Words matter - none more than these

Key to understanding America lies in its foundational documents

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“Don’t tell me that words don’t matter. ‘I have a dream.’ Just words? ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ Just words? ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself.’ Just words?”

– Barack Obama, in 2008, countering Hillary Clinton’s criticism of his campaign

Candidate Obama reminded us eloquently of the importance, power and meaning of words.

And few words are more important, powerful and meaningful than those of this country’s founders.

Some of our favorite phrases from those documents include:

From the Declaration of Independence:

• “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, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness...”

• “… with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

From the Constitution:

• “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity …”

And, of course, the First Amendment – which is perhaps the most important written passage in human history, as it contains the most urgent, basic and sweeping of human rights:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

As the man said, words do matter. And no words in secular society matter more than our founding documents and the body of law that has grown up around them.

This country was founded on the rule of law, not men. So words – the words of the Constitution and of our laws – matter. A country founded on words, and not on ethnicity or the force of a ruler, must respect and adhere to those words.

You cannot understand America otherwise.

Nor can the country endure without it.

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OJP
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OJP 08/06/14 - 12:51 am
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"secular society"

That is a very refreshing acknowledgement.

myfather15
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myfather15 08/06/14 - 05:36 am
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Yes, this "secular" society,

Yes, this "secular" society, where the majority of it's laws, including bankrupty; are coincidentally based upon Biblical Scripture!!

Hhhmmmm, funny how that happen that way!! Ya know, the Bible was around LONG before the United States of America. And it's funny how most of our laws coincide with it's words, but had absolutely NOTHING to do with the book!!

carcraft
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carcraft 08/06/14 - 05:52 am
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myfather, just a big liberal

myfather, just a big liberal coincidence. If you talk to a liberal "AMERICA'S FOUNDERS WERE DEISTS "! Actually only about 4 of them were and they were very bad at being deists. They really didn't acknowledge or embrace the true tenants of the deists. But to a liberal that suffices as America's founders. So it is all a coincidence!

Bodhisattva
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Bodhisattva 08/06/14 - 06:48 am
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Strange how it's not

Strange how it's not mentioned in our Consititution. Most of our laws have nothing to do with the Bible. Sounds like pseudo-historian David Barton and his fictional "history" of America. A lot of things were around before the US. Is that the rule for whether or not our government was based on something? Bankruptcy? Yeah, the lawyers who post little fish on their sites to get your business and tell you it's just fine and dandy, "it's in the Bible", even though the word is never mentioned, so they make loose ties to anything they can find so good "christians" don't feel bad about not paying their debts. Laws against murder or theft? Any civilized society would require these. Why would they have to come from the Bible? Why only 2 of the 10 commandments? Adultery might gets you divorced, and depending how you "bear false witness" it could be termed slander or libel, but people write slanderous junk they get from loony right wing websites all of the time on here and so far we haven't heard of mass arrests. The friezes on our Supreme Court Building do recognize Moses and Solomon as lawgivers, as well as Menes, Hammurabi, Lycurgus, Solon, Draco, Confucius, Augustus, Justinian, Muhammad, Charlemagne, John of England, Louis IX of France, Hugo Grotius, Sir William Blackstone, John Marshall, and Napoleon. It's obvious our founders looked to many sources in considering our laws, not to one religious sects religious text.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 08/06/14 - 07:30 am
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However They Got There, They're There

Well, however the words got there, they're there and they're some of the wisest canons ever written to establish a government for the people. It amazes me these ancestors of ours, of all free people actually, were able to establish this amazing country in that era where typewriters didn't even exist much less the internet. For me The Bill of Rights epitomizes their concerns for the freedom and security of the people.

historylover
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historylover 08/06/14 - 07:49 am
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Riverman

I agree. It is not how the words got there, it is the mere fact that the words are there.

Admittedly, a lot of our laws did seem to derive from the Ten Commandments. That however was the norm of western civilization as a whole at the time. We are "One nation under God." Please note that it does not say One Nation under Jesus. That is the point. Whether or not the Founders were Christian, Deists, Jewish or any other faith, they were careful in their choice of words.

That is why I have argued many times with people who insist that our county was founded on Christian beliefs. It simply in my opinion, was not.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 08/06/14 - 08:03 am
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Words matter

You can have anything you want if you are willing to give up the belief that you can’t have it.”
–Robert Anthony

“There is no man living that can not do more than he thinks he can.”

