No. 580



The state of Pennsylvania was given its name, meaning "Penn's Woods," by Charles II of England in honor of Admiral William Penn, when the colony was granted to his son William Penn the Quaker. It is popularly known as the Keystone State, probably because of its central position on the Atlantic seaboard. The reason I share this is because of something William Penn said that actually forms the bedrock of American values that have sustained us up to the present time. He said, "Those people who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants."
Our forefathers must have been listening and in complete agreement, because the Preamble of all 50 states contain a reference to Almighty God, a Supreme Being or other similar reference. When you think about the fact that the drafters and framers of every state constitution in our nation thought it was important to include God, you can see where we have been and compare that to where we are today. This reminds me of something President John F. Kennedy once said, "The great danger is not that the present generation will destroy our system, the great danger is that we won't transmit it."
We must never lose sight of the fact that our nation has a spiritual heritage and a deep reliance on Almighty God. That is one of the reasons I share things of this nature in this column from time to time. Just this morning as I was watching an early morning program on a Little Rock television station, a reporter was covering a "See You At the Pole" prayer meeting at a nearby high school. It was inspiring to hear some of these young people who were there before daylight, and had come to pray for our nation, our leaders, teachers and others in positions of authority and leadership.
Since this column runs in newspapers from coast to coast, I felt it may be of interest for you to read portions of some of the Preambles of various State Constitutions. The Alabama 1901 Preamble says, "We the people of the state of Alabama, invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish the following Constitution..." The Hawaii 1959 Preamble says, "We, the people of Hawaii, Grateful for Divine Guidance, establish this constitution..." The Connecticut Preamble says, "The people of Connecticut acknowledging with gratitude the good Providence of God in permitting them to enjoy..."
The Kansas 1859 Preamble says, "We, the people of Kansas, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious privileges, establish this constitution..." The Texas 1845 Preamble says, "We the people of the Republic of Texas, acknowledging with gratitude the grace and beneficence of God..." And lastly the great state of Wyoming 1890 Preamble says, "We, the people of the state of Wyoming, grateful to God for our civil, political and religious liberties...establish this Constitution..."
Sometime back a thoughtful reader sent me a list that contained portions of all 50 State Constitution Preambles, and a reference to God or a Divine Being was found in each one. It should be noted that at no time is anyone told that they MUST worship God. That's what freedom is all about. However, it must also be pointed out that our forefathers believed it was important enough to acknowledge God and the role He played in their personal and collective lives.
One cannot read all of these, as I have just done, and not be faced with the prospect that maybe the ACLU and some liberal federal judges are wrong! If you found this to be "Food for Thought," why not make copies and send them to as many people as you think will be enlightened, as I hope you were. May we never forget the words of William Penn, "Those people who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants."
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, Ark. 72034. To support literacy, buy his book, "Learning, Earning & Giving Back.")