How Many Times Does the Constitution Mention Religion?

English: Detail of Preamble to Constitution of...

English: Detail of Preamble to Constitution of the United States Polski: Fragment preambuły Konstytucji Stanów Zjednoczonych (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Don Ruhl

How many times does the Constitution of the United States of America mention religion? One time? Wrong! Two times? Wrong!

Before we look at the Constitution, let us consider biblical examples of prophets and apostles who knew the law of the land, and used it to their advantage. Often, we think only of what the law forbids, and we become dejected, concluding that we cannot do anything. If it is true that the church cannot do anything according to the law of the land, so be it; let us obey God and break the law, suffering the consequences. That is how the early church acted (See Acts 4.18–21; 5.27–29; 5.33, 35, 36).

However, we want to obey the laws of the land and be good citizens by honoring the government and leaders, as Paul wrote, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God” (Rom 13.1–7). (See also 1Pe 2.11–17.)

Know the Law of the Land 

Know the law of the land in matters pertaining to religion and the church, because these matters affect what we do and do not do. God gave us government. Therefore, we should use His tools to our maximum benefit, even as we do other things He has given us. Ezra and his generation used the non-Israelite government to their advantage. The Book of Ezra begins with the revelation that the Persian government supported the Jews and their return to Jerusalem, as well as the restoration of the temple (Ezra 1.1–40). Chapter four shows opposition from their enemies that made the Jews stop, “Thus the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem ceased, and it was discontinued until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia” (Ezra 4.24).

However, the prophets of God stirred up the people to rebuild the temple (Ezra 5.1), and the Jews began again to work on the temple. Without surprise their enemies opposed their work. The enemies appealed to the king to search the law to discover whether the Jews had authority to rebuild their temple, concluding, “Now therefore, if it seems good to the king, let a search be made in the king’s treasure house, which is there in Babylon, whether it is so that a decree was issued by King Cyrus to build this house of God at Jerusalem, and let the king send us his pleasure concerning this matter” (Ezra 5.17). The king did as requested, “Then King Darius issued a decree, and a search was made in the archives, where the treasures were stored in Babylon. And at Achmetha, in the palace that is in the province of Media, a scroll was found, and in it a record was written thus: In the first year of King Cyrus, King Cyrus issued a decree concerning the house of God at Jerusalem: ‘Let the house be rebuilt, the place where they offered sacrifices…’” (Ezra 6.1–3a). The Jews did not just assume that the law was against them, but they continued as the Lord told them to do and He backed them with the law.

In Acts 22, the Romans prepared to scourge Paul, but watch how he stopped it, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and uncondemned?” (Acts 22.25–29). Later, recorded in Acts 25.9–11, Paul knew how to use Roman law to save his life, appealing to Caesar to save himself from an ambush of the Jews.

The lives of Daniel, Esther, and others also show that we do well to know the laws of the land pertaining to the operation of the church, and the religious activities of individuals. Simply because our enemies say we cannot do things does not mean it is so. If you read the law, you might be surprised by what you find.

How Many Times Does the Constitution Mention Religion? 

You probably know one time that the Constitution mentions religion. Another reference might surprise you. However, there are three references to religion in the Constitution of the United States of America. You know the third one well, found in the First Amendment, ratified just over four years after the main part of the Constitution,

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Article VI, third paragraph made the first reference to religion,

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Those were the third and first references to religion in the Constitution. The second time the Constitution referenced religion, helps us to understand the First Amendment. The current interpretation of the First Amendment (that government cannot mention God), argues that this second reference violates an alleged “separation of church and state.” The first and third references used the word, “religion,” or a derivative of it, “religious.” The second time these men referenced religion, they did not use that word. I have been told that those men intentionally did not reference God or the Lord, but left out such references as a way of insuring that we have a secular state. However, the framers of the Constitution used an expression, that if anyone in government used it today, secularists would sue him for violating an alleged “separation of church and state.”

Are you ready for this? If you have never read the Constitution, or if you only listen to the news, this reference, right in the Constitution of the United States of America, might shock you. You will wonder why no one quotes this. No one quotes it for the same reason people rarely quote Scripture. They do not read it, so they do not know it exists, but rely on the experts to do the searching for them.