–Henry Ford

“Give me a stock clerk with a goal, and I will give you a man who will make history. Give me a man without a goal, and I will give you a stock clerk.”
–J.C. Penny

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

–Dr. Forrest C. Shaklee

Read more at http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/25-of-the-most-inspiring-quotes-ever-sp...

faithson
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faithson 08/06/14 - 08:04 am
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secure the Blessings of Liberty

Full Definition of LIBERTY
: the quality or state of being free:
a : the power to do as one pleases
b : freedom from physical restraint
c : freedom from arbitrary or despotic control
d : the positive enjoyment of various social, political, or economic rights and privileges
e : the power of choice

No where in that definition, one I am sure the founders were aware of, do I find where the religionists may IMPOSE their religious moral dictum's upon the general population. The last part of the definition is paramount, the power of choice. Any who's moral perspective would diminish this 'power' by imposing 'their' Christian morality upon those of a differing proclivity, do so, outside of the prerogatives of our founders.

justthefacts
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justthefacts 08/06/14 - 08:14 am
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The point

Seems the point of the op-ed is that we are a nation of laws, not men. Or, at least we were.

deestafford
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deestafford 08/06/14 - 08:30 am
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I know of nobody who says..

I know of nobody who says that the Founders relied solely on the Bible to create our country. However, they did recognize the power of God and Christ in their lives.

As all here know because they read and study history to one degree or another the Founders read, studied, and used numerous historical sources to bring about our Founding documents.

What makes them unique is their education level. They were perhaps the most educated group of American officials to ever gather in one place in our history. They studied history and governments and picked and chose the best of all of them. Some went back to pre-Roman times to the Ancient Greeks.

Because of the vast knowledge required to do what they did it is folly to read how some writers such as Howard Zinn, Bill Ayers, and others deride the country as illegitimate because none of the founders were slaves, Indians, or women. They want to give the impression that all of the Founders were nobles of some type.

The Founders were people who were some of the most successful people in the colonies; however, they did not start out that way. Nearly all of them started out at the bottom and worked their way up.

If you are going to build something, you want people who are successful to be the ones to do the building.

Bod, I would like for you to give some specific examples on where David Barton is wrong. He is one of the most knowledgeable historians in America and probably has more original source document in his collection than any private individual in the country.

RMSHEFF
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RMSHEFF 08/06/14 - 08:46 am
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Bod

Give us some of the "fictional "history" of America" you were referring to.

deestafford
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deestafford 08/06/14 - 08:55 am
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So many of our elected officials...

So many of our elected officials don't even know, and I bet over half have never read, what's in the Constitution. Nearly every time you challenge someone on the left as to the justification for their action they will tell you "it's the welfare clause". If they read Madison's explanation in the Federalist Papers as to the "welfare clause" they would see nothing could be further from the truth.

Remember when Nancy Pelosi was challenged as to what part of the Constitution authorized Obamacare and she responded, "You've got to be kidding me." That brain dead woman could no more give a class on the Constitution than I could on Latin grammar.

The left looks at the Constitution as an impediment. The rule of law does not allow them be compassion with other people's money as they want to be. The presidents who disliked the restraints of the Constitution the most are Wilson, FDR, LBJ, and Obama.

I don't think the first three disliked or hated America. They merely want to change it. On the other hand, Obama dislikes and in some instances hates America---its Founding, helping free nations and nearly everything it has done. That was the genesis for his "apology tour" just after being sworn in.

Just look at who his "founding fathers" were and one understands his disdain for America:
Frank Marshall Davis-- Communist, rumored pedophile, Obama's first mentor provided by Obama's leftist grandfather.

Bill Ayers-- friend of Obama for over 20 years, domestic terrorist, founder of radical organizations who bombed the pentagon, and now current "respected" leftist educator and lecturer.

Edward Said...Columbia professor, Palestinian scholar and activist, vehement anti-American, and Obama mentor.

Robert Mangabeira Unger--Obama's teacher at Harvard and friend who readily admitted being a leftist and revolutionist who believed in world revolution and taking over all private property, government take over of financial institutions and redistributing income.

Jeremiah Wright...Obama's radical pastor for over 20 years, believed everything the white man got and especially the Americans was stolen from people of color and America deserved 9/11.

So, one sees how Obama became the socialist/statist anti-American he is because he has been taught by associates who all had one thing in common---a hatred for America. There is no way he could have become anything different from what he is. It began with his hating-America mother and continues until today with leftist Valerie Jarrett his most trusted adviser.

deestafford
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deestafford 08/06/14 - 08:58 am
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If one wants to learn more about...

If one wants to learn more about Early American History from someone whom I think is one of the top scholars, David Barton, go to www.wallbuilders.com for a great source. You know it's got to be good because Bod is against it :).

TrulyWorried
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TrulyWorried 08/06/14 - 09:34 am
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Obama - 2008

I wonder if President Obama believed what he said????

