John Jay is one of America's most celebrated founders. He was America's first Supreme Court Chief Justice and also co-authored the Federalist Papers. Jay's influence upon the founding generation was immense. Jay is credited with saying, "Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."
All the heartburn and consternation of liberals notwithstanding, America was founded as a Christian nation! Furthermore, the vast influence of Christianity upon America's colonists did not seem to irk progressives such as Thomas Jefferson or Benjamin Franklin. The way today's liberals seem to despise Christianity only serves to indicate the depth of their intolerance. The truth is, progressives have never had anything to fear from true Christians or from Christian ideology. Then again, could it be that modern liberals are not really progressives at all, but are actually socialists at heart? That would help explain much of their conduct, wouldn't it? But I digress.
As a major player in the promotion of the U.S. Constitution, Jay certainly subscribed to the "no religious test" language contained therein. Furthermore, except for the latest couple of generations of Americans, everyone recognized that while America was established by Christians upon Christian principles, there was to be no constitutional preference for any Christian sect. That is to say, no state church. This was the clear meaning of the First Amendment until the landmark Supreme Court rulings in 1962 & '63.
Therefore, when John Jay made the statement that our Christian nation was to "prefer Christians" as our leaders, he was not advancing the notion that Americans choose leaders based upon their denominational affiliation. Neither was he advancing the notion that voters allow themselves to be deceived by Christian rhetoric.
Jay was assuming that, regardless of denominational or political persuasion, true Christian men would conduct themselves with certain decorum and principle. As Christians, men were expected to be honest, fair, and faithful. And, on the whole, this expectation was met for around a century before and after 1776.
The problem today is that a profession of Christianity is all but meaningless! Professing Christians can be just as deceitful, just as dishonest, just as immoral, and just as mean-spirited as anyone else. This is true in virtually every segment of life, and it is doubly true in politics!
For example, when looking for integrity within the hearts of our political leaders, look no further than to one's fidelity to the U.S. Constitution. Remember, the oath of office which every constitutional officer takes upon assuming office is that he or she will faithfully follow the Constitution. Regardless of party platform or personal propensities, political officeholders take an oath to obey the Constitution.
Therefore, if an elected politician has any true Christianity within him, he will do his best to uphold his oath to the U.S. Constitution. After all, he gave his word to the American people and to Almighty God!
By the same token, any elected officeholder who does not uphold his or her oath to the Constitution should be regarded as revealing serious dereliction to both his political and Christian responsibility. The result of this dereliction should be that the good Christian voters of the home district or state would forthwith remove him or her from office! Clearly, this is what John Jay meant by his statements that our "Christian nation should prefer Christians" as our political leaders.
Therefore, how can Christians today treat infidelity to the Constitution so cavalierly? How can they continue to cover up or even condone obvious abridgements upon their liberties? How can they tolerate perennial assaults against the Bill of Rights? How can they continue to support political officeholders who routinely and incessantly act in such an un-Christian manner?Yet, by continuing to support the unconstitutional conduct of presidents and congressmen (not to mention a host of local and state leaders), Christian voters reveal themselves unfaithful to their own Christian profession! After all, is not one of the most fundamental commands of Christ that our yea be yea and our nay be nay? In other words, that we be people of our word? Or did I miss the part where Jesus exempted politicians?
Herein lies the real problem: many pastors and Christian leaders are not teaching genuine Christianity! If they were, Christian people would understand what John Jay meant when he said we should "prefer Christians" as our leaders, and they would know it has nothing to do with electing pretending Christians who continue to break their word and run roughshod over the Constitution!
© 2005 Chuck Baldwin - All Rights Reserved
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