In the story Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll describes a scene in which Alice comes to a fork in the road. She’s lost and can’t decide which path to choose. Out of nowhere, Cheshire Cat appears, and Alice asks which way she ought to go. The creature tells her that her direction depends entirely on her destination.
To this, Alice says, “It really doesn’t matter.”
And the cat, with profound simplicity, responds, “Then it really doesn’t matter which way you go.”
Lost in the forest
Rob Chambers, AFA director of policy and legislative affairs, believes Alice’s dilemma is on display in today’s America.
“And you can’t accurately know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been,” Chambers explained.
Progressive politicians and the cultural elite are increasingly vocal in alleging that the nation’s founding documents, specifically the Constitution, were formed separate from God or any biblical principles. Because of this sinister distortion of truth, many others are misled about where the nation has come from. Consequently, they are unaware of the direction in which she is now headed.
“It’s their rejection of God,” said Chambers, “that causes them to have this modern belief that our founding documents don’t have anything to do with God. It’s their warped view of reality, of history, that causes them to come to that conclusion.”
In The Godless Constitution, authors Isaac Kramnick and R. Lawrence Moore assert the founders did not construct the document with Christian intent. They argue that the nation’s founding was completely separate
In more recent years, articles such as “Y’all Need to Stop Believing That ‘Christian Nation’ Stuff” have popularized the notion that America is not Christian at its core. In this particular piece, writer Rob Boston posits, “Nowhere in the U.S. Constitution does it say that we are a Christian nation.”
And he’s right. The Constitution does not explicitly label America as a Christian nation. The founders did not make laws forcing citizens or officers to adopt Christianity. They desired religious freedom.
However, the laws still required a foundation, and significant instances in the Constitution point to Christianity as the bedrock the founders used.
Laws from God
“What separates America from other countries around the world,” said Chambers, “is really the fundamental concept that it’s rooted in the Bible.”
The first of these instances that point to Christianity in the Constitution is the Sunday clause. When the founders wrote the law concerning the manner in which new laws would be passed, part of that process was the approval or disapproval of the president. The sitting president could pass or veto any bill; however, he had a time limit of 10 days. If the president did not pass or veto the bill after 10 days, the bill automatically passed. Within that time period, however, Sundays were not counted.
An excerpt from a South Carolina court record from 1846 states, “Christianity is part of the common law of the land, with liberty of conscience to all. ... The U.S. Constitution allows it as a part of the common law. The President is allowed 10 days, with the exception of Sunday.”
Sunday is the holy day for the Christian faith. This is different than all other belief systems around the world. The Sunday clause is an obvious consideration by the founders to prioritize the Christian faith and allow for it to be practiced even by the leaders of the country.
The second instance that points to Christianity is the law surrounding oaths. Article VI of the Constitution mandates that all members of Congress, as well as any executive officer, swear an oath to protect the Constitution. This has traditionally been done by holding one’s left hand on the Bible, one’s right hand in the air, and ending the oath by saying, “So help me, God.”
Many are unaware that these elements find their origins in Scripture. In Ezekiel 20:5, the Lord says, “On the day I chose Israel, I swore with uplifted hand to the descendants of Jacob.” Isaiah 62:8 says, “The Lord has sworn by His right hand.” Deuteronomy 10:20 says, “Fear the Lord your God and serve Him. Hold fast to Him and take your oaths in His name.”
Rufus King, a signer of the Constitution, assisted in the writing of the oath clause. “In the oath which our laws prescribe,” said King, “we appeal to the Supreme Being to deal with us hereafter as we observe the obligation of our oaths. The pagan world [is] without the mighty influence of this principle which is proclaimed in the Christian system.”
Links to the Bible
Apart from these two examples, the Constitution also contains language that can be directly linked to laws from Scripture. Article II, Section 1 states that no person born outside the United States, or a non-citizen, is allowed to hold the office of president. Similarly, Deuteronomy 17:15 outlines how God wanted His people to choose a king: “He must be from among your fellow Israelites. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not an Israelite.”
Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution states that on the topic of treason (an offense punishable by death), one cannot be found guilty unless at least two people testify against that person. Deuteronomy 17:6 states, “On the testimony of two or three witnesses a person is to be put to death, but no one is to be put to death on the testimony of only one witness.”
The same section of the Constitution states that, in regard to treason, no bill of attainder shall be passed. This limits the punishment of treason to the individual who committed the crime. Ezekiel 18:20 says, “The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.”
Even with all of these instances of the Constitution’s overt biblical references, today’s liberal voices still reject – disingenuously – that the nation’s founding was clearly based on biblical morality.
“People don’t want to believe that God had a hand in the formation of this country,” said Chambers. “When you take God out of the equation, out of our origins, then you have nothing left.”
Like Alice, many U.S. citizens don’t know where they’re headed. If they don’t learn the truth of the nation’s founding and bring their values back to God, they’ll remain just as lost as Alice in Wonderland.
Editor's Note: This originally appeared in the March 2020 print edition of the AFA Journal and can also be found online here.
Dig a little deeper
For further study concerning the Christian heritage of America and her historical documents, these resources are available at afastore.net.
▶ The Bible: America’s Source of Law and Liberty by Stephen McDowell outlines the nation’s history and the specific qualities that led to her greatness.
▶ In A Constitution is Born, Norma Swanson and Barbara Aud explore the history of the Constitution, showing how it was formed and what influences contributed to its birth.
▶ God in the Constitution, a documentary produced by American Family Studios, features David Barton explaining the presence of God both in the Constitution and in the minds and writings of America’s founders.