Secularism: A guiding principle for America?

As the national election draws near and we evaluate where we stand on specific issues, which candidates we will vote for and how our patriotism may be wavering this time around, I believe we should be looking to our founding principles for answers to where this country was meant to be. A need to look closer at what it means to be American seems to be imperative.

For me, the Preamble to the United States Constitution seems like a good place to start. Though I’m no legal scholar, and the preface is not believed to have any substantive legal meaning—it explains simply the fundamental purposes and guiding principles for our country’s governance in general terms. It provides reliable evidence of the Founding Father’s intentions regarding the Constitutions meaning and what they hoped it would achieve. It documents the beginning of our Country’s greatness.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, 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.”

Does the first sentence of the Constitution evoke the words ‘blessings of liberty?’ Specifically, a reference to ‘blessing’ as it pertains to freedom? This thirty-third word of the Preamble to the United States Constitution stands out to me like no other. It is because in our secular society, it seems increasingly unacceptable to use in the public setting. In a day where we are becoming further restricted from professing our faith and where the existence of God is being forced out of political correctness, it seems we have forgotten the fundamental truth of our existence.

We have forgotten that the reason for the separation of church and state was not to ban God from our culture, but to protect from religious persecution as this was a driving force in early colonization efforts in America. To me the word ‘blessing’ included in our Constitution points to an assumed divinity. It’s no secret the Founding Fathers believed in a common good, a higher power and a moral and religious people. They believed we could co-exist with differing viewpoints and our society could thrive while being pluralistic in nature. They were wise enough to recognize that this was the entire foundation to everything we would stand for. But without God, without morality, without a desire for good, everything would crumble. And honestly, perhaps that is where progressive interpretations of America’s principles are taking our democracy.

I’ve heard people say that the separation of Church and State was our founding Fathers ‘greatest legacy.’ This simply makes me sad. The Declaration of Independence also states:

“…all men are created equal, they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

To me, this statement also demonstrates a fundamental truth to be acknowledged and a wisdom possessed by early American leadership. If we were meant to completely ignore God’s existence, why would it be there?

It is because our Democracy assumes the morality of citizens; it assumes we will fight for the common good and it assumes a fundamental truth of divinity. Our Founding Fathers intended each person to have the freedom to live and worship to their best understanding and believed government had no right in these matters.

They believed in each one of us, our respect for humanity and our ability to discern right from wrong and that we would forever hold the desire to find common ground no matter what the challenges. These founding documents of the United States of America are as relevant today as they have ever been.

In our society, we should have the sense to agree to disagree. We should have the freedom to express differing opinions and still be able to treat each other with respect and dignity. We should work together to find solutions to problems facing humanity. This is what it means to be American.

So it’s hard to stomach what we see in American politics today. It’s hard to look past the delusions of feministic grandeur, the wealthy big hair and progressive leadership failing us. It’s hard to envision our future when many hearts have been hardened and the scope of what needs to be accomplished is so complex, so out of focus, we do not even know what is most important. And it’s disturbing when people who don’t understand truth or morality, say the United States Constitution is out of date and doesn’t pertain to modern times.

Instead of focusing on the mayhem of this election, I’m choosing to think about the issues at stake that are non-negotiable. I’m also thinking about the impact the outcome will have on the Supreme Court vacancy and how future generations will view and experience our great Nation.

Will be able to express our freedom of conscience and will our children experience the same liberty America was founded upon? Will America continue to be a leader of integrity concerning itself with issues important to humanity? Or will we have gotten so wrapped up in ourselves that we have forgotten the assumed foundational divinity of our very roots and all we see in the Constitution is that of an evaluator of rights and self-serving laws?

Our desire for happiness, a desire our founding fathers shared, has only one solution. By losing ourselves in service to others and using our God-given freedom to live a morally acceptable life, we will find true joy. I do not believe secularism was meant to be a guiding principle in America. I believe it was a foundational protection intended to defend a moral people from the imposition of government with regard to their most precious beliefs and preserve their ability to act freely according to their consciences.

But I believe John Adams said it best:

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

-JOHN ADAMS

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