The American Vision: A Biblical Worldview Ministry

Pluralism's Chickens Have Come Home to Roost

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It had to happen. What if a Muslim won election in America? On what standard would he bind himself and the declaration of his oath to uphold the Constitution? Well, it has happened. Keith Ellison, a Democrat from the Minnesota House of Representatives who recently became a United States Congressman, is a Muslim who wants to take the oath of office on the Koran. First, the Koran calls for jihad against infidels, so it’s hardly a book that fits in with American principles.[1] This point alone should be enough to nullify its use in any swearing-in ceremony for political office. Second, the Constitution itself establishes who our true Lord is when it states that the document’s drafting took place “in the year of our Lord” 1787. This is a reference to Jesus Christ. For a Muslim, Jesus is not Lord, so his oath would contradict what the Constitution actually states. Third, religious pluralism has come home to roost. The Muslims are engaged in world domination, and most Americans, politicians included, don’t have a clue.[2]

As you know, George Washington took his presidential oath on a Bible and said, “I swear, so help me God.” No one flinched or protested that it was a violation of the Constitution. The inauguration was followed by “divine services” that were held in St. Paul’s Chapel, “performed by the Chaplain of Congress.” While the Constitution does not require a religious test oath, an oath is required to uphold the Constitution, and if it’s not the God of the Bible, then it’s some other god or the State.

Like the colonial charters, state constitutions leading up to the revolutionary era express dependence on God for the maintenance of the civil polity.[3] Even though some of the state constitutions are not as evangelical as the colonial charters, they still maintain a solid Christian foundation for the development of laws. The charters expressed the goals of the colonies, one of which was to advance the Christian religion. Constitutions are governing documents designed to maintain an already established social and civil order, an order that was in this case decidedly Christian.

In comparison to the federal Constitution, how religious were the pre-revolution state constitutions?

On the one hand, many of the states take a more restricted view of religious freedom, limiting officeholders to “Christians” or to adherents of the “Protestant religion.” Some states, notably the New England ones, also provide for public support of Protestant “teachers” and for legislative encouragement of attendance upon Protestant worship. On the other hand, many states specifically exclude any and all clergymen from holding any civil office.[4]

The federal Constitution makes only passing reference to religious issues, first by guaranteeing in the First Amendment that Congress has no authority either to establish or prohibit the free exercise of religion, and second by prohibiting a religious test for holding office at the federal level. A number of constitutional delegates believed that the new Constitution should not deal with issues related to religion. Such matters, so the argument goes, were considered best handled by the states. A study of the state constitutions will show that most Americans judged Christianity to be the standard by which civil government should perform its stated purpose. “Hence the men who have founded states on written constitutions have always resorted to religious sanctions to give practical power to their constitutions and to enforce the laws of the government.”[5]

Many of the states believed that, as more power was given over to a national government, religious issues were ignored. “The states, both before and after the adoption of the federal Constitution, took steps to fill the religious vacuum. State constitutions rang with religious language and proceeded to build on religious assumptions. Though accepting religious liberty as a given of the Revolution, these documents did not accept religious neutrality or indifference as a necessary consequence.”[6]

[1] Robert Spencer, The Truth about Muhammad: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion (Washington, D.C.: Regnery, 2006) and Robert Spencer, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) ( Washington, D.C.: Regnery, 2005).

[2] Robert Spencer, Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions about the World’s Fastest-Growing Faith (San Francisco, CA: Encounter Books, 2002).

[3] Benjamin Weiss, God in American History: A Documentation of America’s Religious Heritage (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1966), 155.

[4] Edwin S. Gaustad, Neither King Nor Prelate: Religion and the New Nation, 1776–1826 (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1993), 160.

[5] B. F. Morris, Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States, Developed in the Official and Historical Annals of the Republic (Philadelphia, PA: George W. Childs, 1864), 83.

[6] Gaustad, Neither King Nor Prelate, 114.

 

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