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Judge sentences Catholic to Baptist church pews

Judge William Mallory of Hamilton County Municipal Court likes to use creative sentencing when appropriate.Photo courtesy of Hamilton County (Ohio) Municipal Court, via USA Today

CINCINNATI — Judge William Mallory enjoys handing out creative sentences from his bench over at the Hamilton County Courthouse.

But the one he meted out in his Municipal Court room Wednesday wasn’t even his idea.

And boy, oh boy, did he like it.

Instead of sending Jake Strotman to jail on a misdemeanor attempted assault conviction, Mallory sent the 23-year-old Catholic to a Baptist church for the next 12 Sundays.

The sentence was Strotman’s idea.

To understand how we got here, you have to rewind to Saturday night, Jan. 23, just after the Cincinnati Cyclones beat the Fort Wayne Komets down at U.S. Bank Arena.

Strotman, a downtown resident, had imbibed with his buddies at the hockey game and was in fine form when he approached a band of Baptist street preachers who were, as he puts it, condemning him. A curious and naturally jovial guy, Strotman said he “gave them my two-cents worth.”

“They were telling me I was going to hell,” Strotman said Thursday. “I was asking them: ‘Why do you think you can condemn people?’ I didn’t understand why they thought they could judge me.”

Apparently, that was just enough for some other knucklehead to approach the church folks. This man, Strotman said, “started going off like a ball of fire.” There was screaming and words and threats before that guy broke a camera church members brought out in case of violence or altercations. The church folks threatened to make a citizen’s arrest.

There was a push and a shove. And the fray was on.

Strotman somehow ended up at the bottom of a pile and “was eating asphalt.” He pushed himself up with one hand and planted another hand square on the face near the bespectacled eye of Joshua Johnson, who had just been preaching the word of God.

Johnson’s face was apparently cut by his glasses. Strotman was charged with low-level assault.

Strotman said he never meant to hurt anyone. He just wanted to understand their ministry.

That brings us to Mallory’s courtroom.

Mallory to Strotman: “Had you been drinking?”

“Yes, your honor.”

Mallory is nobody’s fool. It was dollar beer night at the hockey game.

“I have gone to a few Cyclones games, but I never had a fight at a Cyclones game. No, I haven’t,”  the judge said. “So all right. What am I supposed to do? Because 90 days in jail is on the table.

“Take a look at my friend Gary behind you,” he said, referring to his bailiff. “Take a look at him. See how he has the handcuffs. He is a good reader of me and he suspects that I might be locking you up today.”

Gulp.

Strotman sure didn’t want to go jail.

No, sir. No, thank you. Anything but jail, thought the self-employed salesman of windows, siding and doors.

Mallory to injured party Johnson:

“I’m trying to get to something reasonable here. And I’ll be honest with you guys, sometimes in certain places people don’t want to be preached to. You agree with that right?”

Yes, he said, he did.

“I admire the fact that you want to spread the word of God because I’m a religious man, too,” Mallory said. “Also the thing about religion, I think it is kind of personal and for me I don’t try to impose my religious views on other people except for sometimes in this room.”

But, the bigger question came down to punishment, which the creative jurist told them can take many forms.

“So I’m open to suggestions.”

There it was, an opening.

With visions of cell bars dancing in his head, Strotman nearly interrupted the judge:

“Your honor, if I may, I would be more than happy to serve a church of your choosing.”

Mallory: “Time out. We may have an answer here.”

He addressed his thoughts to Johnson.

“So for his penance, what if I make him go to your church a number of Sunday services?”

Strotman would be sentenced to attend 12 consecutive Sunday services at Morning Star Baptist Church. He was ordered to attend each entire 90-minute service. He must get the weekly program signed by the minister.

That’s 18 hours of solid Baptist teaching.

He also paid $480 in court fines and a $2,800 lawyer bill.

Whatever you think of the decision, take a listen to what Strotman has to say about his sentence:

“Three months, that’s not that bad,” he said. “I think it’s a nice example of hearing people out instead of getting angry and jumping to conclusions.

“I’m going to listen with both my ears and keep my mouth shut,” he said. “Then, maybe I’ll try to sell them some windows.”

(Chris Graves is the Enquirer’s local columnist. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @chrisgraves)

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  • So can a American convicted of vandalism or assault or harassment of Muslims or a mosque be sentenced to attend Jumah services if the defendant suggests it? (Or substitute Hindus and a mandir.) If not, how is that different from this case?

