People call America the “land of the free and home of the brave.” Or should we say, called? The “land of the free and home of the brave” is quickly becoming the “land of the silent and home of the tyrant.”
Maybe it was just me, but COVID19 changed a lot. Before, America was – or at least, I perceived her as – the land of God-fearing, rational, courageous people who loved freedom and would give their lives for it. Admittedly, I was still young and – shall we say – blissfully ignorant.
Either I’ve switched one pair of tinted glasses for another; or people were never God-fearing, rational, courageous, and freedom-loving; or people, and our society, have changed dramatically. Of course, good things have happened, and good people are taking a stand, but it’s nowhere near what I had hoped for or expected.
Because now, I see a forgetful nation, to put it kindly. We’ve forgotten our history, we’ve forgotten our legacy, we’ve forgotten why freedom matters and why we sacrificed for it in years gone by. We’ve forgotten how dangerous tyrants are, we’ve forgotten who created us.
We’re losing our freedoms, and I propose that we’re losing our freedoms because we’ve forgotten Who created us.
The idea that we – that every human – are children of God is the keystone to the traditional American understanding of freedom. If we lose God, we lose their understanding of freedom. If we lose their understanding of freedom, we lose our freedom.
The Manifesto Contains The Clues…
The Declaration of Independence says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
From this, I pull out four fundamental rights (life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, the instituting or changing of governments as needed) and two fundamental truths (God created us and gave us our rights, governments are created to serve the people).
The first fundamental truth is that God created us and gave us our rights. This is the KEYSTONE to the founders’ understanding of rights, and should be the keystone to our own understanding of rights. If God created us and gave us all our rights, then (a) we have been created equally; and (b) our rights can only be taken away by God.
The second fundamental truth is derived from the first. If God gave us our rights, and only God can take them away, then governments can neither give or take away rights. Therefore – governments do not control people; rather, they exist to serve people. And serve them how? To prevent our rights from being taken away by other individuals and governments.
Is that true?
Maybe, maybe not.
Personally, I believe this to be true. But whether or not it’s true is less to the point. The point is that we got our freedom because the founders thought this way, so if we want to save our freedom, WE need to think this way.
Now, what does that have to do with our rights? What does that have to do with freedom?
I Try My Hand At Logic:
IF… God created each one of us and gave us rights, THEN government has no authority to give or take those rights away.
BECAUSE God created each one of us, that means I am owned by Him. BUT… he gave my agency (the ability to make choices). THEREFORE, I own myself.
IF I own myself, I also own my own life, MEANING that I have a right to life, and that this right cannot be taken away by governments or individuals unless I am doing something that will take away other people’s right to life (the way this works obviously changes in times of war).
BECAUSE I have both the gift of agency and the ownership of my own body, I have ‘liberty.’ THEREFORE, I have the right to liberty, so long as I do not trample on the liberty of others.
BECAUSE I am created by God, I owe him allegiance. THEREFORE, I should do my best to follow his teachings.
THE COMBINATION OF life, agency, and liberty combines in ‘the pursuit of happiness’. BECAUSE I have it, I also have the duty to allow others to have it as well.
LET US DEFINE THE PURPOSE OF GOVERNMENT as the protection of the rights of the individual. GIVEN that this is the purpose, it can be ASSUMED that a government that is not fulfilling its purpose is a failed government, and failed institutions MUST BE revamped – either altered in form to better meet the purpose, or (if that fails) torn down and replaced.
SINCE I have these rights, and BECAUSE governments are created to serve the people, IF a government attempts to take away my rights, THEN that government should and can justly be changed in order to protect my rights and the rights of others.
THEREFORE… the idea that we are children of GOD is fundamental to our understanding of rights and freedom.
What Happens When We Take God Out Of The Equation?
If God is out of the equation, where do our rights come from?
Who knows. Who cares.
But if God didn’t give us our rights, then they must come from people, namely, government. Which, obviously, is pretty good at controlling.
If our rights come from the government, then they can also be taken away by the government, no logic necessary, no recourse, no questions asked.
What a miserable country to live in!
But that’s where we’re headed.
We’re losing God.
As of 2017, only 56% of Americans believe in God as described by the Bible (PewResearch).
As of 2018, church-membership in the USA has fallen to an all-time low of 50% (Gallup).
Percentages of people who are Bible-reading have hovered around 50% for the past decade (Barna).
As of 2021, 14% of people believe the USA would be better off without the Bible, and 33% believe that without the Bible, the USA would be about the same (Barna).
29.9% of Americans are either unaffiliated with religion, atheistic, or agnostic (PewForum).
God rarely appears in our political discussions, or the great debates of the day. God and freedom have less and less affiliation in our minds.
We’re losing God. We’re losing freedom. It’s not a coincidence.
Is There Hope?
To change from a nation without God to a nation with God will take time. It’s not going to happen overnight. It can’t happen overnight. It can’t be legislated. It can’t be forced. It can’t be a collective change. It must be an individual effort.
So maybe there is hope. Maybe there isn’t. But that’s kinda beside the point.
The point is, it’s time for me to trust God. It’s time for me to let my belief in him change my life. And it’s time for you to do the same.
Because if we don’t… There is no hope.