Skip to comments.Biblical Foundations of American Government
Posted on 03/05/2002 10:25:19 AM PST by dware
I wrote the following article in response to an email sent out on a Conservative email list I belong to, about the continual loss of liberty & freedom.
I thought some here might be interested.
I can tell you precisely why we are losing our Liberty & Freedom, and it is certainly not a new concept. Not only can I tell you WHY we are losing it, but HOW to get it back, as well.
I have watched this topic closely because it is so near & dear to my heart. In fact, it is the topic of a series of articles I am working on that I hope will eventually be published in book form.
A BRIEF CAVEAT
I know, after watching the activity on this group for some time now, that some of you may not be very receptive to religious ideas & beliefs. That is your business, not mine or anyone else's on this list. I will not begin to think that I am in any position to judge anyone based upon their religious beliefs or lack thereof. That being said, it doesn't really matter if anyone believes what I am about to write or not - it doesn't make it any less true. In fact, even our Founding Fathers realized this when they wrote the following line into the Declaration of Independence:
"We hold these truths to be self evident..." (More on this statement later)
Now that I have warned you, on to the subject matter.
"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. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue." - John Adams
Contrary to what some might argue, America was not actually founded as a Christian Nation. It is, however, deeply rooted in Biblical and Christian principles. Everywhere one looks at the American system of government, the American Republic, one will see the hand of God, and the wisdom of His people.
The most glaring resemblance is the similarities between our American Republic and the Hebrew/Christian Republic set up during Moses' time. For example, the gathering of representatives & leaders, to discuss the laws proposed by God (Exodus 19:7). Further, Moses presented the commandments which had been proposed, and the people voted on them (Exodus 19:8). And finally, the structure of government is exemplified in Exodus 18:20-22, when Moses' father in law provides council on setting up a judicial system for the people:
20 And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.
21 Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:
22 And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee.
Our Founding Fathers realized the need for Biblical/Christian Foundations as a means to secure our rights. Although they were by no means perfect (they were men of God, in most cases, but men nonetheless), God used them and guided them in forming what is arguably the most important thesis statement of American culture and values. And they wrote it into the most important historical document in the History of America, the Declaration of Independence.
Sure, some would say that the Constitution is the most important document. Not true. Without the public Declaration, we would have no Constitution. Moreover, the items outlined in the Declaration of Independence are again true, regardless of what anyone believed then or believes now. The Constitution, on the other hand, is arguable in many cases and amendable.
So then, let's take a look at the most important thesis statement in the history of America:
"We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal and that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are, Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness."
Breaking that down even further, we see the full extent of the Founding Father's religious beliefs. "We hold these truths to be self evident..." It doesn't matter what faith or religion you or I believe in, the fact is that ALL men are created equal. How do we know this? Because God said so - we are all created in His image. Moreover, 'self evident' in this case clearly means that it does not matter if you believe it or not. It is true. It is a faith based statement.
In the interest of brievity (I am afraid I may be long winded no matter how much I summarize), I will just sum up the rest of the statement in that, knowing that they had a new opportunity to turn things around - understanding that in order to have true freedom, we must seek God's will in our lives, the Founding Fathers included the 'pursuit of happiness' as an unalienable right. Now, this is not the pursuit of hedonism, as most will argue - "I can do whatever I want to, as long as it feels good". It is the pursuit of happiness in doing God's will in our lives. Further, they realized that, without liberty, one could not pursue happiness and, finally, in order to have any kind of liberty, one must first have life. Our unalienable rights are all dependent upon one another, and endowed upon us by our Creator.
This, then, leads into my final point. If God has endowed us with these rights, then it follows that only God can take away these rights, correct? But what about the fact that people are being murdered everyday right here in America, where they are guaranteed the right to life? It doesn't matter. Regardless of what man does here on earth, we are given these rights and guaranteed these rights by God. And it has nothing to do with the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution. It has everything to do with our personal, individual walk with God. It is known as Christ's perfect law of liberty, and can be found in Galations 5:1 -
"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage."
Now, I promised to let you know HOW we can get back to where our Founding Fathers, and God, first intended for this once great Nation. The answer can once again be found in the Bible, II Chronicles 7:14 -
"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
Of course, the Bible has so much more to offer in the way of political activism. It would prove to be much to involved for one email. Thus, I would urge each of you to take the time to read the Bible. Go out and get a copy of Nave's Topical Bible, and look up government. You will be utterly surprised at what you find. In fact, I will even provide some links below for those interested in seeing what God has to say about current political issues, and how to solve our serious problems - including the loss of freedom & liberty.
I thank those who took the time to read this far, and encourage feedback on what I have printed here. I would be happy to go more in depth on other topics, if you so wish.
