Christianity and the Constitution

Christianity and the Constitution

Stephen McDowell

     The United States Constitution is perhaps the most important document ever written for the benefit of mankind other than the Bible. A prestigious literary journal reveals the reason why, declaring in 1867: “The American government and Constitution is the most precious possession which the world holds, or which the future can inherit. This is true – true because the American system is the political expression of Christian ideas.”,[1]

     The Constitution went into effect in 1789, thirteen years after the United States separated from Great Britain and became a nation. The ideological foundation of the Constitution rests in the biblical roots of the nation expressed in the Declaration of Independence, which acknowledges Creator-endowed rights, embraces the laws of nature’s God as the highest authority, appeals “to the Supreme Judge of the World,” and expresses “a firm reliance upon the protection of divine Providence.”

     The Framers of the Constitution declared that its formation and ratification were a miracle of God. Shortly after the Constitutional Convention of 1787, the Father of the Constitution James Madison said: “It is impossible to conceive the degree of concord which ultimately prevailed, as less than a miracle.”[2] The President of the Convention George Washington wrote that the “adoption of the proposed General Government” disposed him to be of the opinion “that miracles have not ceased.” For, he said, one could “trace the finger of Providence through those dark and mysterious events, which first induced the States to appoint a general Convention and then led them one after another…into an adoption of the system recommended by that general Convention.”[3] Even the non-Christian Benjamin Franklin wrote: “Our General Convention…when it formed the new Federal Constitution, [was] …influenced, guided, and governed by that omnipotent and beneficent Ruler in whom all…live, and move, and have their being.[4]

     The Founders believed that God was involved in America adopting the Constitution because it contains many biblical principles of good governance. It was the foundation for the advancement of liberty, justice, and prosperity in America and became an example to the world. Washington wrote that the U.S. Constitution and system of government is “in my opinion the fairest prospect of happiness and prosperity that ever was presented to man.”[5] Its purpose, power, premise, and form are Christian.

     The Preamble of the Constitution reveals the biblical purpose of government as expressed by the Apostles Paul and Peter: “to establish justice” (1 Pet. 2:14); “to insure domestic tranquility (1 Tim. 2:1-2); “to provide for the common defense” and “promote the general welfare” (Rom. 13:4); and to “secure the blessings of liberty.”

     The power of the Constitution flows from its underlying ideas which include: the reign of law, Creator-endowed rights, just trials, self-government, religious freedom, private property rights, Christian union, and right of defense. Each of these have their origin in biblical truth.

     The United States Constitution has been so successful because the Framers had a biblical view of man. They understood original sin, human depravity, and the temptation of power to corrupt. John Adams, quoting Jeremiah 17:9, reflects the premise of American government: “The Word of God … informs us, the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.”[6] This worldview affected the form of the Constitution. Legislative, executive, and judicial powers were divided among three branches of government with a number of checks and balances. The Constitution specified the limited powers of each branch, with the national government prohibited from being involved in religion, education, and media. The states retained most power, and everyone was subject to the written law. Frequent elections enabled the governed to hold those who govern accountable. In instituting these provisions, the Founders were following the example of the Hebrew Republic established by Moses.

     James Madison wrote in the Federalist: “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”[7] However, the Bible teaches men are not angels, but fallen and fallible beings who have a sinful nature and, thus, cannot be entrusted with too much power. The U.S. Constitution presupposed this idea, and any nation desiring to live in liberty should seek to incorporate biblical structures of government. More importantly though, they should copy the principles.

    The Constitution has been an example to the world. When it went into effect 230 years ago, there was not one like it. Today, about 175 countries have a constitution, most inspired by and some directly copied from America’s. Most of the nations have not experienced the same blessings this document produced in America because, while copying the form, they neglected its power and premise.

    According to Washington, the establishment of the U.S. Constitution demonstrated “the finger of Providence in human affairs greater than any event in history.”[8] Yet, the Framers of the Constitution knew it was not a perfect document, and hence, they made provision to amend it. Nonetheless, it is the best form of government mankind has produced because “it is the political expression of Christian ideas.” Since these biblical ideas have brought great blessings to mankind, all effort must be taken to learn, teach, and preserve America’s great political charter of liberty.

[1] The North American Review, in The Christian History of the Constitution of the United States of America, Christian Self-Government with Union, Verna M. Hall, compiler, San Francisco: Foundation for American Christian Education, p. 34.

[2] Robert A Rutland, ed., The Papers of James Madison, University of Chicago Press, 1962, 10:208.

[3] George Washington, The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799, edited by John C. Fitzpatrick, 39 vols., Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1931, 29:525.

[4] Albert Henry Smyth, editor, Writings of Benjamin Franklin, Macmillan Co., 1905-07, 9:702.

[5] Washington to Thomas Jefferson, August 23, 1792, Writings, 32:131.

[6] John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1856), Vol. 6, A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, “Chapter First. Marchamont Nedham. The Right Constitution of a Commonwealth Examined.”

[7] Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, The Federalist, A Commentary on the Constitution of the United States, edited by Paul Leicester Ford, New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1898, p. 344.

[8] George Bancroft, History of the United States of America, D. Appleton and Co., 1891, 6:414.

