abstract: The Constitution's framers knew limited government requires the Ten Commandments' Christian morality but neglected to recognize Christ. Thus they neglected King Jesus's crown rights and a defense of the future of limited government. NRA proposes remedial amendment. It is biblical. It exposes militant statists and secularists. We have nothing to lose.
August 10, 1996
Dr. James Dobson
Focus on the Family
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80995
Dear Dr. Dobson:
We recently received your June 1996 open letter and have read it with interest and appreciation. As you requested, we are responding to you with our reactions, and we pray that you will consider them.
You make the important point, that the Framers of our government believed Christian morality to be the foundation of democratic government, and that they knew the Constitution could only govern a nation where each person already governed himself according to the Ten Commandments. It is significant that some of the people you quoted were not themselves believers, in the sense of having a living, personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Even they knew that only a Christian people could remain a free people.
There was however, a major error in what they did. They believed Christian morality and self-government were essential to the limited civil government they proposed in the Constitution. However, they neglected to mention that anywhere in the Constitution. The highest authority mentioned in the text of the Constitution is "We the People . . ."
We at the National Reform Association believe this omission to have been a serious mistake. First, it denies the most important fact about civil government: Jesus Christ is the Ruler of the rulers of Earth, and it is He who grants legitimacy to a civil government (Romans 13). Furthermore, in neglecting to confess the Lordship of Christ in the Constitution, the Framers have neglected to defend the Christian morality of future generations, and have unwittingly assisted the militant secularists of our day.
For this reason, The National Reform Association has, for the last 125 years, sought to amend the Constitution to include a declaration that Jesus Christ is the Lord of civil government, as the Bible says in Romans 13. Our original proposal twice came up for a vote in the floor of the U. S. House of Representatives in 1874 and 1896. It would have amended the preamble to read thus:
We the people of the United States, humbly acknowledging Almighty God as the source of all authority and power in civil government, the Lord Jesus Christ as the Governor among the nations, and His revealed will as of supreme authority, in order to constitute a Christian government, to form a more perfect union, ... do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
In the 1950's a fresh move was made to place a Christian Amendment in the Constitution. Two godly men, the late Dr. G. M. Robb, and Dr. Sam Boyle, a former missionary to China, spent 9 years lobbying in the nation's capital for this amendment. This proposal reads as follows:
Section 1: This nation devoutly recognizes the authority and law of Jesus Christ, Savior and Ruler of nations, through whom are bestowed the blessings of Almighty God.
Section 2: This amendment shall not be interpreted so as to result in the establishment of any particular ecclesiastical organization, or in the abridgment of the rights of religious freedom, or freedom of speech and press, or of peaceful assemblage.
Section 3: Congress shall have power, in such cases as it may deem proper, to provide a suitable oath or affirmation for citizens whose religious scruples prevent them from giving unqualified allegiance to the Constitution as herein amended.
As you can see from the text of this proposal, it in no ways violates the biblical separation of church and state, but moves the state to confess that it, like everything else, is subject to the lordship of Christ, and is either in obedience or rebellion. Notice also that a specific provision was included to allow for the religious scruples of non-Christians. There are many good reasons for Christians to seek such a change in the Constitution today. First, it is right. Second, it would flush secularist activists (such as People for the American Way and the ACLU) to come out in the open about their militant secularism, and it would prompt the American people to seriously consider where they stand. Third, we have nothing to lose.
First, it is right. Psalm 2, as expressed in the Book of Psalms for Singing says:
Therefore, kings, be wise, give ear, hearken judges of the earth
Serve the Lord with Godly fear, mingle trembling with your mirth
Kiss the Son His wrath to turn, lest ye perish in the way
For His anger soon will burn, blessed are all that on Him stay.
Since America is a democratic republic, its citizens are in the position of the king, and are in this respect commanded to "Kiss the Son." We have not been doing that for the last 200 years, and now we appear to be reaping the consequences, with the erosion of our liberties, the prevalence of civil strife, and the heavy taxation being exacted to propagate secularism in public schools, subsidize immorality and idleness, and undermine families.
Second, secularist activists consistently hide behind the Constitution to justify their attempts to discredit Christians, legitimize perversion, and make everybody wards of the state. They raise their battle cry of "separation of church and state" to expand the state and drive religion out. Americans hold the Constitution in such awe that they are taken in by these tactics, and acquiesce when the judicial oligarchy rules anything based on Biblical morality (Colorado Amendment 2) to be unconstitutional. If we openly plead to make our Constitution confess to be under God, then People for the American Way would have to come out in the open and declare themselves against the Word of God.
Third, we have nothing to lose. If we proposed a Christian amendment, the ACLU and other secularists would call us extremists--but they already call us that. The adversaries of Christian ideas in the public square already fight the most moderate ideas we propose. They already oppose such reasonable proposals as requiring school administrators to obtain the consent of parents before handing condoms to our sons or sending our daughters to abortionists. A large segment of the Republican Party is working hard to distance themselves from us. They appear to think that telling us to get lost will buy the support of the "swing voters."
A proposal like this will not pass this election or next. However, to reform our society and our government, we need to look beyond the coming election cycle. We American Christians need to ask each other, "Do we want to be a Christian Nation, or are we content to let things get worse." The alternative, we fear, is what Chuck Colson forecast on your show: Troops in the streets.
Finally, Dr. Dobson, we would be surprised if you immediately embraced this idea of National Confession upon reading this letter. Persuasion takes time. Therefore, we ask you to consider this idea, pray about it, and ask us questions about it. Any of us would gladly take the time to talk to you or one of your assistants at length on this subject.
For Christ's Crown and Covenant,
Andrew Sandlin, President
John F. Perry, M.D., Executive Director
William Einwechter, Vice-President
John Schaefer, Secretary
William W. Gould, Treasurer
Editor's Note: This letter was sent to James Dobson as a response to a letter that he had mailed to those who receive his Focus on the Family magazine. In that letter Dr. Dobson bewailed the treatment that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia received for lamenting in an address to the Mississippi College School of Law the treatment that Christians receive in our increasingly secular society. In our letter we sought to point out to Dr. Dobson the failure of the Founders to recognize the Lordship of Christ in the Constitution, and the need to seek to correct this omission. He asked for a response from the recipients of his letter, and Bill Gould drafted the above letter which was signed by the executive Board. We have received no response to our letter as of yet.
There is a collection of quotations related to the constitution at Gold and Silver Coins Famous Quotes
You will find a scholarly concern for correctness of the text of the Constitution in this collection of Founding Documents. One notable item in the collection is Madison's notes on the proceedings of the Constitutional Convention.
Web Guide to the Constitution of the United States is a compendium of the constitution itself and notes about its meaning and links to other web resources on the meaning of the Constitution (there is even a link to Andrew Sandlin's discussion of oaths in The Federal Constitution, Product of a Christian Ethos).
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