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America’s Great Religious Document

Tea Parties and other spontaneous groups of activists are bringing a new appreciation of the U.S. Constitution to grassroots America, so this Fourth of July would be a good occasion to make sure that they also appreciate our other essential founding document, the Declaration of Independence. I urge all to find a copy on the Internet (non-computer-capable old-timers can look for an old world almanac on their bookshelves) and celebrate the holiday by reading the great declaration.

The Declaration of Independence is the official and unequivocal recognition by the American people of our belief and faith in God. It affirms God's existence as a "self-evident" truth that requires no further discussion, debate or litigation.

The nation created by the great declaration is God's country. The rights it defines are God-given. The actions of its signers are God-inspired.

The Declaration of Independence contains five references to God: God as Creator of all men, God as supreme Lawmaker, God as the Source of all rights, God as the world's supreme Judge, and God as our Patron and Protector. The declaration declares that each of us was created —so if we were created, we must have had a Creator and, as the modern discovery of DNA confirms, each of God's creatures is different from every other person who has ever lived or ever will live on this earth.

The declaration proclaims that life and liberty are the unalienable gifts of God, natural rights, which no person or government can rightfully take away. It affirms that the purpose of government is to secure our God-given unalienable individual rights.

For the first time in history, our declaration reduced government from master to servant. Government was proclaimed to derive its powers only from the consent of the governed.

Knowledge of our Declaration of Independence should be required of all schoolchildren. They should also be taught that many of the 56 men who signed it then paid for their courage with their lives and fortunes, and that's why we are able to enjoy our freedom and independence today.

It is dishonest for schools to ignore our nation's Judeo-Christian heritage. It is historical fact that our Founding Fathers were men of faith who took their Christian religion seriously, were well-schooled in the Bible, and believed that religion and morality are the foundation of good government.

Fortunately, the declaration is not subject to amendment or to whims and biases of supremacist judges who may claim it is a "living" Declaration that can be reinterpreted. It's important for Americans to be on guard against those who don't like our Declaration of Independence or are in denial about what it says.

The message of the Declaration of Independence is under attack from the ACLU and atheists because it refuted the lie about a constitutional mandate for "separation of church and state." Atheists have filed numerous lawsuits in the courts of activist judges to try to eliminate our right to acknowledge God in public places, in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag and in Ten Commandments monuments.

The atheists are trying to change American history, expunge all reference to religion from textbooks and make us a completely secular nation. History proves America was founded by religious men who believed that a divine Creator is basic to good government.

We get the impression that President Obama is embarrassed not only about references to God, but also by the concept of independence, which asserts our national sovereignty. He's more comfortable bowing to foreign dictators, declaring himself a "citizen of the world" and pledging to "rejoin the world community," as he did when speaking to cheering German socialists.

The globalists and international extremists really don't like our Declaration of Independence. A couple of years ago, then British Prime Minister Gordon Brown came to Harvard to lecture us to ditch our Declaration of Independence and replace it with a "Declaration of Interdependence" and a "New World Order."

Brown's speech was a classic of impudence and globalist propaganda, using the word interdependence 13 times, globalization seven times and global 69 times. Brave Americans rejected Britain's royalists in 1776, and we don't want to reinstate any globalist supervision from Britain, the United Nations or any U.N. treaties.

Brown also peddled the politically correct line that all religions (Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists) have "common values" and "similar ideals." They certainly do not, as a rereading of our Declaration of Independence makes clear.

One of the legacies of the late Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.V., is a federal law that requires all educational institutions receiving federal finds to teach something about the Constitution on Constitution Day, Sept. 17. In the absence of any law about the Fourth of July, it's up to each of us to observe this important 234th anniversary.

Phyllis Schlafly is a lawyer, conservative political analyst and the author of the newly revised and expanded "Supremacists." She can be contacted by e-mail at phyllis@eagleforum.org. To find out more about Phyllis Schlafly and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Website at www.creators.com.


16 Responses »

  1. The exact words from the Declaration of Independence are:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness— That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

    CREATOR -- not God, Yahweh, Jesus or, for that matter, Allah, Shiva, Zeus, Thor or any other specific god.


    Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

    That is, from the consent of the governed -- i.e., the people -- NOT from any god.

    • Mark,

      The Founding Fathers were 18th century Englishmen. Clearly, "Creator" refers to the God of the Bible and not from any other religion.

      To imply that "Creator" does not mean "God" is just plain silly.

    • Well, yes, as far as you go. It is the rights of the people, endowed by the creator, that limit the powers of the government. And should the government extend its power beyond that which the people granted, the people retain the God given right to withdraw power.

    • You poor boy.

  2. We should celebrate with pride and joy our independence and the Declaration that helped bring it about. We should, at the same time, take care not to make the Declaration into something it is not and certainly should avoid any suggestion that the Declaration somehow makes Christianity--or, even more generally, theism--an inherent aspect of our government. To the extent any such claim seeks to "establish" some form of theism as an inherent aspect of our government, it is antithetical to the constitutional principle of separation of religion and state.

    Given the republican nature of our government, it is only natural and expected that the laws enacted by our government largely--in both the founders' time and today--reflect Christianity's dominant influence in our society. That said, there is no reason to suppose that Christianity or theism is an inherent aspect of our government.

    While some draw meaning from the reference to "Nature's God" and "Creator" in the Declaration of Independence and try to connect that meaning to the Constitution, the effort is baseless. Apart from the fact that these references could mean any number of things (some at odds with the Christian idea of God), there simply is no "legal" connection or effect between the two documents. Important as the Declaration is in our history, it did not operate to bring about independence, nor did it found a government. The colonists issued the Declaration not to effect their independence, but rather to explain and justify the move to independence that was already well underway. Nothing in the Constitution depends on anything said in the Declaration. Nor does anything said in the Declaration purport to limit or define the government later formed by the free people of the former colonies; nor could it even if it purported to do so. Once independent, the people of the former colonies could choose whatever form of government they deemed appropriate. They were not somehow limited by anything said in the Declaration. Sure, they could take it as inspiration and guidance if, and to the extent, they chose--or they could not. They could have formed a theocracy if they wished--or, as they ultimately chose, a secular government founded on the power of the people (not a deity) by a Constitution that says nothing substantive of god(s) or religion except in the First Amendment where the point is to confirm that each person enjoys religious liberty and that the government is not to take steps to establish religion and another provision precluding any religious test for public office.

    • There is no mention of seperation of church and state anywhere in any of the founding papers of our government. There was some mention of in a personal letter written by, I believe, John Adams. And he was using it in a totally different way than that in which has been constrewed by people like yourself.

      • Glenn is right. Many people (including myself at one time), mistakenly believe that separation of church is an officially-documented American policy. And the idea was not to keep religion or faith out of government proceedings,
        rather to keep government from prohibiting religious practice/expression.

      • The phrase “separation of church and state” is but a metaphor to describe the underlying principle of the First Amendment and the no-religious-test clause of the Constitution. That the phrase does not appear in the text of the Constitution assumes much importance, it seems, only to those who may have once labored under the misimpression it was there and later learned they were mistaken. To those familiar with the Constitution, the absence of the metaphor commonly used to describe one of its principles is no more consequential than the absence of other phrases (e.g., Bill of Rights, separation of powers, checks and balances, fair trial, religious liberty) used to describe other undoubted Constitutional principles.

        Some try to pass off the Supreme Court's decision in Everson v. Board of Education as simply a misreading of Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists--as if that is the only basis of the Court's decision. Instructive as that letter is, it played but a small part in the Court's decision. Perhaps even more than Jefferson, James Madison influenced the Court's view. Madison, who had a central role in drafting the Constitution and the First Amendment, confirmed that he understood them to "[s]trongly guard[] . . . the separation between Religion and Government." Madison, Detached Memoranda (~1820). He made plain, too, that they guarded against more than just laws creating state sponsored churches or imposing a state religion. Mindful that even as new principles are proclaimed, old habits die hard and citizens and politicians could tend to entangle government and religion (e.g., "the appointment of chaplains to the two houses of Congress" and "for the army and navy" and "[r]eligious proclamations by the Executive recommending thanksgivings and fasts"), he considered the question whether these actions were "consistent with the Constitution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom" and responded: "In strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative. The Constitution of the United States forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion."