Please note, I am in no way affiliated with the links below. They are independent sites which I use in my own research and reading.
The Bible Gateway
Allows you to search by word or passage, across 13 different translations.
Nave's Topical Bible Online
Containing 5324 entries cross-referenced and cross-linked to other resources on StudyLight.org, this concordance can be classified as a required reference book for any good study library.
Excellent articles on Biblical prophecy and current issues.
You put the cart before the horse. Biblical and Christian principles are founded on pre-existing concepts and human nature. There are many "good" civilized ideas that pre-date Christianity.
Personally, I would beg to differ. In fact, the basis of Christianity was laid out for Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden after the fall of man. It was further expanded to Moses, in the form of civil & ceremonial laws.
Interestingly enough, I could almost follow the argument about the 'human nature' part. Arguably, human nature could be said to have led to the fall of man. However, 'human nature' did not necessarily come into existence until AFTER the fall of man, since man was perfect in God's image prior to the fall.
Crikey, I've gone cross eyed.
Please explain further Moses' "Hebrew/Christian Republic." The strength of the author to inform and persuade is greatly diminished, when easy targets like this are introduced in the article.
According to my grandfather's research, there are some 25-30 similarities between the Hebrew/Christian Republic and our own. I will provide them soon.
Like it or not, no everyone is a believer. How does this apply to them? Are you saying that non-believers don't belong here? If not, what are you saying?
As soon as I gather all of my notes, I will gladly expand. Good to see some interesting questions being posed.
Basically, the idea is that every religion has its government, and every government it's religion. Look at the work of Paul in establishing churches.
Moreover, too many people try to read the literal foundation of our government when, in fact, the basis is individual self-government in Christ, which leads to self responsibility when we follow the laws God set before us in the Bible.
I guess my own 'thesis' can be summed up by saying that we will NEVER RETURN to Liberty & Freedom until we each individually seek it first in Christ.
No, it has nothing to do with that, and everything with throwing off a tyranical government that does not respect individual rights.
When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, "Here is the man!" (John 19:5)
"Hardly a week goes by at our house without an exclamation from someone that runs more or less thus: 'Goodness me! Look, it's June already, and it seems that we have just had Christmas!' You are familiar with the words and the feeling, but have you thought how the passage of time is a repetitious testament to the enormous impact of Christ upon the world?"
"Once, it was said that the calendar should date from the building of Rome. The name of the year was to be followed by the letters AUC (Ab Urbe Condita)-from the building of the city. The idea was short-lived. In Europe, men of affairs thought to date the calendar from the French Revolution. It lasted thirteen years. The astronomer, La Place, suggested counting time from an important conjunction of the planets. It lasted three years. Right to this day, one name alone is stamped on the brow of the passing ages. Daily newspapers have columns that challenge everything Christ stood for, but atop each page there is a number that pays tribute to him."
"I am often introduced to persons who do not yet know Jesus. Many of them behave in an unusual way when they learn I am a man of religion. They make a mock expression of piety, or else they rake up some inane remark about having a distant relative who is a priest! If only they knew (and of course they have no way of knowing without being informed) how frivolous they seem when placed before the Manhood of Christ. If they knew him, the mention of whom causes them to lapse into all kinds of futile mannerisms, they would know that he was someone to admire and to emulate."
"If God was in Christ, he can never be dismissed without tremendous consequence. No door can be held shut against him forever. For us who have met him already, there has commenced a long and exhilarating process of discovery and personal growth. Along with all the others in His fellowship, we are the ones engaged by him; impressed, guided, induced; persuaded, attracted, inspired and motivated by him till our communion becomes a declaration and an invitation. ' Here is the Man'!"
"May God give you and all of his people this privilege."
sssssshhhhh...logajam thinks the voices he hears from throwing his bone--fossils tells him evolution theory predates creation!
As mentioned in the article, it is all about Christ's perfect law of liberty, as written in Galations. Like it or not, believe it or not...it makes no difference. It is no less true.
"Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear."
--- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, Aug. 10, 1787
To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical.
--Thomas Jefferson, Bill for Establishing Religious Liberty in Virginia 1779
Our civil rights have no dependance on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry
--Thomas Jefferson, Bill for Establishing Religious Liberty in Virginia 1779
"It is too late in the day for men of sincerity to pretend they believe in the Platonic mysticisms that three are one, and one is three; and yet that the one is not three, and the three are not one. But this constitutes the craft, the power and the profit of the priests."
--- Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 1803
"But a short time elapsed after the death of the great reformer of the Jewish religion, before his principles were departed from by those who professed to be his special servants, and perverted into an engine for enslaving mankind, and aggrandizing their oppressors in Church and State."