How many times did Jesus battle the religious and law scholars over some controversy, and He solved the problem with a mere reading of Scripture? (See Matt 12.3, 5; 19.4; 21.16, 42; 22.31; Luke 10.26; See also Acts 17.11.)

Just because an expert says things are such and such, do not believe it until you check it out for yourself, if you are able. Do you believe what every preacher and teacher says? If not, why do you believe everything the world says on the news? Why are you so skeptical of preachers and teachers, but gullible and naive toward the world? The Bible tells us to investigate things. Think and know things for yourself! It is written, “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established” (2Co 13.1b). “Test all things; hold fast what is good” (1Th 5.21). “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1Jo 4.1).

Do these passages only refer to religious truth? If so, we should still apply them when discussing the Constitution since it references “religion.” However, these passages refer to everything we hear and read.

When you read the Constitution, starting from the beginning, here is the second reference. This should solve the whole alleged “separation of church and state” issue, because the First Amendment keeps Congress from making a law respecting an establishment of religion, but referencing God does not constitute an establishment of religion, as the Constitution shall demonstrate, unless the Constitution is unconstitutional! Article VII contains the signatures of the men who put this thing together. Before listing their names, this appeared,

The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.

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 Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth. In Witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names,

Go. WASHINGTON—

Presid. and deputy from Virginia…

Did you catch that? Read it again and notice how they referenced the date. They said it was done by the states present, “the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven…” Did you know that existed? If not, why not? We have not read it for ourselves and our enemies do not want us to know it exists! What do you make of this reference? Dave Miller has rightly said,

The Framers’ declared that their work was done “in the Year of our Lord.” The Christian world dates all of human history in terms of the birth of Christ. “b.c.” means “before Christ,” and “a.d.” is the abbreviation for the Latin words anno Domini, meaning “year of our Lord.” If the Framers were interested in being pluralistic, multicultural, and politically correct, they would have refrained from using the b.c./a.d. designation. Or they would have used the religiously neutral designations “c.e.,” Common Era, and “b.c.e.,” Before the Common Era—which already were in use…Instead, the Framers chose to utilize the dating method that indicated the worldview they shared.

What’s more, their reference to “our Lord” does not refer to a generic deity, nor does it refer even to God the Father. It refers to God the Son—Jesus Christ. Make no mistake: the Constitution of the United States contains an explicit reference to Jesus Christ…Observe that the Constitution does not read “Year of the Lord”; it reads “Year of our Lord.” The Founders considered Jesus Christ to be their Lord—a concept flatly rejected by Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and atheists. Any attempt to soften the import of this inclusion is merely sidestepping this fact. Therefore, the Framers could not have believed that references to God or Christ should be excluded from the Constitution—since they did not do so! Yet, incredibly, on the basis of current judicial interpretation, their action was unconstitutional! (“The Constitution Is—Unconstitutional?” by Dave Miller, Ph.D. This item is available on the Apologetics Press web site at: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3545 – it was originally published in Reason & Revelation, issue 6[12]:45-46-R).

What about this reference in Article I, Section 7, Clause 2, last sentence?

If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which case it shall not be a Law.

Why did they provide the exception for Sundays? They certainly did not have an anti-religion mentality and they even provided for the fact that those in government would do something special on that day! Was it typical back then to use it for sleeping in or fishing or whatever? That was the day of worship! The Framers understood the important part religion played in the lives of America’s citizens, including those in government. They did not want the affairs of the state to interfere with the affairs of the church. Truly, they encouraged the practice of religion, knowing that without a godly nation, our form of government cannot last, but will degenerate. How has something so obvious, as the reference to the year of our Lord, been missed?

How did Israel miss keeping the Feast of Tabernacles? Nehemiah 8 makes an amazing declaration of Nehemiah’s generation, that they did something previous generations had not done. First, the people asked Ezra to bring the Law of Moses and to read it publicly (Neh 8.1–3).

What was the attitude of the people? They wanted to hear the word of God. When Ezra opened the Scriptures, they stood up. As Ezra and others read the Scriptures, “they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading” (Neh 8.5–9).

