I don’t ever remember when American culture was more divided. It seems that when topics such as government, public spending, regulations, social welfare, individual rights, and race or gender are discussed, there are two polarizing sides each claiming to be right. Even more disconcerting is the fact that each side claims that the other side is endangering our freedom and liberty. The two sides even claim that they are trying their best to “defend the US Constitution”.
There are the “conservatives” who argue that the Constitution doesn’t change and must be interpreted by the original meaning of the writers of the document. Then, there are the “progressives” who contend that the Constitution is a “living document” that must be interpreted in light of modern day circumstances and a more knowledgeable populace.
So the two sides face off. One opposes all gun control efforts as threatening the 2nd Amendment that they say is foundational to our freedom and liberty. The other side is marching in the streets demanding “reasonable” gun control laws so that our freedom and liberty can be protected. How can one document be used to support two opposing arguments related to not only this debate but every other issue in life? The reality is both sides are making their arguments from the wrong starting point. They are starting with the Constitution being the foundation stone for freedom and liberty.
The reality is that the US Constitution is only the product that was drafted and ratified because of the Founders’ belief in two major foundation stones that guarantee individual and corporate liberty. Just going back to the Constitution does not allow us to know what is right when it comes to the protection of one’s liberty.
If we are ever going to understand the truth that should guide us in all areas of our life, we must go back to the very foundation of the country and the Constitution. Without doing that, the battle will simply increase and society will be completely polarized. It is then when the winner will simply be the most powerful and true liberty will disappear. What was at the foundation of the country and resulted in the ratification of the US Constitution? To find this out we need to look at some of the writings of the very people who came to the New World.
In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwritten…having undertaken, for the glorie of God, and advancement of the Christian faith… a voyage to plant the first colony. Mayflower Compact 1620
Some of the very first settlers in the New World were driven by a desire to glorify God and advance the Christian faith. If we proceed to when the country’s leaders were formulating the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, we would find the foundation stones necessary for true liberty and freedom.
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. George Washington
Statesmen…may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand. John Adams
The only foundation for…a republic is to be laid in Religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments. Benjamin Rush
Here we find two foundation stones upon which the Founders believed all true liberty must stand — Religion and Morality. Some say that it would be wrong to say that the Founders of the country were all Christians and, therefore, they weren’t necessarily referring to Christianity. However, we need only go on and read further what these men believed. They didn’t want to be misinterpreted or misunderstood. They were very clear on what they believed had to be at the foundation of a nation that would guarantee freedom and liberty (emphasis mine),
…no truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian Religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people. Noah Webster
The only foundation for…a republic is to be laid in Religion…Christianity is the only true and perfect religion; and that in proportion as mankind adopt its principles and obey its precepts they will be wise and happy. Benjamin Rush
Without morals, a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion…are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments. Charles Carroll
…the moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws…All the mysteries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression,salvery, and war, proceed from the despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible. Noah Webster.
Daniel Webster seemed to put all of these thoughts into a succinct understanding of the foundation for freedom and liberty when he wrote,
To preserve the government we must also preserve morals. Morality rests on religion; if you destroy the foundation, the superstructure must fall. When the public mind becomes vitiated and corrupt, laws are a nullity and constitutions are waste paper.
The reality is that there must be morality in order to have liberty. However, morality must be based on a standard. The only right standard for morality that will guarantee liberty is religion. It cannot be any religion because we have clearly seen that there is no liberty in many countries who were or are run on the teachings of false religions. The only “religion” that sets an absolute standard for morality is Christianity. The standard for morality found in Christianity is given to man in God’s Word — the Bible. Here is what this would look like in a model.
Unfortunately, these two cornerstones of liberty have been purged from our educational institutions today, from preschool through graduate school. Of course, this had to happen when Americans said that education must be secular and there had to be separation of church and state at all levels of public life, especially schooling. In last week’s blog, I showed how secular education may not directly attack God and/or the Bible. Instead, secular education simply says it is removing any “religious” bias or reasoning from learning. That is because secularists believe that religious/spiritual things are personal and subjective. There is no place for them in the public arena that is concerned only with “neutral” facts and knowledge.
So, we are left with fighting for what each side believes to be key to us sustaining our liberty by trying to justify their position on their interpretation of the Constitution. Neither side can win the debate because the only true interpretation of this magnificent document can be found when looking at it through the lens of a biblical worldview. We must give our children and youth a biblical worldview education — our liberty is hanging in the balance! What are your thoughts?