Over the 23 doors leading into the House gallery at the U. S. Capitol Building are marble reliefs of 23 major players noted for their work influencing American law. They are:
George Mason – Political leader who led the anti-ratification movement until the Bill of Rights was added.
Robert Joseph Pothier – author of the Digest of Pandects of Justinian, a classic study of Roman law; author of several treatises on French law, which were incorporated in the French Code Civil.
Jean Baptiste Colbert – codified commercial, maritime, and colonial ordinances; reformed the French legal system.
Edward I – founded the parliamentary constitution of England; eliminated the divisive political effects of the feudal system.
Alfonso X – author of the Royal Code, a compilation of local legislation for general use; originator of The Seven Parts, the code used as a basis for Spanish jurisprudence.
Gregory IX – Medieval pope; author of a compilation of decretals (i.e., authoritative decisions) on canon law; during a critical period he was instrumental in maintaining the remnants of Roman law.
Saint Louis – (a Christian King) author of the Mise of Amiens, a judgment on a dispute between Henry III and rebellious English barons.
Justinian I – (a Christian Emperor) Byzantine emperor; appointed Tribonian to compile and consolidate the Roman legal code into the Justinian Code, which he supplemented with a collection of rulings and precedents.
Tribonian – Byzantine jurist; head of the commission that codified the laws under Justinian I.
Lycurgus – Semi-mythical Greek legislator; traditional author of laws and institution of Sparta.
Hammurabi – King of Babylonia; author of the Code of Hammurabi, which is recognized in legal literature as one of the earliest surviving legal codes.
Moses – Hebrew prophet and lawgiver; transformed a wandering people into a nation; received the Ten Commandments from God.
Solon – Athenian statesman; author of constitutional and legal reforms.
Papinian – Roman jurist; author of fifty-six books about legal questions and decisions, extracts from which were influential in the development of the Justinian Code.
Gaius – Roman jurist; author of numerous works, the most noted being the Institutes, a complete exposition of the elements of Roman law that were the foundation of Roman civil law.
Maimonides – Jewish philosopher of Cordova, Spain; compiled a systematic exposition of the whole of Jewish law as contained in the Pentateuch and in Talmudic literature.
Suleiman – Sultan of the Ottoman Empire; reformed and improved civil and military codes; united a group of unstable territories into an empire.
Innocent III – Medieval pope; student of canon and civil law, who, like Gregory IX, preserved the remnants of Roman law during the Dark Ages.
Simon de Montfort – English statesman; advocated representative government; established an early form of representative government in England.
Hugo Grotius – Dutch statesman; Advocate-General of Holland and Zeeland; author of On the Law of War and Peace, the first treatise on international law.
Sir William Blackstone – English jurist; professor of common law at Oxford; author of Commentaries on the Laws of England, which had considerable influence on the importation and adaptation of English common law in America.
Napoleon I – Emperor of France; appointed a commission to draw up the Code Civil, a combination of tradition and Roman law that influenced the legal systems of European and American states during the 19th century.
Thomas Jefferson – Third President of the United States; wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom. (Notice how it was not a statute for freedom FROM religion).
Twelve of the reliefs face the right and twelve face the left. In the center is the relief of Moses facing forward. Moses, the man who delivered the Ten Commandments to the people, is the one watching down over the congress.
Now, if our founding fathers had wanted religion left completely out of our laws as some proclaim, why is it:
- Of the 23 reliefs here, there are over 1/3 of the reliefs are men of religion? (either Judaism, Christianity, or Muslim)
- Why does the Supreme Court open each session with “God save the United States and this honorable court”?
- Why is it custom for the incoming president to take the oath of office with his left hand on the Holy Bible? I did not say mandatory, but it is custom.
- When an immigrant gets their citizenship, why does their oath end with the words “so help me God”?
- Why does the Senate start each session with a prayer given by the Senate Chaplain? That’s right; the Senate employs a religious person for spiritual guidance.
- George Washington made a speech upon inauguration stating that America was being blessed by God because the people worshipped God. He went on to say that if there was ever a time when we turned our backs on God, we would fall from favor. Do you suppose with the current state of affairs we are still in God’s favor? (the complete speech is at the end of the post)
- President Washington also made a proclamation making the 4th Thursday of November to be a day of “offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations.” (Look at the end of this post for the entire proclamation.)
This list can go on and on, but I’ve made my point. If those truly want separation of God and state, we will have to remove all laws that are contained in any religious text. Murder becomes legal, as does theft. Your spouse cheating on you can no longer be a moral taboo even though it is not against the law in many states. Pedophilia, bigamy, polygamy, bestiality, and necrophilia, have to be permissible. This list too goes on and on.
The argument that there was a separation between God and state is nothing more than sophistry presented by those who want their deviant behavior sanctioned. Our founding fathers where God fearing men and that is fact for anyone who looks at their own words and actions.
This was all inspired by someone I knew from high school who recently posted on a social networking site “If you want us to keep our politics out of your religion, keep your religion out of politics!” I thought to myself “for someone who is almost 60 years old, he doesn’t know much about this country.” Then, I deleted him from my contacts. I didn’t notify him first because I figured if he couldn’t fathom that this nation was founded on religious beliefs, he would not understand how ignorant his statement is.
When you start chipping away and the moral foundation of a community, the whole community falls and buries you.