God’s word pierced their hearts, causing the people to weep, knowing that they had not obeyed the Lord. They were broken hearted over their negligence. Pay attention to a practice they kept and how long it had been neglected, “And they found written in the Law, which the LORD had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths during the feast of the seventh month…So the whole assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made booths and sat under the booths; for since the days of Joshua the son of Nun until that day the children of Israel had not done so. And there was very great gladness” (Neh 8.13–17).

Do you know how many years passed from Joshua to Nehemiah’s generation? Over 900 years had passed! During the days of the judges, the kings, including many righteous leaders of Israel, yet, the whole nation of Israel had not dwelt in booths for the feast! What prompted this generation to do it? They read of it. Then they were ready to do it.

Some people do not read and so they do not know. Some read, but because something has not been a practice, they do not believe they have missed anything. Nehemiah’s generation made a simple reading of the Scriptures. They did something, although others had neglected it. Often neglect by others exerts great influence over us to neglect it also.

Have you read the Constitution of the United States of America? If not, why not? Do you not know the importance of it to your life? Or do you merely depend upon others for the interpretation and application? Do you approach the Bible that way?

Separation of Church and State 

What does the First Amendment say?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

For the purposes of this article and for the purposes of the government encouraging religious observation, we concern ourselves with only the first part of this Amendment. Look at it carefully. What exactly does it say?

Remembering what the second reference to religion said, do you believe the First Amendment prohibits the government from making any references to God, the Bible, or things of that nature? What does this Amendment prohibit Congress from doing? It prohibits Congress from making a law respecting an establishment of religion and Congress cannot prohibit the free exercise of establishments of religion or of religion. Therefore, the federal government cannot establish a national church, and cannot force its citizens to be members of it.

The First Amendment does not prohibit the government’s encouragement of religion, nor does it mean the government cannot reference the Scriptures and so on. Examining the Constitution, as we have done, and examining the life of Thomas Jefferson shows that he never meant his commentary on the Constitution to be used as it is today.

According to Stephen Mansfield (Ten Tortured Words: How the Founding Fathers Tried to Protect Religion in America…and What’s Happened Since),

So it was in America, and not just at the dawn of the nation’s life. For 150 years, this delicate religious balance prevailed. There would be no national church, but there would be national encouragement of faith. There would be no official religion, but the states could nurture as vibrant a faith as the people wished. So solid was this arrangement, so clear this vision of religion and government, that the Supreme Court was not even called upon to issue a ruling directly related to it until just after World War II, more than a century and a half after the defining words were first penned (p. xv).

Then Mansfield wrote,

Yet that ruling was a disaster. In 1947, the majority opinion in a case called Everson v. Board of Education dismantled the wise configuration of the American fathers erected instead a confusing and nearly unenforceable mishmash of prohibitions (Ibid).

He added,

To justify this rejection of the American fathers’ design, the Supreme Court cited the words of a letter written by Thomas Jefferson and concluded that the intent of the first ten words of the First Amendment was to erect “a wall of separation between church and state” (Ibid).

However, Mr. Jefferson’s letter from which that line is quoted was written fourteen years later. Also, he was out of the country when the Constitution was written. Moreover, the use of his words do not fit his attitude and approach toward religion. Within hours from the time Congress adopted the First Amendment, a Congressman Elias Boudinot of New Jersey, “proposed that the Congress ask President George Washington to recommend to the American people a day of public thanksgiving and prayer” (Ibid., p. 24).

The next day Congress passed the following resolution,

Resolved, that a joint committee of both Houses be directed to wait upon the President of the United States, to request that he would recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceable to establish a Constitution of government for their safety and happiness (Ibid., p. 24).

Two days before the House of Representatives approved the wording of the First Amendment, they put into law compensation for chaplains!

Jefferson’s tombstone offers an interesting look at his self-description,

Here was buried
Thomas Jefferson
Author of the
Declaration of Independence
Of The
Statute of Virginia
For
Religious Freedom
And Father of The
University of Virginia

His tombstone says nothing of being a governor of Virginia, a minister to France, a member of Congress, secretary of state under George Washington, vice president under John Adams, and president of the United States. This is interesting because he wanted to be remembered for writing the Declaration of Independence, which has “religious” terminology, and for writing a statute for religious freedom in his state, along with being the father of the University of Virginia. That does not sound like a man who wanted to create a purely secular state.