  • The real crime was a $2,800 lawyer bill, when the defendant is the one being quoted.

  • Far-right Baptists don’t care if their sentences violate the Establishment Clause–they think their faith should be the law of the land.

  • I bet the young man is saying his Hail Marys in relief that he didn’t end up in the slammer

  • ““Also the thing about religion, I think it is kind of personal and for
    me I don’t try to impose my religious views on other people except for
    sometimes in this room.”

    What is a judge doing imposing his religious views in the courtroom? Reprimand, and if he keeps it up, fire him.

  • I’d rather do 20 years hard labor. I attended a friend’s funeral and catholic rosary a few years ago and I still have nightmares of crowds yelling “Hail Mary” and giving the Hitler salute.

  • It sounds like this courtroom is a restorative-justice type of court, in which the goal is not so much punishment as making the victim whole and help the offender. Unlike US criminal cases in general, the victim takes an active role in the process, even appearing in court on his own behalf as he did here (usually in the US this is limited to private discussions with the prosecutor and a victim-impact statement at sentencing). Both sides speak with the judge directly. Because it was the defendant’s suggestion, and there’s no appearance that he was pressured into it, it’s unlikely to be a constitutional violation. Nothing in your hypothetical strikes me as impossible legally.

  • Dr. James White, Christian apologist and an elder at the Phoenix Reformed Baptist church relates about how he would travel to Salt Lake City to witness to Mormons outside of the temple during one of their yearly conventions. He stopped going, one reason being because of the street preachers, or as Dr. White referred to them as Street Screechers, who also were in attendance outside of the temple and would literally scream about how Mormons would were all going to hell without giving the gospel in any coherent form. He said that they were an almost insurmountable obstacle to presenting the gospel by others to the Mormons.

  • But, the bigger question came down to punishment, which the creative jurist told them can take many forms.

    (Judge Mallory) “So I’m open to suggestions.”

    There it was, an opening.

    With visions of cell bars dancing in his head, Strotman nearly interrupted the judge:

    “Your honor, if I may, I would be more than happy to serve a church of your choosing.”

    It was a mutually agreed upon alternative to jail. This did not violate the establishment clause, being as the defendant suggested it and the judge agreed to it.

  • It was the defendant’s suggestion and the judge simply agreed. You could say the defendant named his poison and not a case of the judge “imposing” anything other than an agreed upon restitution of the defendant.

  • I refer you to the quote of the judge’s, which I cited above. “I don’t try to impose my religious views on other people except for sometimes in this room.” What is he doing trying to impose his views on those who find themselves in his courtroom? This defendant should have been sentenced to community service. Instead, he’s spending 18 hours sitting in a church. A total waste of his time, and the taxpayer monies for his trial. And the community gets nothing in return.

  • it sounds like a compromise to me and one that the defendant had first suggested. I must ask just who was was imposing onto whom? No, if the defendant had not suggested the punishment I belive the judge would have given him community service. Dont be sore that a suitable compromise was reached.

  • When I read the headline I was ready to complain about separation of church and state, etc. But the defendant suggested this. Okay. No problem, although it doesn’t say much for that Baptist church. It is better than going to jail. That’s way less than faint praise.

  • That the parties were happy with the compromise does not mean it wasn’t arrived at for the wrong reasons, or that it isn’t an unsatisfactory outcome for the taxpayer. He should be performing community service so the taxpayers obtain something of value for his crime and the cost of a trial. Instead, they get nothing. Further, the defendant suggested “serving” at a church. (Presumably something like working at a church food bank or similar.) He did not suggest sitting in a pew listening to sermons. That the judge thought sentencing him to listening to religious lectures for 18 hours is fine is unacceptable.

  • The establishment clause says two things:
    Congress is forbidden to set up a National Church of the United States.
    Congress is forbidden to interfere with anyone’s worship of Deity no matter which Deity is worshipped, or when or where or how that Deity is worshipped.
    In the present instance, I don’t see that Congress has tried to establish a National Church, or to interfere with anyone’s worship of Deity — so somebody please explain to me how the Establishment Clause is violated.

  • What is a”far-right”Baptist, and what does that have to do with this,catlady60?

  • Unacceptable to whom-YOU? Why is it any of your business, Croquet _Player?

  • Yes, unacceptable to me, and anyone else who cares that American jurisprudence is practiced correctly according to the Constitution. And that is certainly my business, as an American citizen and taxpayer.

