Missouri's 7th District, U.S. House of Representatives




Congressional Issues 2010
Is the Constitution a Secular Document?

Would it be wonderful if, under the pressure of all these difficulties, the [Constitutional] convention should have been forced into some deviations from that artificial structure and regular symmetry which an abstract view of the subject might lead an ingenious theorist to bestow on a Constitution planned in his closet or in his imagination? The real wonder is that so many difficulties should have been surmounted, and surmounted with a unanimity almost as unprecedented as it must have been unexpected. It is impossible for any man of candor to reflect on this circumstance without partaking of the astonishment. It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution.
James Madison, "Father of the Constitution," on how God helped create the Constitution. Federalist #37

Atheists frequently repeat the claim that we have a secular constitution. By this claim they mean to assert that Americans ratified a federal constitution which would impose secularism on the nation. Some of the atheists who claim that we have a "secular constitution" know better, and are liars. But most are victims of educational malpractice at the hands of government-run schools. They weren't taught the facts of American history. They will not read the following links. Ignorance is bliss.

The first set of links gives us historical background. There can be no doubt -- and there is no disagreement -- that up until the Constitution of 1787 was ratified, every one of the 13 British colonies in America was a Christian Theocracy.

The Declaration of Independence of 1776 did not secularize America; indeed, the Declaration is a Theocratic document because it acknowledges that God is sovereign over civil governments, which is the literal meaning of the word "theocracy." And it's not the case that America was only formally a Christian Theocracy, or a Christian Theocracy in name only. There were innumerable official acts which would have violated the secular myth of "separation of church and state" during the American Revolutionary period -- if anyone had even thought of that myth.

For example, in September of 1776, having declared independence from Britain, Delaware created a new constitution, Article 22 of which required:

Every person who shall be chosen a member of either house, or appointed to any office or 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 evermore; and I do acknowledge the holy scripture of the Old and New Testaments to be given by divine inspiration."[1]

Every state in America was a Christian Theocracy like Delaware. The idea of a "secular constitution" was unheard of. Every constitution in America was a Christian Theocratic constitution. Out of three million Americans in 1776, the number of Americans suggesting that the government should prohibit public and official acknowledgment of our national duty to God could be numbered on your left hand.

The second set of links helps us understand the Constitution and answers the question, Did the 13 Christian Theocracies ratify a federal constitution which would impose atheism on the states? A century after the Constitution was ratified, but before the Supreme Court invented the myth of "separation of church and state," the U.S. Supreme Court answered NO to that question, declaring that the United States was legally, officially, and organically (constitutionally) a Christian nation. This is because the Supreme Court in 1892 still knew how to interpret the Constitution.

The third set of links shows that immediately after the federal Constitution was ratified, America was still a Christian Theocracy, and generally acted the part. Nobody believed that the newly-created federal government had the power to
The very suggestion of these kinds of dictatorial anti-Christian federal powers -- the heart of the myth of "separation of church and state" -- would have been derided with hostility.

1. America's Christian Theocratic Background

Christian History of America from first Settlement in Early 1600's:
Nothing in the Constitution of 1789 repudiated the declaration of these charters that our government was committed to God.

Scholars admit that pre-Revolutionary America was a Theocracy
Nothing in the Constitution of 1789 repudiated the declaration that our government was committed to God.

Continental Congress Orders Revolutionary Army to fight like Good Christians:
Nothing in the Constitution of 1789 repudiated the declaration that our government was committed to God.

Declaration of Independence, Framers of Constitution admit that America's Independence was a result of the divine intervention of God:
Nothing in the Constitution of 1789 repudiated the declaration that our government was committed to God.

Boston Tea-Party and other significant Revolutionary Events were planned in churches; Puritan Pulpit Strongest Influence on American Revolution
Nothing in the Constitution of 1789 repudiated the declaration that our government was committed to God.

American Law Codes based on Ten Commandments: 4 USA/UShistory/index.htm
Nothing in the Constitution of 1789 repudiated the declaration that our government was committed to God.

