocentric) Conservative…never mind the fact that I’m in the trenches everyday…
How is it that the criminals and the street thugs who terrorize their neighborhoods aren’t considered “sell-outs”? I’ve grappled with this for a while. I’ve read the writings of other black/urban conservatives lamenting on this very issue. I can’t seem to understand how my “blackness” is constantly questioned, but those who kill, maim, and get people who look like me addicted to drugs aren’t ever really questioned about their allegiance to the Black community? What’s even more ironic is how rappers who glorify the “thug life” (who have helped in part produce a generation of what I call the “un-conscious”) rarely have their “blackness” questioned. I find most disheartening the members of the Black Intelligentsia who defend these culprits involved in the penal system as “victims”—when the people who they oppress by their actions are really the ones we need to worry about.
“Despite centuries of oppression that only ended in the past few decades, Black people are incredibly resilient BUT the proverbial “system” has enough power to hold us back?
The resiliency of Black folks is something that should never go unspoken. With over 250 years of chattel slavery, and decades of Jim-Crow- the Black family managed to stay virtually intact (until the 1960s) ONLY through faith in Christ, and self-sufficiency coupled with mutual aid networks. The fact that the “Black Wall Street” (Greenwood, Tulsa Oklahoma) was rebuilt to bring about another economic resurgence in the 1950s after it was burned by angry White men in the 1920s (who envied the economic prosperity that the free markets and capitalism brought to blacks) is also testament to that fact.
If we are such “victims” of a purported establishment, why were we able to accomplish so much before it became politically opportunistic to help us? I’m not in any way diminishing the role of Government when it came to acting as a fiduciary for Black civil rights. What I’m saying is, what excuses do we really have in 2010 when there are hoards of programs in higher education actively (to the point of frivolous lawsuits) seeking more and more members to add to the growing numbers of the Black Intelligentsia?
In addition to many minority recruitment initiatives, when it comes to small business development, there are special set asides for minorities to start their own businesses. The fact is that our progenitors who opened up their own businesses didn’t have the opportunities that we have today.
Moreover, if we are indeed resilient how can we believe that our economic, social, and political achievements can be stifled…in 2010? I’m not deluding myself about there being barriers to success; I just refuse to believe that those blockades can stop us (in theory and in practice).
Unfortunately, any attempts to say “Enough is enough” are clouded by culture apologists who are more comfortable with the status quo because it cements their position as power brokers and “leaders” in the Black community. While I don’t necessarily automatically discount the validity of some of the views I feel are contradictory to our objectives as people of color, I think it’s important to shine light on these blatant contradictions for the sole purpose of our social advancement. As an urban conservative, I experience first hand how the liberal side seems to dominate the dialogue and thus the agenda. That needs to stop.
Regardless of the issue – from immigration to ObamaCare – Democrats, with the complicity of the liberal media, demonize as racist average Americans who oppose their socialist agenda and are unhappy about how President Barack Obama and the Democrats in control of Congress are ruining our economy with massive deficit spending.
Incredibly, Democrats even stoop to condemning as racist anyone who dares to engage in philosophical discussions about the constitutional limitations on federal powers – just ask Rand Paul who dared to voice the fact that a few aspects of the 1964 Civil Rights Act lacked constitutional authority.
Lost in the media-generated firestorm designed to falsely paint Paul as a racist and derail his bid for a US Senate seat is any discussion about the reason why civil rights laws were necessary in the first place – Democratic Party racism.
In his new book, “Whites Blacks & Racist Democrats”, Wayne Perryman provides startling details about racism in the Democratic Party from 1792 to 2009. Perryman describes how the Democratic Party became known as the “Party of White Supremacy” that fought to preserve slavery and enacted discriminatory laws to deny civil rights to blacks.
Included in Perryman’s book are facts about how the Republican Party that was founded in 1854 as the anti-slavery party became the party of freedom and equality for blacks. Republicans fought to end slavery; amended the U.S. Constitution to grant blacks freedom, citizenship and the right to vote; and pushed to enact every piece of civil rights legislation from the 1860’s to the 1960’s over the objection of the Democrats.
Perryman brought to light the 1875 Civil Rights Act, the first law that dealt with accommodations and equality and was passed by a Republican-dominated Congress. To their eternal shame, Democrats in 1883 convinced the United States Supreme Court to declare the 1875 Civil Rights Act as “unconstitutional.” Eleven years later in 1894, Democrats passed the 1894 Repeal Act to overturn the previous civil rights legislation passed during Reconstruction by Republicans.
