Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Constitution is an Anti-Theocratic Document

I would like to express my appreciation to Jon Rowe, for allowing me to post this piece to my blog. Jon blogs at and at Positive Liberty. The following post was recently posted to both.

From Positive Liberty;
Jonathan Rowe is a 32 year old attorney and college professor. He holds JD, MBA, and LL.M. graduate degrees from Temple University, in Philadelphia, PA. He is an Assistant Professor of Business in the Business and Technology Division at Mercer County Community College in West Windsor, NJ. He lives in Yardley, PA

Every year around this time I recommend a well-researched E-Book by theocrat Dr. Gary North, entitled Conspiracy in Philadelphia. North recognizes that the Constitution is an anti-theocratic document and opposes it for precisely that reason. It is more than simply anti-theocratic; rather its principles are religious neutrality. And even though the Constitution explicitly endorses no particular religion, unitarianism — which is defined by creedal indifference — is implicit in the document. And this shouldn’t surprise given that the principle authors of the Declaration, Federalist Papers, and Constitution were theological unitarians.

Theological unitarians are not to be confused with the Unitarian Church of the 19th Century. Jefferson and Madison were theological unitarians but members of the Anglican/Episcopal Church. Dr. North distinguishes between the two by referring to theological unitarians with a lowercase u and members of the Unitarian Church with a capital U. Dr. Gregg Frazer coins an entirely new term — theistic rationalism. And that’s because theological unitarianism (which in its most simple definition means denial of the Trinity) is but one element of the key Founders’ creed. Other elements include theological universalism (belief in eternal salvation), syncretism (belief that non-Christian religions contain the same truth as Christianity and are thus valid ways to God), Arminianism (rejection of key Calvinist doctrines like predestination) and rationalism (elevating man’s reason over revelation in determining truth). Whatever we call it, the key Founders’ creed was not orthodox Christianity, arguably not Christianity at all.

Jefferson and Adams, North notes, could be downright scornful of doctrines of orthodoxy. North, amusingly harsh on them, writes:

In their old age, Adams and Jefferson renewed their friendship in a long correspondence that lasted for more than a decade. Their letters reveal that they were almost totally agreed on religion. They hated Christianity, especially Calvinism.94….After surveying their letters, Cushing Strout concludes: “Whatever their political differences, Jefferson and Adams were virtually at one in their religion.” Strout identifies the creed of this religion: unitarianism.96 pp. 140-41.

Washington and Franklin, on the other hand, seemed to have had no problems with orthodox doctrines, believing them harmless. Though, as unitarians, they didn’t believe in those doctrines and also had no problem with all sorts of non-Christian religions such that they drew an equivalence between these systems that make incompatible claims of truth. As Ben Franklin put it:

Both house and ground were vested in trustees, expressly for the use of any preacher of any religious persuasion who might desire to say something to the people at Philadelphia; the design in building not being to accommodate any particular sect, but the inhabitants in general; so that even if the Mufti of Constantinople were to send a missionary to preach Mohammedanism to us, he would find a pulpit at his service.

North’s harshest sentiments are directed against James Madison:

James Madison was a covenant-breaking genius, and the heart and soul of his genius was his commitment to religious neutralism. He devised a Constitution that for two centuries has fooled even the most perceptive Christian social philosophers of each generation into thinking that Madison was not what he was: a unitarian theocrat whose goal was to snuff out the civil influence of the trinitarian churches whenever they did not support his brainchild. For two centuries, his demonic plan has worked. pp. 374-75.

Passage like that make much of the book amusing to read. North sounds not unlike James Renwick Willson another reformed covenanter of the 19th Century who scorned the unitarianism and anti-theocratic aspect of our Founding.