Home » Constitution, Courts » Self Evident Truths in State Constitution Preambles

Self Evident Truths in State Constitution Preambles

I’d like to take this opportunity to give a tip o’ the hat to Roddy Bullock for a really great read

From Jefferson to Jones: Self-Evident Truths Made Illegal

Self evident truths is a reference to the first line of the second paragraph of the United States’ Declaration of Independence made in congress by the 13 original states on July 4, 1776. To wit

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.

It is often pointed out that the United States Constitution does not specify that inalienable rights are bestowed upon all men by their Creator. Forty-five out of fifty states do and it’s a very important concept in American government and one that Judge Jones has forgotten about.

You see, the intent of declaring that inalienable rights are bestowed by a Creator is not just ceremonial. It’s a core principle. It’s what makes the rights inalienable. Governments exist only to secure these rights not to grant them for if governments are the source of these rights then governments can rightly take them away. Thus it is important to remember that a higher authority exists that grants these rights so that no government can take them away.

People like Judge Jones, in their zeal to enforce an impenetrable wall of separation between church and state, overstep the clear intent of the founders. The mere mention by government of a generic Creator is not an establishment of religion. If it was then 45 state constitutions are violating the 1st amendment establishment clause. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Judge Jones.

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • RSS Feed

17 Responses to Self Evident Truths in State Constitution Preambles

  1. Men here being humankind?

  2. There are plenty of judges who rule unfairly on the matter of “separation of church and state,” i.e. enforced secularism.

    Judge Jones ruled unfairly on the definition of science. That’s what we need to emphasize.

  3. tb,

    Men, humankind, mankind, etc. Those.

  4. Why did slavery “end” almost 100 years later in only 1865. Even if these rights are declared as inalienable rights bestowed by a Creator it does not change that people govern these rights. I mean segregation stopped with MLK in the late 60s. In Germany women were given the right to vote in only 1949. We have a similar quote in our constituion. Equal rights for everyone does not really work, it seems. Or there is lack of proper enforcement.

    “Governments exist only to secure these rights not to grant them for if governments are the source of these rights then governments can rightly take them away. Thus it is important to remember that a higher authority exists that grants these rights so that no goernment can take them away.”

    I fully agree with your writing DS but theory is different from practice.

  5. tb

    Slaves could be considered as property under state law. Some states where slavery was legal did exactly that. In 1865 slavery was made illegal by the 13th amendment and in 1868 the 14th amendment to the constitution was ratified which among other things said that states could not make laws which abridged any citizen’s rights described by the federal constitution.

    Amendment XIV – Citizenship Rights. Ratified 7/9/1868.

    1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

  6. Hmmm. Where to start?

    Firstly; do you seriously consider that Bullock’s argument hangs together?

    He makes two major claims; that evolutionary biology is a religion

    the rest of this comment deleted

  7. Robin

    After you made me bother to start fisking your screed against Bullock the first thing I did was look for where he equates evolutionary biology to religion. What I found was that the word “biology” never even appears in Bullock’s article.

    If you want to remain a critical participant here you had better not make any more false accusations like that again.

  8. ds: “You see, the intent of declaring that inalienable rights are bestowed by a Creator is not just ceremonial. It’s a core principle. It’s what makes the rights inalienable. Governments exist only to secure these rights not to grant them for if governments are the source of these rights then governments can rightly take them away. Thus it is important to remember that a higher authority exists that grants these rights so that no government can take them away.”

    Yup. From the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (adopted in 1786) by Thomas Jefferson:

    Whereas Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the Holy author of our religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as it was in his Almighty power to do…

    According to http://www.worldpolicy.org/glo.....eedom.html :

    “It is still part of modern Virginia’s constitution, and it has not only been copied by other states but was also the basis for the Religion Clauses in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights. Both men considered this bill one of the great achievements of their lives, and Jefferson directed that on his tombstone he should not be remembered as president of the United States or for any of the other high offices he held, but as the author of the Declaration of Independence and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, and as the founder of the University of Virginia.”

