United States, where taxes are collected at the local, state, andnnational level, to support government schools where the religiousnand ethical views of most citizens cannot be taught andnwhere the “philosophy” of the ruling class is spooned out asntruth, science, and the American way? For want of a betternname, this religion can be called Liberalism, a Protean creednthat used to emphasize individualism and the glories of NewnEngland and now prefers to speak of group oppression and culturalndiversity. Some of the differences may be more apparentnthan real. Emerson and his sycophants used to insist uponnAmerican culture as something distinct from Europe while atnthe same time drooling after Oriental cultures they knew mostlynfrom their imperfect readings of German translation, hinAmerica, if you scratch any cultural blister, the pus will turn outnto be Unitarian.nThe details of the national creed are unimportant; anynschoolboy of the 18th century would be able to refute them.nWhat is important is the fact that we are saddled with a vastnand expensive church establishment that gives no instruction tonthe young, no relief to the sick, no comfort to the distressed.nHow we got to this point would make an interesting story inntwo chapters. Chapter one would tell the tale of the NewnEngland Unitarians who used the public schools to establishntheir own anti-Christian doctrines, arguing (as Horace Mannndid) that everyone believed in one God, but not everyonenbelieved in the Trinity. Later on, a similar ploy was used againstnthe Catholic minority, whose theology had a great deal more inncommon with the American majority of Anglicans, Lutherans,nMethodists, and Presbyterians, than any of the Protestants hadnwith the Unitarians.nThis lowest common denominator game is still being played.nSince not everyone in a school or district is a Christian, it isnwrong to set up a creche or sing “Good Christian men, rejoice.”nOn the other hand, it is not wrong to teach moral, political, andnreligious views that positively offend the 95 percent of the familiesnthat are Christian.nBy the 1940’s, when I was born, the public schools of thenUnited States might be described in military language as “GeneralnProtestant.” In most of the Midwest this meant that carolsinging,nmanger scenes, and Christmas pageants were part ofnthe “holiday season” (the government holiday that has supplantednChristmas). In general, though, I do not think thatnschool days began with either prayer or Scripture readings innmost Midwestern schools, although I do remember my firstngrade teacher asking us, one Monday, where we had gone tonchurch.nIn the more Christian South, there was never any doubtnwhere one stood. Every day began with the Lord’s Prayer and anBible reading. The duties were allotted to the students in alphabeticalnorder, which meant that roughly once a month I hadnto ask my Christian friends to help me find an appropriate passage.nI was a little embarrassed, of course, but since my familynmade no secret of its indifference to religion—our holiday appearancesnat the Episcopal Church hardly constituted a religiousnpractice—it would have been rank hypocrisy to complain.nThe gradual elimination of religious symbols and songs,nprayers and ceremonies, from schools and public places was accomplishednin less than 50 years by the Supreme Court. Thencourse of this judicial oil spill has been made very easy to tracenby Terry Eastland in his recent book. Religious Liberty in thenSupreme Court. Anyone with the slightest interest in constitutionalnissues—anyone, in other words, who is a citizen—shouldnspend a few hours with this book, reading decision afternSupreme Court decision whittling away the religious liberties ofnAmerican citizens and the rights of their once sovereign states.nFrom Cantwell v. Connecticut (1940), in which the Court upheldnthe rights of Jehovah’s Witnesses (a non-Christian cult)nto violate the laws of Connecticut by disturbing the peace withntheir anti-Catholic diatribes, to Lee v. Weisman (1992), innwhich a five to four majority ruled against a school in Rhode Islandnthat had invited a Rabbi to say a nondenominationalnprayer at a graduation ceremony, the Court has inexorablynworked to establish its own prejudices as the law and religion ofnthe United States.n’ederalism requiresnthe bricks andnmortar of constitu­ntional prohibitions against mosf of whatnthe national government is doing, andnthat will mean either the repeal or thencurtailment of the 14th Amendment.nEven in 1940, the mechanism was the I4th Amendment. InnCantwell, Justice Owen J. Roberts declared: “The fundamentalnconcept of liberty embodied in that Amendment embraces thenliberties guaranteed by the First Amendment. . . . The FourteenthnAmendment has rendered the legislatures of the statesnas incompetent as Congress to enact such laws.” Now, RaoulnBerger has shown that the Framers of that amendment had nonsuch intention. Their only goal was to make sure that formernslaves, as such, were not formally deprived of very basic citizenshipnrights. In the congressional debate over the amendment,nthe question of a broader construction was raised and explicitlynrejected. Perhaps even more to the point, Forrest McDonaldnhas demonstrated convincingly that there are several groundsnon which the passage of the 14th Amendment must be regardednas unconstitutional.nSo, on the basis of an unconstitutional amendment construednagainst the expressed intent of its Framers, the SupremenCourt has made itself supreme arbiter in all matters of religion.nThere have been dissenters, of course. In McCollum v. Board ofnEducation (1948), Hugo Black, writing for the majority, declarednagainst release-time for religion classes. Justice StanleynReed, injecting a little reality into the case, pointed out thatnthose who cite Mr. Jefferson’s “wall of separation” failed to notenthat Jefferson had not kept religion out of the state universitynhe established and that American military academies had chaplains,njust like the Congress of the United States.nThe use of history to refute ideology is a characteristic of thendissenters, and, after plowing through the lies and ignorancenof Justices Black, Douglas, and Brennan, the learned andnforceful dissents of then Justice Rehnquist in Wallace v. Jaffreenand Justice Scalia in Lee v. Weisman come like a cleansing thunderstormnon a muggy August afternoon. If a reasonable mannnnMARCH 1995/9n