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The Christian Perspective

Chapter 3
The Preamble: WE THE PEOPLE vs. YAHWEH

The Preamble
WE THE PEOPLE of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

A New God
Constitutionalists often claim the United States Constitution was divinely inspired, and it was – by the new god known as WE THE PEOPLE. Yahweh1 was formally abandoned when the constitutional framers penned the first three words of the Preamble and put their signatures to the social compact. WE THE PEOPLE became the national replacement for Yahweh:
Article VI, Clause 3 of the Constitution [“no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust”] closed the door judicially to any transcendent god beyond the political order itself. The Constitution is therefore an apostate covenant; a wholly new god is ordained in it, a god acknowledged by the Framers in order to ordain it and ratify it: the American People.2

The idea that WE THE PEOPLE represents a new god will prove difficult for many readers. Let me defer to the inescapable truths of government and religion as presented by R.J. Rushdoony. Note his second point particularly:

  1. Law is in every culture religious in origin.
  2. The source of law is the god of that society.
  3. In any society, any change of law is an explicit or implicit change of religion.
  4. No disestablishment of religion as such is possible in any society.
  5. There can be no tolerance in a law-system for another religion.3

Let me elaborate upon these points one at a time.

Point #1: “Law is in every culture religious in origin.” There is no such thing as non-religious or morally neutral laws. All laws reflect a society’s morality, and are therefore religious in both origin and nature. Because there is no morality outside Yahweh’s morality, as codified in His commandments, statutes, and judgments, any legislation not in agreement with Yahweh’s law is legalized immorality.

Point #2: “The source of law is the god of that society.” Consider the following definition of “theocracy”:
[A] form of government in which God or a deity is recognized as the supreme ruler….4

Not all theocracies are Christian. Some are Jewish, Hindu, Islamic, Buddhist, and some are secular. There is no escaping theocracy. A government’s laws reflect its morality, and the source of that morality (or, more often than not, immorality) is its god. It is never a question of theocracy or no theocracy, but whose theocracy. The American people, by way of their elected officials, are the source of the Constitutional Republic’s laws. Therefore, the Constitutional Republic’s god is WE THE PEOPLE.

People recoil at the idea of a theocracy’s morality being forced upon them, but because all governments are theocracies, someone’s morality is always being enforced. This is an inevitability of government. The only question is which god, theocracy, laws, and morality will we choose to live under?
The rejection of one god leads inescapably to the choice of another god. If a person, group, court, etc. establishes himself as the final arbiter of right and wrong, then he/they have assumed the attributes of a god. Thus, he/they are theocratic…. Democracy can become theocratic if absolute power is given to the people. …vox populi, vox dei, “the voice of the people is the voice of God.” Those who promote a particular worldview and want to see it implemented socially, educationally, politically, and judicially have elevated the majority to the status of gods…. One assumes the mantle of deity when he sets himself up as the ultimate authority.[as in Article 6’s claim that the Constitution is the “supreme law of the land”] It’s the attributes of deity that makes someone god-like. In the eighteenth century, the French revolutionaries declared “reason” to be the goddess of their new state religion. Nineteenth century France was spoken of as “goddess France” by patriotic figures like Victor Hugo and Charles Maurras. Hegel, the philosophical patron saint of communism, wrote that “the State is the Divine Idea as it exists on earth…. We must therefore worship the State as the manifestation of the Divine on earth…. The State is the march of God through the world.”5

Because “…there is none other God but one” (1 Corinthians 8:4)6, there can be only one true theocracy. All other governments represent some form of humanism. The United States Constitutional Republic is one of many governments in which the people have dethroned Yahweh as the god of their society. All governments are theocentric – that is, god-centered. This is true of a government of, by, and for Yahweh, and it is true of a government of, by, and for the people. Herein we find the battle so often described in the Bible – the war between Yahweh’s will and man’s will:
It is better to trust in YHWH7 than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in YHWH than to put confidence in princes. (Psalm 118:8-9)