RMSHEFF
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RMSHEFF 08/06/14 - 09:38 am
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I have been using this site

I have been using this site for many years. David has the largest private collection of letters and personal correspondence between many of our founders and others involved in the establishment of America. If you take time to read all of these writings you will have no doubt of the Christian influence on this country. I would challenge BOD to read some of these personal letters......

jomojo
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jomojo 08/06/14 - 10:06 am
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Frank Marshall Davis

deestafford, can you please quote some references about Mr Davis' Communism? Do you mean he was formally charged with some type of crime relating to a foreign political party? I have found no such information. Similarly is there some proven evidence that compels you to spread a rumor about pedophilia?

deestafford
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deestafford 08/06/14 - 10:23 am
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jomojo, Somewhere in my stuff I have....

jomojo, Somewhere in my stuff I have more information on him to include his Communist membership card number. Unfortunately, I don't have time to look it up as I have to take my wife for some x-rays. When I get back later today I'll post additional info on FMD.

I think it's good that you ask because he was Obama's source of history from the time he was ten until he basically left for the mainland school. He was taken to FMD by his grandfather who was also a friend of Davis and fellow leftist traveler.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 08/06/14 - 10:32 am
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Let's see the founders were

Let's see the founders were all from Japan and Iran so Buddhism and Islam was their main ideological influence. Uh no-try Roman Catholicism and the Anglican Church of England. What were these Deist rejecting Allah and Islam-think not. It's ridiculous to think the founders weren't influence by JudeoChristian ideology, and it is clear to see why they were resistant to government influence on religion as with the Church of England. It is wester philosophy and values it is clear for anyone to see which christianity has been the driving force since before Constantine.

GiantsAllDay
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GiantsAllDay 08/06/14 - 10:42 am
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Can someone tell me what

Can someone tell me what "more perfect" means? If something is already perfect, how can you make it more perfect? Maybe these guys weren't as smart as we think they were?

deestafford
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deestafford 08/06/14 - 11:09 am
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jomojo, FMD's Communist Card number was 47544...

jomojo, FMD's Communist Card number was 47544 and the FBI had a 600 page file on him. More information can be found by Goggling "Frank Marshall Davis' Communist Card Number'' and you'll find numerous sources. Look at the one by The American Spectator.

Darby
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Darby 08/06/14 - 11:52 am
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“Don’t tell me that words don’t matter.

‘I have a dream.’ Just words? ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ Just words? ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself.’ Just words?”

.
Well, they weren't intended to be "just words" but since BHO took control, yes, you can certainly make that argument.

There should be yellow crime scene tape wrapped around the Oval Office.

myfather15
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myfather15 08/06/14 - 11:57 am
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The king of "copy and paste" (Proven time and time again)

Has spoken!!

"but people write slanderous junk they get from loony right wing websites all of the time on here and so far we haven't heard of mass arrests."

Really Bod??? Obviously, you have a problem with many things; but being hypocritical is NOT one of the things you have a problem with!!

myfather15
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myfather15 08/06/14 - 12:02 pm
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Bod

Correct, the word bankruptcy isn't in there; but this is!!

"At the end of every seven years thou shalt make a release.

2And this is the manner of the release: Every creditor that lendeth ought unto his neighbour shall release it; he shall not exact it of his neighbour, or of his brother; because it is called the LORD'S release."

Wow; I wonder why are large part of our bankruptcy laws, release a person of debt after seven years??

myfather15
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myfather15 08/06/14 - 12:19 pm
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faithson

For petes sake!! Nobody is trying to "IMPOSE" anything upon you!! This is the part of the left wing LIES, that irritates me!! Recognizing that the majority of the founder's were Christian and MANY of our laws are based upon Judeo-Christian values; is NOT imposing a darn thing upon you!! The founders knew that people should be able to worship ANY God they want, and any WAY they want!!

Just as myself for example; I'm a Christian, but I don't believe in MANY traidtional Christian beliefs. I don't believe in pre-tribulation rapture, I don't believe Eve eat an apple, I don't believe Adam and Eve were the first humans created, I don't believe the earth is only 6000 years old and many more disagreements with traditional Christians. But you know what?? It's doesn't "offend" me if I look up and see a billboard about Rapture!! It's doesn't offend me if I listen to my mayor talk about rapture!! As long as he doesn't try to force me to believe as HE DOES, I don't care what he believes. It's a HUGE liberal lie to say that ANY public official mentioning religion is endorsing or establishing!! This crap is backed up by liberal judges, with the same agenda!!

And that was the purpose of the religion clause, was to protect EVERYONE, including athiests from being FORCED to obey or pledge allegiance to a particular religion or any brand or sector of ANY religion!! Nobody can FORCE me to believe in a rapture; and I shouldn't be punished for not believing it, period. And nobody should be punished for being atheist either, that's between them and God; and them ONLY!!

