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Samuel Chase


Samuel Chase (1741-1811), who was appointed a Justice on the United States Supreme Court by George Washington, was also a signer of the Declaration of Independence and later served as the Chief Justice of the State of Maryland.  In the case of Runkel v. Winemiller, 1799, Justice Chase gave the courts opinion:

"Religion is of general and public concern, and on its support depend, in great measure, the peace and good order of government, the safety and happiness of the people."

"By our form of government, the Christian religion is the established religion; and all sects and denominations of Christians are placed upon the same equal footing, and are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty."  - Runkel v. Winemiller, 4 Harris & McHenry 276,288 (Sup. Ct. Md. 1799).  David Barton, The Myth of Separation (Aledo, TX: WallBuilder Press, 1991), pp. 64, 151.  Runkel v. Winemiller, 4 Harris & McHenry (MD) 429 1 AD 411, 417 (Justice Chase).  "Our Christian Heritage," Letter from Plymouth Rock (Marlborough, NH: The Plymouth Rock Foundation), p. 4.

In 1799, a dispute arose over whether an Irish emigrant, Thomas M'Creery, who had become naturalized as an American citizen, was thereby able to leave an estate to a relative still living in Ireland.  The court decided in M'Creery's favor based on a certificate executed before Justice Chase:

"Thomas M'Creery, in order to become... naturalized according to the Act of Assemble... on the 30th of September, 1795, took the oath... before the Honorable Samuel Chase, Esquire, then being the Chief Judge of the State of Maryland... and did then and there receive from the said Chief Judge, a certificate thereof...: Maryland; I, Samuel Chase, Chief Judge of the State of Maryland, do hereby certify all whom it may concern, that... personally appeared before me Thomas M'Creery, and did repeat and subscribe a declaration of his belief in the Christian Religion, and take the oath required by the Act of Assembly of this State, entitled, An Act for Naturalization."  - M'Creey's Lessee v. Allender, 4 H. & Mett. 259 (1799).  David Barton, The Myth of Separation (Aledo, TX: WallBuilder Press, 1991), pp. 64.