Freedom Versus Taxation: Overcoming Bondage on the Journey to Freedom

Freedom Versus Taxation
from Set My People Free: Overcoming Bondage on the Journey to Freedom
Easter Sunday, 21 April, 2019

    The Declaration of Independence is the ideologic preamble to the Constitution. From it, freedom is understood by the Framers and Founders to consist of those “certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness …. endowed by their Creator“. Taxation is, in the political realm, taking something, with or without the consent of the person or entity from which it is taken, usually according to some law or rule, and without regard to what is confiscated or the means by which it is extracted. Because the process of taxation is what steals our freedoms, it is a moot point as to whether the loss of freedom is legitimized politically or not. Call it what you may, taxation in any form or configuration, open or concealed, limits freedom in “the pursuit of Happiness“.

“With a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence“, those same Framers and Founders “mutually pledge[d] to each other [their] Lives, [their] Fortunes and [their] sacred Honor“ as they fought for the freedoms many now take fore granted. A primary indictment that led to the sacrifices of the Revolution was taxation without representation. Now, those we elect to represent us betray our trust, violate the original intention of the Constitution, and enslave us with the taxes they impose.

The Framers intended only direct taxes. Without indirect taxes, whether concealed or hidden by politicians failing in their oath of office, or exposed as with income taxes, the cancer of government bureaucracy sucking the lifeblood of working Americans could not grow and thrive. Direct taxes fund and enable the goods or services the tax intends.

Through judicial activism, the tyrants robed in black impose taxes that fund their judgments and findings bypassing the legislative process. Whether right or just, school busing, prison requirements, housing and building code fines, and on and on, are passed on to the taxpayer. There is no service or provision of government that is not taken from the taxpayer. Indeed, except for the blessings afforded by the natural order, nothing is free, and even those endowments require work and sacrifice.

Legislatures pass minimum wage laws that increase the cost of living for every taxpayer, eventually relegating those that have their wages temporarily increased to the same compensation they had previously. Bailing out failed corporations, increasing the national debt, etc., Congress taxes the American worker.

County assessors and the departments of revenue have replaced the slave master’s whip with property taxes funding public education unjustly draining the meager incomes of retired senior citizens and the earnings of those without children.

Manipulating interest rates, printing money, permitting the unconstitutional administrative state to reign on the throne of the Federal Register, as but a few examples, all tax working Americans.

Looking at the Constitutional intention to “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity”; the unconscionable national debt and unbalanced budget, the failure to protect Social Security making it fiscally sound, among other government failures; all diametrically oppose freedom and justice.

Subsidies, tariffs, and unbridled capitalism insidiously exact their tribute from every worker. Witnessed when legislators fail to uphold their oath of office and represent us according to the original intention of the Constitution, when judicial tyranny is tolerated, or when the administrative state imposes its injustice under the unauthorized color of law; taxes are the parasites of government.

Yet, beyond all these material things lost and time conscripted after being in the possession or control of those justly earning or holding them, where taxation equates to involuntary servitude, slavery if you will; all humanity deals with two additional classes of enslavement.

Politically, whether by force or bullying in the form of the majority subjugating dissent or resistance, we are enslaved by political power. This slavery confiscates irretrievable time. Unable to even pursue happiness, the enslaved are forced to work to satisfy the desires and agendas of those holding the reins of political power. Our great Civil War loosed the shackles forcing anyone to do the bidding of another without due compensation for the sacrifice of time and body. Persisting after emancipation were the Jim Crow laws, and social and economic discriminations denying those freed by the sacrifices and blood of brother fighting brother the equal opportunity to freely and justly follow their dreams.

Unique to our species, endowed with our awareness of time, every person has the potential to succumb to the enslavement arising from freedom itself. Manifest as we seek pleasure, on one hand, while attempting to avoid pain, anxiety, and sacrifice on the other; all are tempted to relinquish freedom to the satisfaction of the self. Motivations unguided by justice, discipline, and sacrifice are, and always will be, consumed by human failure. Yielding to addictions and self indulgence; greed, avarice, and covetousness join with other human failures to ignore and reject responsibility for ourselves and our posterity.

The self is never satisfied. Only when we turn our focus from ourselves to others, caring for others as we do ourselves, can true liberty, as the Framers and Founders intended, be found. This is freedom to be found in the heart, not in the laws ordained by mankind. This was not, and is not, a religious expression. It was a reality understood and addressed in the sweltering heat of the summer of 1787 in Philadelphia. This was an understanding of Truth based on their Christian Biblical worldview as they confirmed it in studying history to 500 years before Christ. Recognizing and ever fearful of the constant repetitive failing of the public majority witnessed to this day, they deliberated in secret before framing the Constitution. This was a “supreme” order of law to which all “legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound”.

Over two millennia ago, during the Passover season in Jerusalem, one Man, Jesus of Nazareth forever changed history when He disrupted and challenged the political order turning over the tables of the money changers taxing the worshipers in the Temple. Isn’t it time for Americans to educate themselves about the tyranny of the governments that we “tolerate”, and reclaim the heritage the Framers and Founders intended?

CftC

   This Committee for the Constitution extracted and compiled this message from Set My People Free: Overcoming Bondage on the Journey to Freedom. Discussing the social, political, and economic problems now faced around the world, this seminal treatise on freedom offers solutions to those problems based on the Framers’ original intention. It should be read by every public official from judges, to the legislatures, political executives, public servants, and the voters who wish to be informed as to why and how we got to the circumstances we find ourselves in, and what may be done to reclaim our freedom. Like the Constitution on which it is based, it should be considered in establishing successful and enduring government.