Your Opinion: Constitution and Christianity linked
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Against my better judgment I read Mr. Boldt’s letter to the editor of March 14, and I feel an obligation to debunk his most egregious assertion. That is his statement that “the U.S. Constitution was one milestone” in the process of “the release of humanity from the bonds of an absolutist Christianity ...”
Mr. Jefferson coined the phrase “wall of separation” in a private letter to the Connecticut Danbury Church which wanted assurance that the new government would not interfere with their faith. This Jeffersonian phrase does not appear in the Constitution.
However, the first Amendment to the Constitution, ratified Dec. 15, 1791, states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ...” The founders’ concern was not a religion (or religions) taking over the government but rather government interfering with religion, a very important distinction. It was not happenstance that religious freedom was enshrined in the first sentence of the First Amendment. Most of the 13 states would not have ratified the Constitution without the Bill of Rights (Amendments).
Twenty-nine of the 64 men who signed the Declaration of Independence were religious leaders and/or ministers. And during that challenging and formative period, ministers of all faiths played important roles. One of the first battles of the Revolution, at Concord, took place when men interrupted their church service to meet the British troops coming down the road; the minister was right there with his weapon.
Men and women of religion, faith and courage played a major role freeing the country; and continue daily to build the greatest nation on earth. To a great extent the U.S. Constitution is their birthright. The British hated the Black Robed Regiment i.e. American clergy who even prior to the Declaration of Independence had been agitating for independence from England.
The Constitution was indeed a landmark achievement precisely because it “got it right” as the Declaration states: “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights ... Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness,” and that based on this truth, free men can come together to form a government specifically and exclusively to protect these rights.
John Quincy Adams stated “the highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity”.
We began and continue a Christian nation.
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