There is a particular issue that keeps rearing its ugly head that I would like to address. It is an issue that makes it apparent that the person making the statement really has no clue about the TRUE HISTORY of the United States or how the Constitution Party and its candidates stand on this particular issue. It is an issue that I will call "Political Religiosity."
Recently, I had a conversation with a person who said the reason he couldn't be part of the Constitution Party is because it is "too religious." He said that the Constitution Party is trying to establish a "theocracy." I then asked him to point out a specific instance or demonstrate how the party was too religious or trying to establish a theocracy and like many before him, he fell silent.
Sometimes during the course of these type of conversations, I will make a reference to the Biblical Principles that our founding documents were based on and the person will retort to a couple of our Constitutional Framers as being secularists or deists. Usually, they will mention Benjamin Franklin and/or Thomas Jefferson who weren't all that religious; and yet, it was Benjamin Franklin that stood up in the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and said:
"The longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?”
In a letter written to William Strahan three years earlier, Franklin also stated:
“My dear friend, do not imagine that I am vain enough to ascribe our success [Revolution] to any superiority… If it had not been for the justice of our cause, and the consequent interposition of Providence, in which we had faith, we must have been ruined. If I had ever before been an atheist, I should now have been convinced of the being and government of a Deity!”
It was Jefferson who wrote the “Act for Establishing Religious Freedom” and is perhaps the most interesting feature in the revised code of Virginia. With the exception of the Declaration of Independence, it is the most celebrated of Jefferson's productions, and the one to which he recurred with the highest pride and satisfaction. The preamble which introduces the act defines with peculiar emphasis on the premises upon which religious freedom is founded. The following are examples of Thomas Jefferson's writings:
"Well aware that the opinions and belief of men depend not on their own will, but follow involuntarily the evidence proposed to their minds; that Almighty God hath created the mind free, and manifested his supreme will that free it shall remain by making it altogether insusceptible of restraint; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments, or burthens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, who being lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do..."
-- A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom, Section 1
"We have solved, by fair experiment, the great and interesting question whether freedom of religion is compatible with order in government and obedience to the laws. And we have experienced the quiet as well as the comfort which results from leaving every one to profess freely and openly those principles of religion which are the inductions of his own reason and the serious convictions of his own inquiries."
-- Reply to Virginia Baptists, 1808
"The constitutional freedom of religion [is] the most inalienable and sacred of all human rights."
-- Virginia Board of Visitors Minutes, 1819
"Among the most inestimable of our blessings, also, is that... of liberty to worship our Creator in the way we think most agreeable to His will; a liberty deemed in other countries incompatible with good government and yet proved by our experience to be its best support."
-- Reply to John Thomas et al., 1807
"In our early struggles for liberty, religious freedom could not fail to become a primary object."
-- Reply to Baltimore Baptists, 1808
"Religion, as well as reason, confirms the soundness of those principles on which our government has been founded and its rights asserted."
-- Reply to P. H. Wendover, 1815
"The Christian religion, when divested of the rags in which they [the clergy] have enveloped it, and brought to the original purity and simplicity of it's benevolent institutor, is a religion of all others most friendly to liberty, science, and the freest expansion of the human mind."
-- Reply to Moses Robinson, 1801
"But a short time elapsed after the death of the great reformer of the Jewish religion, before his principles were departed from by those who professed to be his special servants, and perverted into an engine for enslaving mankind, and aggrandizing their oppressors in Church and State."
-- Reply to Samuel Kercheval, 1810
While it is true that the majority of the members within the Constitution Party do recognize "Devine Providence" as did our "Founding Fathers," it is also true that the first American settlers left mother England because of the "religious tyranny" that was propagated there (and, by the way, it was a "Christian" religion). We have no wish, nor desire to establish another here in the United States.
I concur with Dr. Chuck Baldwin, the 2008 Constitution Party Presidential candidate when he writes:
"When you or I hire an electrician or plumber to do work for us, we sign a contract for specific work to be done. And at the end of the day, I really don't care whether he claims to be a Christian or where he goes to church or how religious he claims to be. When the work is finished, I want my lights to turn on and my toilet to flush. In other words, I expect him to live up to his contract. When we elect people to public office, we should expect only one thing: that they uphold their contract to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."
-- "Christians Should Support Constitutional Government." 30 Oct. 2007
While I was running for Governor in 2006 and for the U.S. Senate in 2010, I heard many of the same things; about how I and the party that I belong to wanted to create a theocracy. In response, I had the following disclaimer published on my website:
"For those of you, who may not share my faith, do not be alarmed. I am not now, nor will I ever push for a “Theocracy” in the Constitution Party of Illinois, the State of Illinois or the United States of America."
However, DO NOT forget, that almost without exception, every one of our Founding Fathers were “deeply religious” men. It was these “deeply religious” men who brilliantly framed the Constitution of the United States. They created a constitution which also included a “Bill of Rights.” The first of which states that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...” This includes your right NOT to be religious, if that’s your choice. So, whether you are religious or not, don’t be afraid to support another “deeply religious” man (just as our founding fathers were) who will stand up for all of our freedoms (just as our founding fathers did).
It is because of my conviction that God has created us all as equal and free, that I stand against the tyranny that threatens our freedoms, both within the state of Illinois and these United State of America."
For the twenty-two and a half years I served my country as an active duty Marine. I pledged my life in "supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States of American." Do not ignorantly suppose that once I left active duty, that I lost my mind and joined a political party that would violate the very principles of the freedom and liberty that our constitution provides that I pledged my sacred honor to and was willing to lay down my life in the defense of. It was in the very recognition that the two major parties have betrayed our constitution that drove me to seek refuge in a party that would fight against the tyrannies of our state and federal governments.
If you would like to learn more about how our founding fathers thought about religion, morals, and virtues, check out my "Constitutionally Correct" website: http://www.ConstitutionallyCorrect.org