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“Scopes Courtroom” Hosts Harlan Bible Dedication

Local judges receive symbolic Bibles

Tennessee Circuit Court Judge Justin Angel holds newly presented

Tennessee Circuit Court Judge Justin Angel holds newly presented “Harlan Bible” with Retired Judge Darrell White of the American Judicial Alliance holding Justice John Marshall Harlan’s Bible from 1906. (photo: Rhea Review)March 16, 2015

Dayton, Tenn. — Surrounded by the same walls which held “The World’s Most Famous Court Trial” nearly 90 years before, those in attendance witnessed a momentous occasion as three local judges each accepted a Bible from the American Judicial Alliance.


Retired Judge Darrell White at Rhea County Historic Courthouse. (photo: Rhea Review)

Retired Judge Darrell White, who on behalf of the AJA, presented the “Harlan Bibles” to Rhea County General Sessions Judge Shannon Garrison, Circuit Court Judge Justin Angel, and Chattanooga City Court Judge Russell Beene, says being at Rhea County’s Historic Courthouse was a dream come true.

“This is an honor of a lifetime,” White says.  “I have literally looked forward to this as long as I have been interested in origin science and as long as I have been interested in law.  To be here where William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow litigated that case.  It’s just an answer to a prayer for me.”

The significance of the setting wasn’t lost others either.   Rhea County Historical Committee chair Tom Davis said, “The Scopes’ Trial in large measure dealt with the very issue of where the Bible fits in real life.”

“I am grateful the AJA is here to present a Bible to our judges and hope it will be a guiding light for them,” said Davis.

An inspirational sense of humility appeared to overtake each judge as they received their Bible.  Circuit Court Judge Justin Angel, who hears cases in Rhea and five other counties, stated he would like to see one in every courtroom in the 12th Judicial District.

“It’s a book I derive much guidance and wisdom,” Angel said.  “I feel blessed to receive such a special Bible, knowing the history of the Harlan Bible.”

Thus far, White, a semi-retired judge from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has presented nearly 200 “Harlan Bibles” to judges across the country with hopes to have one in every courtroom in the nation.

About the “Harlan Bible”

The “Harlan Bible” is an Oxford Sunday School Teachers Edition King James Version Bible with blank pages for notes.  In 1906, Justice John Marshall Harlan, I (1833-1911) gave his own Bible to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). It has become known as the “Harlan Bible” and is maintained by the Court’s Curator. Since its presentation, the Harlan Bible’s flyleaf pages have been signed by every justice in succession shortly after taking the oath of office.

According to the AJA website, Justice David Souter said that signing the Harlan Bible “was the most humbling thing that I have ever done in my entire life.” Justice Samuel Alito also wrote what a “thrilling and awe-inspiring moment” it was when he signed his name alongside “all the Justices for the past 100 years.” Justice Sonia Sotomayor said “taking the oath with my hand on Justice Harlan’s bible” was among the “most symbolically meaningful” activities of her investiture.

Wow! What a Tradition!


“That’s the comment most often expressed as Americans learn that the Supreme Court of the United States has preserved a distinctively Biblical heritage by allowing incoming justices an opportunity to sign the flyleaf pages of an old Bible,” notes Retired Judges Darrell White, president of  American Judicial Alliance.  Our organization is now dedicating Bibles to every court in the United States of America.

The Bibles are being dedicated in replication of a heritage perpetuated in the United States Supreme Court for over one hundred years.  One of America’s most interesting justices, John Marshall Harlan (1833-1911) began the veritable tradition by donating his personal Bible to the Court.  Since that time, every Supreme Court Justice has signed the Harlan Bible’s flyleaf pages.

American Judicial Alliance (AJA) and its related organization, Retired Judges of America (RJA) are led by Retired Judge Darrell White and Jason Stern.  Both men share a vision for “awakening the conscience of One Nation Under God” and for featuring the unmistakable link between the Bible and America’s Constitution and laws.  Interestingly, the phrase, “awakening the conscience” appears in the Federal Code of Evidence and corresponding codes of virtually every state.

Support and coverage of AJA’s mission has come from Supreme Court justices, active and retired judges, newspapers, magazines, and concerned citizens.

