The Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator, (not government), with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
MANY OTHER RIGHTS NATURALLY FLOW
FROM THE PRINCIPLE OF EQUALITY.
Humans must be ruled with their consent. The condition of human’s free consent is, in turn, their freedom of conscience, without which consent would be constrained.
The external expression of freedom of conscience is freedom of speech, without which freedom of conscience would not be heard.
Freedom of conscience cannot be separated from the right to religious freedom.
George Weigel writes, “It turns out that religious freedom has dramatic consequences. If there is a sanctuary of conscience inside every human person where no earthly power can legitimately tread, then the state is, by definition, a limited state.”
Today, freedom of conscience is often distorted. It does not mean that whatever you think is right is right. It means, above all, the obligation to conform your mind to the truth of reality— which is the natural law— and thereby be prepared to exercise informed moral judgment.
So a human ought to govern themselves through rational deliberation and free choice, rather than be subject to accident and force. Constitutional government is exactly the form of government that attempts to direct people to behave reasonably and can exist only to the extent that they do. The political result of the principle of equality, correctly understood, is precisely limited government.
The Founders of the United States Constitution came from Europe, mostly England, where there was an Aristocratic (privileged/elite) government who made laws (including a nationally declared religion). These laws were declared nationally on all citizens. These declared laws created tyranny defined as absolute power where the government declares the right to decide for you what is best for you. .
Under tyranny, a person has no ability to choose freely as an individual who can think and choose for themselves without penalty.
QUESTION: So, is the United States government working to ensure that you are
free to practice your religion? Are they even obligated to protect that right?
ANSWER: Interestingly, our founders’ very first change to the United States Constitution is well known as the First Amendment. It says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,…”.
In other words, in America (unlike England) there will be no national laws creating a national religion. And in America, there will be no national laws preventing the free exercise of your religion.
One of the founders, John Adams said, "Human passions unbridled by morality and religion...would break the strongest chords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net." and, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
The founders state in the Federalist Papers that, “If men were angels there would be no need for government.”
So, the Founders of America’s Constitution had a keen appreciation of the base and higher natures of humans both in individuals and in groups. Moreover, they realized that any document describing how humans should govern and be governed must make ample provision for humanity’s basically flawed nature and their unfortunate inclinations or imperfections.
The Constitution implicitly recognizes this flawed nature and these innate tendencies when it advocates the separation of powers. Constitutional order must be arranged so as to prevent a concentration of power— legislative, executive, and judicial— from falling into the hands of a single individual or group of individuals who could then misuse it.
John Adams knew that the “freedom” America offered included the freedom to choose right
or wrong, good or evil.
John Adams knew that the “freedom” America offered included the freedom to choose right or wrong, good or evil. He also knew that if morality did not cause most Americans to choose “right” or “good”, no Constitution or government would be sufficient to govern the new nation.
In George Washington’s Farewell Address he said, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens.The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them.” He went on to say, “And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion.”
It’s quite clear that the founders believed that for this new and free Republic to survive, it must have morality and that morality came primarily from religion. The religion they were speaking of was the Christian religion found in the Bible.
So is your Constitutional right to the free exercise of religion being violated today? Is our government making laws or rules that conflict with your own religious beliefs?
FOR AN EXAMPLE...
Some Americans support that the Constitution respects that all life is precious, from conception to natural death. Whether this is your belief or not, is our religious liberty being violated by our government if all Americans are compelled to fund abortion with our tax dollars?
So far in America, Americans are free to exercise their religious beliefs, for example by peacefully participating in pro-life activities. Despite this, in January the worshippers at a pro-life Mass inside St Joseph’s Cathedral (Columbus, Ohio) were assaulted by abortion rights protesters. No arrests were made until nearly a month later when three of the protesters were charged with misdemeanor violations.
IN RECENT POLITICAL MEMORY...
Religious liberty was a value that brought together conservatives, libertarians, and progressives. As recently as 1993, the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act was passed by a nearly unanimous Congress and signed by a Democratic president. Today, this same value of religious freedom is a political liability. The federal government is allowing bakers, photographers, and florists to be ruined, adoption agencies to be shuttered, and schools to be threatened with loss of accreditation and nonprofit status. So what happened to bi-partisan, nearly unanimous support for the First Amendment and religious freedom in America?
In a Heritage Foundation article, Ryan T. Anderson makes the point that three historical developments explain our current predicament: a change in the scope of our government, a change in our sexual values, and a change in our political leaders’ vision of religious liberty.
He explains that the progressive movement from the early 20th century brought on the growth of the administrative state in Washington DC. The rule of law was replaced by an overreach by governmental agencies. They have taken control over many areas of our lives which puts our religious liberties at risk to unelected partisan bureaucrats. These agencies increasingly control who private businesses must serve, while dictating what values are taught in private schools and how charities can operate. Bottom line: More government means less freedom.
More government means less freedom.
At the time of our country’s founding, religion and liberty were so closely linked that Thomas Jefferson said, “The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time.”
In Anderson’s second point, he notes that in recent history, our founder’s understanding of faith and freedom has been attacked in America by the sexual revolution’s elevation of desire.
Wow is he ever right about that! You need only look around to see the massive confusion and sometimes harm that non-traditional views on sex/gender and human sexuality have caused. Yes, America is all about freedom and we can be a diverse nation, with freedom to choose things that others don’t agree with. We should not allow the government, the media, the social media, or public corporations to demand our compliance. We can think out loud and have the debate that we need to have when it comes to a lot of these different topics in our culture.
A close reading of the Constitution indicates that there are no Christian principles per se implanted in the Constitution. The Constitution does not declare principles; it provides for their implementation. It considers the principles on which America is founded so self- evident that it does not even name, much less defend, them. In its short preamble, the Constitution briefly mentions, without defining, justice, general welfare, and the blessings of liberty, clearly indicating that these are commonly accepted ends.
Importantly, we should NOT allow our publicly funded government schools (K-12) to teach non-traditional sex and sexuality views to children at ages when the topic is beyond their biological needs and their ability to comprehend and evaluate what they are being “taught”. How are they to rationalize whether they are a boy or a girl when they are not old enough and rational enough to have critically considered Santa Claus?
Both the Bible’s moral principles and reason require us to conform our desires to transcendent moral truths grounded in our nature as human beings, rational animals. The followers of Postmodernism seek to re-create nature in accord with their desires, while the followers of Progressivism use the power of government to make everyone else con-form to the desires of elites, who “know best.” These ideologies promote the satisfaction of desire even while trampling true natural rights and liberties like the free exercise of religion.
Anderson’s final point is key, as politicians and others are trying to alter the founders’ broad view of what “free exercise” of religion means. They would simply change the words to “freedom of worship”. While this may seem a minor shift, it reduces your religious freedom to what happens within the four walls of a church. Leave your beliefs and values at the door and they’ll be there for you next Sunday...they should not be shared or expressed in public. Given that public education actually initially sought to teach children so they could read...the Bible...it is surprising to realize that the Bible is now the one book that public school teachers would likely not allow your children to bring to school. Is that religious freedom? Is that progress? Is that good for your children, or America, based on what John Adams and George Washington thought about morality and religion at the time of our founding?
Your faith and religious values
MUST be free to extend beyond
your church on Sunday...
Your faith and religious values MUST be free to extend beyond your church on Sunday, or you have almost no religious freedom at all! Living every day of our lives, consistently within our beliefs, is what religious freedom is all about...which is what America is all about!
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