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America's Culture War: Christian Origins

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“Sundays Excepted”?

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Did the Founders of American civilization believe in the God of the Bible? More specifically, did the vast majority of them embrace the Christian worldview? Even though they advocated freedom of worship, and opposed any persecution instigated against those who sought to practice divergent religious views, did they, themselves, approach life from the perspective of the Christian religion? A mountain of evidence exists to prove that they did. Consider just one.

Though the Founders intentionally omitted an extensive treatment of religion in the federal Constitution, since they intended for the federal government to stay out of the religious arena and leave such matters to the States and local communities, they nevertheless implied their religious orientation in that seminal document. Article 1, Section 7 of the Constitution reads:

If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law (Constitution of the United..., emp. added).

“Sundays excepted”? Indeed, to this day, the U.S. government shuts down and does not transact business on Sunday? Why? If this provision had been made in respect of Jews, the Constitution would have read “Saturdays excepted.” If provision had been made for Muslims, the Constitution would have read “Fridays excepted.” If the Founders had intended to encourage a day of inactivity for the government without regard to any particular religion, they could have chosen Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Instead, the federal Constitution reads “Sundays excepted”—proving that America was Christian in its orientation, that the Framers themselves shared the Christian worldview, and that they were determined to give political recognition to and accommodation of that fact by making allowance for the Christian day of worship. Their decision reflects a respect for Bible teaching on the matter (Acts 20:7; Revelation 1:10).

This respect for the Christian worship of God on Sunday has been perpetuated throughout American history. The vanishing “Blue Laws” verify this fact. For example, in the 1846 South Carolina court case City Council of Charleston v. Benjamin, the court declared:

The Lord’s day, the day of the Resurrection, is to us, who are called Christians, the day of rest after finishing a new creation. It is the day of the first visible triumph over death, hell and the grave! It was the birth day of the believer in Christ, to whom and through whom it opened up the way which, by repentance and faith, leads unto everlasting life and eternal happiness! On that day we rest, and to us it is the Sabbath of the Lord—its decent observance, in a Christian community, is that which ought to be expected (2 Strob. L. 508 [S. C. 1846], emp. added).

Many other examples exist (cf. Miller, 2006). America was founded on Christian principles. The future of the Republic is endangered in direct proportion as those principles are abandoned. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12).

REFERENCES

City Council of Charleston v. Benjamin (1846), 2 Strob. L. 508 (S. C. 1846).

Constitution of the United States, [On-line], URL: http://www.archives.gov/national-archives-experience/charters/ constitution.html.

Miller, Dave (2006), “America, Christianity, and the Culture War (Part I),” Reason & Revelation, June 2006 - 26[6]41-47, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2942.




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