        The First Amendment embodies the simple, just idea that each of us should be free to exercise his or her religious views without expecting that the government will endorse or promote those views and without fearing that the government will endorse or promote the religious views of others. By keeping government and religion separate, the establishment clause serves to protect the freedom of all to exercise their religion. Reasonable people may differ, of course, on how these principles should be applied in particular situations, but the principles are hardly to be doubted. Moreover, they are good, sound principles that should be nurtured and defended, not attacked. Efforts to undercut our secular government by somehow merging or infusing it with religion should be resisted by every patriot.

  3. The Treaty of 1796 proclaims America's Government is Secular
    ARTICLE 11.
    As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

    • Perhaps the English version contained that. There is doubt that it is a correct version of the Arabic text. In any case, the treaty did not result in peace and there was a subsequent treaty in 1805. It is reasonable to assume that whatever the intention, the earlier treaty was then not any longer valid.

      • Peter,

        The English version is the one that was signed by President Adams (a founder) and the ratified by the Senate (comprised largely of founders). The statement that "the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion" declares a fact; this is not some provision setting a tariff or the like that may later expire or change. The purpose of this provision was to explain why the U.S. had no motivation to make war on the Muslims of the Barbary States. It was omitted from subsequent treaties because, by that time, the U.S. had gone to war with the Barbary States, so there was no need or occasion to explain why we would not go to war. It was hardly omitted because the previous statement of fact was no longer valid.

        In assessing the import of the treaty's declaration that the U.S. government is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion, it should be noted that the Constitution establishes that treaties are, apart from the Constitution itself, the highest law of the land.

      • To say that "perhaps the English version contained that" [there's no doubt about it], whether the Arabic version is the same or that the treaty did not result in peace or whether it's still a valid treaty is to completely miss the point.

        This wording comes from a document negotiated while George Washington was president, ratified by the US Senate in 1797, and signed by John Adams, Washington's successor.

        So this statement "the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion" was agreed to by Washington, Adams, and the US Senate.

        What's not clear about that?

  4. http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/bilderberg-group/
    Informal forum or global conspiracy?
    Prime Minister Stephen Harper took in the group's 2003 meeting in Versailles, France, while he was Opposition leader. But Tucker says the Bilderbergers are not pleased with Harper. It's because of Kyoto. The Bilderberg group, Tucker says, is behind the Kyoto Protocol. They're the ones who pushed it. Like they pushed NAFTA and the World Trade Organization - and "turned NATO into the UN's standing army. It's a step," Tucker writes, "on the road to creating world government."

    This goes back to Info from 2003, we had all getour act together free Americans and free Canadians who want to stay free and start an Elite Globalist hunting system, whereby we round them up kick them out of office, charge them Treason, try them and ship them off to jail!

  5. Quite the opposite. Indeed, I'm neither poor nor a boy.

    As to whether "Creator" meant the Christian god or something else is not as clear as you might think.

    Most of the Founding Fathers who weren't atheists were Deists -- the belief (rather akin to Aristotle's "Unmoved Mover") that a Creator created the world and its natural laws and then went on to something more interesting. In other words, he/she/it isn't particularly interested in our sex lives or anything else we might be doing.

    Another clue to what "Creator" may have meant to the men who wrote the Declaration of Independence and the constitution comes from the Reverend Timothy Dwight, who was the President of Yale College in 1812. His comment:

    “The nation has offended Providence. We formed our Constitution without any acknowledgement of God; without any recognition of His mercies to us, as a people, of His government or even His existence. The [Constitutional] Convention, by which it was formed, never asked even once, His direction, or His blessings, upon their labours. Thus we commenced our national existence under the present system, without God.”

  6. Oh this isn't a hardcore right wing underground publication.. it's a local mainstream newspaper.