Last night, Colin McGinn was on Bill Moyers' special series on Faith and Reason on PBS, and he remarked that God is not referenced in the United States Constitution. So I looked this morning and couldn't locate God, Jesus, any of his disciples, or even Satan in the United States Constitution. It's possible that they missed him, but it seems unlikely.
There are two references to a "god" in the Constitution. The first is the National Motto which reads: "In God We Trust." In order for us to be able to put our trust in God, He had to trust us first. This motto does just that - it shows that we can trust God because He said He would always be there for us.
The second reference to "a god" in the Constitution is in the First Amendment when it states that no government money can be given to any religion. This amendment was included because during the founding years of the country, many people feared that if churches received tax breaks, they would use their positions to gain influence over government and corrupt society. Since all governments at that time paid for themselves through taxes, this concern was valid. The Founding Fathers knew that if religious institutions were denied tax-exempt status, then everyone else's opinion of them would drop dramatically because they could not afford to have God think they were important enough to give special treatment to.
These are the only references to "a god" in the Constitution.
The United States Constitution makes no reference of God or Jesus. It's as if if you don't say "under God" when saying the Pledge of Allegiance, you'll never be allowed to run for public office, or if you do, you'll be voted out...even though both statements are written by men who believed themselves to be acting under the direction of a higher power.
The first amendment states that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. These two clauses represent the separation of church and state. The government cannot interfere with any person's ability to practice their faith or prevent them from practicing their lack of faith; instead, it must remain neutral on these issues.
The second amendment protects the right of citizens to keep arms. This is seen as an acknowledgment of the need for self-defense against the government itself. Many people believe that this clause shows that the framers of the Constitution believed that God gave us rights that cannot be taken away by our government.
The third amendment ensures the right of individuals to be protected from unreasonable searches and seizures. Some people think that this clause demonstrates that the founders of the Constitution believed that God has endowed us with certain unalienable rights that cannot be taken away by our government.
The fourth amendment prevents the government from unlawfully detaining anyone.
There is no mention of God or the word "God" in our Constitution. This was not an unintentional omission on the part of the participants of the Constitutional Convention in 1787. It was a conscious omission. Our Founding Fathers were deeply concerned about God or any allusion to a supreme god. They believed it was necessary for government to be neutral on religious matters in order for it to be legitimate. If they had wanted to include reference to a higher power within our Constitution, they could have done so, but they did not.
In fact, several of the founders refrained from voting on certain amendments because they felt that including God as one of the three branches of government would be improper. The idea was rejected by both the House and the Senate.
Our Founding Fathers were very much against the establishment of a national religion. They feared that if we were to include God as one of the three branches, then we would be setting up a system where one branch could eventually become dominant over the other two. Since the majority can always decide what role they want the minority branch to play, this would allow them to exercise undue influence and manipulate events without being noticed by the public for many years at a time.
You may be wondering why there are three branches of government if the word God is omitted from the Constitution. The reason is that our Founding Fathers did not want a president who could declare themselves divine or give themselves special powers.
The United States Constitution makes no explicit reference of God or the divine, although the same cannot be true of the country's state constitutions. According to a Pew Research Center survey, God or the divine is mentioned at least once in each of the 50 state constitutions and about 200 times total. Only six states (Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia) do not include some form of religion's role in government.
According to the Center's research, only Iowa and Vermont have secular governments. The other 40 have some form of Christianity as their majority religion. A large share of these countries are also Christian nations. Israel, Japan and India are some other examples of countries with significant numbers of people who claim to follow a religious tradition but are technically considered "secular" by some definitions.
Even though they are secular countries, many of these nations have laws or policies that affect individuals' ability to practice their religion. For example, they may require students to attend school on certain days; prohibit priests from marrying others than their congregations; or restrict what doctors can do if they work for hospitals that refuse to perform abortions.
In most cases, people are free to believe whatever they want and practice their religion without interference from the government. However, Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and the savior of humanity whose death on the cross atones for our sins.
On the contrary, the Christian faith is tacitly and intrinsically presumed in the Constitution. In fact, there is a clear reference to Jesus Christ in the United States Constitution! Consider the following three proofs for these claims: (See United States Constitution... 1789).
The Constitutional Clause on Christianity According to the 10th Amendment, the federal government possesses only those powers that the people or the states have given to it through the Constitution; any powers not granted to the federal government are reserved to the states or the people. Thus, Christianity is listed in the Constitution because all citizens are considered to be Christians by default since the country was founded by Christians who wanted to create a nation where everyone could practice their own version of religion.
Some commentators have suggested that Christianity's placement in the Constitution is evidence that America is a Christian nation. However, others note that many Americans believe in God but do not consider themselves Christians and so they don't attend church or pray with faith in mind. Additionally, some countries within Europe have constitutional provisions for religious freedom, meaning that they grant equal status to every religion, including non-Christian religions such as Judaism and Islam. Although these countries don't officially recognize Christianity as their official religion, they don't ban it either.
In conclusion, Christianity is mentioned in the Constitution because when the Constitution was written, it was assumed that all citizens would be Christians. Since not everyone was found to be a Christian, the document included a clause stating that no one should be forced to become a Christian against his or her will.