Here are the reasons the United States Constitution is not “godless”, with thanks to Pastor David Whitney of the Institute on the Constitution for bringing up some of these points up during a presentation he made on Radio Liberty with Dr. Stan Monteith:
Starting with the preamble to the Constitution:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.“
Where do “Blessings” come from, if not from God?
And the Declaration of Independence makes it clear that the “Creator” is the author of “Liberty”, as we see from its text:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.“
Then, there are the references in the Constitution to oaths, such as this one:
“The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation.“
The distinguishing feature between an Oath and Affirmation is that an oath is sworn to God, while an affirmation is only solemnly stated.
We see this from the Merriam-Webster dictionary’s primary definition for oath:
“1a (1) : a solemn usually formal calling upon God or a god to witness to the truth of what one says or to witness that one sincerely intends to do what one says“
and with all definitions of affirmation, there is no mention of God:
“1a : the act of affirming
b : something affirmed : a positive assertion
2 : a solemn declaration made under the penalties of perjury by a person who conscientiously declines taking an oath“
The second definition shows that one makes an affirmation by conscientiously declining to take an oath, meaning that one doesn’t believe in God, or doesn’t feel that it is necessary to do so, while still believing in God.
Then, for the requirement of the President upon taking office:
“Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”“
Then, for the oath or affirmation required of Senators and Representatives:
“The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.“
The “no religious Test” requirement is internally supported in the Constitution by the ability to either swear an oath or make an affirmation, and its purpose was to prevent religious divisions among the many Christian denominations at the time, and later, among different religions.
The most cited reference made by those advocating a “godless” Constitution refer to the First Amendment, which states, in part:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;“
This is one of the most misunderstood parts of the Constitution. It only limits Congress from establishing any official national religion, and from prohibiting the free exercise of religion anywhere in the United States. It does nothing to prevent the States from doing so, within their respective jurisdictions. This is evidenced by the states of Massachusetts and Connecticut having official state religions after the U.S. Constitution was adopted.
And since the Executive can only execute laws passed by Congress, if Congress can pass no laws establishing an official religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise of religion, the Executive also cannot implement any regulations doing the same.
Then, since the judicial branch can only interpret laws passed by Congress, they are also prevented from doing the same.
Notice that there is no “wall of separation between Church and State” mentioned here, or anywhere else in the Constitution. In fact, that reference is from a 1802 letter by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists, which referred to a one-way wall of separation, with the newly constituted federal government unable to interfere with religious worship in any way.
Then, in the Fourth Amendment, we see a reference to an “Oath”.
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.“
Long before 2012, I was aware of the mention of “the Year of our Lord” in the Constitution, and accepted the notion that it was just used as a convention at the time.
“Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth.“
However, if it connoted nothing religious, then why did Thomas Jefferson’s aforementioned 1802 letter only show him signing the date and year, and mentioning nothing about “the Year of our Lord”?
Finally, the mention of most of the rights in the Bill of Rights are references to natural rights, and where do those natural rights come from? The signers of the Declaration of Independence made it clear that they are from the “Creator”, who is also “Nature’s God”.
For more on the godly nature of the U.S. Constitution and U.S. form of government, see my interview with Pastor David Whitney here.