When the Founders broke away from Great Britain by signing the Declaration of Independence they effectively abolished thirteen state governments. All the Colonies’ governments were British governments. The Founders also knew that God had ordained civil government:
When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn. -Proverbs 29:2
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever, therefore, resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. -Romans 13:1
At the end of the Revolutionary War, all States had to set about creating new governments, and what is now referred to as the federal government. Representatives of each State that signed the Declaration of Independence returned to the States and began to write a new Constitution for their State. I’m sure that we have all heard that there is not to be a religious ‘test’ for anyone who seeks a public office. There is some truth to that, but it is not what most people are led to believe. People actually had to profess faith in Jesus Christ. The ‘no religious test’ was in reference to whether they were Baptist, Episcopalian, Methodist and any other Christian denomination.
As proof of this is Article XXII of the Constitution of Delaware:
Every person who shall be chosen a member of either house, or appointed to any office of place of trust . . . shall. . . make and subscribe the following declaration, to wit: “I _______, do profess faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ His only Son, and in the Holy Ghost, one God, blessed for ever more; and I do acknowledge the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine inspiration. 1
The Constitution of Massachusetts was written in 1780 and still in use today states:
Any person chosen governor, or lieutenant-governor, counselor, senator or representative [must say]: ‘I do declare that I believe the Christian religion and have a firm persuasion of faith’” 2
One has to wonder why we have people from these States that do not fulfill this requirement. It is because they no longer follow their Constitution just like we no longer follow the Constitution of the United States. We no longer teach the Constitution so, nobody knows what it requires. This is the gross failure of our ‘public education’. But the Founders established these guidelines for future generations to follow to maintain a just and prosperous government.
Many believe that we were not founded as a Christian nation, but these constitutions lay that claim to rest. Virtually all thirteen States had similar Constitutions. Even the Declaration of Independence refers to “the Laws of Nature and Natures God.” The only reason we have lost the ability to pray in public and in schools and the displays of our Christian faith have been removed, ie. the Ten Commandment displays, Nativity scenes and crosses, is because we began putting people in places of authority that did not believe in God and began to tell us we could not do those things. Not knowing what our Constitution calls for has allowed these people to gain a foothold. Remember that God will hold the Church, not the unsaved, to account for how this nation goes. When you have people in office that don’t believe that they will be held accountable to God for their actions, we end up with Barack Obamas and Hillary Clintons and John McCains that bring the wrath of God down on America, the just and the unjust.
Just looking at this last election, we see that Donald Trump, who may not be the most religious man in the country, but a man who is willing to listen to men and women of God for direction, has already accomplished things for America that will last for generations: Removing the Johnson gag order that we have been under since 1954, placing a conservative on the US Supreme Court and has 5 more in line to place there when necessary, and curbed illegal immigration by just being elected. This is why the Founders put a strong emphasis on putting the right kind of people in office.
The Founders looked at the government in two different ways. One was if you institute the right laws, no matter who is in office, they would have to follow those laws. The other approach was that it was more important who you put in office.
Theologian John Locke helped write the Constitution of Carolina and he used the former approach.
Rev. William Penn used the latter approach. He stated:
“Governments, like clocks, go from the motion men gave them; and as governments are made and moved by men, so by them they are ruined too. Wherefore governments rather depend upon men than men upon governments. Let men be good, and the government cannot be bad; if it be ill, they will cure it. But, if men be bad, let the government be ever so good, they will endeavor to warp and spoil it to their turn.
I know some say, “Let us have good laws, and no matter for the men that execute them”; but let them consider that, though good laws do well, good men do better, for good laws may want good men and be abolished or evaded [invaded in Franklin’s print] by ill men; but good men will never want good laws nor suffer ill ones.”3
Penn was right in thinking that it was good men that were needed over good laws. We have good laws, but the bad men we have don’t always execute those laws. During the Obama administration, there were about 100,000 people a year that attempted to illegally purchase guns, but Eric Holder only prosecuted 42 cases. 4
This was made even clearer by John Francis Mercer who brought to the attention of the delegates that the Constitution they were framing was not what would be governing the nation. He stated:
“It is a great mistake to suppose that the paper we are to propose will govern the United State. It is the men whom it will bring into the government and interest they have in maintaining it that will govern them. The paper will only mark out the mode and the form. Men are the substance and must do the business”5
This is why it is important to have men of high character in office. This is why the Founders believed:
And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do. Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. -Exodus 18:20-21
These are principles of our founding that have been lost to history. We must re-introduce them if we are going to keep America the greatest nation in the world.
- Roger Anghis, Defining America’s Exceptionalism, p. 118, (Westbow Press, 2012)
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