Love and the Constitution
Is our society founded on Christian virtues and teachings? What is the greatest Christian teaching? What is the essence of Christianity? What is the one truth above all others that sums Christianity, Christian teachings, Jesus’s life?
If our society is a Christian society, and if our society is founded on Christian teachings, wouldn’t we find the essence of Christianity in our basic documents upon which we order our society?
The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. It is the basic document upon which we order society.
How many times is the word love found in the Constitution? In the Amendments? In the Declaration of Independence?
Love is not found in the Constitution? Why?
The essence of the Constitution is the Preamble. It tells us the basic teachings of the Constitution.
“We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union,
establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common
defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
The Preamble shows us the Constitution is about order, union, justice, tranquility, defense, the most good for the most people, liberty.
What does the New Testament teach us about Love?
Paul on Love (1Corinthians, 13):
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
Following Paul, could there be a government based on patience, kindness, modesty, humility, honor, self-sacrifice, forgiveness, goodness, the truth, trust, hope, perseverance, protection?
Aristotle argued that the best form of government is democracy, and that the state has to encourage in its people, Virtue.
Aristotle’s concept of Virtue: people who do an act for its own sake.
In other words, Virtue is an act for the sake of Love.
Does our government encourage virtue as Aristotle defined it? Or does government impede virtue?
Imagine a government based on love, a government of love. What would it look like? Would it look like the America of today? Does the America of today, the government of today, have a chance to make a society, a government, based on love?
Perhaps the key to love is freedom. God loves us and grants us freedom to love Him back. The more freedom government allows us, perhaps the more love is possible. Case in point: 1st Amendment: freedom of religion. Not only is it freedom to practice religion (free exercise) but freedom from government interference (non-establishment of religion). So not only do I have the right to practice any religion, but no one (government) can force me to believe a certain way. This allows me to feel secure in my beliefs, and security (rather than fear and caution) is one way to encourage love.
For humans to treat one-another with love, does it require the force of law, government imposition, or does it require less law, more freedom, and humans will act towards one another appropriately? Are humans so sinful that government must control us, or are humans sufficiently good that we don’t need that many laws?
What is the answer? Let’s take a tour of the Bacone College Chapel to find the answer. At all four corners of the chapel are words carved into stone. These are from Almon Bacone, Pleasant Porter, Charles Journeycake, and the Book of Micah:
Almon Bacone (Founder of Bacone College):
“A Christian school planted in the midst of a people, becomes one of the most powerful agencies in the work of civilization.”–(in other words, civilization, white society based on the teachings of Jesus, based in love, will spread love.)
Pleasant Porter (Chief of the Creeks):
“The vitality of our race still persists. We have not lived for naught. We are the original discoverers of this continent and the conquerors of it from the animal kingdom and on it first taught the arts of peace and war and first planted the institutions of virtue, truth and liberty. The European Nations found us here and were made aware that it was possible for men to exist and subsist here. We have given to the European people on this continent, our thought forces. The best blood of our ancestors has been intermingled with the best statesmen and leading citizens. We have made ourselves an indestructable element in their national history. We have shown that what they believed to be arid and desert places were habitable and capable of sustaining millions of people. We have led the vanguard of civilization in our conflicts with them for tribal existence from ocean to ocean. The race that has rendered this service to the other races of mankind cannot perish utterly.”
Charles Journeycake (Chief of the Delawares)
“We have been broken up and moved six times. We have been despoiled of our property. We thought when we moved across Missouri River and had paid for our home in Kansas we were safe, but in a few years the white man wanted our country. We had good farms, built comfortable houses and big barns. We had schools for our children and churches where we listened to the same gospel the white man listens to. The white man came into our country from Missouri and drove our cattle and horses away and if our people followed them they were killed. We try to forget these things but we could not forget that the white man brought us the blessed gospel, the Christian’s hope. This more than pays for all we have suffered.”
“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good: and what doth the Lord require of thee but to do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God?”
Who am I (and I would be a fool) to disregard what God requires? Jesus was the one man who preached, who represented, Love: the Christian society, to live appropriately, is based on love. Love is the universal, the basis for all things. Jesus loved all, even sinners. All he asks is that we Love. To accept Christ is to accept love.
Only a republic, only a democracy, based on pure and utter love will work, will succeed, will last.
I forgot who said it, but it was words to the effect: would you rather have Love or Justice? I’d rather have Justice. Love will follow. You can’t legislate Love or force it.