John Jay, First Chief Justice of the Supreme Court: 'Providence has given to our people th

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John Jay, First Chief Justice of the Supreme Court: "Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation [sic] to select and prefer Christians for their rulers [sic]." (1) ---- (1) John Jay, "The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay", Henry P. Johnston, ed. (NY: Burt Franklin, 1970), Vol. IV, p. 393, October 12, 1816 ----------------------------------------------------------------- What does this say about John Jay? Some possibilities: 1. He was an arrogant, insensitive, irresponsible clod who didn't understand the impact that such rash speech might have when it came from the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. 2. He had not yet read the Bill of Rights, which every 20th-century American *knows* contains specific language directing the Separation of Church and State. 3. He had not yet been taught that what he and his contemporaries really meant in the Bill of Rights was that there was a Separation of Church and State which forbade (or at least strongly discouraged) such talk.

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