The first three words of the Preamble are an expression of this eternal conflict. In Marbury vMadison, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshal acknowledged that the Constitutional Republic is fixated on the gratification of its god:
That the people have an original right to establish, for their future government, such principles as, in their opinion, shall most conduce to their own happiness is the basis on which the whole American fabric had been erected.8

Conversely, Christians9 are fixated on pleasing Yahweh:
…we … exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that … you ought to walk [to] please God…. (1 Thessalonians 4:1, NASB)

Ron Paul, the 2008 Republican presidential candidate and one of today’s greatest defenders of the Constitution, declared, “The idea of a theocracy very much annoys me.”10 But, the fact is, a theocracy does notannoy Paul at all – at least not the theocracy of WE THE PEOPLE. He, like many Americans, is only offended by Yahweh’s theocracy. One has to wonder if Paul wasn’t influenced by a symposium of evangelical leaders, who in 1985, said nearly the same thing:
…evangelicals … desire a nation of Christians, but they are opposed to a Christian government that mandates “Christian” laws simply because they are Christian.11

Talk about a house divided against itself. Christians have somehow been convinced that unregenerate men with their imperfect laws and unrighteous judgments can do a better job of governing than can regenerated men with Yahweh’s perfect laws and altogether righteous judgments. G.K. Chesterton wrote, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”12

Point #3: “In any society, any change of law is an explicit or implicit change of religion.” This means that with any change of law an explicit or implicit change of gods occurs as well. More on this later.

Point #4: “No disestablishment of religion as such is possible in any society.” Every society’s government is religious in nature because all law is religious in origin and reflects the god of that government. There is no escaping this reality. Ironically, in his book The Nature of the American System, Rushdoony attempted to escape this reality as it pertained to the Constitution by claiming the federal government was neither secular nor Christian. He alleged it was religiously neutral, even though later he declared neutrality impossible:
Neutralism is a myth…. No person or institution possesses the ability to be neutral…. The alternative to “In God we trust” is “In man we trust,”…. The presuppositions of all of man’s thinking are inescapably religious, and they are never neutral.13

If the Constitutional Republic is not Christian, what is it? It has to be Judaic, Islamic, Buddhist, some other specific religious orientation, or secular (religiously humanistic).

Point #5: “There can be no tolerance in a law-system for another religion.” All law systems are intolerant of laws inconsonant with their own. Rushdoony elaborated, “Every law-system must maintain its existence by hostility to every other law-system and to alien religious foundations or else it commits suicide.”14 This was essentially stated in the following Supreme Court cases, so often peddled by Constitutionalists:
All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution are null and void.

Marbury v. Madison, (1803)15

An unconstitutional act is not law; it confers no right; it imposes no duties; it affords no protection; it creates no office; it is in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been passed.

Norton v. Shelby County, (1886)16

A Change of Religion
You cannot have any civil government anywhere in the world without an establishment of religion…. All laws represent morality…. So it is inescapable that when you enact a law you are enacting your moral and religious faith.17

How does this statement reflect upon the Constitution? History demonstrates that during the 17th and early 18th centuries, Yahweh’s law governed the majority of what was then America. The following are but two of the documents attested that early Americans formed Christian governments designed around Yahweh’s law18:
The Portsmouth, Rhode Island, Compact, 1638
We whose names are underwritten do hereby solemnly in the presence of Jehovah incorporate ourselves into a Bodie Politick and as He shall help, will submit our persons, lives and estates unto our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, and to all those perfect and most absolute laws of His given in His Holy Word of truth, to be guided and judged thereby. Fundamental Agreement of the Colony of New Haven, Connecticut, 1639
Agreement; We all agree that the scriptures hold forth a perfect rule for the direction and government of all men in duties which they are to perform to God and to man, as well in families and commonwealth as in matters of the church; so likewise in all public officers which concern civil order, as choice of magistrates and officers, making and repealing laws, dividing allotments of inheritance, and all things of like nature, we will, all of us, be ordered by the rules which the scripture holds forth; and we agree that such persons may be entrusted with such matters of government as are described in Exodus 18:21 and Deuteronomy 1:13 with Deuteronomy 17:15 and 1 Corinthians 6:1, 6 & 7….