U.S. Supreme Court says Bible "must" be taught in government schools:
All public schools were Christian:
Nothing in the Constitution of 1789 repudiated the teaching that our government was committed to God.

Christianity, Our Early State Constitutions, and American Federalism
Nothing in the Constitution of 1789 repudiated the declaration that our government was committed to God.

Atheists Admit Christian Character of Early Charters; Charge "Discrimination":

Examples of "Discrimination"

Still more examples:
Nothing in the Constitution of 1789 repudiated the declaration that our government was committed to God.

2. Interpreting the Federal Constitution

Basic Rules of Interpretation:
How to Interpret the Constitution
A Document of "Enumerated Powers"
including The "General Welfare" Clause
What a Secular Constitution would look like: comparing the French and American Revolutions.
A Secular Constitution?

Nobody who signed the Constitution intended that charter to ESTABLISH or CREATE the religious (or secular) character of the nation. That character had ALREADY BEEN ESTABLISHED, and the federal Constitution simply recognizes and assumes that character; it does not attempt to repudiate it. Delegates from the states jealously guarded their religious autonomy from federal encroachment.

Is the Constitution a "Secular Document?"

Compare colonial America and "Obama's USSA." If President Obama publicly proposed converting America into an Islamic Theocracy under Sharia law, would there be any debate or comment published anywhere? If Madison and Jefferson had publicly proposed changing America from a nation "under God" to a nation that officially and legally thumbed its nose at God, by claiming that a "wall of separation" had been erected between God and government by an atheistic constitution, would there have been any debate or comment published anywhere in the colonies? Of course there would have.

There isn't any such debate.

No such proposal was ever made.

There was never a separation between God and government
between religion and government

The states that ratified the Constitution did not attempt to repudiate their own Theocratic character, and they continued to operate as Christian Theocracies after the Constitution was ratified. America was a nation "under God," not separate from God.

3. America's Continuing Theocratic Character, post-1789

America behaved like a Christian Theocracy before the federal Constitution was ratified, and continued to do so after it was ratified. Nobody believed government had been secularized by the new Constitution.

The Same Congress that Approves First Amendment Calls for National Day of Prayer to Celebrate New Constitution:
Nothing in the Constitution of 1789 repudiated the declaration that our government was committed to God.

After dedicating the new Constitution to the God of Scripture, worship services were held regularly in the assembly hall of the House of Representatives. Thomas Jefferson regularly attended these government-sponsored church services. So frequently were church services held in Congress and in the Supreme Court chambers and so far from there being a wall of separation between church and state, that a Library of Congress exhibit on religion during the Madison and Jefferson administrations is entitled "The State Becomes the Church."

One of America's Four most Fundamental Charters says Religion is essential to "good government" and the happiness of mankind:
This charter was drafted before the Constitution, and then re-approved after the new Constitution went into effect. Nothing in the Constitution of 1789 repudiated the declaration that our government was committed to God.

The Northwest Ordinance is actually more important than the federal constitution in determining the religious character of the nation. Whenever a territory sought admission to the union as a state, Congress passed an "enabling act" which required that their state constitution not be repugnant to the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Northwest Ordinance. Both the Declaration and the Ordinance are expressly, explicitly THEISTIC. They both endorse religion over secularism. Every state constitution created under the Northwest Ordinance, the last being, I believe, Nebraska in 1875, contains the language ordered by Congress: "RELIGION IS NECESSARY FOR GOOD GOVERNMENT." Atheists believe that the federal constitution makes it illegal for government to say that religion is necessary for good government, or better for good government than non-religion. But America's Constitution is not a secular constitution.

To claim that America is atheistic because of the absence of any claim by the federal constitution to exercise power over religion and to ignore the endorsement of religion over secularism which was ordered by Congress under the Northwest Ordinance and fulfilled by the states in their constitutions, is to publicly exhibit gross ignorance about the nature and history of the American system of government.

