Current Issues
Constitution Day: Celebration or Memorial?
September 17, 2016

People become excited about many different things… college football, fireworks on the Fourth of July, family reunions, a Thanksgiving Day parade, the World Series… and the list could go on. As much as I truly appreciate these wonderful American pastimes, the great freedoms that are unique to our nation are also particularly special to me.

Foremost among all our timeless documents is the U.S. Constitution and this week, we celebrate one of the signature events in the formation of the country, the day this important framework for our government was officially adopted. We must keep this and other historic moments a priority, honor and appreciate them, and above all, pass their “self-evident truths” to the next generation. Recently I heard “self-evident” defined as ”any darn fool can understand it.”

Now, more than ever, we need to both affirm and communicate that when our Founders penned the Declaration of Independence, crafted the Constitution, and carefully outlined the Bill of Rights, the role of faith and trust in the Creator remained vital to the process. There were no impassioned outcries calling for the removal of God from the affairs of men, no problems in setting aside the work of government to beseech God’s wisdom and direction on bended knees, and no angst over publicly recognizing the Bible’s influence in life and culture. On the contrary, our Founders and generations of American leaders since then have esteemed our Judeo-Christian heritage in advocating for and protecting religious liberties, or in other words, freedom of conscience. In many ways, the Constitution’s first three words—We the People—affirm that the U.S. government primarily exists to serve its citizens.

On September 17, 1787, delegates to the Constitutional Convention met for the last time to sign the document they had created – a document that defined the supreme law of the United States, established the separation of powers, and safeguarded our most sacred freedoms. Congress later established September 17th as Constitution Day to commemorate the signing and to, “recognize all who, by coming of age or by naturalization, have become citizens.”

To honor Constitution Day, I joined former U.S. Attorney General, Edwin Meese III, Dr. Ben Carson, syndicated radio host, Mark Levin, Hillsdale College President, Dr. Larry Arnn, and many other key leaders in a previous Special Section of The Washington Times. There, we discussed the threats, challenges, and opportunities that must be addressed when it comes to preserving our national identity.

My article, In God We Trust – The Heartbeat of America, described how most citizens continue to deny that religious persecution could ever happen in the United States, “Just a few short decades ago, most citizens also never envisioned an America where the Ten Commandments would be reviled in our courthouses, where businesses had to accept mandatory healthcare provisions that violate the conscience or the sanctity of life, where activist outcries are made over a humble nativity in a public park at Christmastime, valedictorians having their speeches scrubbed of all religious terminology and the list goes on.” Read the full Special Section here.

Why are these issues so critical for us today? Because our First Amendment freedoms are being threatened as never before. Religious intolerance among groups such as the Secular Coalition of America, the Freedom from Religion Foundation, Atheist Alliance International, the Institute for Humanist Studies, and others, is resulting in attacks designed to remove every vestige of God from our culture, including the concept of moral absolutes, and religious freedom. There is a concerted effort on multiple fronts to isolate Christians and push faith out of the public arena, create laws by misguided legislators, and set legal precedents through rogue judges.

Two recent and disturbing efforts highlight these widespread realities. In July, churches in Iowa were fighting attempts by the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, as well as other groups, to ban free speech, even from their pulpits, if pastors were speaking on matters of human sexuality and it could be deemed as “unwelcome” or “discriminatory.” Similar rhetoric is raising eyebrows in Massachusetts regarding a new anti-discrimination law set to go into effect this October. Under the threats of fines and jail time, pastors and their congregations could be forced to accommodate the transgender community. For example, even having a sign in your church that says, “This Bathroom is for Biological Women Only,” could subject the pastor of the church to up to 30 days in jail.

Our heritage is being slowly and systematically eroded in the heat of a shifting culture and the term “Freedom of Religion” is being redefined before our eyes in an attempt to restrict its expression exclusively within one’s heart, home or place of worship. Christians are increasingly targeted, bullied, censored, and pilloried by the liberal press, often being mocked and derided on television and through film—characterized as out-of-touch, judgmental, homophobic, hatemongers, extremists… even “deplorable.” The anti-God rhetoric in this country is reaching unprecedented levels and must not go unchallenged!

Let’s continue to stand together once again in prayer just as these godly patriots rose up in unity of purpose at the birth of our nation. We encourage all Americans to observe this important day in U.S. history by celebrating Constitution Day in our homes and communities through activities, learning, parades, and other ways of demonstrating love for the country, as well as the blessings of freedom our Founding Fathers secured for us. The Constitution and all it represents is worth fighting for.