He received a letter from the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut, congratulating him on becoming president, but they wanted to make sure that he would preserve religious liberty, and not create a national church or favor one church over another. Note what he said, especially at the end,

To messers. Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, & Stephen S. Nelson, a committee of the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut.

Gentlemen

The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist association, give me the highest satisfaction. my duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, & in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves & your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.

Th Jefferson

Jan. 1. 1802

He also said on another occasion,

God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.

Consider some of his later acts, after he wrote to the Danbury group,

In 1808, Jefferson recommended to Congress the passage of a treaty that provided a stipend of $100 annually to support a Catholic priest in ministering to the Kaskaskia Indians. Similar treaties were enacted with his endorsement for the Wyandot Indians and other tribes in 1806 and the Cherokee in 1807. Another act that originated in 1787 ordained special lands “for the sole use of Christian Indians” and reserved land for the Moravian Brethren “for civilizing the Indians and promoting Christianity.” When this act was renewed, it bore the title “An Act regulating the grants of land appropriated for Military services and for the Society of the United Brethren for propagating the Gospel among the Heathen.” Three times during his administration, Congress extended this act and Jefferson signed it into law. Not once did he even consider vetoing it on the basis that it violated the First Amendment or his own “wall of separation” metaphor (Ibid., p. 45).

Also, during his presidency, Thomas Jefferson attended church. That may not seem too unusual, however, he attended worship services where the House of Representatives met! Indeed, a church met there until 1866! Now get this, two days after writing the letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, using the expression “building a wall of separation between Church & State,” do you know what Thomas Jefferson did? He attended his first church service in the House of Representatives! He continued doing that for the next seven years.

One Sunday, he was walking to the worship services when Ethan Allen approached him and asked, “Which way are you walking, Mr. Jefferson?” “To Church, Sir.” “You? Going to Church, Mr. J? You do not believe a word in it!” To which Thomas Jefferson replied,

“Sir, no nation has ever yet existed or been governed without religion. Nor can be. The Christian religion is the best religion that has been given to man and I as chief Magistrate of this nation am bound to give it the sanction of my example. Good morning, Sir” (Ibid., pp. 49, 50).

Are we seeking to establish a state church? Do we want one? What do the secularists fear from us? They think we desire a situation like Europe during the Revolutionary era. No, we do not want money from the government. We do not want to tell the government what to do. We do not want the government to tell us what to do. We want “the word of the Lord [to] run swiftly and be glorified” (2Th 3.1), and we want government to encourage religion and while we encourage obedience to the government.

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22 thoughts on “How Many Times Does the Constitution Mention Religion?

  1. You appear to be unfamiliar with Thomas Jefferson’s direct writings on the subject of Christianity.

    “Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.”

    -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814

    “Among the sayings and discourses imputed to him [Jesus] by his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence; and others again of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism, and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being.”

    -Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Short, April 13, 1820

    “The whole history of these books [the Gospels] is so defective and doubtful that it seems vain to attempt minute enquiry into it: and such tricks have been played with their text, and with the texts of other books relating to them, that we have a right, from that cause, to entertain much doubt what parts of them are genuine. In the New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are of the fabric of very inferior minds. It is as easy to separate those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills.”

    -Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Adams, January 24, 1814

    • Thomas Jefferson was like any of us, complicated.

      He obviously believed in God, as the Declaration of Independence written by Jefferson, so ably testifies. He also embraced many things about Christianity, but also thought that he was a judge of some religious matters.

      Also, there were many other founding fathers who had strong biblical beliefs, but often people who do not care for religion quote Jefferson to justify a secular America, as though he is the only founding father who matters, but we all need to be familiar with everything in Jefferson’s life, considering the context in which he spoke things, and the time in his life.

      • Dear sir,

        How dare you twist the words of our founding fathers. How dare you manipulate scripture into your article to better further your agenda. I suggest you take a few history courses concerning the USA and the founders. Most of them were Deists. They believed in a god but not the god of the bible. Especially in the case of Thomas Jefferson who identified himself time and again as a deist. You, sir, are a theist. There is a blaring difference. I recommend you research that and the history of the United States before writing further articles to better your cause. Honesty is the best policy. And the truth is this nation was not founded as a Christian nation. And that whole “lord” bit you tried to work in your favor is an epic fail.

