People in the Netherlands are worried. Holland used to be a Christian nation. Over a period of time, the government adopted a form of religious pluralism, giving equal standing, first, to all Christian denominations, then to religion in general, and finally to every worldview imaginable. Holland has lost its worldview base. It has become a haven for drugs, prostitution, and euthanasia–all legal! Its liberal immigration policies are beginning to worry people, especially after the murder of Dutch filmmaker and outspoken critic of Islamic extremism Theo van Gogh. In 2004, more than 40,000 Dutch moved elsewhere, mostly to New Zealand, Australia, and Canada.

Foreigners make up ten percent of the population with a growing Muslim presence. If population trends continue, Muslims could become a viable political force and remake Holland into a Muslim nation in the lifetime of our grandchildren. Holland’s religious pluralism could result in its downfall.

America is heading in a similar direction. A number of statesmen saw it coming. Luther Martin of Maryland, in a lengthy letter to the Speaker of the House of Delegates of Maryland, set forth his justification in leaving the Constitutional convention and in refusing to sign the Constitution. He wrote: “The part of the system which provides that no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States was adopted by a great majority of the Convention and without much debate.” Martin saw the long-term implications of this stark and self-conscious omission. “There were some members so unfashionable as to think that a belief in the existence of a Deity and of a state of future rewards and punishments would be some security for the good conduct of our rulers, and that, in a Christian country, it would be at least decent to hold out some distinction between the professors of Christianity and downright infidelity or paganism."[1]

Martin’s concerns were shared by a number of state legislatures. “The states which required test oaths thought the prohibition of such in the national government too liberal. There was also some opposition expressed because of the omission of reference to God.” In addition, most of the states expressed criticism of the Constitution “due to the absence of sufficient specific guarantees of religious liberty as well as other fundamental freedoms."[2]

At the time of the Constitution’s ratification, a number of Christian organizations refused to support the newly formed political document because it was not modeled after so many of the state constitutions and their religious tests. While the Constitution recognizes the Christian religion in setting Sunday aside as a day of rest for the president (Art. 1, sec. 7) and ends with the declaration that it was drafted “in the year of our Lord,” there is nothing that obligates an office holder to anything greater than the Constitution itself. “Two small Presbyterian bodies, the Associated Church and the Reformed Presbyterian Church, decided to abstain from voting [to ratify the Constitution] until the Constitution was so amended as to acknowledge the sovereignty of God and the subserviency of the state to the kingdom of Christ."[3]

The absence of a direct reference to the God of the Bible in the Constitution in formally acknowledging His sovereignty over the nation has played its hand in American politics and law. Only time will tell what further damage will be brought upon our Republic as we continue to rule in its absence. [4]


[1] Quoted in R. Kemp Morton, God in the Constitution (Nashville: Cokesbury Press, 1933), 79. [2] Robert T. Miller, “The Development in Constitutional Law of the Principles of Religious Liberty and Separation of Church and State,” Church and State in Scripture, History and Constitutional Law, 1958), 102. [3] Quoted in Morton, God in the Constitution, 72. [4]