--- Thomas Jefferson to S. Kercheval, 1810
"History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purpose."
--- Thomas Jefferson to Baron von Humboldt, 1813
"On the dogmas of religion, as distinguished from moral principles, all mankind, from the beginning of the world to this day, have been quarreling, fighting, burning and torturing one another, for abstractions unintelligible to themselves and to all others, and absolutely beyond the comprehension of the human mind."
--- Thomas Jefferson to Carey, 1816
"The truth is, that the greatest enemies of the doctrine of Jesus are those, calling themselves the expositors of them, who have perverted them to the structure of a system of fancy, absolutely incomprehensible, and without any foundation in his genuine words. And the day will come, when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter."
--- Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, Apr. 11, 1823
"What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not."
--- James Madison, "A Memorial and Remonstrance", 1785
"Experience witnesseth that ecclesiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution."
--- James Madison, "A Memorial and Remonstrance", 1785
"As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation. But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed?"
--- John Adams, letter to F.A. Van der Kamp, Dec. 27, 1816
"I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved--the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!"
--- John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson
"What havoc has been made of books through every century of the Christian era? Where are fifty gospels, condemned as spurious by the bull of Pope Gelasius? Where are the forty wagon-loads of Hebrew manuscripts burned in France, by order of another pope, because suspected of heresy? Remember the 'index expurgatorius', the inquisition, the stake, the axe, the halter and the guillotine."
--- John Adams, letter to John Taylor
"The priesthood have, in all ancient nations, nearly monopolized learning. And ever since the Reformation, when or where has existed a Protestant or dissenting sect who would tolerate A FREE INQUIRY? The blackest billingsgate, the most ungentlemanly insolence, the most yahooish brutality, is patiently endured, countenanced, propagated, and applauded. But touch a solemn truth in collision with a dogma of a sect, though capable of the clearest proof, and you will find you have disturbed a nest, and the hornets will swarm about your eyes and hand, and fly into your face and eyes."
--- John Adams, letter to John Taylor
. In fact, it is comfortable to see the standard of reason at length erected, after so many ages, during which the human mind has been held in vassalage by kings, priests, and nobles; and it is honorable for us, to have produced the first legislature who had the courage to declare, that the reason of man may be trusted with the formation of his own opinions....
--Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison from Paris, Dec. 16, 1786.
Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity in exclusion of all other religions may establish, with the same ease, any particular sect of Christians in exclusion of all other sects? That the same authority which can force a citizen to contribute threepence only of his property for the support of any one establishment may force him to conform to any other establishment in all cases whatsoever?
--James Madison, "A Memorial and Remonstrance,"
The law has the further advantage of having been the result of a formal appeal to the sense of the Community and a deliberate sanction of a vast majority, comprizing [sic] every sect of Christians in the State. This act is a true standard of Religious liberty; its principle the great barrier agst [against] usurpations on the rights of conscience. As long as it is respected & no longer, these will be safe. Every provision for them short of this principle, will be found to leave crevices, at least thro' which bigotry may introduce persecution; a monster, that feeding & thriving on its own venom, gradually swells to a size and strength overwhelming all laws divine & human.
--James Madison, "Monopolies. Perpetuities. Corporations. Ecclesiastical Endowments,"
Is conformity of sentiments in matters of religion essential to the happiness of civil government? Not at all. Government has no more to do with the religious opinions of men than it has with the principles of the mathematics. Let every man speak freely without fear--maintain the principles that he believes--worship according to his own faith, either one God, three Gods, no God, or twenty Gods; and let government protect him in so doing, i.e., see that he meets with no personal abuse or loss of property for his religious opinions. Instead of discouraging him with proscriptions, fines, confiscation or death, let him be encouraged, as a free man, to bring forth his arguments and maintain his points with all boldness; then if his doctrine is false it will be confuted, and if it is true (though ever so novel) let others credit it. When every man has this liberty what can he wish for more? A liberal man asks for nothing more of government.
--John Leland, "The Rights of Conscience Inalienable, and Therefore Religious Opinions not Cognizable by Law" [a pamphlet], New London, Connecticut, 1791.
As to religion, I hold it to be the indispensable duty of government to protect all conscientious protesters thereof, and I know of no other business government has to do therewith.
--Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776.
"I believe in one God, Creator of the universe.... That the most acceptable service we can render Him is doing good to His other children.... As to Jesus ... I have ... some doubts as to his divinity; though it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the truth with less trouble."
--Ben Franklin 1790
Religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its Professors are obliged to call for help of the Civil Power, it is a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one.
Benjamin Franklin, 1790
Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind.
--John Adams, "A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America" 1787-
It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses....
--John Adams, "A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America" 1787
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