      • Mr. Daniels,

        Actually, you need to read history, and you will discover that the charge of our Founding Fathers being deists for the most part is wrong. Just look at The Declaration of Independence, where they, Thomas Jefferson in particular, spoke of Providence as a present reality, “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” That alone shows that they believed God had something to do with the future of America.

        Concerning The Constitution, please tell me the meaning of, “in the Year of our Lord.”

        Don

      • What a blatant misrepresentation of Thomas Jefferson. He like most of our founding fathers were Deists. Deists believed in a divine creator of the earth and man but that he had relinquished any and all contact or responsibility. They were also Freemasons which was a brotherhood of knowledge that was condemned by nearly every denomination of Christianity to the point of murder. Jefferson spent his entire political career fighting against the evils of a religious state. Reference his role in the revolution, as author of the Declaration of Independence, references to creator and god were for the benefit of England which was a religious state. Many of the earliest European settlers in North America were looking for religious freedom from persecution by the Christian Church of England.
        Most importantly Jefferson believed the Bible to be full of false history. He was adamant that religion was between a man and his god. In the letters to Danbury Baptists He Wrote….

        Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

      • Oh, I see, Thomas Jefferson only made references to our Creator and Divine Providence in The Declaration of Independence for the benefit of England. Right. He certainly did not want to offend the English, so he insincerely referenced God. Randall, you are an interesting guy.

  2. RELIGIOUS LIBERTY UNDER ASSAULT
    Muslims are using the 1st amendment to hijack Article 6 (the Supremacy Clause.) It should be obvious that that America’s founders did not intend that the same provision designed to protect our religious liberties would be used to overthrow those liberties. The 1st amendment protects “religions only,” not “religious governments.” Islam is primarily a totalitarian political system. Beyond that, the unvarnished truth is that it is an international Mafia type crime syndicate with a religious front that has historically survived by plundering the wealth of nations. Its founder legitimized the basest lusts of man’s nature, and his followers have followed his example and brutally tortured, raped, enslaved and murdered their way through Islam’s 1,400 year history, and have been responsible for over 270 million deaths.

    AMERICA’S CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTIONS OF RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
    Prior to, and during the time the constitution was being formed, the founders understood the terms “denomination” and “religion” in the context of Biblical Christianity. They never envisioned our government by precepts of any other religious system. They included the language of the 1st amendment to allow people freedom to worship as they pleased, but not to use their worship as seditious cover to overthrow the U.S. Government and replace it with a theocracy. Those precepts were first proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence, and then codified in the U.S. Constitution. The entire verbiage is about avoiding a similar repeat of what the colonies had just thrown off, the totalitarian unity of the British government and the Anglican Church of England. In 1789, under the leadership of Thomas Jefferson, the Anglican Church was removed from its official unity with the government of Virginia. Jefferson understood that the only true and legitimate Theocracy in history pertained to the Jewish people under the past dispensation of the nation Israel, which ended when Titus and his Roman legions overran the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 A. D.. It is important to focus for a moment on what the word Theocracy really means, because the doctrinal teachings of Islam emphatically require that people submit to an ecclesiastical enforcement authority within an international one-world government framework, just the opposite of our constitution’s teaching that the government has no religious dictatorial authority but is to submit to the people. To my knowledge, until September 25, 2009, no Muslim prayer service has ever been held at the Capitol in Washington. Obama announced (in 2010) that we were no longer a Christian nation, and cancelled the 21st annual Day of Prayer at the White House. If we are not a Christian nation, we are no longer America. Having historically functioned as a nation under Judeo-Christian inspired laws, we have allowed all faiths to worship freely. Now we have an interloper whose faith demands that we retrogress back to an even worse ecclesiastical governmental tyranny than we suffered during English rule, or from that of any other in history.

