Abraham Lincoln admonished, Let [the Constitution] be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges, let it be written in primers, in spelling books and in almanacs, let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation.
We are pleased to report that the Constitution has probably been the subject of more discussions and seminars during this past month of September than during any time since the Bicentennial. Of course, Constitution Week was September 17-23. A spirit of learning about and returning to the success formula of the Founders seems to be permeating the hearts of many wonderful Americans and NCCS is honored to be a part of it.
NCCS Responds to Requests Nationwide
NCCS was thrilled to be apart of Constitution Week celebrations in several parts of the nation. Two of these places were Lexington, Kentucky and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Our hosts in Lexington, Joe and Kathy Alexander, arranged for the beautiful University of Kentucky campus for our seminar and were responsible for a gathering of many people from several locations. Joe also had taken the initiative to ask Lexington Mayor Pam Miller to officially proclaim September 17-23 as Constitution Week. The Founders' story was received with great enthusiasm. I was asked to speak the next day, Constitution Day, to a church congregation and afterwards spoke to a group of young people. The conversation went to the subject of rights and freedom and the necessity to be righteous and moral, when one young man exclaimed, Ya don't have to be good to be free! It provided a great premise for discussion as we spent nearly 30 minutes talking about why a free people must be a virtuous and religious people.
Why We Must Be Good to Be Free
John Adams said, Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. In a day when talk of rights and freedoms is everywhere, Americans somehow have the idea we can be free without necessarily being good.
In teaching young people, I like to ask and discuss three questions. First, I ask, Do you know you don't have the right to do wrong? Someone usually then exclaims, Of course I do--this is a free country, isn't it? I reply by defining a right as a legally protected privilege to do something and then ask, Are you legally protected in doing wrong? They say, Well, no. Then I reply, Then you don't have a right to do wrong, even though you may do wrong because you have your agency.
The second question I like to ask is: How do you know when you're mature? One boy answered the day he first shaved! Then I give them John Locke's explanation. Locke said when a person can, by his own will, limit his actions by the law he is expected to live by, then he can say he is mature. Until then, Locke said, he must be guided by parents and teachers. I have found this a valuable concept for young people to know as they struggle with self-mastery.
The third question I enjoy discussing with youth is: Does evil ever confine itself? Then by giving a few examples we all concluded that it is the nature of evil to spread and always affect other people. It always does unless it is contained by force of law.
With these three concepts firmly in mind, it is relatively easy to agree with John Adams that our Constitution, which was established to protect our rights and freedoms, will not work in an environment of evil. If people were guaranteed the right to do evil, their actions will be destructive to the whole society.
It is interesting to note that these three questions just discussed form some of the most basic reasons why religion must be the foundation of a free people. It is the role of religion and the clergy to fuel the flame of freedom with these concepts so people can successfully govern themselves.
Teaching the Constitution in Philadelphia!
A dream came true for me on the last day of Constitution Week, September 23rd, as we found ourselves teaching the Constitution near the place where it all began--Philadelphia. Our wonderful hosts, Catherine and Joe Boneventura, who live in a northern suburb (not far from where Washington crossed the Delaware to take Trenton) did a masterful job in gathering many people into the beautiful Christian Life Center to hear the Founders' story.
Catherine, who just months ago was nearly bed-ridden, has experienced a miracle in her life and is expressing thanks by spreading the message of liberty everywhere she goes.
There are a number of liberty-loving people in and around Philadelphia. It is thrilling to see the city and the National Park Service, using all the grandeur of multi-media, instilling into the hearts of the visitors what took place on historic Independence Square two centuries ago.
Begin Your Christmas Shopping at NCCS!
Enclosed is our 1995 NCCS Shopper's Catalogue for all freedom-loving Americans. Books, tapes, videos, computer disks, art prints, stationery, etc., are gifts that never get old. Your children and grandchildren will thank you for helping them get excited about America!
Earl Taylor, Jr.