America was a Christian Nation: More Empirical Proof – Part II March 2, 2007Posted by Daniel Downs in Chrisitanity, Constitution, freedom, human rights, law, politics, religion, United States.
Historical statements representing views of our various founders and their generation verifies the religious nature of America. Beginning where I left off yesterday, the founders’ view on human depravity was based on the legal and theological concepts of moral or natural law. The natural and legal rights of Americans originated from that innate law as created by God. Thomas Jefferson also held this view.
In his book called “On the State of Virginia” Thomas Jefferson warned America concerning prolonging the end of slavery. He foresaw the day win the North and South would go to war over slavery. As all other Americans, Jefferson viewed all war as God’s judgment. In that context, he also identified the source of our constitutionally guaranteed rights, when he wrote:
”A free people claim their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate…. God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a Gift of God?” His answer was no, freedom will not continue.”
Okay, the founders and their generation believed God created humans with an innate moral nature. Because he did, they believed our human rights are gifts of God, and we should live according the God’s moral law, natural and biblical. However, the Constitution makes no mention of God or moral law; therefore, it is secular and godless. All of the above is meaningless. Right?
In his opinion on the case of McGowan v. Maryland (1961), Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas wrote:
“The institutions of our society are founded on the belief that there is an authority higher than the authority of the State; that there is a moral law which the State is powerless to alter; that the individual possess rights, conferred by the Creator which government must respect. The Declaration Of Independence stated the now familiar theme: ‘We hold these Truths to be self evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.’ And the body of the Constitution as well as the Bill of Rights enshrined these principles.”
What Americans have forgotten is the how our government was structured. Donald Lutz, in “The Origins of American Constitutionalism”, traces the historical development of our particular form constitutional government. One of the unchanging elements was the compact. From the Mayflower Compact to our national compact, the pattern of development began with a covenant. As colonies grew laws were passed and bills of right written. Sometimes before and sometimes after, proto-constitutions were created and continued to develop from then on. Once regional issues developed, the New England colonies developed principles of confederation. Of course, the structure and numerous parts of our current national Constitution were derived from the previous one, the Articles of Confederation. Consistent throughout the entire development was the two-part compact. By 1776, the Law of Nations had also matured.
A comparison of our national compact—Declaration of Independences and Constitutions—with the Law of Nations reveals again the same continuation of principles. The Declaration defines the nation, its beliefs, goals, purpose, rights, relationships, etc., while the Constitution is the means of fulfilling those defining principles.
In other words, ‘enshrined’ with secular word in the Constitution is the legal guarantee of those religious, moral, values and rights as they relate to God, citizen, and foreign peoples.
John Adams, another of America’s Puritan founders and past President, gives us empirical evidence that Justice Douglas was correct in his view. In a formal speech to The American Bible Society, Adams said:
“It is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue; and if this cannot be inspired into our people in a greater measure than they have it now, they may change their rulers and the forms of government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty. They will only exchange tyrants and tyrannies.”
As the above evidence demonstrates, America was definitively a Christian nation. Then, culture and law created an atmosphere in which all of the benefits could thrive. In the state America is in today, it might be wise to heed John Adams warning.
Source of the quotes in this article are the courtesy of Ears To Hear.net.