    Jefferson, more than any other leader in American history is known, but grossly misunderstood, for his statement about the relationship between church & state. http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=123
    The Danbury Baptist Association wrote him a letter asking in effect whether the new constitution would put the government back into dictating a particular religious (Christian) denomination, or whether it would simply allow religion (Judeo-Christian principles) to influence the moral conscience of government. Please note that Jefferson did not reject the principle of “religion” (Judeo-Christian Biblical concepts), but that those teachings had a rightful place in influencing the conduct of government. After all, from 1795 (before the Capitol was completed or occupied by Congress), he and about 91 of the other founders (delegates & signers), and many ordinary citizens regularly participated in non-denominational “Christian” worship services in the Capitol Building, later in the Treasury Department and other government facilities in D.C. until some time after the Civil War. For awhile, the Marine Corps band even played at the services. http://www.wallbuilders.com/libissuesarticles.asp?id=90
    It is unseemly that including Islamic totalitarian worship services, which are antithetical to everything the Capitol building represented, would have been welcomed and surely would not have been tolerated by our founders in those halls of freedom. Allowing such a thing today is tantamount to the desecration of hallowed ground. But that is what Muslims do. They stake out conquered lands by building Mosques, demanding waiver from the laws and cultures of the host nations where they reside, then establishing their laws in opposition to laws of their gracious hosts. It is their way of conquest.

    In the 1947 Everson v. Board of Education case, the Supreme Court overturned 150 years of judicial understanding about the meaning of Jefferson’s “wall of separation” statement. The imperial judiciary of the Supreme Court presided over by Chief Justice Vinson, who joined justices Hugo Black, Stanley F. Reed, William F. Douglas, and Frank Murphy in that specious unconstitutional decision, created a legal precedent that has caused us to deny our spiritual heritage and the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who gave us the legal system that is tempered with Biblical law, not foreign law or the religious law of any other belief system. No other nation in history can claim to have a foundation that is the moral equivalent of the U.S. Constitution as written in 1787.

    • How, Mr. Ruhl, can the response to the post above be “Right on”? One could moralize and day things like how offensive the above post is in its treatment of Islam, but I’ll just stick to the basis of its factual incorrectness. Islam, obviously, is a religion. Maintaining otherwise doesn’t dignify a drawn out response. What the poster finds objectionable is Islamist theocracy. Well, he and I agree…sort of, in way that he’d likely find unwelcome. In a democratic society, such as the US, theocracy is objectionable…and this is my reason for my exchange with Mr. Ruhl below: to argue strenuously against that idea that the US Constitution allows any room for theocracy, Christian or otherwise. However, I suspect that the poster above is ok with Christian theocracy and has disdain for non-Christian religions…which, of course, is his right: but such attitudes have no place being endorsed by a gov’t that answers to the US Constitution. People have a right to religious bigotry, they just can’t look to the US Constitution to give such attitudes official state sanction.

      • Nate, I have been sick for several days, and I am still not back to 100%, so sorry for the delay, but I am well enough now to get back to work.

        Anyway, concerning Islam and America and her Constitution, I guess we will just have to see what happens as Islam gains a greater presence in the United States.

        Let us assume that Islam someday becomes the dominant group in America. I predict at that time, that they will remove the Constitution.

        Then again they may never become dominant and so the point would be mute.

        Thanks for your response.

    • Wow what racist and ignorant views you exhibit. Islam is mentioned in the treaty of Tripoli during the presidency of John Adams. It is a religion based on the Quran which was written by Mohammed who taught peace and transcendence. Extremists have skewed the words to justify terrorism but what should we call the CIA overthrows of Iran and Guatemala but acts of terrorism against free elected democratic governments. The Bay of Pigs invasion was a similar hostile act by the U.S. patterned after those takeovers that failed miserably. We made Cuba turn to Communism because we cared more about our own economic interests than the rights foreign nations to vote. We are responsible for the most evil dictators of the last 70 years. We put them in power after removing their elected Presidents at the urging of a minority of rich Americans with business interests and a legacy of lies by every US President during the Cold War. Islam is not the source of evil empires……

      WE ARE!!!

  3. Do you know what the word “explicit” means? By whatever convolutions of logic you reach the conclusion that Jesus Christ is explicitly referenced in the US Constitution (because the words “Year of our Lord” appear in the document), whatever reference there might be would be *implicit* at most since the words “Jesus Christ” never appear in the US Constitution.

