To The Daily Sun,
In a letter to the editor posted on 10 July, Robert Joseph Jr. made the following statement in regard to the Constitution as well as the Declaration of Independence: "The words God and Christian/Jesus are not in these documents, nor are there any references to the same." This partial truth is rendered false by the last part of the statement itself and by its intent. This false statement is embraced and perpetuated by those who want everyone to believe that our nation was founded in a godless void.
There are four fundamental statements pointing to our dependence as a nation on a divine being that were purposely included in the Declaration of Independence and recognized by our founders as referring to God.
First reference: The first paragraph of the Declaration establishes what laws entitled the United States to dissolve the political ties to Great Britain and entitled us to establish a new nation. The laws are stated as "the laws of nature and of Nature's God."
Original Webster's dictionary: "The law of nature is a rule of conduct arising out of the natural relationship of human beings established by the Creator, and existing prior to any positive precept." Bingo! Existing prior to any positive precept puts it out of man's hands and into the hands of our Creator God. Webster's original definition of God: The Creator, Supreme Being, Sovereign of the Universe. There's more.
Excerpts from the explanation and definition of the two parts of natural law in question are given by Blackstone, who authored the most authoritative law commentary of the time and was well known and used by the founders:
"Man ... must necessarily be subject to the laws of his Creator ... The law of nature ... dictated by God himself, is superior in obligation to any other ... The revealed or Divine Law ... found only in the Holy Scriptures are found to be a part of the original law of Nature... no human laws should be suffered to contradict these."
Blackstone's interpretation was accepted for more than a century after the founding of our nation, at least through the 1892 United States vs Church of the Holy Trinity case, which meticulously filled eight pages with historic organic references and court cases affirming these precepts.
These precepts, embraced by the Supreme Court for more than a century, are now ignored. But the statement that these godly references were not a part of the Declaration is blatantly false.
Second reference: "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
All in the founding convention knew "Our Creator" to be God. The source of our rights is not man or the document itself, but rather a higher source: our creator God. Cast in stone in the Jefferson Memorial are these words of support by Jefferson:
"God who gave us life gave us liberty. And 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 the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever."
The third and fourth references are contained in our nation's founding charter, the last paragraph of the Declaration:
"We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to The Supreme Judge of the World for the rectitude (making right) of our intentions (forming a new nation), do ... And for the support of this Declaration, with firm reliance on Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."
The appeal to "The Supreme Judge of the World" to form our new union was not made to any earthly power or authority, to any army or any writ of hand, but to God for the destiny of our nation. The founders pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor with firm reliance on divine providence and not from any earthly power.
Original Webster; Divine: "Pertaining to true God, partaking of the nature of God, proceeding from God." Providence: "The care and superintendence God exercises over His creation." Sacred: "Holy, pertaining to God or to His worship separated from common secular uses and consecrated to God and His service."
Natural Law was written into the Declaration by Jefferson, "by our Creator" comes from Adams and the final references to Deity were added from the floor by the delegates assembled to show the desired prevailing reliance on God.
The Constitution is amendable, our Declaration of Independence charter is not. It would take a revolution or dissolution of our government to invalidate the words of the Declaration of Independence.
Congress gave the following mandate for State constitutions, "The constitution, when formed, shall be republican, and not repugnant to the Constitution of the United States and the principles of the Declaration of Independence." The Principles of the Declaration thus extended into all the State Constitutions when they were written. All 50 state constitutions have references to God or a form of deity from the first (Delaware 1787) to the last (Hawaii 1959.
Here are two examples:
Pennsylvania 1788, Preamble: "We the people of Pennsylvania, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty..."
Virginia 1788, Article 1 section 16: "Religion, or the duty which we owe our Creator ... it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love and charity towards each other..."
Most constitutions reference Almighty God (32), but others use God (7), Supreme Ruler of the Universe, Creator, Great Legislator of the Universe, Sovereign ruler of the Universe, etc.
The author asks those who say that our nation was created in a godless void, that there are no references to God or deity in our nation's founding document, and that the godly principles of the Declaration have no validity or imprint on our nation, I submit the following:
How did these organic references to Deity pass from the Declaration of Independence into each and every State Constitution?
- Category: Letters
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