  9. [Madison was the other guy who considered it a great achievement: "Jefferson drafted the following measure, but it was Madison who secured its adoption by the Virginia legislature in 1786."]

  10. tb: ‘Why did slavery “end” almost 100 years later in only 1865 . . . I fully agree with your writing DS but theory is different from practice.’

    True, but without the constitutional “theory” of God-given inalienable rights in the first place to provide a moral and political basis for action, campaigners for human and civil rights down the years would not have had half a leg to stand on.

    BTW, seeing that the national and state constitutional preambles so explicitly acknowledge God, one wonders what an atheistic Preamble and Bill of Rights would be like:

    “We, the Truly Enlightened Atheists of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Elitism, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Darwinian Random Mutations to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”?

    Or a Declaration of Dependence:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are not created equal, but are the accidental product of Darwinian evolution by Means of Natural Selection or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life; that they are endowed by Random Mutations with whatever Rights, we, The Truly Enlightened Atheists, shall deem proper for them to have. To secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their powers from the consent of the Secular Atheistic Elite, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the Elite to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to the Elite shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

    On a related tack, the so-called separation of church and state is IMHO the greatest constitutional bait-and-switch con-job perpetrated on the American people in the last 70 years. That doctrine simply does not exist anywhere in the US Constitution, but millions who have never seen a copy of the document believe it does – because the likes of Judge Jones and ACLU operatives keep telling them so.

    The truth is, it is an expressly unconstitutional act for any government or private agency to in any way curtail a citizen’s right to express and practice his or her religion in any place, public or private. The First Amendment makes this plain and simple:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    If Congress, the only law-making body at the Federal level, is constitutionally prohibited from either establishing a national religion/denomination or interfering with citizens’ expression of their religious beliefs, it follows that neither judges, school boards, scientific cabals, nor assorted ACLU-type activists have any business whatsoever taking prayer out of schools. Or tearing down religious monuments. Or kicking the Boy Scouts out of public parks. Or litigating for the removal of crosses from graveyards on public land.

  11. One of the problems here is that the notion of God-given “rights” isn’t itself particularly Christian. In large part, it’s an Enlightenment ideal dressed up in Christian or Deistic language. It isn’t a huge step from this quasi-Christian / Deistic notion of “rights” to a view of “rights” that elides the “God” part of the equation. I’m not sure that the primary task of Christian jurisprudence should be sticking “God” back into this rubric of Lockean “rights.”

  12. Emkay:

    You take it too far.

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    You are right in saying “…it is an expressly unconstitutional act for any government or private agency to in any way curtail a citizen’s right to express and practice his or her religion in any place, public or private.” That is why a student is allowed to pray during class (I do it quite frequently before my exams) or even read the Bible if they so choose. That is what is meant by the “free exercise thereof…”

    You seem to forget, however, that it says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…” This is why Judge Jones ruled the way he did. He found that ID is not science, it is religion, and thus does not belong in the science curriculum of public schools.

  13. DS:

    “After you made me bother to start fisking your screed against Bullock the first thing I did was look for where he equates evolutionary biology to religion. What I found was that the word “biology” never even appears in Bullock’s article.”

    You’re right. But he does use the word “Darwinism,” which clearly refers to Darwinian evolution. So, while he doesn’t come out and say “biological evolution,” he does imply it. It’s a very calculated move. If he said “biological evolution” is religion, people wouldn’t buy it. It sounds too much like science. So he uses the word “Darwinism,” which sounds more like an ideology or religion than science. Nonetheless, it is empty rhetoric that once again equates evolution to materialism and religion.

  14. “…or abridging the freedom of speech…”

    “the rest of this comment deleted”

    hmmm…

  15. People like Judge Jones, in their zeal to enforce an impenetrable wall of separation between church and state, overstep the clear intent of the founders.

    And that is precisely why this decision needs to be legally challenged.

    I agree that Roddy’s essay is a well stated treatise on this very important constitutional issue. I would like to see is as a ‘forward’ in a book outlining the Dover Trial, its implications, and concluding with a demand for legal action to stem the government’s overt march toward enforced secularism.
    Next step: The Supreme Court. Any volunteers?