The 1639 agreement makes no reference to any other government as its source of authority:
It is worthy of note that this document contains none of the conventional references to a “dread sovereign” or a “gracious King,” nor the slightest allusion to the British or any other government outside of Connecticut itself….19

Its longevity is also remarkable:
…Thomas Hooker, founded the colony of Connecticut.… In 1639, he wrote the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, which many consider to be the first full-fledged written constitution in history. Whereas other documents in the Colonies were later modified or replaced, the Connecticut Constitution remained intact up to and well beyond the adoption of the national Constitution.20

Almost as impressive as New Haven’s agreement are the testimonies to it and other similar documents:
John Clark Ridpath, History of the United States, 1874
In June of 1639 the leading men of New Haven held a convention in a barn, and formally adopted the Bible as the constitution of the State. Everything was strictly conformed to the religious standard. The government was called the House of Wisdom…. None but church members were admitted to the rights of citizenship.21

Richard Mosier identified the Puritan Bible as not “only the holy restored word of God, but a constitutional document of the Protestant movement.”22 Note, an American constitution existed almost 150 years prior to the United States Constitution. Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1835
They exercised the rights of sovereignty; they named their magistrates, concluded peace or declared war, made police regulations, and enacted laws as if their allegiance was due only to God. Nothing can be more curious and, at the same time more instructive, than the legislation of that period; it is there that the solution of the great social problem which the United States now presents to the world is to be found. Amongst these documents we shall notice, as especially characteristic, the code of laws promulgated by the little State of Connecticut in 1650. The legislators of Connecticut begin with the penal laws, and … they borrow their provisions from the text of Holy Writ. “Whosoever shall worship any other God than the Lord,” says the preamble of the Code, “shall surely be put to death.” This is followed by ten or twelve enactments of the same kind, copied verbatim from the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy. Blasphemy, sorcery, adultery, and rape were punished with death….23

America was exalted in the eyes of the world because of her applied righteousness, embodied in Yahweh’s perfect law. Since 1788, when the United States of America, as a nation, stopped following Yahweh’s laws and began following the laws of WE THE PEOPLE, our legislation has ceased providing righteous instruction to others. Instead, the rest of the world now holds America in disdain. If America hopes to regain her favored status in the eyes of the world, she must return to her original Constitution.

McGuffey’s Eclectic Reader, America’s most popular school book in the 1800s, also testified to America’s early form of theocratic government: Their form of government was as strictly theocratical insomuch that it would be difficult to say where there was any civil authority among them distinct from ecclesiastical jurisdiction. Whenever a few of them settled a town, they immediately gathered themselves into a church; and their elders were magistrates, and their code of laws was the Pentateuch…. God was their King; and they regarded him as truly and literally so….24

William McGuffey was undoubtedly influenced by the writings of renowned early American preachers such as John Cotton:
The famous John Cotton, the first minister of Boston … earnestly pleaded “that the government might be considered as a theocracy, wherein the Lord was judge, lawgiver and king; that the laws which He gave Israel might be adopted….” At the desire of the court, he compiled a system of laws founded chiefly on the laws of Moses….25

John W. Welch commented on the outstanding influence Yahweh’s law had in Colonial America:
Indeed, it has rightly been concluded that “the ideal polity of early Puritan New England was thought to comprehend divine intentions as revealed in Mosaic law.” The rule of law began, not with the rules of man but with the rules of God. One Puritan document directly states, “[T]he more any law smells of man, the more unprofitable,” and thus, it asserts, the only proper laws were in fact “divine ordinances, revealed in the pages of Holy Writ and administered according to deductions and rules gathered from the Word of God.”26

