Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well-wisher to his posterity swear by the blood of the Revolution never to violate in the least particular the laws of the country and never tolerate their violation by others. As the patriots of ’76 did to support the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and laws let every American pledge his life, his property and his sacred honor. Let every man remember that to violate the law is to trample on the blood of his father and to tear down the charter of his own and his children’s liberty. Let reverence for the law be breathed by every American mother to the lisping babe that prattles on her lap. Let it be taught in the schools and the seminaries and the colleges. Let it be written in the primers, spelling books and in the almanacs. Let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in the legislative halls and enforced in the Courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation. And let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay of all sexes and tongues and colors and conditions sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.
— Lincoln (Quoted in a great speech by Justice Thomas where he squares his “originalism” with the original constitution’s institution of slavery. “In Lincoln’s day, no less than in the Founding era, secession meant the establishment of a regime on this continent, devoted to the perpetuation of slavery, rather than merely one which suffered its existence.”)
I think Lincoln’s words are true, but I also think lawmakers should appreciate the burden this “religion” places on citizens before they pass even more laws.
(h/t volokh… which has been extremely excellent recently)