The founders of this country created a revolutionary nation – no other existed like it at the time. They created a government, powerful yet arranged to protect us in all our rights. The framers of the Constitution included men who had fought a war for independence – the very war celebrated on this “Glorious Fourth” – against a country in which church and state were essentially one, ruled under the doctrine of divine right.
These wise and learned men understood the long history of sectarian bloodshed in Europe that brought many pilgrims to America. They knew the dangers of merging government, which was designed to preserve individual rights, with religion, which as Thomas Jefferson argued, was a matter of personal conscience.
Thomas Jefferson and James Madison understood how the officially Christian governments of Europe had crushed human freedom, they knew about the constant religious wars among rival factions of Christianity, and, on their own shores, had witnessed religious oppression and pious tyranny in the American colonies firsthand.
The supreme law of the land – the U.S. Constitution, adopted in 1787 – includes no references to religion or a god – including in the presidential oath of office – until the conclusion of Article VI, “No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”
From the United States Declaration of Independence, “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness,” guarantees we the people of the United States of America – with the first secular government in the world – the freedom to reject or accept religion, the right to determine our own spiritual path, if any, the ability to believe or not believe in the supernatural and empowers us to make our own, private decisions.
Published: 4th July 2013
Categorised in: For the Record