The Constitution is a statement of intrinsic value and recognition of the worth of its people, its resources, its industriousness, and its freedom. It is a canon of democratic ideals meant to direct us in the assurances it holds self-evident that: all men (people) are created equal, endowed by the Creator (God) with certain unalienable rights (irremovable) among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The stewardship of God’s resources, His value, is what the Constitution is about.
First and foremost, our democracy is a rendering of the divine economy of God: value come from heaven to earth to be managed in a union between God and man, ergo democracy. This revelation of democracy expresses a value central to the fabric of the Republic; is the essence of what makes America the envy of the world; and makes her worth defending.
To be American is to see the value ensconced on the parchment not as words penned, infallibly so, by mere men, but minds and hands guided by God to produce a Declaration of God’s design of heaven on earth. To miss the revelation of the Hand of God guiding the penmanship of man is to miss the value for which we stand: One Nation Under God with Liberty and Justice for All.
Of course, in the history of the ever-expanding landscape of democracy the parsing of value into experiential increments of identities, set against the backdrop of American democracy has reduced its founding determinations to hate speech and fear mongering even by the most well-intentioned reasoning minds. As such, what God has commissioned is oftentimes sorely misunderstood and its value refuted as unattainable by one group or the other.
This pursuit is not without challenges: but when has pursuing what God has for man been without challenges? Also, when has that pursuit not been framed by grace? The beauty of our democracy and the founding documents that articulate the glory of its value are the checks and balances that soberly allow its citizenry the grace to pursue that value and live a life empowered by the unalienable rights ensuring life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
In the pursuit of happiness, we cannot lose sight of the grace it takes to both see and to rightly apportion value. Such is the divine economy from which our democracy is derived. Without an understanding of this grace, we are less likely to defend and more than likely to be offended by our democracy. What happens in the ever evolving human assessment of value and its evaluation is the inherent misstep of offense that allows for a lessening of equal image leading to the loss of value: value of self and value of the opportunities held in our democracy.
All categorical statements of individual or collective value whose hierarchical pleas of mattering most obfuscates the truth declared in the founding of our nation and is not about hate or bias or bigotry or the plethora of phobias adrift in the world. In truth it is about displaced value.
This value is not something obtained through the works of the law derived from its founding determination. You are bewitched and bedeviled to think of such. The words express a value that can only be discerned with faith in its truth. Our founding forefathers believed God and what they established is credited to them as righteousness by God. It is through these words they foresaw that God would justify everyone having heard with faith the words that all men (people) are created equal; secure all nations and their people would be blessed.
To believe in the Constitution and American Democracy is to live by faith in the value upheld therein. It is a covenant promise ratified by God that cannot be annulled or nothing added to it. Once this value is discerned through faith, we can recognize we are no longer slaves, but sons and heirs to the promise held within our Democracy.
It is not about race or gender. It is about faith in the value of the declaration of our inheritance. “Oh say can you see” the value of the moment of the birth of the freedom of value in all people? We are all created with equal value, and once the realization of value is revealed, then value can be transferred, and creativity, the bedrock of democracy, released. God created all humanity with equal value: it is a self-evident truth that changed the world. This is what it means to believe in the value of America. Tearing down of the high places to erect others is not the resolution. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever and this democracy and the value it holds true will remain. We must all have faith in what God has ordained, etched with pen and parchment for posterity’s sake, so the country can heal and all that we love, and value can remain.
Dr. Eddie L. Kornegay, Jr. is a Distinguished Graduate of Chicago Theological Seminary, the first to earn the Doctor of Philosophy in the history of that institution; and the author of The Declaration: A Revelation Primer for Transforming Prison Ministry, 2ed. He resides in Chicago, IL, and works in faith-based community transformation, reentry, workforce advocacy, and justice reform.