By: Reed R. Heustis, Jr., Esq.
November 21, 2009
The State of Connecticut’s nickname is the Constitution State.
If asked, most people may guess that the reason for this nickname is that Connecticut may have been the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
In actuality, they’d be wrong. Delaware was the first, having done so on December 7, 1787. Connecticut was the fifth state to ratify.
So, why the nickname?
Most people would be surprised to learn that Connecticut is known as the Constitution State because what many consider to be the first written constitution in the western tradition was adopted there. Thus, Connecticut became known as the Constitution State.
However, what would really stun people is to learn that this first written constitution was an explicitly Christian document. It unabashedly professed the Gospel of Jesus Christ, honored the Rule of the Word of God, and established a government according to God. What a beautiful constitution it was.
Try sharing that tidbit of trivia with the guests at your next cocktail party.
Most people already realize that nearly every state constitution acknowledges God in some form or fashion today. However, these acknowledgements are so extremely generic that they usually serve as a one-size-fits-all reference to any home-made deity. Today’s acknowledgements seem to be nothing more than fill-in-the-blanks. Christ need not apply.
Today, the moment someone remotely suggests that Christ be acknowledged in a constitutional document, is when all hell breaks loose. Accusations of religious bigotry are the predictable result.
Adopted in 1638, the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut that are known as the first written constitution, was so explicitly Christian, that it should make today’s Christian Americans blush with shame.
Only the Preamble need be cited to make this point:
“For as much as it hath pleased Almighty God by the wise disposition of his divine providence so to order and dispose of things that we the Inhabitants and Residents of Windsor, Hartford and Wethersfield are now cohabiting and dwelling in and upon the River of Connectecotte and the lands thereunto adjoining; and well knowing where a people are gathered together the word of God requires that to maintain the peace and union of such a people there should be an orderly and decent Government established according to God, to order and dispose of the affairs of the people at all seasons as occasion shall require; do therefore associate and conjoin ourselves to be as one Public State or Commonwealth; and do for ourselves and our successors and such as shall be adjoined to us at any time hereafter, enter into Combination and Confederation together, to maintain and preserve the liberty and purity of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus which we now profess, as also, the discipline of the Churches, which according to the truth of the said Gospel is now practiced amongst us; as also in our civil affairs to be guided and governed according to such Laws, Rules, Orders and Decrees as shall be made, ordered, and decreed….” (emphasis added)
If you really want to know whether today’s conservative Christians truly stand for biblical principles in civil government, ask them whether they would support a constitutional document that makes these professions and proclamations.
Ask them whether they would support a constitutional document that explicitly describes the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the words Liberty and Purity.
Ask them whether they would agree that to maintain peace and union, there should be an orderly and decent government established according to God.
Today’s conservatives may be quick to support the mention of “god” in the Pledge of Allegiance, or to sing God Bless America, but don’t be surprised if none of them would support an explicit acknowledgement of the Kingship of Jesus Christ.
How’s that for constitutional government?
Reed R. Heustis, Jr., Esq. is a Southern California native, and publisher of Christian Constitutionalist. A member of the State Bar of California, Reed earned his Juris Doctor from California Western School of Law in San Diego, California, and his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from University of California at Irvine. Reed is a member of a local church affiliated with the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America.