Washington’s Inauguration Speech:
“Fellow Citizens of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Among the vicissitudes incident to life, no event could have filled me with greater anxieties than that of which the notification was transmitted by your order, and received on the fourteenth day of the present month. On the one hand, I was summoned by my Country, whose voice I can never hear but with veneration and love, from a retreat which I had chosen with the fondest predilection, and, in my flattering hopes, with an immutable decision, as the asylum of my declining years: a retreat which was rendered every day more necessary as well as more dear to me, by the addition of habit to inclination, and of frequent interruptions in my health to the gradual waste committed on it by time. On the other hand, the magnitude and difficulty of the trust to which the voice of my Country called me, being sufficient to awaken in the wisest and most experienced of her citizens, a distrustful scrutiny into his qualifications, could not but overwhelm with dispondence, one, who, inheriting inferior endowments from nature and unpractised in the duties of civil administration, ought to be peculiarly conscious of his own deficiencies. In this conflict of emotions, all I dare aver, is, that it has been my faithful study to collect my duty from a just appreciation of every circumstance, by which it might be affected. All I dare hope, is, that, if in executing this task I have been too much swayed by a grateful remembrance of former instances, or by an affectionate sensibility to this transcendent proof, of the confidence of my fellow-citizens; and have thence too little consulted my incapacity as well as disinclination for the weighty and untried cares before me; my error will be palliated by the motives which misled me, and its consequences be judged by my Country, with some share of the partiality in which they originated.Such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station; it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official Act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the Universe, who presides in the Councils of Nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that his benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the People of the United States, a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes: and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success, the functions allotted to his charge. In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own; nor those of my fellow-citizens at large, less than either. No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency. And in the important revolution just accomplished in the system of their United Government, the tranquil deliberations and voluntary consent of so many distinct communities, from which the event has resulted, cannot be compared with the means by which most Governments have been established, without some return of pious gratitude along with an humble anticipation of the future blessings which the past seem to presage. These reflections, arising out of the present crisis, have forced themselves too strongly on my mind to be suppressed. You will join with me I trust in thinking, that there are none under the influence of which, the proceedings of a new and free Government can more auspiciously commence.By the article establishing the Executive Department, it is made the duty of the President “to recommend to your consideration, such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” The circumstances under which I now meet you, will acquit me from entering into that subject, farther than to refer to the Great Constitutional Charter under which you are assembled; and which, in defining your powers, designates the objects to which your attention is to be given. It will be more consistent with those circumstances, and far more congenial with the feelings which actuate me, to substitute, in place of a recommendation of particular measures, the tribute that is due to the talents, the rectitude, and the patriotism which adorn the characters selected to devise and adopt them. In these honorable qualifications, I behold the surest pledges, that as on one side, no local prejudices, or attachments; no seperate views, nor party animosities, will misdirect the comprehensive and equal eye which ought to watch over this great assemblage of communities and interests: so, on another, that the foundations of our National policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality; and the pre-eminence of a free Government, be exemplified by all the attributes which can win the affections of its Citizens, and command the respect of the world. I dwell on this prospect with every satisfaction which an ardent love for my Country can inspire: since there is no truth more thoroughly established, than that there exists in the oeconomy and course of nature, an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness, between duty and advantage, between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy, and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity: Since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained: And since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the Republican model of Government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.Besides the ordinary objects submitted to your care, it will remain with your judgment to decide, how far an exercise of the occasional power delegated by the Fifth article of the Constitution is rendered expedient at the present juncture by the nature of objections which have been urged against the System, or by the degree of inquietude which has given birth to them. Instead of undertaking particular recommendations on this subject, in which I could be guided by no lights derived from official opportunities, I shall again give way to my entire confidence in your discernment and pursuit of the public good: For I assure myself that whilst you carefully avoid every alteration which might endanger the benefits of an United and effective Government, or wh ich ought to await the future lessons of experience; a reverence for the characteristic rights of freemen, and a regard for the public harmony, will sufficiently influence your deliberations on the question how far the former can be more impregnably fortified, or the latter be safely and advantageously promoted.To the preceeding observations I have one to add, which will be most properly addressed to the House of Representatives. It concerns myself, and will therefore be as brief as possible. When I was first honoured with a call into the Service of my Country, then on the eve of an arduous struggle for its liberties, the light in which I contemplated my duty required that I should renounce every pecuniary compensation. From this resolution I have in no instance departed. And being still under the impressions which produced it, I must decline as inapplicable to myself, any share in the personal emoluments, which may be indispensably included in a permanent provision for the Executive Department; and must accordingly pray that the pecuniary estimates for the Station in which I am placed, may, during my continuance in it, be limited to such actual expenditures as the public good may be thought to require.Having thus imported to you my sentiments, as they have been awakened by the occasion which brings us together, I shall take my present leave; but not without resorting once more to the benign parent of the human race, in humble supplication that since he has been pleased to favour the American people, with opportunities for deliberating in perfect tranquility, and dispositions for deciding with unparellelled unanimity on a form of Government, for the security of their Union, and the advancement of their happiness; so his divine blessing may be equally conspicuous in the enlarged views, the temperate consultations, and the wise measures on which the success of this Government must depend.” George Washington
Washington’s Thanksgiving Day Proclamation:
“Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor— and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.
“Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be– That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks–for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation–for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war–for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed–for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted–for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us. And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions– to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually–to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed–to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord–To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us–and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.”