Phill Kline
Tomorrow is Constitution Day
By Phill Kline
September 17, 2009

Tomorrow is Constitution Day. On Thursday, June 27, 1787, the men gathered in Philadelphia doubted they could give birth to any lasting document, much less a Constitution that would serve as the foundation for the world's longest lasting representative republic.

For 11 years after the Revolutionary War America operated as 13 separate nations connected by an loose allegiance. Each state had its own foreign affairs, currency, exchange rates and identity. The United States, although born on July 4, 1776, has largely been shaped as a nation by the work and vision of the convention of 1787.

Recognizing the weakness of the affiliation, our nation's leaders gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 in an effort to forge a nation. Five weeks of acrimonious debate with no progress left the delegates frustrated and doubting success. And then Benjamin Franklin, who to that moment had not spoken, rose from his seat and the hall became silent. According to delegate Jonathan Dayton, here is what Franklin said:

    "The small progress we have made after four or five weeks (in) continual reasonings with each other — our different sentiments on almost every question, producing as much support as opposition — I think is melancholy proof of the imperfection of Human Understanding. We indeed seem to feel our own wont of political wisdom, since we have been running in search of it. We have gone back to ancient history for models of government, and examined the different forms of Republics which have been formed with the seed of their own dissolution now no longer exist. And we have viewed Modern States all around Europe, but find none of their Constitutions suitable to our circumstances.

    In this situation of this Assembly groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, how has it happened, Sir, that he have not thought once of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for the Divine Protection. Our prayers sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered.

    To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future.... And have we not forgotten that powerful friend? or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance.

    I have lived, Sir, a long time and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth — that God governs the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? I firmly believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel.

    I therefore beg leave to move — that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessing on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business...."

Our Constitution was approved by the convention and signed on September 17, 1787 and sent to the states to be ratified. Rhode Island became the final state to ratify the Constitution on May 29, 1790. Since that time, the US Constitution has shed liberty and hope around the globe.

Tomorrow, (Thursday) on Constitution day, in Pensacola, Florida, a high school principle and his athletic director face criminal charges for praying. The school was targeted by an ACLU special projects effort to target specific areas of the country for lawsuits designed to remove Christianity from the public square. The ACLU reserved $100 million to fund their litigation efforts.

They focused on Pace High School in Pensacola. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit were two students who claimed that several teachers promoted their Christianity in school. Rather than fight the suit, the District consented to a broad injunction prohibiting prayer at all school sponsored events.

In January of this year, before the order went into effect, a dinner was held at the school to honor contributors to the school's new field house. At the dinner, Principle Frank Lay asked Athletic Director Robert Freeman to bless the meal. No students were present.

The ACLU promptly filed a motion in court for both men to be held in criminal contempt. They face fines of $5,000 each and six months in jail. Further, they stand to their pensions which combined represent 70 years of service to public education.

Their trial begins on the day we set aside to honor our Constitution.

Prayer, again, is called for.


(Both men are represented by The Liberty Council which can be found at

© Phill Kline


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Phill Kline

Phill Kline is the former Attorney General of Kansas who is, to date, the only Attorney General / prosecutor ever to obtain abortion records and formally charge both George Tiller and Planned Parenthood... (more)

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