Perryman also revealed that in 1964 while debating the accommodations portion of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Democrat Senator Olin Johnson of South Carolina argued: “Mr. President, this is the blackest day in the U.S. Senate since 1875, when the Congress passed a Civil Rights bill similar to this one. It was 89 years ago that the [Republican] Congress passed the nefarious Reconstruction era Civil Right laws, identical with what we are now discussing, which were later declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Senate, if it passes this measure before us, will be compounding that unconstitutional error made back in 1875. I predict that this bill will never be enforced without turning our nation into a police state and without the cost of bloodshed and violence…”
Ignored by the media today, as they attempt to paint all Republicans as racist, is the fact that Jim Crow laws were enacted by Democrats to force private businesses to refuse services to blacks. Those Jim Crow laws were in violation of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which states, in part: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” The entire text of section 1 of the 14th Amendment is below.
It is rank hypocrisy for the liberal press to give Democrats, including former Klansman Democrat Senator Robert Byrd, a pass for their real racism, while attacking Rand Paul, labeling him as a racist for his theoretical musings about the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In essence, Paul, who said he detested racism in any form, wondered whether other means, such as boycotts, may have been effective in forcing an end to non-governmental racial discrimination. Paul focused on the fact that the 14th Amendment to U.S. Constitution provides the federal government only with the power to stop racial discrimination by state and local governments.
Our nation will continue to be divided along racial lines until we bring an end to the Democrats’ despicable race-baiting by holding Democrats accountable for their racism – past and present.
Amendment 14 – Citizenship Rights. Ratified 7/9/1868.
Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Frances Rice is a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel and Chairman of the National Black Republican Association. She may be contacted at: http://www.NBRA.info
By Bryan Fischer
All of us agree that the left has made its major gains in eroding religious liberty in America through activist judges. What they have not been able to gain at the ballot box, or through the legislative process, or through their elected representatives, they have gained through out-of-control judges who legislate from the bench.
These judges, taking a twisted, distorted and upside-down view of the First Amendment, have removed prayer, Bible reading and the Ten Commandments from public schools, and are rapidly stripping Americans of what remains of the first liberty the founders guaranteed to us in the Bill of Rights.
To recognize judicial activism when it pertains to the First Amendment, we need to have a clear understanding of what it does and does not mean.
Only Congress can violate the First Amendment
Most of us are familiar with the wording of the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
The most overlooked, ignored, forgotten, and yet most important word in this amendment, is the first one: “Congress.” Congress shall make no law.
The only entity the founders restrained in the First Amendment was the Congress of the United States. No entity or individual other than Congress is restrained.
Do not miss the significance of this. It is constitutionally impossible for a governor, a state legislature, a mayor, a city council, a principal, a teacher or a student speaking at graduation to violate the First Amendment, for one simple reason: they’re not Congress.
Some will surely cite the Incorporation Doctrine, which is based on the plainly false theory that the 14th Amendment applies the restrictions of the First Amendment to the states. But the Incorporation Doctrine itself is clearly a pernicious and lethal exhibition of judicial activism, which nobody thought of until 1947 when it came to the repression of religious liberty.
Somehow the use of the 14th Amendment to stifle religious expression at the state and local level had escaped the finest legal minds in America from 1868, when the 14th Amendment was enacted, until the Everson ruling of 1947, a span of 79 years.
Now, the Constitution did not suddenly change in 1947; what changed was the willingness of hyperactive justices to start finding emanations and penumbras in the Constitution, fabricated out of whole cloth by their fevered judicial imagination.
We know as a matter of historical record that the 14th Amendment does not incorporate the First Amendment against the states. We know this because in 1875, James Blaine, a senator from Maine, tried to push his Blaine Amendment through Congress.
His proposed wording read, “No state shall make any law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Do not miss the implication of this. If the framers of the 14th Amendment had intended to incorporate the First Amendment against the states, there simply would have been no need – just seven years later – for the Blaine Amendment. Sen. Blaine simply would have been told, “Hey, didn’t you get the memo? The 14th Amendment has already done this.”
In passing the 14th Amendment, Congress clearly had no intention of clamping down on religious freedom at the state or local level.