  • That is a dishonest and reductive reading of the establishment clause. It means the apparatus of government cannot be used to further sectarian religious goals. Sentencing someone to mandatory religious prayer service is doing just that.

  • The judge overstepped his bounds by accepting such a suggestion. A less controversial one would have been community service with the church.

  • If the defendant volunteered for punishment by cutting off his pinky would that be OK as well? No. It violates constitutional principles as well. It violated the establishment clause because it is government mandated prayer. If it was to work for the church as a volunteer, you could make a better case for a rational and secular motive and act as community service. Here it is just sanctioned sectarian religious ceremony.

  • That “feels” less controversial, but it would have just as much or more constitutional problems. He’d be providing services to a religious organization. If having him attend a church service and nothing more is an entanglement or endorsement of religion, making him work for the church is more so. It might be different if he had vandalized the church and was doing community service as restitution.

  • Providing services to a religious institution he specifically wronged in his actions. If community service sentence has a restitution angle it could be justified as righting a previous wrong and doing work for the public served by a food bank or volunteer effort. So the services are not for the church, but merely through the church.

  • American jurisprudence was founded by Christians and employs Christian principles, as was the DoI and USC. Those same principles are what gives you the right to make the statements that you do. Think about it.

  • If he were simply providing services with a church, like to an otherwise secular food bank, that would be one thing. But if it’s the church’s food bank, it would be just as much of a First Amendment problem, at least from the starting point of endorsement/entanglement.
    It’s not so clear from the article whether the preachers were from a specific institution, or even if they all belonged to the same one, or if they were just a group of Baptists who got together to preach. Even so, the injury wasn’t to the church, it was to an individual. The defendant wouldn’t be providing restitution to the church.

  • I see your point there. You made a well informed, reasonable argument on the subject.

    We can both agree the judge clearly overstepped his bounds by allowing this kind of sentence. I was trying to polish that terd by pointing out a possible way accommodation could have been made in a way to provide actual community service.

    But you rightly point out the principles of the matter are important. Entanglement of church and state is unwelcome, unnecessary and a clear violation of the ideas behind the establishment clause.

  • A number of them were Deists. And they made damn sure to keep religion out of the Constitution. Think about that.

  • No, it is not.
    I have explained what the Establishment Clause says.
    Sentencing someone to attend church is not a good idea — I don’t approve of it — but it doesn’t violate the Establishment Clause.
    For one thing, the Establishment Clause forbids CONGRESS to interfere in religion, and the judge in question is not a Congressman, nor is he acting as one. He is not an official of the Federal government at all. He is an official of Hamilton County, Ohio — and the Establishment Clause places no restrictions on State or county officials.
    For another, even if the Establishment Clause placed restrictions on State or county officials, the judge’s actions do nothing toward establishing a National Church of the United States, nor do they prohibit the defendant’s free exercise of whatever religion he may hold (when he is not attending the assigned services, he is free to attend, or stay away from, any and all other worship services).

  • The whole “Establishment Clause just says no national church” is reductive to the point of absurdity. It would allow for sectarian discrimination as a matter if law by allowing the apparatus of state to be entangled with religion. Making a giant loophole in religious rights and undermining free exercise of religion. Which is why your reading is so dishonest.

    The establishment clause was always interpreted more broadly as to enforce separation of church and state. The only people who make the national church claim are Dominionists who disdain all religious freedom. Even the federalist papers, the only source worth anyrhing for “original intent” make it clear how wide the clause is applied.

    The judge used his official power to endorse and further sectarian religious belief and ceremony. It is as clear a violation of his authority and the establishment clause as one gets.

  • Very well, Spuddie — YOU explain to ME how Judge Mallory is a member of either the United States Senate or the United States House of Representatives, AND how his actions did either or both of the following:
    1. Established a National Church of the United States — and specify the name of that church.
    2. Interfered with Jake Strotman’s freedom to worship how, where, or what he chose.

  • 1. The national church thing is YOUR interpretation. Not even a rational or honest one. As I say for a 3rd time. Separation of church and state is the clearer interpretation.

    2. The defendants freedom to worship has nothing to do with a proper sentence in accordance with the law for his infraction. The judge overstepped his authority with such an unusual and sectarian based penalty.

    What I see here is a dishonest refusal to accept the facts as given and a willful misrepresentation of the establishment clause.

  • “…and employs Christian principles”

    But you can’t for the life of you name one of those specifically Christian principles embodied in the Constitution if you tried. You are simply trying to put your Christian “tramp stamp” on the first truly secular government and body of laws ever written for a nation.

