Bill of Rights vital to our freedoms
by Donald Conkey
December 11, 2013 10:10 PM | 673 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This column is a story about three very courageous men seldom spoken of in the same vein as Thomas Jefferson, George Washington or James Madison; but these three forgotten men were of equal courage, equal intelligence, and equal faith in their God, Jefferson’s “Creator.”

They were George Mason, Edmund Randolph, both of Virginia, and Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, all three delegates to the Constitutional Convention in the summer of 1787.

I believe the Spirit of God rested upon these three men as much as it did on the remembered patriots.

Why would the Lord bless them so much, and give them so much courage to do what they did? Because the Founders, when they drafted the Constitution forgot to enumerate in the Constitution the freedoms the Colonists had fought for in the Revolutionary War, and it was these three men who refused to sign that document on Sept. 17, 1787.

And because these three men, refused to sign the Constitution, as initially drafted in 1787, we, America, have what is known as America’s Bill of Rights, rights Jefferson referred to as “unalienable Rights.”

Washington and Madison (Jefferson was in France) knew that without the support of Virginia and Massachusetts that document would never be ratified. So they compromised. Washington and Madison listened to these three men and called for suggestions to be added as amendments.

Madison was flooded with suggested amendments and reduced them down to 12 before Congress sent them out for ratification. Ten were ratified and became amendments to the Constitution on Dec. 15, 1791, 222 years ago this coming Sunday, a day America should be celebrating as much as it does July 4.

Yes, July 4, 1776, was the day America declared its independence from Great Britain but it was on Dec. 15, 1791, that America declared itself free, free to worship God as one chooses; free to speak one’s mind without being jailed; free to assemble to protest oppressive governments; free to petition one’s government without repercussions; free to publish opposing thoughts and opinions in a free press; free to carry arms for self-protection, and the protection of family against tyranny; free of unwarranted searches by tyrannical governments; free to be judged by one’s peers; and all the other freedoms that allowed America to become “the land of the free, and the home of the brave.”

Yes, it was Sept. 17, 1787, that America’s initial Constitution was signed by 39 men, the document that set up the framework to establish a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” as Lincoln declared in his famous Gettysburg address following America’s Civil War.

Few see a connection between these several events, but for me there is a strong connection. John 8:31-32 makes this connection: “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, if ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

They not only connect these events but for me they connect America’s Bill of Rights directly to Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence — which is, I believe, is strongly connected to the Lord’s Ten Commandments.

Christ’s words were specific: personal freedom depends on his disciples “continuing in His Word,” and this would be especially pertinent today as progressives have been successful in removing most references to God from the public square.

Today’s progressives won’t admit it, and do not want our children to know this, but Jefferson, in writing the Declaration, declared that the two cornerstones of America’s freedoms are: “the Laws of Nature,” and “the Laws of Nature’s God,” who his disciples believe is Jesus Christ. How much more of a connection between Christ and freedom does America need?

It was Jefferson’s “Creator” that gave Mason, Gerry and Randolph the courage to stand and say no to an incomplete Constitution and to add additional protections of people’s rights.

Is there a connection between God’s Ten Commandments and America’s Bill of Rights? I believe there is a strong connection. The Ten Commandments are a “Code of Conduct” that governs the relationship of man with his God, and man with all other mankind. America’s Bill of Rights is a “Code of Conduct” between “We the people of these United States” and our government and our government with “We the People.” Coincidence! I don’t think so.

Yes, America — America’s Bill of Rights was indeed a vital afterthought.

Donald Conkey is a retired agricultural economist in Woodstock.

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