VIEWSrnIf God Ran the State Departmentrnby D. George LeechrnI n the Name of the most Holy & undivided Trinity.”rnA Thus begins the Treaty of Paris (1783) by which GreatrnBritain formally conceded the existence of the independentrnUnited States of America. This matter-of-fact invocation of thernTriune God of Ghristianity stands in sharp contrast to the stirringrntributes to human authority in the opening words of therndocuments usually cited as the foundahons of the American republic:rnthe Declaration of Independence (“When in thernCourse of human events . . . “) and our second, and theoreticallyrnour current, constitution (“We the People of the UnitedrnStates…”). In fact, as the deed to our national existence, thernTreaty of Paris is arguably the American founding document.rnThe fact that the Christian invocation was pro forma for therntimes says as much about the times as the principle: the UnitedrnStates took its place among the nations of the world as an explicitlyrnChristian polity.rnWith the possible exceptions of Puritan New England andrnthe incipient state of Deseret, the United States has never beenrna theocracy in the sense that the ecclesiastical establishmentrnruled the civil. But until recently, it was unarguably a thearchyrnsince public authorities, at all levels, from the schoolmarmrnleading her students in the Lord’s Prayer to the President andrnthe Supreme Court, openly affirmed Christianit)’ (in its Protestantrniteration) as the uncontested ruling ethos. The herald ofrnlibert)’, Patrick Henry, proclaimed: “It cannot be emphasizedrntoo strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, notrnby religionists, but by Christians, not on religions but on thernGospel of Jesus Christ.”rnD. George Leech writes from northern Virg mia.rnIn sharp contrast to our current legal fictions, Justice JosephrnStory, a preeminent expositor of our constitutional order (whenrnwe still had one), elucidated: “The real objective of the FirstrnAmendment was not to countenance, much less to advance,rnMohammedanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostratingrnChristianity, but to exclude rivalry among Christian sects, andrnto prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment patronagernof the national government,” and, in particular, to protect thernthen-established churches of several states. That a ChristianrnAmerica had an international mission was attested to by JohnrnAdams: “The destiny of America is to carry the Gospel of JesusrnChrist to all men everywhere.” Even as late as 1905, U.S.rnSupreme Court Justice David Josiah Brewer could state at Har-rn”ard Universit}’: “This Republic is classified among the Christianrnnations of the world. . . . We constantly speak of this Republicrnas a Christian nation —in fact, as the leading Christianrnnation of the world. The popular use of the term certainly hasrnsignificance. It is not a mere creation of the imagination.”rnToday, in what Don Feder has rightiy called Pagan America,rnsuch sentiments have only a quaint antiquarian significance; ifrnuttered today, they would be offensive and subversive. Thernconstitutionalism of Stor)’ and Brewer has long since given wayrnto the lawlessness of Stevens and Breyer and their ilk. As if theirrnconscious intent were to vex the shade of Justice Story, our judicialrnauthorities act precisely to prostrate Christianity whilerngiving official protection to pernicious cults that would havernscandalized the Founding Fathers. The exemplar, of course, isrnthe Supreme Court’s extension of First Amendment protectionsrnto Afro-Caribbean animal sacrifices in Church of ThernLukumi BabaluAye, Inc. v. City of Hialeah (1993).rn12/CHRONICLESrnrnrn