Religious Influence in the Early History of our Nation

If the atheists and progressives had their way, God would be eliminated from all facets of life. However, they are content to have God eliminated from the public forum. These same people quote the Constitution, pointing out that there is complete separation of Church and State. This is the law of the land since Hugo Black’s decision in the Case of Everson vs. The Board of Education in 1947. We may argue the rationale behind the decision, but we will become mired in polemics. The Law of the Land is anything the  Supreme Court adjudicates it to be. But was that the intent of the Founding Fathers? Did they want God completely out of government? History says they did not!
God was not to be removed from the daily operation of government. Prayer was a constant activity during the Continental Congress. The Constitution, itself, implicitly regards Sunday as a day of rest by excluding Sunday from the days to be counted in the period that the President has to veto a Congressional bill.  And by common consent, Thanksgiving and Christmas are recognized holidays although they are under attack in our post Christian culture.
Christian mottoes on coins, currency, public buildings, and monuments were also accepted.  “In God We Trust” is stamped on all our coins and is etched over the south entrance to the Senate Chamber in the U.S. Capitol.  Over the west entrance is engraved “Annuit Coeptis” meaning that God has favored our undertakings. Judicial oaths ended with, “So help me, God.” Court decisions also pronounced the place of God in the early growth of our nation.
In People v. Ruggles, an 1811 Supreme Ct. of New York decision, Ruggles was indicted for calling Christ a bastard and his mother a whore.  He was fined $500 and served a 3 month imprisonment term.  Part of the prosecutors argument was that while the Constitution of the State of New York preserved the right of conscience and has allowed for the free discussion of religion, it has nevertheless left the principal engrafted in our common law that Christianity is part of the laws of the State, untouched and unimpaired.  Justice James Kent said that, “Nothing could be more offensive to the virtuous part of the community, or more injurious to the tender morals of the young, that to declare such profanity lawful…We are a Christian people and the morality of the country is deeply engrafted upon Christianity, and not upon the doctrines or worship of those impostors [other religions].”  Basically he said that cursing Christ is cursing the State of New York.
In Updegraph v. The Commonwealth, an 1824 Pennsylvania case, Abner Updegraph on the December 12, 1821, with intent to scandalize, vilified the Christian religion by saying, “That the Holy Scriptures were a mere fable: that they were a contradiction, and that although they contained a number of good things, yet they contained a great many lies.”  He was found guilty of blaspheming and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania upheld it.
In Vidal v. Girard’s Executors (1844) the U.S. Supreme Ct. stated that Christianity was not to be openly and maliciously denigrated. Stephen Girard, a native of France, died in 1831 leaving $7 million dollars to the city of Philadelphia to construct an orphanage and college where the “purest principles of morality” are to be instilled.  He also stipulated that no clergyman or missionary shall ever hold any positions in the college nor were they allowed on campus as visitors.  Although the plan of education was anti-Christian and repugnant to law, the court ruled in favor of the city keeping the money, for it said that lay people could teach religion, outside of which there were no purer form of morality.  Justice Joseph Story in his opinion for the Supreme Court said, “Christianity…is not to be maliciously and openly reviled and blasphemed against…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.” 
In Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States (1892) an immigration law was interpreted to an absurd degree by the U.S. Attorney’s office to accuse the church of hiring a foreigner as pastor.  The Supreme Court ruled that “No purpose of action against religion can be imputed to any legislation, state or national, because this is a religious people…This is a Christian nation.” The reasoning in this case cited the above three cases.
In Davis v. Beason (1889) the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against bigamy and polygamy among Mormons. Justice Stephen Field (a Lincoln appointee who also sat for the Holy Trinity Case) delivered the Court’s ruling by saying, “Bigamy and polygamy are crimes by the laws of all civilized and Christian countries….” By commenting so, he virtually declared that America was a Christian nation. Such a declaration was also made in U.S. v. Macintosh (1931) in which the reasoning said, “We are a Christian people.”
Other Early Supreme Court Justices made statements and rendered opinions supporting the notion that the United States was a Christian nation. Note the following:
(1)    John Jay (the First Chief Justice) said, “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”
(2)    James Wilson (signer of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution) articulated that “Christianity is part of the common-law.”
(3)    Joseph Story (in his Commentaries on the Constitution) noted, “Probably, at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, and of the Amendments to it…the general, if not the universal, sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the State…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.”  He also said, “It yet remains a problem to be solved in human affairs, whether any free government can be permanent, where the public worship of God, and the support of religion, constitute no part of the policy or duty of the state in any assignable shape.”
(4)    John Marshall (served on the Supreme Court for 34 years. As a captain, he also fought during the Revolutionary War, serving with Washington at Valley Forge. Later in life, while staying at a road side tavern, he politely listened to arguments for and against the Christian religion by younger men from 6:00PM to 11:00PM.  Finally one of them turned to Marshall and said, “Well, my old gentleman, what think you of these things?”  Marshall then proceeded to talk for an hour answering “every argument urged against” the teachings of Jesus.  The listeners were captivated by his eloquence and energy.  Some thought him a preacher and were astonished to find out he was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.