Considerable differences existed between Christendom of the 1600s and early 1700s and Christianity of the late 1700s:
Compared with Americans of the 18th or the 19th century, the Puritans surely were theology-minded…. Yet what really distinguished them in their day was that they were … interested in … the application of theology to everyday life, and especially to society.27 The Ten Commandments were, of course, in the foreground of their thinking, but the Bible as a whole was the law of their life. For answers to their problems they drew as readily on Exodus, Kings, or Romans, as on the less narrative portions of the Bible.28 The Puritans of Massachusetts Bay said that they started from “the lawes of God” rather than the laws of Englishmen.29 The most dramatic and most obvious [changes in Puritan laws from the laws of England] were in the list of capital crimes. …including idolatry (violations of the First Commandment), blasphemy, man-stealing (from Exod. 21.16), adultery with a married woman, perjury with intent to secure the death of another, the cursing of a parent by a child over 16 years of age (Exod. 21.17), the offense of being a “rebellious son” (Deut. 21.20.21)…. These were clear cases where the laws of Scripture were allowed to override the laws of England.30

Late eighteenth-century Christianity, on the other hand, was quite different from the Christendom of early America:
…[by] the mid-18th century … Puritanism was all but dead.31

This means that government based upon the law of Yahweh was also all but dead.
Theirs [late eighteenth-century man’s view of Christianity] was not a violent passion inspiring men to rebuild Zion … but a quietly pervasive sentiment which suffused the institutions of the colony with a mild aura of divine sanction…. The responsibilities of governing New England also dulled the edge of dogma so that by the late 17th century they had begun those prudent compromises which would produce 18th-century Congregationalism and 19th-century Unitarianism. Anglicanism in Virginia, for similar reasons, was destined to be even more practical and compromising than it had been in England.32 It is hard to name a leader of the Revolution, including such men as George Washington, James Madison, Edmund Pendleton, and Patrick Henry, who were not securely within the fold of the [Anglican] Church.33

The framers of the Constitution, although mostly churchgoers, were not the same cut of churchmen as those of the 17th century. The churches of the late 18th century and the churches of the 17th century were radically different. The former were interested in building the kingdom of God based upon the perfect law of Yahweh. The latter were hardly interested in Yahweh’s law at all, which certainly contributed to the absence of quotations from, or even references to, the laws of Yahweh in the Constitution. The Federalist Papers and the four volumes of notes from the Constitutional Convention are also conspicuously deficient in Bible references. God is mentioned twice in the Federalist Papers, and then only offhand:
Where a hundred years before every case, whether civil, political or criminal, was decided by a reference to the Old or New Testament … in “The Federalist” the Bible and Christianity, as well as the clergy, are passed over as having no bearing upon the political issues being discussed. …The eighteenth-century conception of Greco-Roman Paganism has completely supplanted Puritanic Judaism [Hebraism34].35

The theological differences between the worldviews of the Puritans and the constitutional framers are striking:
The idea that the state was beyond the reach of the claims of the Bible was … abhorrent to the Puritan…. In the Scriptures they found the origin, the form, the functions and the power of the state and human government. This resort to the Scriptures as the exclusive norm for human political organization and activity clearly differentiated them from both the Roman Catholics and that rising group of secularist writers [particularly in the 1700s] who were finding the origin of the state and the source of its powers in a vaguely defined source known as the social compact or contract. In the Puritan view of life man could no more create the government under which he would live and endow it with its just powers than he could effect his own salvation…. Basic in Puritan political thought is the doctrine of divine sovereignty. The earthly magistrate … was a minister of God under common grace for the execution of the laws of God among the people at large, for the maintenance of law and order, and for so ruling the state…. In Puritan political theory the magistrate derived his powers from God and not from the people….36 The whole conception of government that would later be proclaimed by John Locke and others, which placed the sovereignty in the hands of the people and which found the origin of government in a human compact was utterly unknown to the Puritans. They did not believe in a government by the people…. [They sensed] that in the democratic philosophy, with its emphasis upon the sovereignty of the people, lay a fundamental contradiction to the biblical doctrine of the sovereignty of God. They clearly perceived that democracy was the fruit of humanism and not the Reformation concept.37 [Richard] Mosier has well observed that this [late 17th-century] revolutionary age demanded that both the absolute God and the absolute king must “henceforth rule by the consent of the governed. The God of Puritanism, stripped of His antique powers, had no recourse but to enter as a weakened prince into the temple of the individualism and there to seek refuge.” This sovereignty which he once claimed, and was accorded by the Puritans, was now claimed by man himself. This was the philosophical and theological outlook of many of the leaders of the Revolution. …[T]heirs was a secular political philosophy and … its roots are to be found in the Enlightenment in general, and in Deism in particular. Most of the Revolutionary leaders desired to retain the Christian ethic, but to separate it from the biblical revelation and to find a new basis for it in natural law.38

