U.S. Supreme Court Decisions

 •  10 min. read  •  grade level: 10
In recent issues we have been calling repeated attention to the mounting evidences that we are now living at the time of the end—the end of the day of grace. We shall soon hear the shout of Him who said, "I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." Then this poor, deluded, Christ-rejecting world will be left to reap the due reward of its deeds.
This month we feel constrained to write a few words regarding the United States Supreme Court decision banning the use of the specified prayer in the New York State public schools. When we read the twenty-two words of this innocuous, anemic prayer, we marvel that there should be any objection to the use of it, unless it be by true Christians who wished the prayer to be pertinent to present conditions, and that the Lord Jesus be mentioned in it. Back in 1951, the New York State Board of Regents recommended that the schools, at their option, adopt the use of this so-called prayer as an act of reverence. It read: "Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessing upon us, our parents, our teachers, our country." It was designed to be thoroughly non-denominational, and offensive to no one. There is nothing in it in which any believer in a so-called Supreme Being could not take part. But the law specifically stated that anyone who objected to it could be excused from participation in it or from the room while it was said. Therefore it seems clear that it was not the mere seeking of the rights of some religious minority, but rather the right of infidelity and atheism to object to any mention of God.
The suit was brought by the New York Civil Liberties Union on behalf of two Jewish families, one Unitarian family, one from a member of the Society for Ethical Culture, and one described as an agnostic. It was carried all the way to the Supreme Court by the Civil Liberties Union, and $6,000 was expended before this 6 to 1 decision was rendered against the prayer.
We are not interested in the Supreme Court's decision because we think a prayer should be uttered in every public school; but we cannot fail to see the trend of the day, which is opening the way for avowed and belligerent atheism. The echoes of assent to the Supreme Court's decision indicate the forces which desire and approve such a ruling. Correspondent David Horowitz, from the United Nations in New York, commented in his column in the B'nai B'rith newspaper of July 6: "Judging by the reactions here at the United Nations, the Socialist states took the lead in joining most of the 104 member countries in an expression of satisfaction at the U. S. Supreme Court decision against State-established religion." Evidently any state-established religion means any recognition of God, or the "God-concept." Another remark from the same issue of B'nai B'rith: "Jewish opinion has been overwhelmingly in favor of the decision, but at the same time there were several pockets of disagreement." Some of the old orthodox Jews feared the decision.
It is not strange to find the liberal elements among both Jews and so-called Christians expressing satisfaction over the Supreme Court ruling. Just ten years ago the same court ruled, "that we are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being." What has happened in the interim? Godlessness has increased. The Word of God plainly tells us that there is a man coming who will oppose and exalt himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped. Man's wickedness is daily rising to new heights; and as soon as the Spirit of God, with the true Church of God, leaves this world, all restraint will be removed. This will bring about the open deification of man. It is prefigured in Dan. 6, where king Darius made a decree that no one could ask a petition of any god or man for thirty days, save of himself. These days are approaching, and it is only the presence of the Church on earth that hinders their full development.
Some years ago, it seemed incredible that the United States would join the United Nations, or any group of nations, which, in deference to atheist Russia, forbade any prayer at the opening of any meeting; but in lieu of the same, they would authorize a minute of silence. The United States, however, joined this unholy alliance. The United Nations installed a meditation room where members can go to meditate; but this room remains largely unused. Well may we say today, "There is no fear of God before their eyes."
One remark that has struck us forcibly concerning all this agitation, is that people should "put God where He belongs." Their thought was to put Him out of the school and into the church or synagogue, but is not God omnipresent? Is not God to be reckoned with about all the affairs of our lives? Russia has sought to drive God out of her country; and the famous atheist, Nietzsche (1844-1900), boasted that he had killed God, much as the man of sin who is coming will do; and he will do it with public acquiescence and approval. But let us remember, "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision." Psalm 2:44He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. (Psalm 2:4).
