On the U.S. Constitution and Christianity
In light of the recent television advertisements by the Freedom from Religion Foundation (http://ffrf.org/), I’d like to dedicate a post to the topic of the U.S. Constitution and Christianity. While I am not well trained in the area of American politics, I do have some comments worth sharing.
- It is true that the U.S. Constitution does not include the word God. Additionally, unlike the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution does not mention a Creator. HOWEVER (and this is a big however), the document does make explicit reference to Christianity on one occasion and to a religious mindset on another occasion. Let’s examine the evidence… Just before the Founding Fathers sign the Constitution, the text reads, “Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independance of the United States of America the Twelfth” (my emphasis). The Lord to which the writers refer is Jesus Christ. Now, there are some who might claim that the phrase “Year of Our Lord” or “A.D.” is an empty tradition of dating to be used for the purpose of common consensus. These people are incorrect. Since the writers of the Constitution included the second referent to the number of years from the Declaration of Independence, it is evident that they purposefully chose both. One only needs to keep in mind that the French, at the time of their nearly contemporaneous revolution, specifically opted to redo their dating system to come to see that the U.S. situation is different from that of the French, which had more secular(izing) implications.
- As far as the more general religious/theistic mindset is concerned, let’s take a look at another piece of evidence. The Founding Fathers state, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America” (my emphasis). The word blessing has religious connotations and denotations. When this specific case is taken in context, these tendencies are even more prevalent. After all, the Declaration of Independence affirms that our liberty is a gift from the Creator. The purpose of the government is to secure that which God has given to us.
With these pieces of data in mind, I’d like to offer two simple reflections:
- Let us not be deceived by people from atheistic organizations like the Freedom from Religion Foundation who overemphasize and/or de-contextualize the non-establishment clause of the Bill of Rights. It is very clear that we are not to have an official state religion (as in England), but it is equally very clear that Christianity is the modus operandi of the Founding Fathers and of the U.S. Constitution itself. Far from a document that speaks of freedom from religion, it is a document that support freedom for religion, even in the public arena. The U.S. government should never be Catholic or Anglican or Methodist, but it should represent a nation of “Our Lord.”
- We need to have a serious discussion about the ability of our judges to support and defend the U.S. Constitution. Currently, there are non-Christian justices on the Supreme Court. In my opinion we must either remove the mention of “Our Lord” from the Constitution or only select Christian justices who will be able to interpret the document in a way that is true to its original form and to their consciences.
I hope that this post has been helpful.
May God bless you and our beautiful nation!
David J.W. Inczauskis