  • Okay, everybody:
    So far as I can see, I have explained matters to Spuddie as simply as I know how, short of talking down to him, which I refuse to do for personal reasons, and he still doesn’t understand.
    I have asked him some specific questions, again worded as simply as I know how, short of talking down to him, and he has not even addressed them, let alone answered them.
    I address these questions to one and all:
    How could I have explained matters better so that Spuddie would have understood?
    How could I have better phrased my questions so that Spuddie would have answered them?

  • My apologies as I didn’t comment correctly. What I meant by “no establishment clause” was that the judge merely passed a sentence, there was no law passed by congress. Thanks for allowing me to clarify. 🙂

  • OK, I see we have a good deal of education to perform. Let’s start at the beginning shall we? Have you read the DoI (Declaration of Independence)?

  • Not answering the question. The DOI is not the basis of our government nor refers to anything specific to Christian belief. You got nothing here.

  • See the 14th Amendment. All of the bill of rights applies to actions by state and local governments as well under the equal protection clause. Your point was rendered obsolete almost 150 years ago.

  • I HAVE ‘look[ed] it up,’ which is why I asked the question in the first place. Apart from one or two, the rest of the signers of the DoI and US Constitution were Christian church members. in fact, “a number of them” were graduates of theological colleges.

  • John Quincy Adams, Ethan Allen, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Thomas Paine, and George Washington were all deists. So now that we’re clear that they weren’t all “Christians” as you claimed, regardless of their own private religious views, the Founding Fathers explicitly rejected the establishment of Christianity as the preferred or natural religion of the United States. In the 1796 Treaty of Tripoli, it states:

    “[T]he Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion”

    This was unanimously ratified by the Senate, and signed into law by John Adams. It doesn’t get much clearer that that.

  • John Quincy Adams – “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.” Letter to an autograph collector (27 April 1837), published in The Historical Magazine (July 1860), pp. 193-194.

    “In the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior. The Declaration of Independence laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity.” – An Oration Delivered Before the Inhabitants of the Town of Newburyport at Their Request on the Sixty-First Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1837 (Newburyport: Charles Whipple, 1837), pp. 5-6.

    “The hope of a Christian is inseparable from his faith. Whoever believes in the Divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures must hope that the religion of Jesus shall prevail throughout the earth. Never since the foundation of the world have the prospects of mankind been more encouraging to that hope than they appear to be at the present time. And may the associated distribution of the Bible proceed and prosper till the Lord shall have made “bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God” Life of John Quincy Adams, W. H. Seward, editor (Auburn, NY: Derby, Miller & Company, 1849), p. 248.

    Ethan Allen – “In the name of the great Jehovah, and the Continental Congress!” His reply as to by what authority he demanded the surrender of Fort Ticonderoga, as recounted in A Narrative of Colonel Ethan Allen’s Captivity (1779). Self-proclaimed deist (and avowed antagonist to Christianity), envoking the name of the God of the Bible.

    Benjamin Franklin – “You express yourself as if you thought I was against Worshipping of God, and believed Good Works would merit Heaven; which are both Fancies of your own, I think, without Foundation. I am so far from thinking that God is not to be worshipped, that I have compos’d and wrote a whole Book of Devotions for my own Use: And I imagine there are few, if any, in the World, so weake as to imagine, that the little Good we can do here, can merit so vast a Reward hereafter. There are some Things in your New England Doctrines and Worship, which I do not agree with, but I do not therefore condemn them, or desire to shake your Belief or Practice of them. We may dislike things that are nevertheless right in themselves. I would only have you make me the same Allowances, and have a better Opinion both of Morality and your Brother. Read the Pages of Mr. Edward’s late Book entitled Some Thoughts concerning the present Revival of Religion in NE. from 367 to 375; and when you judge of others, if you can perceive the Fruit to be good, don’t terrify your self that the Tree may be evil, but be assur’d it is not so; for you know who has said, Men do not gather Grapes of Thorns or Figs of Thistles.” Response [quoting Scripture] to his sister’s letter of 1743 questioning his lack of Christian faith.

    “We should remember the character which the Scripture requires in rulers.” Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787, pp. 1284

    Thomas Jefferson – “I am a real Christian – that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ.” The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Albert Ellery Bergh, editor (Washington, D.C.: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904), Vol. XIV, p. 385, to Charles Thomson on January 9, 1816.