Mosier had more to say regarding America’s most significant paradigm shift, to date:
The waning of Puritanism and the rise of religious rationalism, by loosening the bonds of the ancient faith, had thus prepared the colonial mind for the revolutionary ideas of the eighteenth century…. The religion of reason triumphed over the waning Puritanism, and [allegedly] drew from a weakened God a bill of inalienable rights; while the piety which had once inspired the indomitable Puritan fled into the arms of evangelical religion and bred a sentimental religion of the heart.39 The sovereignty of man … became the rallying cry of republican religion, bringing to a final point of disintegration the forces of Puritanism.40

The “world” created by America’s original Christian forefathers was turned upside down by the Constitutionalists in the late 1700s:
For the Constitution not to mention religion at all represented a rejection … an extremely controversial decision not to make the United States a Christian Nation. It wasn’t contemporary liberals who upset the founders’ religious ideas about the United States, it was the founders who upset the Puritans’ ideas.41

According to Abraham Lincoln, constitutionalism is a religion itself, demanding absolute devotion and obedience to the Constitution and all laws made in pursuance thereof:
Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others. …to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; –let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the character of his own, and his children’s liberty. Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap –let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; –let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.42

Most Americans, non-Christians and Christians alike, have done precisely that.

Constitution vs. Constitution
The United States … was conceived in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 … [and] was … born [when] the document was ratified.”

Warren Burger, Supreme Court Chief Justice43

The constitutional form of government established in the late 1700s was not practiced in the 1600s or early 1700s. A change of law and government occurred in the late 1700s, not only from English rule, but also from the Colonies’ Biblically based governments. From that moment on, the nation that had been predominately Christian became progressively secular and humanistic:
A nation’s religious foundation can be determined by looking at its economic system, judicial pronouncements, educational goals, and taxing policy. Culture is “religion externalized.” Look at the nation’s art and music, and there you will find its religion. Read its books and newspapers. Watch its television programs. The outgrowth of civilization will be present on every page and in every program…. While it might be beneficial to look at the creeds of the churches, the actions of the people who subscribe to the creeds are a more accurate barometer of what the people really believe.44

The change of law and government in the late 1700s brought about a change of religion, and because the former law and government represented Yahweh, both He and His law were necessarily discarded for the new god and its laws. This is difficult to accept, especially since we have incessantly been told the constitutional framers were such godly men.

Today’s Christian Constitutionalists are quick to share the framers’ Christian-sounding quotations. Hundreds of books, replete with such quotations, have been compiled, and no one can question that many of them often said the right things regarding Yahweh, His Son, Christianity, and occasionally even His law. But such statements mean nothing by themselves. Thomas Jefferson made Christian-sounding statements, but no one would argue that he was a Christian. Politicians are famous for saying the right things. Two-hundred years from now, Christian historians will be using Christian-sounding statements from Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama to buttress declarations that these men were great Christians.

Constitutionalists would do well to heed Job’s young friend Elihu who declared that “great men are not always wise,” which he preceded with the test of greatness: “the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding” (Job 32:8-9). The framers failed the test of greatness when they disregarded Yahweh’s inspiration by ignoring and failing to instate His law:
…[Yahweh] shall come as an eagle against the house of YHWH, because they have transgressed the covenant, and trespassed against my law…. Israel hath cast off the thing that is good; the enemy shall pursue him. They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes, and I knew it not…. For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind…. I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing. (Hosea 8:1-12)

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