HB1194 requires schools to explain why we are "One Nation, Under God" -hearing date set for Tuesday, March 4, 2003 at 6:00 PM

from Monte Benham


Most citizens are totally unaware of the powerful statements made in the Declaration of Independence and our state constitutions. Our schools teach the "mechanics" of government but not the "foundation" of government. They teach "human rights," but they do not teach that "our rights are free gifts from God and the purpose of government is to protect individual rights" as declared in the Declaration of Independence and the state constitutions.

The Washington State Constitution states:

"We the people of the state of Washington, grateful to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for our Liberties, do ordain this constitution. All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just power from consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights."

The basic idea stated in the Declaration of Independence, that "our rights are free gifts from God," transformed the intellectual and political history of the world. However, we've lost sight of this American dream. For example, the 9th Circuit Court ruled that we can't say "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. If our schools had been teaching the foundation of government, we the people would have said: "Judge, The Declaration of Independence and our state Constitutions make it clear our rights are free gifts from God."

The ruling from the 9th Circuit Court is our wake-up call! We the people must stand up and take action so that schools will teach the relationship of the Declaration of Independence to our federal and state constitutions.

Here is another wake-up call. There are no social studies questions on the state's standardized tests (WASL), and Governor Locke wants to keep it that way. If the Governor gets his way, our children will get even less instruction on civics, government, and history. HB1194 will require tests on the Declaration of Independence and the constitutions (state and federal).

A current Washington law (RCW 28A.230.170) requires the "study" of the state and federal constitutions. A loop-hole exists in this law because the courts have ruled "any study constitutes study, so they leave it to the teacher to do the right thing." HB1194 closes this loop-hole by defining the word "study."

Unfortunately, most teachers have never seen a copy of the Washington State Constitution, so how can they study the document with our children? As a result, most elected officials swear an oath to support a document they have never seen!

HB1194 defines "study" to include:

1. Illustrating how the Declaration of Independence provided the outline for the federal and state constitutions.

2. Teaching the heritage and meaning of: "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. That to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

3. Teaching the heritage and meaning of the religious freedom statement of Article I, Section 11 of the Washington State Constitution.

4. Encouraging students to memorize the Preamble of the United States Constitution along with the Preamble and Article I, Section 1 of the Washington State Constitution.

5. Requiring students to read George Washington's first inaugural address and his farewell address; Abraham Lincoln's first inaugural address, and Gettysburg address for their advice in supporting and defending the United States Constitution.

6. Testing on the meanings of the constitutions and the meanings of such terms as: tyrant, despotism, providence, consanguinity, rectitude, endowed, unalienable, created equal, posterity, ordain, blessings, licentiousness, and law of nature as defined in the 1828 edition of Webster's Dictionary;

7. Displaying the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, Preamble to the United States Constitution, and Preamble and first twelve section of the Washington State Constitution.

8. Illustrating the relationship of the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States to the Declaration of Independence and the Washington State Constitution.

By teaching the substance and meaning of our founding documents, students will learn more about religious freedom. The Washington State Constitution states:

"Absolute freedom of conscience in all maters of religious sentiment, belief and worship, shall be guaranteed to every individual and no one shall be molested or disturbed in person or property on the account of religion;"

Rep Jerome Delvin and the other seventeen sponsors need your help to get the legislature to pass HB1194. Please call the legislative hot line (800 562-6000) and ask Governor Locke and your legislators to approve the "Constitution Bill" HB1194.

Washington can be the first state to rekindle the American dream by teaching our children why we are one nation, under God. This can be done without a tax increase.

The hearing date for HB1194 is
Tuesday, March 4, 2003
at 6:00 PM
John L O'Brien Bldg (Hearing Room A)

Please call 800 562-6000 and ask Governor Locke and your legislators to support HB1194 the Constitution Bill.

A full hearing room will send a message to the education committee that the people want HB1194 passed. So please plan to attend. It will make a great date night with your wife. This is an excellent opportunity to introduce your children to the legislative process.


Kennewick's Monte Benham , a retired engineer, originated ideas for promoting $30 dollar license tabs (I-695), limiting property tax increases to 1% per year (I-747), and HB1194.

Make checks payable to:

Friends of the Constitution
%Monte Benham
5312 W Tucannon Ave
Kennewick, WA 99336

509 783-3829


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