For those who have never read past “When in the course of human events…”, I suggest you sit down with a copy of The Declaration Of Independence and set aside an hour or two to read and comprehend the true brilliance of the Founders of this great nation. So often arguments are based on rumor or biased sources. But the only way to ever find truth is to go directly to the source to reach one’s own conclusions. The problem with that in this case is The Framers were very brilliant and most Americans have no idea of the meanings of words like evinces, compleat, magnanimity, perfidy, or even a simple word like usurpations and looking them up would require more effort than most would be willing to make. It is because of that belief, I write the following.
Several key points need to be made and understood. First, The role of religion. The framers were indeed elitists, brilliant, but elitists. They were lawyers, merchants, statesmen; land owners. They were not interested in a religious role in government despite what believers may inject into the discussion. Phrases like “In God We Trust” appear simply as a compromise, not because they believed that without God on the money their great experiment would fail. It obviously made some people happy, the same people who are happy it’s there today but it really had no other significance.
The Framers were pragmatists, realists. The mention of God comes at the very beginning of The Declaration of Independence with the phrase …”endowed by their Creator…” other than that, there’s no mention of a deity at all and certainly no mention of religion. The concept of Judeo/Christian was established by citizens, not by The Framers. The very fact they were declaring their independence from the monarchy demonstrated they didn’t favor religion in government since the King was granted his power by Divine Right. Fighting against him could be construed to mean they were fighting against God’s Will, certainly against God’s place when it came to governing a people.
Second, Representative Government. The Framers were concerned with the rights of people to be represented in decisions effecting their existence. For example, in reference to King, The Declaration of Independence states, “He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary to the public good.” It continues, “He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.” The King was not allowing the Colonists any say in governing themselves. They were subjects with virtually no rights. They were unfairly taxed, afforded no representation which led to the Boston Tea Party. “For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent.”
Third, Obstruction of the Administration of Justice. “He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.” In addition, the colonists were forced to quarter British troops. They faced only “mock Trial from punishment for any Murders they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States.” In short, the Colonists were being unjustly governed by a King who afforded them no rights. British troops could do virtually anything they want, including murder and would not be held accountable. To the King, the Colonies were nothing more than a conquered territory, an Imperialistic takeover of a people who could not defend themselves, or so he thought. This Declaration was the response to his tyrannical rule.
Fourth, Common Defense. In reference to the King, “He has abdicated Government here by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.-He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.” The Colonists felt threatened, not simply by a lack of representation and overall unfair treatment but by not being able to defend themselves. In essence, Great Britain had already declared war on the Colonies. “He is this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.” If they were to govern themselves and find justice, they would need to declare their Independence from Great Britain.
And so began the greatest and longest standing Democratic experiment in history. But what I must again stress is that this was not a religious conflict and The Framers in no way cared about the role of religion in the new government. They cared about the citizens and their right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, the right to defend and to govern themselves. Amendment I to the U.S. Constitution clearly states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”. The Colonies would not have ratified the new Constitution without those words. That’s why they’re the First words, in the First, of ten Amendments, the Bill of Rights. This can not be interpreted any other way. I stress this fact because the Tea Party/Ultra Conservatives of the Republican Party would have everyone believe that religion should somehow play a role in our Government and nothing could be further from the truth; at least according to The Framers.
Anyone reading this and disagreeing with me, needs to pick up a copy of the Declaration of Independence, needs to look up all the big words, and then needs to create a cogent argument to refute mine, based on fact, not opinion. Good Luck!