Douglasville, Georgia Judges receiving their Bibles

Recent Gallup polling data shows that America’s confidence in our Supreme Court is on the decline. AJA, in keeping with the “Lawyer’s Oath,” seeks to “maintain the respect due to Courts of Justice and judicial officers.”  In bringing its message across America, AJA gives special attention to the America’s “Rule of Law.”

As the organization moves out across the Nation, judges are receiving the Bibles with enthusiasm: “We are so grateful to receive this Bible into our Court.  American Judicial Alliance’s Harlan Bible reminds us of John Marshall Harlan’s principled stand for a colorblind constitution (in Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896).  This courageous justice, whose faith was not left at home when he sat on the bench, sets a worthy example for all of us to follow,” says Judge Barbara H. Caldwell, on behalf of the Magistrate Court of Douglas County, Georgia.

America’s Supreme Court Justices have acknowledged the importance of the Harlan Bible Tradition.  Justice Samuel Alito recently wrote what a “thrilling and awe-inspiring moment” it was when he signed his name alongside “all the Justices for the past 100 years.”  Former Justice David Souter has said that signing the Harlan Bible was the “most humbling thing he ever did.”  And Justice Sonia Sotomayor acknowledged that taking her Judicial Oath on the Harlan Bible was among the “most symbolically meaningful” activities of her investiture.

“American Judicial Alliance intends to place a Bible in every court in America and to ask active and retired judges all across America to join the ‘Harlan tradition’ of signing the Bible and utilizing them in their courts,” says the group’s founder, Retired Judge Darrell White. “Every judge who is awakened to the Bible’s vital role in America’s heritage and its indispensable emphasis on the rule of law is another judge awakened to our future,” White concluded.

American Judicial Alliance is based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and has dedicated over 150 Bibles to courts in Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas, including the Supreme Courts of Louisiana and Texas, as well as several federal courts.

Federal Fifth Circuit Appellate Court Welcomes Bible!

“I plan to place our Bible prominently in the Chief Judge’s chamber in New Orleans as a reminder to all who visit that we, no less than the [U.S.] Supreme Court, remember our judgments are ultimately subject to a Divine standard.”

– Edith H. Jones, Chief Judge,

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

So wrote Chief Judge Edith H. Jones in a very kind letter to us at American Judicial Alliance after we placed a “Harlan” Bible in her hands for safekeeping.

Chief Judge Edith H. Jones, center, receives a Harlan Bible from Jason Stern (L) and Retired Judge Darrell White (R) for the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals

This year, Jason Stern and I have traveled to several states dedicating Bibles to courts, sharing the message of the Gospel and the Constitution with churches and civic groups, but I must say that we were pleased to be allowed the privilege of dedicating a Bible to the highest federal court possible under the Supreme Court.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is composed of twenty one judges who rule on cases appealed from district courts located in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

While talking to Judge Jones, I made mention of America’s first Chief Justice John Jay’s name, which is chiseled on the lintel corner of the 5th Circuit’s building, and referenced Jay’s quote:

“The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next. Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts.”

I couldn’t help but to also mention John Jay’s solid faith in the Bible as demonstrated by his last words. He was asked if he had anything he wanted his children to know, to which he replied,

“They have the Book.”

Aside from dedicating the Bible to the 5th Circuit, we also distributed laminated copies of the “Prayer for the Judge’s Bench,” which on the obverse side includes prayers by President George Washington and Chief Justice John Jay.  Jay, who was a president of the American Bible Society, wrote:

“Most merciful Father! … Above all, I thank thee for thy mercy to our fallen race, as declared in thy holy gospel by thy beloved Son, “who gave himself a ransom for all.” …

Give me grace also to love my neighbor as myself, and wisely and diligently to do the duties incumbent upon me according to thy holy will, and because it is thy holy will, and not from worldly considerations …

Let thy Holy Spirit lead and keep me in the way in which I should walk, and enable me to commit myself entirely to thy kind and gracious providence and protection as to all my spiritual and temporal concerns….

These heartfelt words are from the pen of a fellow who had been President of the Continental Congress, an author of the Federalist Papers, Chief Justice of the United States, and Governor of New York.