    “I am a Christian in the only sense in which He wished anyone to be: sincerely attached to His doctrines in preference to all others.” Memoir, Correspondence, and Miscellanies from the Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph, editor (Boston: Grey & Bowen, 1830), Vol. III, p. 506, to Benjamin Rush, April 21, 1803.

    James Madison – ” I have sometimes thought there could not be a stronger testimony in favor of religion or against temporal enjoyments, even the most rational and manly, than for men who occupy the most honorable and gainful departments and [who] are rising in reputation and wealth, publicly to declare their unsatisfactoriness by becoming fervent advocates in the cause of Christ; and I wish you may give in your evidence in this way.” The Papers of James Madison, William T. Hutchinson, editor (Illinois: University of Chicago Press, 1962), Vol. I, p. 96, to William Bradford on September 25, 1773.

    Thomas Paine – “[it] is the fool only, and not the philosopher, or even the prudent man, that would live as if there were no God.” Age of Reason, Part II, Section 21. While a self-proclaimed deist (and antagonist to Christianity), he frequently quoted and employed Scripture. In addition, the principles he espoused were the same principles found in both Old and New Testaments. Please reference his work Common Sense, in which he invoked Scripture repeatedly in his call for American independence.

    George Washington – “The blessing and protection of Heaven are at all times necessary but especially so in times of public distress and danger. The General hopes and trusts that every officer and man will endeavor to live and act as becomes a Christian soldier, defending the dearest rights and liberties of his country.” The Writings of George Washington, John C. Fitzpatrick, editor (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1932), Vol. 5, p. 245, July 9, 1776 Order.

    “You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are.” The Writings of Washington, John C. Fitzpatrick, editor (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1932), Vol. XV, p. 55, from his speech to the Delaware Indian Chiefs on May 12, 1779.

    I find it interesting that only two of the people on your list of supposed ‘deists’ were, indeed, deists. I also find it interesting that the two self-proclaimed deists continued to use, invoke and/or quote Scripture or use Scripturally-based references. Which leads me to this question;

    If these two men were indeed deists (which they were), then what do you think was the foundation they used to build their worldview of morality, virtue, decency and right-wrong comparisons?

    You may also want to familiarize yourself with the following quotes regarding the fabled ‘separation of church and state’ which seems to be so prevalent in today’s thinking – because it definitely wasn’t the case when these documents were written. That faulty construct is a product of errant thinking and gross humanism trying to masquerade as ‘enlightenment’ and ‘education.’ Please consider these;

    “Had the people, during the Revolution, had a suspicion of any attempt to war against Christianity, that Revolution would have been strangled in its cradle… In this age, there can be no substitute for Christianity… That was the religion of the founders of the republic and they expected it to remain the religion of their descendants.” Reports of Committees of the House of Representatives Made During the First Session of the Thirty-Third Congress (Washington: A. O. P. Nicholson, 1854), pp. 6-9.

    “The great, vital, and conservative element in our system is the belief of our people in the pure doctrines and the divine truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” Journal of the House of the Representatives of the United States of America (Washington, DC: Cornelius Wendell, 1855), 34th Cong., 1st Sess., p. 354, January 23, 1856.

  • And so what? We can all quote-mine.

    Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure
    from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment
    was proposed by inserting “Jesus Christ,” so that it would read “A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;” the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination. -Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom

    Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common
    law. -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10,
    1814

    Among the sayings and discourses imputed to him [Jesus] by
    his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct
    morality, and of the most lovely benevolence; and others again
    of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism, and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being. -Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Short, April 13, 1820

    In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile
    to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting
    his abuses in return for protection to his own. -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Horatio G. Spafford, March 17, 1814

    That the Founders were religious themselves, to varying degrees, is certain. What is also certain is that they kept is out of the government. The extraordinary hubris of thinking that your particular religion is the the right one for America is just wrong. We have a secular government, it protects people of all faith, and no faith, and despite the efforts of so many, it’s going to stay that way.

