A commentary by
By Chuck Baldwin
November 16, 2004
(Used by Chuck Baldwin's permission on CR's Range)
John Jay was one of America's most influential Founding Fathers. He was the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, having been appointed by President George Washington. He was a member of the First and Second Continental Congresses. He coauthored the Federalist Papers, along with James Madison and Alexander Hamilton.
John Jay also negotiated the peace treaty to end the war with England, along with John Adams and Ben Franklin. He also served as minister to Spain and in 1794 authored the Jay Treaty which prevented the U.S. from engaging in the war between France and England.
In addition, John Jay was elected president of the Westchester Bible Society in 1818 and president of the American Bible Society in 1821. As with many of America's Founding Fathers, Jay's Christian devotion and patriotic fervor are well established.
Therefore, it is incumbent upon each and every one of us to heed carefully his sagacious counsel. For example, on October 12, 1816, Jay said, "Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."
I remind you that John Jay's statement comes from one of the U.S. Constitution's most outspoken proponents and our highest court's first Chief Justice. So, yes, he was well versed with the "no religious test" clause in the Constitution and with the First Amendment when he made the above statement.
Furthermore, it does appear that contrary to our country's avant- garde politically correct culture, Americans seem to yet have a penchant to "select and prefer Christians for their rulers." In fact, I doubt that one would find any U.S. president and few elected civil magistrates at any level who did not have some sort of Christian profession.
To be sure, not all elected officials have pronounced their Christian profession in the same manner. Some have been more vocal about it than others. Still, one would be hard pressed to find many (if any) elected office holders who have publicly declared that they were NOT Christians on the campaign trail. Furthermore, most elected officials have or hold at least tacit membership in one Christian denomination or another. This fact alone reveals how deeply rooted America's Christian roots run!
That being said, I think it is plainly obvious to most Americans that not all Christian professions are equal. To be sure, some of our elected office holders are true Christians and probably many more are not.
However, only God knows the heart. The best that man can do is inspect the fruit. But when it comes to determining the fitness of any civil magistrate, that is sufficient.
Unfortunately, it seems that most Christians today have little comprehension on how to judge the fruit of his or her elected leaders. In fact, it seems that there is little "fruit inspecting" going on at all. Few bother to watch to see if a politician's walk matches his talk.
If America's Christian voters were really serious about selecting and preferring Christians as their rulers, they would certainly expect, yea, even require that their civil magistrates uphold their oaths of office, would they not? Would they not insist that their president, their congressman, and every other elected leader live up to their word to support, uphold, and defend the U.S. Constitution? How can they say they have elected a Christian to public office if they do not even know whether that person has honored his or her sworn oath to the Constitution?
In the final analysis, it is far more important that an elected official be faithful to the Constitution than that he or she gives lip service to an insipid Christian profession, is it not? If someone is a true Christian, would they not feel duty-bound to honor their oath to the Constitution?
How is it, then, that after electing these myriad professing Christians to public office, we must initiate grassroots organizations to convince them to do what they already said they would do? If they were genuine Christians, could we not (for the most part) depend on them to be faithful to their oath?
Furthermore, if we were the Christians we should be, would we not hold our civil magistrates accountable to the Constitution by not reelecting them should they violate their oath? How is it that we have become so gullible as to allow superficial Christian rhetoric to overshadow glaring mendacity?
When John Jay said that it was our privilege and duty to "select and prefer Christians for our leaders" he certainly did not mean that we should allow ourselves to become so very ignorant of our own Constitution that we would be deceived by casual Christian rhetoric. However, that is exactly what appears to have happened.
I wonder what John Jay would say today?
© Chuck Baldwin
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