God and the Constitution

From Jerry Newcombe at Townhall:

Some skeptics today like to argue that the founding fathers purposefully left God out of the Constitution. They say that a “Godless Constitution” was the intended design of the document—and they’re wrong.

First of all, the authors of the Constitution not only mention God, they even mention that Jesus is God. They do this in the ratification clause. This was done “in the Year of Our Lord” 1787.

But some skeptics object. Yet law professor John Eidsmoe, author of the book, Christianity and the Constitution, notes in response to their objection: “Saying this [ratification] clause is not really part of the Constitution is like saying the attestation clause is not part of a will.”

The general response of the skeptic is to dismiss the “Year of Our Lord” as just a custom. Custom, shmustom. The leaders of the French Revolution, who really did espouse a secular Enlightenment philosophy, changed their calendar a couple years after America’s Constitution, in order to explicitly repudiate Christianity, so that time would not be measured in “the Year of Our Lord.” (About a dozen years later, Napoleon restored the Christian calendar.)

To understand America’s founders, we have to realize what Dr. Michael Novak of American Enterprise Institute has said. He observed that thinkers we call men of the “Enlightenment” are really of two sorts. There are those who believed in God and those who didn’t.

The French Revolution was history’s first secular revolution—and, incidentally, spilled rivers of blood. They chose to follow the unbelieving thinkers of the “Enlightenment” —e.g., Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau, David Hume. But our founders quoted those men of the “Enlightenment” who believed in the Lord—e.g., Montesquieu, John Locke, Sir William Blackstone.

In his The Spirit of Laws, Baron Montesquieu wrote: “We shall see that we owe to Christianity, in government, a certain political law, and in war a certain law of nations—benefits which human nature can never sufficiently acknowledge.”

I used to have a Sunday school teacher who became born again while earning his Ph.D. at Yale. He studied John Locke in depth. Locke not only wrote his Second Treatise of Civil Government, which was influential to our nation’s founders; but he also wrote The Reasonableness of Christianity. As my teacher read Locke in his own words, he came to embrace Christ.

Sir William Blackstone, the great British jurist, was important to our founders and is still quoted by the Supreme Court sometimes. Blackstone wrote of “the law of nature and the law of revelation”—like “the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” in our Declaration of Independence.

The two key founding documents in American history are the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The first explains why we exist as a nation. Not only does the Declaration mention God four times, most importantly, it says that our rights come from the Creator.

Read more: Townhall.com