Even more telling is this indisputable historical fact: Sen. Blaine’s amendment did not make it through Congress. Congress rejected his effort to take the First Amendment and use it to squeeze the life out of religious freedom at the state and local level.
Religion in the Constitution
So if Congress alone can violate the First Amendment, how can it do that? The founders were clear: The only way Congress can violate the First Amendment is to “establish a religion.”
Now when the founders used the term “religion,” they did not use it, as we often do, to refer to religion in general, let alone to mere public references to God, as the ACLU argues.
No, what they meant by “religion” was one of the various sects of Christianity. At the time of the founding, 99.8% of the population were followers, to one degree or another, of the Christian faith. Almost all of the other 0.2% were followers of the Jewish faith. Virtually 100% of the Americans at the time of the founding were adherents of the Judeo-Christian tradition.
The founders used “religion” in much the same way my friends and I did on the playground when I was young. We’d ask each other, “What religion are you?” by which we meant, “Are you Baptist or Lutheran or Methodist or Roman Catholic?”
The term “establishment” also had a clear, precise, unambiguous and technical meaning at the time. To “establish” a “religion” meant to pick one Christian denomination, give it preference in law, and compel citizens to support it with their tax dollars.
Our founders had seen in England the kind of religious tyranny and repression that results from an established church and were determined not to repeat that mistake in the our young nation.
So only Congress can violate the First Amendment, and the only way it can do that is to select one Christian denomination, make it the official church of the United States, and compel citizens to support it with their tax dollars.
Don’t miss this: if Congress doesn’t do that, it can do anything it wants. It has complete constitutional liberty to engage in any kind of religious expression it chooses as long as it does not establish an official church.
Religious liberty in the U.S.
Now, why is all this important? Why is it so important for us to fight to protect genuine religious liberty in America?
Here are two official slogans [cited in The Nazi Persecution of the Churches, 1933-1945, by John S. Conway]:
1) “Politics do not belong in the church” and 2) “The church must be separate from the state.”
These mottos did not come from the ACLU, nor from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. No, these slogans, word for word, came directly from the mind of Adolf Hitler.
These were official slogans of the Nazi Party, adopted in the mid-1930s and relentlessly hammered into the minds of the compliant German population by the Nazi propaganda machine.
In essence, what Hitler said to German pastors was this: “I don’t care what you teach your congregations, as long as you don’t talk about politics, and as long as you keep your voice inside the four walls of your churches.”
Why did Hitler do this? For one simple reason. He knew that the only force in Germany which could keep him from fulfilling his totalitarian ambitions was the church of Jesus Christ. He knew that if he could not silence the voice of the church, he could not exercise total domination.
He also knew that if he could silence the voice of the church, nothing could stand in his way.
The church and its leaders meekly capitulated to this form of tyranny, and 25 million people died as a result, 6 million of them Jews.
Secular fundamentalists in the United States know the same thing that Hitler knew. The only thing that stands in their way of the total takeover of our culture, the final removal of any mention of God from the public arena, and the shredding of the last remains of our Judeo-Christian value system, is the church of Jesus Christ.
Public square only for the left?
I once had a lesbian activist say these exact words to me when I was pastoring: “I don’t care what you teach or believe as long as you keep it inside the four walls of your church.” In essence, she was saying, “Your church belongs to you, but the public square belongs to us.”
They know that if they cannot silence the voice of the church, they cannot succeed. And they also know that if they can silence and neutralize the voice of the church, nothing stands in their way.
I submit that the future of our country, as well as the future we leave to our children and grandchildren, hinges on this one question and this one question alone: Will the church allow its voice to be intimidated into silence, or will our spiritual leaders once again take their prophetic role in our society and speak truth outside the four walls of the church?
Will the leaders of the church once again speak the unchanging and unchangeable truths of God and his Word into the public square? Will our pulpits once again flame with righteousness, or will the church allow its voice to be overpowered by the strident voices of the left?
Our future as a nation hinges on the answer to that question. And so we turn our eyes to the leaders of the church of Jesus Christ, and we ask, “What will you do? What will your answer be?”
Be informed and involved
1. Regularly visit www.afa.net and www.OneNewsNow.com
2. Encourage your pastor to address moral issues (as they play out in the public arena) from the pulpit.
3) Urge friends to subscribe to AFA Journal and AFA Action Alerts
4) Listen to American Family Radio or watch programs at www.afr.net.