What is an American?
Historically nations formed from people who were of the same language or kinship, but the United States was built on a set of ideals.
And what were those ideals?
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Very simply, the idea of human rights. The idea that human rights precede government, rights that the government didn’t and cannot give and that government cannot take away.
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But where did this idea of human rights come from? Did somebody just make it up?
If this whole thing is just some person’s political ideas, or a political wave like political correctness or multiculturalism, and the colonies then accepted it, because they thought it was a good idea, then they are ideas that can change with the times and with changing demographics.
So where did this idea come from?
The Founding Document of our country is the Declaration of Independence. There it states that these rights come from God, that humans were created by God and endowed by Him with certain inalienable rights. Inalienable means that they cannot be surrendered or transferred. Among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And people then form governments for the purpose of securing those rights. Government exists to see that we get to experience those rights.
Government cannot infringe, modify, curtail or revoke them. Government is not the source of these rights, and they are not determined by public opinion or votes.
This is better but still not good enough.
How did they know that our rights come from God? And which God?
Every nation of the world at that time had their gods, and none of them believed as we did. They didn’t have atheistic nations in those days as we do today, but they don’t see human rights as we do either.
The fact is that our Founders got their beliefs about God and human rights from Christianity and the Bible.
But Christianity had been around for 1700 years. Why now?
When Christianity first began in the first century, it was often harshly persecuted by the Romans. In the fourth century, it suddenly became the state religion. Christianity was then united with the government throughout Europe until for most countries long after the American Revolution.
Starting in the 1500s, Christianity itself went through a major change. For the first time the Bible began to be translated into all the various native languages of the peoples, and people could read the Bible for themselves and not rely on other people to read it and then tell them what it says.
This caused conflicts between a lot of people and the Church and, consequently, the governments. When this New World was discovered, they had now somewhere to go to be able to live in freedom according to their conscience. No, not everybody who came to the New World was a Christian looking for religious freedom. Many people came for economic opportunities. But almost everybody was from Europe, so they were at least nominally Christian.
Not all Americans at that time wanted Church separated from the State. In fact, many states had state churches long after the First Amendment was passed. The First Amendment addressed only a State Church at the federal level.
Having the Bible in their own language spawned the birth of many different Christian denominations, all uniting under the authority of the Bible and the Ten Commandments as our moral code.
Our Founders believed that the Bible was God’s revelation to humans, about what He is like, what humans are like, and what the world is all about. They saw the Christian understanding of God and the world as being true.
A religion is not a list of personal preferences and beliefs of a particular set of people like their taste in food, music, or movies. A religion is a worldview, a description of reality that defines what is true and what is false, what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is bad.
So our nation’s founding is inextricably united with Christianity. If we separate our rights from the belief that they come from God as Christians understand God through the Bible, if we deny the Christian foundation of our country or deny that we need to continue to believe in that, if we say that we are a secular nation where God must be absent from public life and discussions, if our rights do not have a transcendent authority or value, if we say that all religions are equal in our country and government cannot favor or aid any religion, then our ideas about human rights are just products of our imagination. They are only opinions that will change with time.
If we don’t teach each succeeding generation of our people and the millions of immigrants who come here where these ideals come from, they won’t know where they came from and someday there will be more people who don’t know and understand the nature of these ideals than those who do.
Almost all of the immigrants who come here come from countries that don’t share our ideas of human rights and freedom. Over time the whole concept of human rights can, and will, change as the country absorbs the contributions, and thinking, of its very diverse population. And they can then all be voted away in the next election.
It wouldn’t happen overnight, because we still have a lot of people around who remember where our rights came from. But that will change over time.
We fought a war in order to be able to establish a nation with these ideals. If we were in the same circumstances today, there never would been a war for independence. It took a sense that the government was taking away something that had been given to the people by God. It’s hard to imagine someone in Congress making that argument today.
John Adams, our second President, said that our Constitution was made only for a religious and moral people. It is wholly inadequate for any other. And by religion he meant Christianity, because religions are not all alike when it comes to morals and certainly when it comes to rights. That’s why the Ten Commandments were a major part of the public life in our country for two hundred years after our founding. You can’t give innumerable rights and freedoms to people who don’t have a high moral code.
After several generations of having our leaders call our nation a secular nation, we are already seeing calls to modify those rights. Freedom of speech must now be abridged if it might offend someone, and the right to keep and bear arms must be infringed for the sake of safety. Constitutional amendments describing some of those rights were fine as they were for over 209 years, but now all of a sudden people are finding problems with them. And this will continue until all of our unique God-given rights are gone, unless we again find our roots and reassert the Christian foundation of our country.
The court called supreme was wrong when it said that prayer, Bible reading, and the Ten Commandments in public life. and our schools are unconstitutional. Evan judges can be ignorant of the foundations of our country. Did not our Founders know what they meant when they wrote the First Amendment and then had the Bible used in all our public schools? They knew you had to teach each generation how to live.
The modern moral standard of tolerance, equality, fairness, and diversity is showing itself to be wholly inadequate as a moral foundation for our country, as it essentially puts the burden on the government to impose and enforce it. Previously the basic moral standard was ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ From the Bible.
Frankly, we are running out of time before our nation no longer has the mind and the will to restore our country to the founding principles of our country.
Those who know the truth need to speak the truth, publicly, frequently, and even loudly. If not for us, then for our children and our grandchildren. And we must insist that we teach these ideals to our children and the millions of people who come there and particularly those who want to become citizens.
In 1862, Abraham Lincoln called our nation “the last best hope on earth.” If anything, that statement has never been truer that it is today.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by iPatriot.com.