On September 17, we celebrated Constitution Day, marking 225 years since that remarkable document was signed by thirty-nine courageous men. [1] This charter remains the world’s longest standing written form of government in history. [2]
The Constitution has survived wars, protests, and legal contests, but over the last few decades, the foundations of this document have been put to the test. The moral and religious underpinnings on which it was erected have been debated in the media, the courts, and around kitchen tables, and those foundations have been called into question on issues such as polygamy, homosexuality, abortion, with more and more morally aberrant groups proclaiming their right to constitutional protection.

In fact, the attorney for the Brown family (the polygamous family featured on TLC’s show Sister Wives) claimed that the government violated their First Amendment rights by trying to uphold a fixed moral standard, avowing instead that the Constitution is designed to protect the minority from the majority. Sadly, in recent years some federal courts have also declared that “The purpose of the Bill of Rights is to protect the minority from the majority,” yet this is ridiculous. No individual is to lose his or her right to free speech, self-defense, the rights of religious conscience, or any other right simply because he or she happens to be in the majority rather than a minority. To the contrary, the Declaration, Constitution, and Bill of Rights were all based on the philosophy that government is to protect the God-given rights of every individual, whether they are in the majority or the minority, from the encroachments of government.
America’s founding documents make it clear that American government must operate according to moral standards set forth by God Himself. In the Declaration, that standard is identified as “the laws of nature and of nature’s God,” and in the Constitution it is identified as the Common Law, which was specifically incorporated into the Constitution through the Seventh Amendment. (See, for example, Justice Joseph’s Story’s legendary Commentaries on the Constitution for an in-depth explanation of this fact.)

The Constitution was not designed to protect individuals from God-ordained standards of morality but instead to protect the nation from court-sanctioned immorality. As George Washington reminded Americans in his famous Farewell Address, “Of all the habits and dispositions which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”

Neither the Constitution nor the American government will work properly if the foundations of religion and morality are excluded from its operations.

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[1] “Constitution Day Resources,” Library of Congress (at: https://thomas.loc.gov/teachers/constitution.html) (accessed June 19, 2012).
[2] “Constitution Day,” United States Senate  (at: https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/generic/ConstitutionDay.htm) (accessed August 10, 2012).