The National Reform Association (the other NRA) may not be a household word in America today, but it is the oldest, socio-political group in the country. The mission of the NRA is featured in a new documentary entitled, “I Smell a Rat” — An anti-Federalist Interpretation of American History,” created by a team of Evangelical Christians.
The Christian Amendment
From the beginning, the NRA was critical of the U.S. Constitution for its neutrality toward Christ, the King of nations. This echoed the call of many early anti-Federalist’s, who rejected the proposed Constitution for that very reason.
The National Reform Association convened in the middle of the Civil War. It declared that slavery was merely a symptom of America’s original sin of neglecting God and His law in the Constitution. They proposed the following Christian Amendment to formally acknowledge Christ as Lord of the nation:
“WE, THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES, [recognizing the being and attributes of Almighty God, the Divine Authority of the Holy Scriptures, the law of God as the paramount rule, and Jesus, the Messiah, the Savior and Lord of all,] in order to form a more perfect union?do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.?
In addition, as people come to Christ and the spiritual posture of America improves, additional amendments will be needed. These must require an oath of our civil officers to govern in accordance with the Word of God and declare the Bible to be the foundation for our legal system.
By contrast, most contemporary “Christian America” authors find little to criticize in the Constitution. Typically they stress patriotic devotion to the Constitution as it stands.
James Madison Wanted
a Secular Republic — he got it!
The NRA is especially critical of James Madison. Madison wanted to create a secular republic and he got what he wanted, according to the video.
As the story unfolds, Thomas Jefferson was upset by requirements that officials commit to government under God in Virginia. He called this “religious slavery.”
Madison and Jefferson were also properly upset with the establishment of the Anglican Church in Virginia. But, in their 1786 “Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom” Jefferson and Madison went beyond separation of church and state to separation of God and state. They set the stage with the declaration that, “our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry…”
According to the documentary, they next very subtly forbade the requirement that the civil magistrate be required to swear allegiance to God and the Bible. In the same long sentence that disestablished the Anglican Church, the Bill declared “that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.”
Because law is always an expression of somebody’s belief system or religion, the new enactment meant that the Christian footing was removed and the government of Virginia was now based –by default — on atheism.
Having made this initial break in Virginia, James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, carried the same principle into the U.S. Constitution of 1787, just over a year later. Article I, Section 3 reads: “No religious test shall ever be required for any office or public trust under these United States.”
This perspective challenges the conclusions of many of today’s so-called “American Christian history experts.” Most of them find a strong biblical influence in the U.S. Constitution, in spite of the above evidence to the contrary.