This issue looks at the relationship between the Declaration and the Constitution.
SINCE YOU ASKED
To see just how far we’ve drifted from our founding father’s basic principles, let’s consider the original relationship between the Declaration and the Constitution. The Declaration, when written, was a “higher document” than the Constitution. When Oklahoma was seeking statehood, admission was based on the requirement that it would not violate the principles of the Declaration of Independence. The same was true for other states. Today, however, we are faced with a host of laws that clearly violate the laws of nature. Take abortion, for example. No other species kills its young while still in the womb. Related arguments can be made against a host of controversial social issues, such as supporting homosexuality.
The Constitution provides no value system for making decisions. Why? The value system was already established in the eight words of the Declaration. The Constitution was written to expand on the basics already established in the Declaration. This is confirmed in the phrase, “In order to form a more perfect union…” The Constitution perfects the Declaration. The relationship between these two documents is similar to the relationship between the Articles of Incorporation and the By-laws in the formation of a new business. The Articles of Incorporation are like the Declaration, outlining what calls the new entity into existence. The By-laws are like the Constitution, outlining how the entity is to function. The By-laws can never violate the Articles of Incorporation, and the Constitution can never violate the Declaration.
AS I SEE IT
Our system has served us well for over 200 years. As modern nations go, this is unprecedented. In 200 years, France has experienced seven completely different forms of government. Italy has seen 48. So where did our founders get the ideas that have lasted so long? Political Science professors at the University of Houston wanted to know. Who did the founders quote? Where did they get their ideas? They collected 15,000 writings of the founders. They reduced this group to 3,154 they viewed as having a significant impact on America. The study took 10 years.
They found that the three men most quoted were Blackstone, Montesgue, and John Locke. However, 16 times more than these men, the founders quoted directly from the Bible. Of all their quotes, 34 percent came from the Bible. In addition, 60 percent of their quotes were from men who had used the Bible to arrive at their conclusions.
You’d never know it by studying today’s textbooks, but our entire governmental system was based on the Bible. Its influence extends far beyond the laws of nature and of nature’s God. The three branches of government (executive, legislative, and judicial) with constitutionally guaranteed separation of powers came directly from the Bible. The idea for the three branches came from Isaiah 33:22:
For the Lord is our judge,
The Lord is our lawgiver,
The Lord is our king…
The idea of separation of powers came from Jeremiah 17. Tax exemption for churches came from Ezra 7:24:
We also inform you that it is not allowed
to impose tax, tribute or toll on any of the
priests, Levites, singers, doorkeepers,
Nethinim, or servants of this house of God.
Of all the people and writings that influenced the founding of our nation, none can compare to the Bible and its Christian message. For more information on the founding of our nation, especially our Christian heritage, visit www.wallbuilders.org.
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
Ever wonder about those people who spend $2.00 on those little bottles of Evian water? Try spelling Evian backwards: NAÏVE