Justice Hugo L. Black wrote the majority opinion for the Supreme Court, but it was the concurring opinion of Justice William 0. Douglas which became the real storm center, and which probably, more than anything else, marks the character of these days. Justice Douglas referred to the fact that at the opening of every session of the Supreme Court a crier proclaims the opening of the Court with these words, "God save the United States and this honorable court." Both the Senate and the House of Representatives have chaplains, and each session is opened with prayer. In making mention of these functions, Justice Douglas said that he considered them unconstitutional. He commented, "Yet for me the principle is the same, no matter how briefly the prayer is said, for in each of the instances given the person praying is a public official on the public payroll, performing a religious exercise in a governmental institution." - B'nai B'rith. Very little does the Western world realize where the steps they are now taking will lead them. God is being excluded from one area after another of public and private life; while secularism, materialism, agnosticism, and open and avowed atheism are taking over. It will not be long before God arises "to shake terribly the earth." There is a time of trouble coming for this world which God declares will be worse than anything that ever preceded it. It will be "the great tribulation." And it will culminate in direct judgments at the hand of Christ, who comes as King of kings and Lord of lords to make His enemies His footstool, and to rule the nations with a rod of iron. Then He will dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
At the same time that the Supreme Court handed down their decision against the use of a prayer addressed to Almighty God, they handed down another momentous decision with very far reaching effects, which thus became the law of the land. This one hinders the United States Post Office from interfering with delivery of certain "unpleasant, uncouth and tawdry" magazines. Such magazines that cater to corruption and lust have been banned by the Post Office, but the new ruling makes it very difficult for the Post Office henceforth to ban any literature that is obscene. It is striking that in the same day that the highest court of the land chose to oppose the mention of Almighty God in a prayer of twenty-two words on the one hand, it opened the flood-gates to filth and corruption on the other. Justice Tom C. Clark, who dissented from the six judges' ruling which approved lifting the Post Office ban, remarked that the decision of the judges "required the United States Post Office be the world's largest disseminator" of such indecent and foul material (New York Times, June 26, 1962). Not only does this Supreme Court ruling lift the ban on the previously mentioned magazines, but there are others of similar nature ready to go into print, with the assurance that they cannot be banned from the mails.
One special note in this decision should be mentioned. Justice Harlan, in his decision permitting postal distribution of periodicals branded as obscene, said, "It must be so offensive on their face as to affront CURRENT community standards of decency." Here we have the kernel of the whole thing, and the kernel of increasing lawlessness and lustful pursuits. "It must be so offensive as to affront current community standards"; in other words, there is no standard of morality to go by. Moral standards are always changing and, consequently, being lowered; and so the lower the community standard sinks, the lower the interpretation of the law must be. We are reminded of the servant of Christ who recently said that man is governed by his lusts and popular opinion; and that when popular opinion drops, his lusts take over. How good it is that the holy, immutable Word of God never changes, and that God never lowers His standard of holiness.
May we at this point insert a few words to young Christians. Beware of what you read. The world is wallowing in what they "know naturally as brute beasts." They are like the prodigal in the far country who would have satisfied his hunger with the husks that the swine did eat. Avoid all literature and pictures that tend to stimulate man's lusts. "Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away." Pro. 4:1515Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. (Proverbs 4:15). Our young people in school and college are very apt to hear and see a great deal of this, but they need to seek the Lord's help to avoid any contamination by it. The world is not getting better, but getting rapidly worse; and when the Lord Jesus comes to execute judgment, parallel times with those of the days of Sodom and Gomorrah will be prevalent.
We cannot remake the world, any more than righteous Lot could improve wicked Sodom. Our hope and our expectation is the coming of the Lord, so let us not be alarmed by the rapid increase in godlessness and corruption, although we can note that it is but a part of a bent of the world on its road to destruction. The Christians in the days of the early Roman Empire had no encouragement from the government; in fact, they often suffered under its decrees. Many were put to death for Christ's sake. It was possible then, and it is possible now, for a Christian to live in "all holy conversation and godliness." The same things that caused the dissolution of the old Roman Empire are at work now; the only difference being that there is a form of godliness today, although the form itself is soon to be given up.
Under specious pleas and arguments, people with aversion to the mention of God and those with perverted minds must have their rights safeguarded in those very matters. We have not as yet, however, heard of any who refused to accept money on which is engraved, "In God we trust"—probably because of the value of money. But whether the inscription, "In God we trust," remains or goes, or whether or not prayers may be said in schools, there is a path for Christians which can be for God's glory. How thankful we should be to God who has given us a faithful description of the last days, and has told us how to live therein!
"Keep us, Lord, 0 keep us cleaving
To Thyself and still believing,
Till the hour of our receiving
Promised joys with Thee."
NOTE: The B'nai B'rith mentioned above is the one published in Los Angeles.