Deuteronomy and the Constitution

I tire of hearing people declare the Constitution is founded upon Judaeo-Christian principles and then proceed to use that as an argument to justify something horrendous, like ending true religious freedom or letting corporations or populists blind us to their insidious attempts to further undermine the dignity of humanity. Let’s set the facts straight: the Constitution is based upon the laws of mammon, not God.

Mammon is the Hebrew word for financial dealings. One who deals with money is a mammonai, simple as that. For those that claim to be Christian fundamentalists, they need to know that Jesus told his followers that they can choose to serve either God or mammon. The two are exclusive. And yet, the Constitution enshrines protections for the worst excess of capitalism: chattel slavery.

Looking back in the Old Testament, one finds these verses dealing with the treatment of escaped slaves:

15 Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee:
16 He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best: thou shalt not oppress him.
– Deuteronomy 23:15-16

And now, from the Constitution:

No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, But shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due. – US Constitution, Article 4 Section 2

The Constitution is in opposition to the Law of Moses. The Constitution is therefore not Judaeo, nor is it Christian, with or without the hyphenation. The first limitation on the powers of Congress is its restriction against Congress doing away with slavery. What would Jesus do? Hmmm?

Men wrote the Constitution. Men made compromises with each other, bargained, debated, and settled for less than they demanded in the process of writing the Constitution. Men continue to work with the document, not prophets. Moses’ law did not serve as the basis for the Constitution, nor did Jesus’. If the writers of the Constitution did not choose God, then they must have been serving mammon. Let the blood of every slave worked to death in the fields testify to that conclusion.

2 thoughts on “Deuteronomy and the Constitution

  1. Hanna Choi

    I agree that the U.S. Constitution was not founded upon Christian principles. Not returning the slaves was one issue, but also democracy itself doesn’t come from the Bible. There were priests and kings appointed by God that ruled the land. These rulers were not voted by the people, in the Bible.

    Also the Bible is considered God’s Word, by Christians. Christian’s believe God to be perfect, holy, and just. How can man make laws, or a government that is perfect and just when they were made by imperfect people, who were self-seeking men, wanting the best for themselves?

  2. deanwebb Post author

    You’re right: perfection does not come from men. But I think once we remove the mythology surrounding our nation’s origin, we can discover that there were many good principles – regardless of religious origin – that are better for us to emulate. If we did that instead of try and turn the Constitution into another book of the Bible, we would be less violent as a people towards each other and the world.

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