It is our plan to continue to bring this message of hope, history and grace to courts all over America and give them courage to stand up for God like the Founding Fathers did!

“We have the Book!”

Your donations make this plan, and more, possible.   Please remember us today by clicking here.

We have been hit by the same budgetary slump that faces all of America right now, but we know that a brighter day for our children and grandchildren can be around the corner if we do not give up hope.

“Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”  – Galatians6:9

Thank you for allowing us to be your ambassadors.

Darrell White

P.S. Thank you in advance for your prayers and donation. We think of you often and pray that God will bless your finances, family and home. Your gift is most needed at this time.

From Watergate to Profligate – And Back to Our Roots

Justice Joseph Story

“Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and the PROFLIGATE are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” – Justice Joseph Story, U.S. Supreme Ct. 1811-1845


1. utterly and shamelessly immoral or dissipated; thoroughly dissolute.

2. recklessly prodigal or extravagant.

Synonyms: abandoned, dissipated, dissolute, fast, gay, licentious, rakish

•Origin: 1525–35; < L prōflīgātus broken down in character, degraded, orig. ptp. of prōflīgāre to shatter, debase, equiv. to prō- pro- + -flīgāre, deriv. of flīgere to strike; see inflict, -ate

It has been said that “Flattery is ok – if you just don’t inhale.” Consider all the State of the Union addresses delivered by presidents of either political party, extolling the virtues of our national character.

What we need is a president to call Americans to repentance.  For what, you ask?  Let me count the ways.

America must recover its spiraling degeneration from Watergate to Profligate.

Ellis Sandoz, professor of Law at the LSU Hebert Law Center, once delivered a lecture at the National Meeting of the Philadelphia Society entitled, “What Is an American?”  In it, he concluded:

The heart of the matter, and its most delicate aspect, is to connect Americanism with the biblical faith of Americans as the chief source of its strength and enduring resilience– and of its frequent arousal of anti-American sentiments from ideologues of every stripe, those self-anointed “elites” at home and abroad who readily  enlighten and denigrate us at every waking moment on every conceivable subject.  Burke identified the basis of the American consensus in the dissenting branch of Protestantism. Publius identified Providence’s gift of “one united people” “speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government”(Federalist No. 2).

Tocqueville (who never lies)  stressed one must never forget that religion gave birth to America, and that American Christianity has kept a strong hold over the minds of the people, not merely as a philosophy examined and accepted, but as “an established and irresistible fact which no one seeks to attack or defend.”   Not to be thought merely old-hat ideas, Samuel Huntington just last year challenged Americans to “recommit themselves to the Anglo-Protestant culture, traditions, and values that… have been the source of their liberty, unity, power, prosperity, and moral leadership as a force for good in the world.”

He forecast that, unlike the 20th which was defined by contending ideologies, the 21st will be a century  marked by the “revenge of God” (prematurely certified dead, in fact murdered, by 19th century luminaries), i.e. by the resurgence of religions, with culture and ethnicity replacing ideology as the central terms of reference.  Anglo-America was a Bible-based culture for 300 years, Trevelyan observed, finding this stupendous religious movement unlike anything in the annals since St. Augustine.

What are the consequences for Americanism?  A great many of which I mention only two here: first,  a theory of human being as created imago Dei, each person imperfect and sinful, yet graced with the defining unique capacity of communion with his Creator as this is experientially apperceived in the New Birth: an inward experience and assurance  of election, a process of salvation that runs from conversion and justification, toward sanctification in imitation of Christ–a spiritual movement of maturation that runs from “ruin to recovery” of the divine image powerfully argued, for instance, in the soteriology of Isaac Watts and John Wesley during the 18th century revival we call the Great Awakening.

Second, there is a pervasive understanding of the course of human events as Providentially guided, even as it is effected by human agents, i.e., by individuals exercising dominion through reason and volition over the creation as citizens no less than as pilgrims living in collaborative faith-grace partnership with God.  In both respects the In-between reality of time and history is consciously reaffirmed, vitally experienced as tensionally structured by the competing pulls of worldly immanent and transcendent divine reality.”

May we all repent of our profligation and return to better sense.

Declaration: the End or the Beginning?