  • I somehow doubt you understand what “quote mining” is. I simply offered evidence refuting the erroneous claims you made, which constitutes evidence and nothing more. Which brings us to your next claim, “What is also certain is that they kept is [I believe you meant ‘it’ – meaning religion] out of the government.” Please consider the following as more evidence;

    “That the civil magistrate hath not only a right, but is indispensably bound, as an essential duty of his office, to protect and support religion. The right and obligation of the civil magistrate to interpose in matters of religion, is a subject of no small controversy at the present day, many zealously contending that it is no part of the office, and duty of civil rulers, in their official capacity, to make provision for the support of religion; or to exercise their authority in any respect relative thereto. Nay, some even go so far as to deny the authority of the civil magistrate to protect religion; excluding the teachers of it from the benefit of the law for the recovery of their dues for their official services, from those to whom they have officiated pursuant to explicit contract. As I apprehend this to be a subject of great importance, so I conceive it will not be deemed an improper subject of discussion. And shall accordingly endeavor to maintain, that the civil magistrate hath not only a right, but is indispensably bound, as an essential duty of his office, to protect and support religion.” Simon Backus, A Dissertation on the Right and Obligation of the Civil Magistrate to Take Care of Religion and Provide for Its Support, Connecticut, 1804.

    Proclamations for Fasting and Prayer;

    Samuel Huntington, Governor of Connecticut, on March 28, 1789.

    John Hancock, Governor of Massachusetts, on March 4, 1793.

    President John Adams issued a national fasting and prayer proclamation on March 23, 1798.

    A Proclamation for a Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer issued by John Taylor Gilman, Governor of New Hampshire, on March 19, 1804.

    President James Madison on July 9, 1812; Also Four Hymns to accompany this day of national Humiliation and Prayer.

    A national fast day proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln on March 30, 1863, declaring April 30, 1863 the day of fasting.

    You may also be interested to know that the following is verified as being historically accurate;

    The US Capitol was used extensively AS A CHURCH, up until the 1860s, and was attended by members of congress and various other government officials – including Thomas Jefferson. What’s interesting to note is that Jefferson attended that Capitol church service just two days after he penned his famous letter containing the “wall of separation between church and state” metaphor.

    The US GOVERNMENT ordered the printing and/or importation of Bibles during the Revolutionary War, because “The Congress desire to have a Bible printed under their care and by their encouragement.” (Letters of Delegates to Congress, Paul H. Smith, editor (Washington: Library of Congress, 1981), Vol. VII, p. 311, “Committee on Publishing a Bible to Sundry Philadelphia Printers,” July 7, 1777.)

    “We are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being. . . . When the State encourages religious instruction or cooperates with religious authorities by adjusting the schedule of public events to sectarian needs, it follows the best of our traditions. For it then respects the religious nature of our people and accommodates the public service to their spiritual needs. To hold that it may not would be to find in the Constitution a requirement that the government show a callous indifference to religious groups. That would be preferring those who believe in no religion over those who do believe.” (SCOTUS, Zorach v. Clauson, 343 U. S. 306, 312-314 (1952).

    “We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel. . . . I therefore beg leave to move that henceforth, prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven and its blessings on our deliberations be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more clergy of the city be requested to officiate in that service.” (Benjamin Franklin – encouraging and establishing the office of congressional chaplain).

    The hubris, sir, is yours. It is shown by your thinking that you know more about the intentions and goals of the founding documents of the American Republic THAN THE PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY WROTE THEM. It’s BECAUSE American government depends upon Christian principles that we “protect[s] people of all faith, and no faith.”
    This information, and a whole HOST of supporting facts, is available at;
    http://www.wallbuilders.com

  • “The DOI is not the basis of our government …” WOW. I can’t believe you actually posted this response, so I assume (and actually HOPE) you meant something else. Care to clarify?

  • I have come to the same conclusion. Thank you for confirming it — now I know that I am not suffering from a delusion …

  • At no point is the structure of a government described in the DOi or even a clear reference to a given religion. Let alone Christianity. Try looking in the constitution. The 2ND attempt at forming a government after the revolution. When the nation officially formed.

    There are still no references to anything uniquely Christian in any of it. Including the DOI.

  • More like you are not only both terribly wrong, but not even making a lick of sense. Mostly because you both ascribe to a very unconstitutional view of religion and have a complete disdain for religious liberties.

  • Maybe, I didn’t read the story correctly, but, according to the writer, the guy was engaging in a perfectly legitimate, if heated, discussion before another man entered the scene and became violent. He never said he was evangelizing but disagreed with these in-your-face Pharisees. That sentence was a violation of the man’s religious rights and conscience. I would never approve of a person from another denomination being forced by a judge to attend my church against her/his will. I am a Catholic priests and have many friends who are pastors of Protestant churches, and I deeply respect them and their preaching. But, I would have gone to jail in defiance. The judge is a disgrace and a reprobate. Have a person attend his/her own church for the allotted weeks. Would I have to visit a house of prostitution if I disagreed with a pimp publicly but someone else started a fight a with him?

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