"The [First Amendment] clause speaks of 'an establishment of religion.' What is meant by that expression? It referred, without doubt, to that establishment clause which existed in the mother-country...endowment at the public expense, peculiar privileges to its members, or disadvantages or penalties upon those who should reject its doctrines or belong to other communions, - such law would be a 'law respecting an establishment of religion..."
"They intended, by this amendment, to prohibit 'an establishment of religion' such as the English Church presented, or any thing like it. But they had no fear or jealously of religion itself, nor did they wish to see us an irreligious people...”
"They did not intend to spread over all the public authorities and the whole public action of the nation the dead and revolting spectacle of atheistic apathy. Not so had the battles of the Revolution been fought and the deliberations of the Revolutionary Congress been conducted.”
"In the law, Sunday is a 'dies non;' ...The executive departments, the public establishments, are all closed on Sundays; on that day neither House of Congress sits...Sunday, the Christian Sabbath, recognized and respected by all the departments of the Government...”
"Here is a recognition by law, and by universal usage, not only of a Sabbath, but of the Christian Sabbath, in exclusion of the Jewish or Mohammedan Sabbath...the recognition of the Christian Sabbath [by the Constitution] is complete and perfect."
"We are a Christian people...not because the law demands it, not to gain exclusive benefits or to avoid legal disabilities, but from choice and education; and in a land thus universally Christian, what is to be expected, what desired, but that we shall pay due regard to Christianity.”