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Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian. No purpose of action against religion can be imputed to any legislation, state or national, because this is a religious people. This is historically true. From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation. The commission to Christopher Columbus…hoped that by God’s assistance some of the continents and islands in the ocean will be discovered. — from Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, February 29, 1892.

David Josiah Brewer (1837–1910) was a justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1889 until his death. The author of the decision for the Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States case, Brewer gave voice unanimously in favor of the Holy Trinity Anglican Church of New York against the U.S. government. The case settled whether a minister of that church, who was a foreigner, was considered a foreign laborer — with whom it was illegal at the time to make a contract. Precipitated by a dispute over whether an American church could hire an English priest, the court ruled in favor of the church.

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