ELDER PATRIOT| “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;”…Declaration of Independence
With these words, penned by Thomas Jefferson, separation from the British monarchy was justified. Importantly, a concept of human freedoms was first instituted. More important, was the clearly articulated justification that because these were God-given rights of humanity no man could rule them away.
James Madison, widely recognized as the “Father of the Constitution” for his involvement in drafting the document as well as wielding his influence in its ratification, also recognized the importance of God if a government founded on the right of self-determination were to be just and enduring;
“The belief in a God All Powerful wise and good, is so essential to the moral order of the world and to the happiness of man, that arguments which enforce it cannot be drawn from too many sources nor adapted with too much solicitude to the different characters and capacities to be impressed with it.”
Madison reinforces why he believes strongly in the importance of reverence to God when he writes:
“Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe: And if a member of Civil Society, who enters into any subordinate Association, must always do it with a reservation of his duty to the general authority; much more must every man who becomes a member of any particular Civil Society, do it with a saving of his allegiance to the Universal Sovereign.”
He finishes this essay by suggesting a moral obligation of the majority:
“True it is, that no other rule exists, by which any question which may divide a Society, can be ultimately determined, but the will of the majority; but it is also true, that the majority may trespass on the rights of the minority.”
The Founders were deeply aware of the propensity for governments to devolve into despotism. Within our founding documents – the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Federalist Papers – they provided us with a roadmap to preserving our freedoms. Guaranteeing those freedoms in a system based on self-determination was not possible. They did the next best thing by guaranteeing our religious freedoms.
The Founders realized that only with a moral and just majority could the rights of the minority be protected. There is no clearer illustration of this than the costs that this nation paid to abolish slavery. Progressive revisionist history aside, white Christians abiding their calling by God, were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to deliver the black slave to freedom.
Today, our laws are inconsistent and over-reaching, and our freedoms are waning. People either lobby government selfishly for their enrichment or simply justify their dependence on government without regard for who is paying for it. Likewise, politicians unashamedly and unabashedly enrich themselves as the expense of those less powerful. Coincidentally, this is happening as the role of God in our lives is waning.
On further reflection, perhaps it’s not so coincidental.