Justice Rehnquist wrote:

It seems indisputable from these glimpses of Madison's thinking, as reflected by actions on the floor of the House in 1789, that he saw the [First] Amendment as designed to prohibit the establishment of a national religion, and perhaps to prevent discrimination among sects. He did not see it as requiring neutrality on the part of government between religion and irreligion.
. . .
None of the other Members of Congress who spoke during the August 15th debate expressed the slightest indication that they thought the language before them from the Select Committee, or the evil to be aimed at, would require that the Government be absolutely neutral as between religion and irreligion.
. . .
The actions of the First Congress, which reenacted the Northwest Ordinance for the governance of the Northwest Territory in 1789, confirm the view that Congress did not mean that the Government should be neutral between religion and irreligion. The House of Representatives took up the Northwest Ordinance on the same day as Madison introduced his proposed amendments which became the Bill of Rights; . . . it seems highly unlikely that the House of Representatives would simultaneously consider proposed amendments to the Constitution and enact an important piece of territorial legislation which conflicted with the intent of those proposals. The Northwest Ordinance, 1 Stat. 50, reenacted the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 and provided that "[r]eligion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged." Id., at 52, n. (a).
J. Rehnquist, dissenting in Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38 (1985)

President John Adams Acknowledges God in "National Act":
Nothing in the Constitution of 1789 repudiated the declaration that our government was committed to God.

Every Person who Signed the Constitution believed that the Institution of Civil Government was an Ordinance of God:
Nothing in the Constitution of 1789 repudiated the declaration that our government was committed to obeying God.

Every Person who Signed the Constitution believed that America was a nation "under God."
Nothing in the Constitution of 1789 repudiated the declaration that our government was committed to God.

Clinton Rossiter: The Moral Basis of American Government:
Nothing in the Constitution of 1789 repudiated the declaration that our government was committed to Christian morality.

It is a myth to claim that the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court had more influence in determining the national character than the state constitutions and state supreme courts. If the federal constitution had repudiated Christian morality and purported to take the nation out from "under God," it simply WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN RATIFIED.

The evidence is overwhelming that America understood herself to be a Christian nation even after the Constitution of 1789 was ratified. The U.S. Supreme Court said so on several occasions.

Please leave a comment about this page here.

Another Anti-Secular Interpretation

There is another interpretation of American history which must be acknowledged. It differs from the idea presented on this webpage (that the Constitution perpetuates a Christian nation), though it too refutes the idea that America was intended by her Founders to be a secular nation.

This interpretation holds that a core of America's Founders, such as Madison, Washington, Franklin, and others, rejected Biblical Christianity in favor of another religious view: the religion of occult Humanism. This view holds that the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia was a secret coup d'etat, the true intentions of which were hidden from the Christian majority of America.

What the ACLU advances today -- "Secular Humanism" -- was virtually unknown before Darwin. There was only religious humanism.

Today's popular "Secular Humanism" is also a religion, but it had no influence on America's Founding Fathers. Secular Humanism (through the ACLU and similar secularizing organizations) holds that the Constitution empowers the federal judiciary to remove God and religion from government-run schools and other government institutions.

Not a single person who signed the Constitution believed anything resembling this idea, either in terms of federal power or a secular vision of society. America's non-Calvinist Founders were deeply religious and pious, and believed the government should advance "true religion," and everywhere in Washington D.C. you can see evidence of religion being promoted:

It may well be possible to prove that some of America's leading Founders were opposed to the older Calvinist Theocracy, and preferred a Masonic theocracy. But all of America's Founders advocated some form of Theocracy, and none of them -- not one -- promoted a secular (irreligious) federal leviathan under the religion of statism, which is what we have today. They all believed that the formation of the American Republic was a religious activity, that the primary purpose of public schools was to teach religion, the purpose of government was to promote religion, and that a free government was impossible without religion.

America's Founders would not have applauded anti-religious, anti-Bible organizations like the ACLU and the "Freedom FROM Religion" Foundation. They would have warned them to stop, and denounced them if the proceeded, to attack religion and seek to use the federal government to impose secularism on American society, just as they warned Thomas Paine not to publish Age of Reason and denounced him after he did.

next: Campaign Finance, Corruption and the Oath of Office