But to say the mere MENTION of Christ by a public figure or official is "establishing" or "respecting" a religion is RIDICULOUS!! Nobody is imposing ANY religion in this Country; except people like YOU who are imposing secularism on EVERYONE!!

Darby
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Darby 08/06/14 - 12:15 pm
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Words matter only when

they are spoken, written and interpreted in honor and with sincerity.

When words are thrown out casually, or manipulated for personal gain, then they cease to have real meaning.

For example, a politician who campaigns on the virtue of personal honesty and limited government then, when elected demonstrates a seriously flawed character and seeks to grow government by leaps and bounds.

Wiping his feet on the Constitution in the process.

corgimom
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corgimom 08/06/14 - 12:33 pm
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American law was derived from

American law was derived from the Magna Carta and English common law, not the Bible.

Before the Magna Carta in 1215, a king could do anything and everything that he wanted to do, he had unlimited power.

Like in the Bible.

Remember Herod, ordering the first-born sons of every Jewish family to be killed to kill the baby Jesus?

corgimom
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corgimom 08/06/14 - 12:42 pm
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But myfather, do you know of

But myfather, do you know of any debtor that releases creditors after 7 years? I don't.

It is inaccurate to say that, because in America, once a person declares bankruptcy, they cannot declare it again for 7 years. And the creditor doesn't release the debtor, the Bankruptcy court issues a court order. And some creditors do get money, depending on what assets are available.

That's where the 7 years comes in, as in how long somebody must wait to file it again.

Because prior to that, if people were in debt, they could easily never got it paid off, they went to debtor's prison, and the wife(s) and children were made slaves of the debtor or they were indebted to pay it.

And you should also know, myfather, that some debts cannot be discharged in bankruptcy in America- contrary to what the Bible says. And sometimes, bankruptcies are not allowed at all.

And when America was founded, it was decided that there would be no debtor's prison, and that's when the bankruptcy laws were made.

I suspect the 7 year period was a compromise between 5 years and 10 years and has nothing to do with that Bible verse.

corgimom
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corgimom 08/06/14 - 12:46 pm
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No, myfather, that

No, myfather, that "Judeo-Christian values" thing wasn't ever said until 1945. The Founding Fathers were Deists, not Christians.

That is historical fact, and nobody is lying when they tell you that.

That's why the Constitution and Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence never mentions Jesus.

And the person that said it was incorrect, and it's one of those myths that just will not die.

corgimom
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corgimom 08/06/14 - 01:02 pm
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And myfather, you were taught

And myfather, you were taught that in public school, and I was too, and so were millions of Americans.

And it was a lie, just like the Pilgrims came to America for religious freedom.

And how the Civil War was fought over slavery.

And that we had a Manifest Destiny, and that's why it was ok to slaughter Indians.

I urge you to take a college American history course, not from a fundamentalist college, but from a university like ASU.

It's a very thought-provoking experience.

Texas had the strictest textbook laws in the country, back when all of us were in school (and probably still do), and so all the publishers wrote their books to Texas standards, because it used to be that Texas was a major customer of theirs, and they didn't want to print a special Texas edition of history books. That's where the myths came from. And back when we were kids, history was very sanitized, and children were shielded from everything unpleasant.

I was fortunate, I went to a progressive high school that didn't use too many of those textbooks but used a lot of supplemental teaching aids instead. They wanted us well-prepared for college, and we were.

Fortunately, the "rah-rah" days are over, and children are now taught the idea that America has done many wonderful things, but has also made mistakes but has recognized them and overcame them.

You ask any Southerner about why the Civil War was fought, and they will tell you, it wasn't over slavery, it was about States' Rights. Which is still being fought over today.

myfather15
55725
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myfather15 08/06/14 - 01:44 pm
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Corgimom

"I urge you to take a college American history course, not from a fundamentalist college, but from a university like ASU."

Why do you assume that people haven't taken classes, simply because they disagree with you? Audacity, maybe?

The fact is I HAVE taken Constitutional Courses; and I've read countless books on our founding; and I've also read the Federalist Papers.

And why from a University? Oooooh, I'm sure those professor's are completely incapable of any bias, one way or another, right? Just like William Ayers and Ward Churchhill, right?

You spout off as if YOU, were one of the founders and you only know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!! But the REAL TRUTH IS, you know no more than anyone else on here, OR more than the thousands of history professors who also disagree with you!! But, just as always; you will discredit and demean anyone who believes different than you!!

We were lied to our whole lives about everything, by everyone; that is unless you learned from a left wing ideologue, right?? It's the same boring hypocrisy every single time from the left. If you don't believe in global warming, you're uneducated. If you don't believe in abortion, you're uneducated and against women. If you don't beleive in THEIR version of the founding of this Country, you're a uneducated simpleton, unable to understand the complex issues!!

Riiiight!!

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