In 2009, Simon Sinek penned a book and presented a TED Talk titled, Start with Why. The premise of the book and talk was that our team members will respond better and potentially embrace guidance if they first know the why behind the strategy and direction. In my 40-years as a leader I find this to be a very simple but often overlooked approach to leadership. I need only look in the mirror to understand the impact as I know I am a better follower and worker if I understand why I am doing something.
I will use a recent example from my own life to illustrate this point. Recently, my wife and I had the opportunity to spend the day with dear family. At the conclusion of the day, we were discussing recent political events and our varied takes on the country and its future. My wife and I are constitutional originalists and unashamed followers of Christ. Our worldview is a Biblical worldview, and we marry those perspectives very easily. Our family members seemed to struggle with the perspective that we tie the Bible and constitution together. It finally dawned on me that we had not explained the why surrounding our perspective. Today, and perhaps in a follow-up post, I will attempt to explain this why.
First, the preeminent guidebook to our life is and is supposed to be the Bible. As we will see, our Founding Fathers felt the same. My wife and I have been professing Christians for decades now and have recently reawakened to the fact that this Bible contains unchallengeable history, science, and daily guidance. If anyone wants to have a discussion on the inerrancy of the Bible, we can do that, but it exceeds the scope of this post. As with all things, knowing what and why you believe takes study and the willingness to explore original documents, languages, and writers. It is no different with the Bible.
Secondly, I believe the Constitution of The United States of America is a God ordained document put in place to protect and defend our right to follow the Bible or other ordained religion. The sole intent of the constitution is to enumerate the laws of the land, the powers given to government and those inalienable rights that are mine to freely exercise. This one document allows us to be a shinning city on a hill to the rest of the world (Ronald Reagan). Attempting to separate the constitution from the Bible is to render it impotent. The constitution exists because very wise men realized the value of the Bible and following God in all aspects of life. They also saw that man, under the guise of social welfare, could attempt to limit the right of free expression of religion among other rights and thereby attempt to take our civil liberties.
Therefore, the “why” for me is found in the fact that the Bible is the preeminent guide, and the constitution is in our lives to protect the right to freely express our civil liberties granted by God and enumerated in the Bible. That is why I am “politically involved” about the constitution and cannot separate it from the Bible. Our Founding Fathers were the same.
The antecedent documents to the constitution were the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation. In the Declaration of Independence, the founders told the world that “WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” Parsing these words, we see that our founders recognized the God of the universe as the Creator of all and equally so. That He and He alone endowed each of us with unalienable rights.
It would be good to explain, in their own words, what our Founding Fathers viewed as “unalienable.” One of the signers, John Dickinson of Pennsylvania expressed that human governments:
Could not give the rights essential to happiness…We claim them from a higher source-from the King of kings and the Lord of all the earth. They are not annexed to us by parchments and seals. They are created in us by the decrees of Providence, which establish the laws of nature. They are born with us; exist with us; and cannot be taken from us by any human power, without taking our lives.
Alexander Hamilton similarly confessed that these unalienable rights are:
Not to be rummaged for, among old parchments, or musty records. They are written, as with a sun beam, in the whole of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal powers.
Sam Adams went on to say that these rights are: “imprinted by the finger of God on the heart of man.” His cousin John stated that “antecedent to all earthly government; rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human law; rights derived from the great Legislator of the Universe.”
In their own words it becomes clear the founders viewed these rights to be God ordained. Therein resides one of the “whys” I believe the constitution and the Bible are inseparable. A natural follow-on question would be, if the constitution is repealed or changed, will you forgo the Bible since the protections are lost? My response is an emphatic, NEVER. Before that happened, I would likely be deceased from age or defending the Bible and the constitution. As I stated before, the Bible is and will always be my primary guide. The constitution is there to protect my rights to exercise my God-given, unalienable rights.
Next post I will discuss what the unalienable rights are in the constitution. This will continue to solidify the importance of answering the why question.
The Constitution of The United States of America. (1789).
Green, R. (2021) Biblical Citizenship in Modern American.
Green, R. (2019). Constitutional Defense.
Michael Holler. (2008). The Constitution Made Easy.
Jefferson, T. (1776). The Declaration of Independence.