President-elect Donald Trump earned the support of Christian voters because of his promise to appoint only constitutional originalists to the Supreme Court. We stuck with him through one of the nastiest elections in modern history, and 81 percent of us turned out on Election Day to hand him the stunning victory that took the world by surprise.
It will soon be time for Mr. Trump to begin keeping his promise to us, which means he must put forward nominees whose view of “original intent” go back to the actual origins of the republic and the biblical worldview of the Founding Fathers. Thus, the most important case on which the Trump administration must vet candidates is not Roe v. Wade (1973); it is Roe’s juridical progenitor Everson v. Board of Education (1947).
Everson is the case in which Franklin Roosevelt’s key ally on the court and former Klansman of the KKK, Justice Hugo Black, elevated Jefferson’s “Separation of Church and State” metaphor to the status of constitutional law, contradicting over a century and a half of court precedent recognizing America’s essential Judeo-Christian roots. That earth-shattering ruling, and the court’s failure to quickly rectify it, was the fruit of 20 years of absolute control of the United States government by the Democratic Party (from the election of FDR in 1932 until the election of Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952). The Dems held the presidency and both houses of Congress that entire period except for two years of Republican congressional control under Democrat President Harry Truman.
All of the nine justices in the Everson decision were nominated by Democratic presidents (four by Roosevelt, three by Truman and one by Wilson), and all were Democrats themselves, except independent Felix Frankfurter (a founder of the ACLU) and the lone Republican, Harold Burton, a personal friend of Harry Truman from their days together in the U.S. Senate. Shamefully, all agreed with Black’s revisionist definition of the “Separation of Church and State” (though four dissented as to its application to the plaintiff’s case at issue).
However, 50 years before Everson, the biblical foundations of American law were squarely addressed in a unanimous ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States (1892). The proof of the biblical roots of America’s legal system was so extensive that it took the court five full pages just to summarize them, but can be represented here by the court’s one-sentence conclusion: “These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that THIS IS A CHRISTIAN NATION” (emphasis added). Neither American history nor the legal precedents changed, just the integrity of the men tasked with preserving them.
In 1961, Black weaponized the Everson ruling in Torcaso v. Watkins, which declared atheism to be a religion equal to belief in God, empowering the hard left to expunge Christianity from public life. In Engle v. Vitale (1962), Black again took his ax to our biblical roots, holding that a mere reference to “Almighty God” in a public school prayer rendered it illegal under his new radical interpretation of the Establishment Clause. This armed the political left to eliminate all prayer from the public schools in 1963, the first salvo in what American patriot Pat Buchanan would later term the “Culture War.”
Between 1947 and 1961, a battle to preserve America’s biblical heritage raged in the other two branches of government. Under Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961), the 84th Congress added the national motto “In God We Trust” to our paper currency, and Eisenhower himself strengthened the biblical worldview through various initiatives of the Executive Branch. For example, the official 1957 guidelines for the U.S. Navy and Marines defined the Ten Commandments as “the codified moral law” to which every person is bound as the highest form of law (p.7).
In support of the American Legion’s “Back to God” campaign in 1955, Eisenhower stated, “Without God, there could be no American form of Government, nor an American way of life. Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first – the most basic – expression of Americanism. Thus the Founding Fathers saw it, and thus, with God’s help, it will continue to be.”
In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan led another revolution, backed by the Republican-controlled Senate of the 97th Congress (1981 to 1983 – the first Republican majority in either house since Eisenhower). Reagan declared 1983 the Year of the Bible and presided over the largest build-up of Christian political strength in modern history – including the still vibrant pro-life movement with which Mr. Trump strongly allied himself in this election.
However, under the radical new legal paradigm of Everson, all Christian efforts to restore the republic to its biblical origins – no matter how popular, such as the defense of marriage approved in over 30 states by wide voter margins – have been effortlessly crushed by the federal judiciary. Meanwhile, many anti-biblical goals of the atheists have become “constitutional law,” including Roe v. Wade and each of sitting Justice Anthony Kennedy’s five cataclysmic opinions establishing “gay” cultural supremacy over normal Americans. This emasculation of the God-fearing majority by the elites is the true, unacknowledged wellspring of populist rage!
Eisenhower may have appreciated the significance of Everson but made four of his five nominations for the court while Democrats controlled both houses of Congress (making it impossible to appoint constitutional originalists).
Reagan tried to restore a biblically minded court in the ’80s, and his champion, Justice Antonin Scalia, quickly became the court’s conservative anchor and most reliable defender of biblical Christianity of the 20th century. However, when Reagan attempted to put a second “Scalia” on the court, in the form of Robert Bork, the Democrat-controlled Senate, led by Ted Kennedy, launched all-out war against his nomination – and the name “Bork” became a verb meaning “to discredit a candidate for some position by savaging his or her career and beliefs.”
In contrast to both of these men, Donald Trump is the first conservative president since the Everson ruling with the actual political capital to restore America to its biblical foundations. He is assuming the presidency with a Republican House and Senate, a Democratic opposition in smoldering ruin and an unprecedented mantle of authority in having overcome incredible odds against all expectations by following his own unique insights and strategy.
It falls to the Christians in his circle of influence and the masses of Christian voters who put him into office to remind our new president that “original intent” is the intent of the founders, and that means Everson v. Board of Education must be reversed.