    • Nate, although you attempted to insult me, I have to look past that and agree with you.

      However, if you look back at the reference, you will observe that I was not the one who made it, but I was quoting Dave Miller. I agree basically with what he says, but he should not have used the word, “explicit,” because as you observe, it would have to read, “Jesus,” or something similar. That is what happens when you quote someone else; they say things in their way, but you like enough of the quote that you want to give them credit. Hence, that is why we quote people.

      Surely, you recognize that the expression, “the Year of Our Lord,” is a way of referring to Jesus Christ, at least in an implicit way, as you suggest.

      Thanks for writing, but please know that we can come together peacefully and discuss things.

  4. From my reading of this site, you seem like a well-spoken person. From this I infer that you must be intelligent as well. Because of this, it’s hard for me to avoid the conclusion that you are willfully misconstruing key facts, thus the less than friendly tone of my previous post. The US Constitution is not a religious document and you are trying to represent it as a *Christian* document! To support my claim that it is not a religious document, just look at the outcry when its contents were first made known to the US public. “Where is God?” “Down with the Virginia Voltaire!” (a reference to Thomas Jefferson due to his affinities with the avowedly atheist French philosopher Voltaire) would have been representative reactions of the American public when first encountering the US Constitution. It is clear that the founders wanted to keep religion from being used as a way to coerce those in public life (e.g., the ban on religious tests for holding public office). Thus there is to be no state religion (cf. the anti-establishment clause in the 1st Amendment. It is just as clear that the founders wanted to keep the gov’t out of religious affairs (cf. the free exercise clause in the 1st Amendment). Any suggestion that the founders supported the idea of a Christian nation is historically way off. They were revolting from Old World ideas such as a state religion. Were they religion-friendly? Sure. But they were smart, visionary thinkers who realized that the best way to be religion-friendly is to keep the state out of church matters.

    Now, about this A.D./C.E. business you invoke to try to justify your claim that the US Constitution references Christ: It is disingenuous to claim that the founders meant Christ when they wrote “Year of our Lord” when they could have written “C.E.” for the Common Era. C.E. (to mean the “politically correct,” “religiously neutral” – it’s not neutral at all: it just takes the Christian way of marking time and naturalizes it – “Common Era”) did not reach anything like widespread usage until later in the 20th century. In the mid-19th century, Jewish writers would use “Common Era” as a less overtly Christian way of marking time – and avoiding being overtly Christian makes sense for them since, after all, they were Jews. It all comes to this point: in 1787, using the terminology “Year of our Lord” was not significant of a desire to be explicitly Christian/non-Christian or whatever. It was simply the way folks back then marked time. References to “C.E.” that predate the mid-19th century Jewish usage most likely meant “Christian Era.” The US Constitution was a momentous document, worthy of pomp and circumstance so it should not be surprising that the date was marked in a manner befitting the customs of the day, and those customs included dating things in such a way, e.g. the language of A.D.

    • The United States Constitution, Mr. Hilberg, is friendly toward religion, or more specially Christianity. It is not the anti-religious document that many people want it to be.

      Moreover, the Declaration of Independence gave birth to the Constitution, and the Declaration shows how that generation viewed nations, such as the United States, that God is responsible for bringing America into the world, and that we are fully dependent upon Him to continue as a nation. The Constitution then builds on that so that government would never squelched Christianity, thus, the First Amendment.

      Those involved in giving us the Constitution thought long and hard, debating with one another about every single word in the Constitution. Therefore, when they declared that they had finished it on such and such a date, “In the Year of Our Lord,” they knew exactly what they meant, and did not momentarily drift into a thoughtless reference to time.

      They spoke that way in their everyday affairs, because they believed it.

