Stop talking about the Constitution. The Constitution is nothing more than a piece of legal clay: it can be and has been made into something totally estranged from what it was intended to be. When you were in school, did you bother to learn the principles behind all those math equations they taught you, or did you just memorize the equations long enough to take the test and then forget them? If you had learned the principles, then you didn’t need to memorize the equations. You could have derived them for yourself whenever you needed them. But I bet you didn’t learn the principles, so now, if you were told to work those equations, you wouldn’t know what to do without someone telling you how to do it – would you? So, what if they told you 2+2=5? Would you know enough to reject what they told you, are do you remember enough to be able to know they were wrong. Better yet, would you be able to explain why they were wrong? Well, if we are talking about math, you might remember enough to keep from being fooled. But if we’re talking about the Constitution, I’d wager money that most of us could easily be fooled. That’s because – in part — we think the Constitution is our founding document. It is not!
The Constitution is just the ‘how’ of America (the equation). The ‘what’ and the’ why’ (the principles) behind America are found in the Declaration of Independence. If all you know of our system of government is what you remember about the Constitution, then I am telling you that you can easily be led to believe the Constitution can actually support a Marxist/Socialist society. However, if you understand the principles and ideals asserted in the Declaration, then I would never be able to convince you of such an absurdity. What’s more, if it were necessary, you would be able derive a whole new Constitution and it might even be better than the one our founders wrote. The simple truth is that the Constitution is nothing more than a map without a compass rose. To find the ‘North’ of America, you must have the Declaration of Independence.
You cannot properly execute the Constitution without understanding the Declaration of Independence – period. You might think you can, but look around. The evidence is everywhere you look. It cannot be done. And this is precisely why the Constitution was intentionally divorced from the Declaration. Here is one of the most important reasons. Do you think the Constitution is ‘secular, or that the founders wanted our government to be ‘secular?’ It isn’t, and they didn’t, but you could easily miss this – unless you joined the Constitution back to the Declaration. Once you do that, you cannot miss the religious foundation of our nation and our government. But please, don’t take my word for it, take theirs:
First, from the man who wrote the Declaration of Independence:
“Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath?”
“From the day of the Declaration…they (the American people) were bound by the laws of God, which they all, and by the laws of The Gospel, which they nearly all, acknowledge as the rules of their conduct.”
–John Quincy Adams
And when our founders had forgotten the role God was playing in building this nation, and the Second Constitutional Convention was just about to collapse in failure, this man stood and said these words:
“The longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: ‘that God governs in the affairs of men.’ And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?”
A sentiment affirmed by the man whose hand penned the Constitution:
“It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it [the Constitution] a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution.”
You see, the Declaration of Independence is a religious document. The ideals and principles it asserts are derived from Biblical teachings. Again, do not take my word for it, take theirs:
“Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity”?
–John Quincy Adams, [–1837, at the age of 69, when he delivered a Fourth of July speech at Newburyport, Massachusetts.]
“The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”
The ‘pursuit of happiness’ was also a Christian notion, and it had nothing to do with chasing the things that bring material enjoyment. It had to do with the freedom to pursue the virtuous life. It was even a legal principle at the time of our founding and can be found in the Commentaries of Sir William Blackstone. You see, the founders considered virtue essential to the maintenance of the government they had built; a government built to operate according to those Christian principles asserted in the Declaration of Independence:
“Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
–John Adams, October 11, 1798
“A general dissolution of the principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy…. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but once they lose their virtue, they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader…. If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security.”
“It is the manners and spirit of a people which preserve a republic in vigor. A degeneracy in these is a canker which soon eats to the heart of its laws and constitution.”
–Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia Query 19, 1781
These are among the many reasons our Constitution was divorced from the Declaration. And because we no longer understand the role religion plays in maintaining a free and self-governing society, we no longer understand how the Constitution was intended to work. Sadly, we don’t even understand that it is not our founding document. One more time, do not take my word for it, take his:
“Before the formation of this Constitution. … [t]his Declaration of Independence was received and ratified by all the States in the Union and has never been disannulled.” –
– Samuel Adams, United States Founding Father, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, “Father of the American Revolution”, Governor of Massachusetts, “The Writings of Samuel Adams”, Harry Alonzo Cushing, editor (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1908), Vol. IV, p. 357, to the Legislature of Massachusetts on January 17, 1794.
Unless and until this nation remembers the principles and ideals asserted in the Declaration of Independence, or more importantly, the source of those ideals and principles, there is no hope of ever restoring the Constitutional rule of law in this country. That belongs only to a religious and moral people, and these things do not exist outside of God. So, as long as we continue to ignore and reject Him, we will continue to be left to our own depravity and the work our founders did will be lost to the world.
[NOTE: this is the second of two posts on this subject. You can find the first post here.]
[NOTE TO CHRISTIANS: you may want to read this link for an explanation of why Romans 13 does not apply to the American Revolution.]