Law must not be separated from principles

Aug. 7, 2014 at 11:45 a.m.

Editor, the Advocate:

At the age of 32, Joseph Story became the youngest associate justice of the Supreme Court and served from 1811 to 1845 - writing 286 opinions. He was also the Dane Professor of Law at Harvard and wrote many legal texts now considered classics. His three-volume set of "Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States" is still the standard treatise on the subject.

At a point in his life where Story doubted the truth of Christianity, he "labored and read with assiduous attention all of the arguments of its proof" and became committed to the principles of Christianity, which he repeatedly expressed throughout his lengthy legal career. It was his conviction that American law and legal practices must never be separated from Christian principles.

As he explained: "One of the beautiful boasts of our municipal jurisprudence is that Christianity is a part of the common law. There never has been a period in which the common law did not recognize Christianity as lying at its foundations. The law pronounces illegal every contract offensive to Christianity's morals. It recognizes with profound humility Christianity's holidays and festivals and obeys them even to the point of suspending all government functions on those days. It still attaches to persons believing in Christianity's divine authority the highest degree of competency as witnesses."

"Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and your law is truth." - Psalm 119:142

John R. Fisher, U.S. Navy veteran, Point Comfort



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