The True Source of Liberty posted by John Sorensen on Oct 03, 2012
It begins “We, the people,” and has been a bulwark of freedom in the United States for more than two centuries. But 225 years after its adoption on September 17, 1787, the U.S. Constitution is under assault.
Modern disregard for America’s supreme law was famously demonstrated by then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who answered, “Are you serious?” when asked if the bill to restructure American health care was constitutional.
More ominously, the federal government has now told business owners that they must provide abortion-inducing drugs through their health plans or pay the penalty. This, despite the First Amendment to the Constitution which guarantees religious liberty. Now that liberty is under direct assault since people of faith and conscience who believe abortion is murder must bow to this edict or suffer civil consequences.
The effort to distort, deny, or ignore the plain meaning of the Constitution and to liberate the strong hand of government from constitutional restraints has been going on for a long time. It if succeeds, our liberties will be erased, along with the text of the Constitution.
Our Constitution is a legacy of a once-vibrant Christian moral consensus. The reason we have enjoyed liberty unequalled in human history is that the Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence before it, is an expression of a deeply held biblical worldview.
In his book, What If the Bible Had Never Been Written?, D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe list biblical principles enshrined in our Constitution. They include:
Government by Law – The founders feared mob rule and wrote a constitution to make us a government of laws and not men. They understood that “we, the people,” are subject to the divine law, what the Declaration called the “law of nature and of nature’s God.” They thought human laws should reflect and agree with the transcendent law, which is fixed and universal.
All Men Created Equal— Equality before the law is based on the idea that “God shows no partiality,” (Acts 10:34). It took almost 100 years for this principle to be extended to all Americans, but the idea that “all men are created equal,” first expressed in the Declaration of Independence, ultimately prevailed.
Inalienable Rights – The concept that rights come from God, not government, is stated explicitly in the Declaration, which affirms that we are “endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights….” The Constitution assumed that biblical understanding and set about to limit government to ensure that those rights were not trespassed by government.
Separation of powers – The founders recognized the sinfulness of man and structured government to frustrate our evil inclinations. Kennedy and Newcombe quote James Madison, who said, “There is a degree of depravity in mankind which requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust.” The political thinker Montesquieu is credited for the theory of separation of powers, but long before he came on the scene, the prophet Isaiah articulated three roles for civil government: “For the Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is our King” (Isa. 33:22). Thus, we have judicial, legislative, and executive branches of government, each with co-equal authority and each limited by the terms of a written Constitution.
Congress issued a declaration in 1983, which said: “The Bible, the Word of God, has made a unique contribution in shaping the United States as a distinctive and blessed nation…. Biblical teaching inspired concepts of civil government that are contained in our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.”
Our freedoms did not arise by accident, but result from biblical truth applied to civil government. And, if we lose sight of that, our liberties will slip away as well.