|The Constitutional Principle: Separation of Church and State|
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|1811 NY The People v. Ruggles, 8 Johns 545 (Sup Ct N.Y. 1811) a Blasphemy case is cited 12 times in The Myth of Separation||
Major claims by Barton in his publications:
From The Myth of Separation, page 55-58, Barton writes:
This case was not only cited in the previous case, it was also the second case cited in Holy Trinity. The offense and surrounding facts are described from the case:
The attorney for the prisoner presented his defense:
The prosecuting attorney countered:
The Chief Justice of the New York Supreme Court during this case was Chancellor James Kent, author of Commentaries on American Law. There were few purely American legal precedents or writings in the young nation on which to rely in its early years; consequently, lawyers and judges studied and applied the writings of Sir William Blackstone, an English judge and author of Blackstone's Commentaries on the Law. However, as time progressed and experience accumulated in the young nation, American writings and standards were developed. These were due, in large part, to the four-volume work written by James Kent: Commentaries on American Law. Kent's writings, while heavily dependent upon Blackstone, eventually replaced Blackstone's as the standard in America.
In addition to producing his Commentaries. Kent also originated the practice of written decisions in New York. After his years in that state's supreme court, he went on to a nine-year term as the head of the Court of Chancery--a specialized court dealing with complicated and intricate situations that regular courts were unable to handle. James Kent was much more than an average judge in a northeastern state--he was one of the premier individuals in the development of legal practice in the United States. His words on law carry significant weight and importance. Notice his decision in this case:
These are powerful words, written by one of the fathers of American legal practice! His specific statement concerning Christianity and the Constitution bears repeating:
To construe it [the Constitutional as breaking down the common law barriers against licentious, wanton, and impious attacks upon Christianity itself, would be an enormous perversion of its meaning.
On page 248 of his The Myth of Separation, David Barton provides us with a highly edited quotation from The People v. Ruggles, an 1811 decision by the Supreme Court of the State of New York. The case involved a man arrested for publicly criticizing the Christian religion. Barton quotes the decision (written by Chief Justice James Kent) as follows:
Offenses against religion and morality...strike at the root of moral obligation, and weaken the security of the social ties.... This [First Amendment] declaration...never meant to withdraw religion...and with it the best sanctions of moral and social obligation from all consideration and notice of the law.
For more information on this case, please see: Did the Supreme Court of New York, in an 1811 decision, ever say that the First Amendment was "never meant to withdraw religion...from all consideration and notice of the law?"
Legal analysis and writing by Susan Batte, Esq.
Christianity is a part of the common law of England, but, under the provisions of our constitution, neither Christianity nor any other system of religion is a part of the law of this state. (Bloom v Cornelius; December Term, 1853; Ohio Supreme Court)This also tends to show that there were other motives at stake when Kent wrote his opinion, especially in light of the fact that there appeared to be a recognizable Jewish community in New York.