Guest Post by Pastor Tim Grant
The Fathers House International Ministries, Inc.
Integrity Leadership Group LLC

It is now well past May 21st and we are still here!  Yet another “declaration of the end” has come and gone.  Regardless of doctrine, denomination or affiliation, the church has become increasingly focused on “the end.”  When will it all come to an end?  Are you sure it will end?  How will it end?  These are but a few of the questions that have been asked and answered again and again over time.  My question is, How many of us are ready to declare a ‘beginning?’”

Nearly 235 years ago, on July 4th, 1776 our forefathers ended something; then declared a new beginning!  This declaration was made on behalf of themselves, their families, their countrymen and the many generations that would follow in their footsteps.  Today many celebrate the memory of this day as “Independence Day.” Yet I wonder how many of the 310 million people in our country actually understand the real significance of our Day of Independence?

I was discussing our country and its spiritual condition one day with a mentor and he spoke these words to me: “There has to be a revelation (a revealing of something) that will cause a revolution (a revolving or a turning FROM something TO something) that brings a reformation (a re-formation, a reforming of something). This thought also makes me think of the word “renovation.”  I am no contractor or builder, but I do understand that part of the process of renovating a structure is the “tearing out” of all that is “bad” and replacing it with that which is “good.”

As my mentor said these words, I could not help but think about our “declarers of independence!”  In order to better understand the true significance of July 4th, 1776 and all it really means to us, I decided to read, again, our Unanimous Declaration of Independence.” I was determined to put myself back into their day and that time and read it through the eyes and hearts of those who crafted and signed this divinely inspired document.  As I read, I was captured by some of the phrases such as:  “We hold these truths to be self-evident…” “… endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” and “…whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers…to effect their Safety and Happiness.” This time, as I read, I became tearfully passionate for our country, our future and our own generation.

My angst is more with myself as a pastor and with other shepherds of His flock.  We must be more aggressive in informing and educating the people within our sphere of influence.  Someone once said, “Ignorance is no excuse.”  We need to admit our ignorance.  After all, true ignorance, by definition, is the reason revelation even exists!  The battle over ill-conceived perceptions, apathy, ignorance, perversion and hatred of the truth is being fought in our homes and in our republic on a daily basis. Only after admittance and true repentance can we begin to turn from our present state towards a place where we, as ONE people, can be re-formed!

I encourage all who read this to go and read or re-read the Declaration of Independence.  Read it slowly. Read it purposefully. And read it with the understanding that how we define words will make all the difference in how we perceive their true meaning.  Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart and reveal to you the truths that have always been the foundation of your existence as a Citizen of the United States of America.  The foundation upon which this nation was built is what is being destroyed; piece by piece.

If you are a church leader, don’t just encourage God’s people to get involved, inspire them! If you are part of a church body, decide this day that you will be the inspiration that is needed in your church!  Pray for revelation, then turn.

2 Chron. 7:14If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land (KJV).  Our re-formation depends on it!

The Bible and the Constitution

A fascinating excerpt from the Marquette Law Review, Winter 2001:

In 1906, an interviewer, seizing upon Justice Brewer’s turn of phrase, asked Harlan whether it was true that he went to bed “with the Bible in one hand and the Constitution of the United States in the other?”  [Interview by James B. Morrow with John Marshall Harlan, WASH. POST, Feb. 25, 1906, in JOHN MARSHALL HARLAN PAPERS, LIBRARY OF CONGRESS]

After observing that he could not remember ever going to bed precisely so encumbered and stating that he “did not profess to be a theologian,” Harlan went on to respond to the question with a brief statement about his religious beliefs:

“I fully believe in both the Bible and the Constitution…. I believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. Nothing which it commands can be safely or properly disregarded; nothing that it condemns can be justified. No civilization is worth preserving which is not based on the doctrines or teachings of the Bible. No nation that habitually ignores or violates the rules prescribed by it for the conduct and government of the human race, can long last.  This country is, in a large sense, a Christian country, and its adherence to the fundamental doctrines of Christianity is becoming more and more every year a marked feature in American civilization.”

[This article appeared in a number of newspapers. There are several copies of it, clipped from different newspapers, in the Harlan Papers.]

Source: Marquette Law Review, V 85, Number 2