      Don

      • The reason I am hounding you on this matter, Mr. Ruhl, is that you are reading the Constitution ideologically, through the filters of your own belief commitments, rather than as a document that is situated in a historical context and then following inferences to the soundest interpretations. Your reply to me evinces my claim. Rather than responding to what I actually said, you just said what you wanted, repeating the position that my arguments (based on well-supported historical facts and valid logical inferences) have been undermining. I acknowledged that the founders were religion-friendly, and smart, visionaries that they were, thought that best way to make the Constitution a viable document for governing the society they envisioned was to keep churches and the gov’t out of each other’s affairs (obviously they were well-acquainted with the horrors of the wars of religion in post-Reformation Europe…caused by the overlap of matters of religion with matters of state). The ban on religious tests for holding public office and the 1st Amendment could not make this any plainer. With regard to the notion of Christian-friendliness, keep in mind that Deism was attractive to many of the founders and the God of Deism is quite different from the God of Christianity, especially in its Trinitarian forms (and keep in mind that Harvard University, central to the intellectual culture of their time and place, was the seat of Unitarianism). It would be obscurantist to the utmost to deny that the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution are documents rife with Enlightenment sensibilities. The tone of the interpretation you are forcing onto the US Constitution would be more fitting if the topic of discussion were the Mayflower Compact.

      • Nate,

        Actually, if you go back and just scan over my article, you will discover that the point I was making is that the Constitution mentions or references religion more often than the average person realizes.

        You say that I need to respond to what you actually said, but you need to respond to what I said, especially remembering the main point of the article.

        Much of what you wrote in your last comment, you and I see eye to eye on, such as the Framers not wanting to establish a national or state church, and not wanting anyone to be forced to join that church. I am all for that, and all churches of whatever stripe in America, and all preachers of whom I am familiar, believe that same way!

        I often hear of the Deism of the Founding Fathers, and people often cite Jefferson as one of them, but then I read what He wrote, in particular the Declaration and that does not sound like a deist to me. He believed that God was very active in our world.

        The point of my article is that the Constitution references religion in these ways:

        1. The First Amendment 2. The prohibition against religious tests 3. The date reference 4. The Sunday exception, which I believe implies that they knew people would want to worship on that day; in other words, they were simply being considerate

        What is it exactly that you think I am promoting and with which you disagree?

        Don

      • Your post has provided some fresh insights, thank you. I would only add that the gentleman you are addressing – “Nate” – has presented an erroneous proposition. Voltaire was not an atheist by any means. He was an extraordinary agitator of the clergy of his day, but he was no atheist. Volume VI of the eminent F. Copleston’s, “A History of Philosophy,” gives an outstanding exposition concerning Voltaire’s beliefs.

        Voltaire actually believed he could prove the existence of God in his work, “A Treatise on Metaphysics,” where he lays out two argument proofs for the existence of God. Voltaire’s alleged ‘atheism’ is a common misconception by those who have never actually read his works. I graduated BA in philosophy; I didn’t have a choice.

  5. The US Constitution is a Christian-friendly document only in so far as it is a religion-friendly document. It is a religion-friendly document in that it states that gov’t should stay out of church business and vice versa. Thus it follows that Christianity has no more of a privileged place place in the public square than atheism (or Satanism, for that matter). On the idea of no religious tests for holding public office, though true de jure, not so much de facto. Can you imagine an avowed atheist being a plausible candidate for a high public office?!? Though the US public would never stand for it, the Constitution allows for it, mandates the possibility in fact. I recommend Kramnick and Moore’s “The Godless Constitution” to you and your readers. It’s a must read for anyone who cares to be a civically informed US citizen.

    I concede that I am not responding precisely to what you wrote. What I write is by way of summary, which is what I took to be the spirit of your request. Peace, Nate

    • Yes, the church and the government should stay out of one another’s business, but even as the church encourages subjection to the government, paying taxes, rendering respect, and giving honor to the government, according to the teaching of the Scriptures (Hebrews 13.1-7), so we expect government to act honorably toward us.

      Yes, the Constitution forbids religious tests, but the Constitution cannot forbid what I think. Therefore, I believe that prohibition keep us from creating something such as a document that candidates have to pass before being elected.

      Would the American public stand for an atheist running for office? That is a hard question to answer, because there are a lot of people here! Some Muslims have been elected to office. Some Mormons have been elected. Some openly homosexual people have been elected. Granted, those are not atheists, but I think it demonstrates that anyone can make it to some elected office in America.

      The Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and his followers managed to take over a whole town here in Oregon back in the 1980s.

      And thanks for your closing desire of Peace, because although we disagree on matters, I am glad that we can do so in peace.

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