While nearly every conservative has heard of both, there seems to be a lot of confusion within their ranks about the difference between the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.
First, many conservatives seem to believe that they’re the same thing. They’re not.
The Declaration of Independence is essentially just a declaration of war. Our Constitution, to put it in its simplest terms, is what created our government and outlines the rights to which every American is entitled.
See, when conservatives claim that our nation is founded on Christianity, they often use lines taken from the Declaration of Independence – not our Constitution.
And the reason for that is simple. The words “Christian” or “Christianity” don’t appear even once within our Constitution. Though in the Declaration of Independence there are references to “the Creator” and “God.”
So, when conservatives cite the lines, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator…” or, “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation” as evidence that our nation was founded on Christianity, all they’re really doing is proving that they don’t know the difference between the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution.
Our Constitution was a complicated process of compromise, debate and ratification between many individuals to comprise exactly what would and wouldn’t be a “right” for all Americans. In fact, I argue that it’s such a precise document that for the words “Christianity” or “Christian” to be completely omitted wasn’t by accident – it was by design. They didn’t want this nation to be ruled by any particular religion.
But I shouldn’t even have to “argue” that, because that’s exactly what our First Amendment states.
Our Declaration of Independence, however, was essentially written by one man, Thomas Jefferson, and is nothing more than a declaration of war by our Founding Fathers with their intent to establish our government.
Which is what led to our Constitution.
So, does our Declaration of Independence have references to God in it? Absolutely. But it wasn’t an accident that any mention of Christianity was omitted from the final draft of our Constitution.
Though this is clearly a very simple explanation of what each of these documents represents, that was kind of my point. Because it seems there are far too many conservatives who clearly don’t seem to understand the basic differences between the two.
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