The Constitution Alone

In mid­dle school & high school, I was taught the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion. We mem­o­rized the Pre­am­ble, learned the Bill of Rights, and so on. We were taught the Con­sti­tu­tion, and very lit­tle “com­men­tary” was shared with us.

In oth­er words, we took the Con­sti­tu­tion at face val­ue, let­ting it say what it says with­out muck­ing it up with our own ideas or those of the teachers’.

In Chris­tian­i­ty, regard­ing the Bible, we have the doc­trine of sola Scrip­tura, a beau­ti­ful prin­ci­ple that states the Bible alone defines for us mat­ters of faith, prac­tice, morals, etc, and that it is author­i­ta­tive in every­thing it says.

What if the same prin­ci­ple was applied to the Con­sti­tu­tion regard­ing Amer­i­can politics?

It would cer­tain­ly change the way many viewed the First Ammend­ment, for there would be no room for, “So and so explains it like this,” “I believe this…” or “Judges say this…” It would mean what it says, and it will say that because that’s what the Found­ing Fathers want­ed it to say.

Con­gress shall make no law respect­ing an estab­lish­ment of reli­gion, or pro­hibit­ing the free exer­cise thereof…

In oth­er words, Con­gress shall make no law favor­ing one church over anoth­er or oth­er­wise cre­at­ing a state church, and Con­gress shall make no law pro­hibit­ing the free exer­cise of religion.

That is all the Con­sti­tu­tion says about reli­gion. That is what the Found­ing Fathers want­ed us to have. Notice that it does not call for a sep­a­ra­tion of church and state, but that it does pro­hib­it a state church, which is entire­ly different.

This means if the Pres­i­dent wants to stand up and call on the nation to pray, then fol­low it with a prayer “in Jesus’ name,” he is in no way being uncon­sti­tu­tion­al, for Con­gress has made no law favor­ing Chris­tian­i­ty. If a Pres­i­dent want­ed to stand up and offer a Bud­dhist bless­ing or pray towards Mec­ca, fine. He’ll answer one day to God for it, but it is with­in his Con­sti­tu­tion­al rights to do so.

This means that nation­al mon­u­ments, court build­ings, and so on can dis­play cross­es, the Deca­logue, bib­li­cal fig­ures, etc., and not be uncon­sti­tu­tion­al. In dis­play­ing cross­es, Con­gress is not mak­ing a law favor­ing one church over anoth­er. Like­wise, if some­one want­ed to build a cour­t­house with quotes from the Koran dis­played on a rock, the builders are at lib­er­ty to do so.

If Con­gress, how­ev­er, man­dat­ed that all cour­t­hous­es must dis­play the Deca­logue, then they are mak­ing a law respect­ing the estab­lish­ment of reli­gion. Sim­i­lar­ly, if they banned cour­t­hous­es from dis­play­ing any reli­gious sym­bol­ism, they are not only mak­ing a law con­cern­ing reli­gions, but they are pro­hibit­ing the free expres­sion thereof.

These are the con­clu­sions that must be drawn if the Con­sti­tu­tion is to be tak­en lit­er­al­ly and authoritatively.

But just as poor Bible inter­pre­ta­tion will lead to a christ who was­n’t God or a sal­va­tion that requires being dunked under water, a poor under­stand­ing of the Con­sti­tu­tion will lead to all sorts of stupidity.

Yes, stu­pid­i­ty. The Con­sti­tu­tion says Con­gress can­not make laws respect­ing reli­gion, so now peo­ple are mis­us­ing the courts to restrict the free exer­cise of reli­gion. Per­haps the framers of the Con­sti­tu­tion should have said, “the gov­ern­ment shall make…” but then again they were set­ting up a sys­tem in which it was Con­gress made laws and the Supreme Court judged their constitutionality.

In oth­er words, if Con­gress was to make a law ban­ning cross­es from pub­lic places, the Supreme Court should be smart enough to real­ize that Con­gress can­not make any laws con­cern­ing religions.

Seems like a sim­ple enough sys­tem to me. But leave it to those too fool­ish to even rec­og­nize that God exists (Psalm 14:1; 53:1) to mis­in­ter­pret and mis­use the system.

Con­gress shall make no law respect­ing an estab­lish­ment of reli­gion, or pro­hibit­ing the free exer­cise thereof…

The very first phrase of the very first Con­sti­tu­tion­al Amend­ment. When learn­ing the Bill of Rights, it is the first thing taught. And it is so sim­ple, so ele­men­tary. But it is being tread upon. Look­ing at the rest of the Amend­ment and those that fol­low, what could be next after the very first por­tion is ren­dered mean­ing­less? Maybe free­dom of speech? Per­haps some­day this post will be ille­gal for it speaks out against the State, if ever so slight­ly. What about my right to vote? To bear arms? To peace­ably assem­ble with oth­ers? To have a fair tri­al? How safe are those rights in the hands of activist judges and fool­ish cit­i­zens who want their way enforced upon the nation?

I have made my opin­ion about Amer­i­ca known before. I am an Amer­i­can, but first and fore­most I am a Chris­t­ian. I rec­og­nize that our lead­ers are ordained by God and are to be obeyed and hon­ored. I also rec­og­nize that the world sys­tem (gov­ern­ments, economies, etc.) are under the sway of Satan. For rea­sons most peo­ple don’t care to take the time to find out, he could legit­i­mate­ly offer all the world’s king­doms to God Him­self (Matthew 4:8,9). I know that there can only be a real Chris­t­ian king­dom when Christ Him­self returns and sits upon David’s thrown in Jerusalem, from there rul­ing the nations of the world.

So I don’t wor­ry that the Con­sti­tu­tion is being tram­pled upon, like pearls before swine. Amer­i­cans will make a mock­ery of their Con­sti­tu­tion just as Chris­tians make a mock­ery of their Bible. It would seem human nature to cor­rupt, even some­thing as sim­ple as the First Amendment.

I real­ize I over­sim­pli­fied cer­tain gov­ern­ment-relat­ed con­cepts. I don’t claim to be an expert. How­ev­er, I do know how to read, and I am able to under­stand what the Con­sti­tu­tion means based upon what it says.

2 thoughts on “The Constitution Alone”

  1. Rick, that’s the most thought­ful and down-to-earth thing I’ve read in a long time. With the pass­ing of inde­pen­dence day I won­der how many peo­ple real­ly get what the whole day is about, you know aside from beer and fire­works shows.

    I espe­cial­ly appre­ci­ate your clos­ing state­ment (or dis­claimer?) because I hear that a lot about over-sim­pli­fy­ing and I think it’s so sad because the world has actu­al­ly over-com­pli­cat­ed things. The found­ing fathers indend­ed things to be so sim­ple. We gain inde­pen­dence from Moth­er Eng­land and we have the free­dom to wor­ship Christ on our own, with­out the Queen’s inter­fer­ence. Today, Satan has con­vinced the world that the inten­tion was to wipe out reli­gion (or at the very least keep it behind closed doors — pri­vate doors). In fact, reli­gion is more taboo than sex to dis­play pub­licly. We see porno­graph­ic images all over and yet a cross is some­how so inflamatory.

    You’re right on, Rick, and I pray the Lord will con­tin­ue to use ser­vants like you to sim­pli­fy things for peo­ple who need to get past the gray muck and see His world in black and white.

  2. I’ve tried to reply to this a few times but could­n’t come up with any­thing… So, I’ll just say thank you for your com­ments, Natal­ie. The thought of your last para­graph hum­bles me each time I read it. As my friend Glen has said, some­times we just feel so unwor­thy to do what we do.

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Rick Beckman