  16. cdf

    “…or abridging the freedom of speech…”

    “the rest of this comment deleted”

    No one ever pretended UD was an unrestricted public soapbox for ID critics. If I find critics here posting shabbily researched, demonstrably false statements in their comments, and worse it being my time used up fisking it, they’re gone after more than a couple offenses. It’s just that simple.

    he does use the word “Darwinism,”

    Naturalistic, unintelligent “bottom up” occurrence of life, for which Darwinism is a leading example, is a central tenet of Religious Humanism and is consistent with the religious beliefs of Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture and various religions of witches, pagans and Earth Religionists.

    He still doesn’t say Darwinism is a religion. He says it’s a tenet of various religions.

    Darwinism, where evidence is interpreted based solely on religious naturalism

    He says Darwinism’s evidence is interpreted in the light of religious naturalism (which I take to mean in contrast to methodological naturalism).

    Is intelligent design science? Of course it is, but it sure looks like a religious idea. Better put it on the “church” side of the wall. Is Darwinism science? Of course it is, and it does not look (to me) anything like a religious idea (never mind that the complaint from parents was that intelligent design interferes with their kids’ own religious views!). Better put it on the “state” side of the wall.

    Again, he does not say Darwinism is a religion but rather a religious idea (see above for religions copacetic with Darwinism).

    And that’s the point: in Dover, Pennsylvania the United States government acted to segregate one scientific theory with religious implications (Darwinism) from a competing scientific theory with religious implications (intelligent design).

    Yet again, he says it’s the religious implications of Darwinism, not Darwinism itself. Indeed he explicitely says Darwinism is a scientific idea with religious implications the same as ID.

    Darwinism has clear religious implications and can only be defended by insulating it against any criticism or alternative theory having theistically religious implications. Atheistically religious implications? That’s OK with the state. Atheistic religious humanists have free reign to promulgate their creation beliefs as science, and the differently-religious must march lockstep and be silent against their own conscience. Why? Because now the United States government through the Jones judiciary has mandated religious favoritism in the Dover public schools; religious naturalism is favored and protected, and any denigration of Darwinism, whether scientific or otherwise, is now banned. According to Jones’ opinion in Kitzmiller it is a violation of the United States Constitution to disparage Darwinism, much less challenge it on any ground that is not consistent with naturalism, which is the foundation of religious humanism.

    Again, religious implications only.

  17. cdf: ‘You seem to forget, however, that it says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…” This is why Judge Jones ruled the way he did. He found that ID is not science, it is religion, and thus does not belong in the science curriculum of public schools.’

    You illustrate my point almost perfectly. How is teaching ID in any classroom in any state the same as CONGRESS establishing a religion?

    Seems like you’re one of the many who have swallowed hook, line and sinker the aforementioned bait-and-switch constitutional con-job.

    The subject of the First Amendment is Congress, the Federal law-making institution, and Congress alone. The Amendment prohibits that body from making any law establishing a religion, or any law suppressing the free expression and practice of religion. As it is written (and intended) the Amendment effectively keeps the US government’s hands off all matters religious. The clause was written to keep government off religion, while permitting religion to flourish unimpeded.

    I’ll say it again: if Congress is constitutionally prohibited from interfering in religion, no other government agency – courts included – has any business meddling with citizens’ lawful expression and practice of their beliefs. In that respect, Judge Jones actually has no constitutional basis to make the proclamations he did. (Not to mention that he showed no understanding of the very complex science involved in the ID hypothesis as it relates to the information content of the genome.)

    Unfortunately, understanding of the so-called separation of church and state has now become grossly twisted and turned inside-out. Plus, the anti-religion secularists and atheists have become so nefariously shrewd at exploiting this phantom of a doctrine they win almost by default every time they conjure it up before any judge friendly to their agenda, of whom there are many.

    As I see it, the war for truth is the intellectual struggle of out times. And this struggle now rages on many fronts, all arguably critical to the present and future wellbeing of the human race. This struggle seems more and more to be focused on establishing the veracity of origins whether biological, moral, legal or religious.

Leave a Reply