The 1947 Everson v. Board of Education decision was a departure from American legal foundations, striking at the very heart of self-government and liberty.  Within fifteen years, radicals on American campuses were gleefully rejecting and attacking core American belief for law.  Everson v. Board of Education appears to have been by far the most harmful court action taken against individual liberty since the Dred Scott v. Sandford decision ninety years earlier.

The Everson v. Board of Education decision twisted the meaning of the First Amendment of the Constitution in two ways.  According to Daniel L. Dreisbach, “First, the phrase emphasizes separation of church and state–unlike the First Amendment, which speaks in terms of non-establishment and free exercise of religion.  Second, a wall [term used by the Court] is a bilateral barrier that inhibits the activities of both civil government and religion–unlike the First Amendment, which imposes restrictions on civil government only [not on religious freedom].”*

Thomas Jefferson’s “wall of separation” metaphor was totally misrepresented by the judges.  He adamantly objected to any such tyranny against religious liberty.  Engraved on the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC are his own words:  “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”  He was a religious seeker and regularly attended church services held on Sundays in the United States Capitol building.**

Instead of upholding their oath to abide by the Constitution, judges ruled by “incalculable and changeable decrees.”  Rule by men replaced government by established law.  The reasoning behind their decision reflects the old European secular doctrine of open-mindedness for dumbing the people down and transforming society.  Instead of being umpires, unelected judges are trampling on the sacred rights of the people by legislating superior rights for the enemies of responsible liberty.

*Daniel L. Dreisbach, Professor of Justice, Law, and Society at American University in Washington, DC, “How a Misused Metaphor Changed Church-State Law, Policy, and Discourse,” essay, Heritage Foundation publication, June 23, 2006.

**Hutson, Religion and the Founding of the American Republic, 84.

~ David Norris

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