And That Is Per The Words Of The Men Who Framed It
This is a subject that comes up more and more frequently these days. If you pay attention, you will hear the claims such as “Our founders were not Christians.” Or you will hear something like “The founders deliberately designed a secular government.” And worse, you will hear people saying that they have a right to freedom from religion and that this means the government must be secular. It is sad that the majority of those who make such claims also think they are grounded in logic and reason. It is sad because the truth is that none of these claims are true, and that means nothing about them is grounded in reason. It is sadder still that this is not my opinion; it is the bold and clear assertion of the men whose character is being maligned and whose history is being re-written to push these lies. And that leads to the most ironic aspect of this issue. The people pushing these lies are actually doing the very thing they claim they want protection from: using the government to push their religion onto the whole of the American people.
Let me start by sharing just a couple stories that illustrate the problem:
“I’m Ron Reagan, an unabashed atheist, and I’m alarmed by the intrusions of religion into our secular government,” he proclaims in the radio spot, which is airing all month on “The Randi Rhodes’ Show,” a progressive radio program.
The banner reads: “At this season of the Winter Solstice, we celebrate the birth of the Unconquered Sun — the TRUE reason for the season. As Americans, let us also honor the birth of our Bill of Rights, which reminds us there can be no freedom OF religion, without having freedom FROM religion in government.”
It is fitting that these people should invoke Jefferson, Adams and Franklin and our Bill of Rights, because there can be no better or more damming witnesses against their claim than these three men and the Bill of Rights. So let’s start here, with the idea that these men did not believe in God and that they wanted a secular government and freedom from religion.
First, it needs to be pointed out that, if these men are correct, then they have no rights and no liberty save that which the government grants them. And, if the government gives them, the government can take them away which – by definition – means they are neither rights nor liberty at all. True rights and liberty are found only in God, and Franklin said so:
“Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature.”
So did Jefferson:
“God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.”
And so did Adams:
“You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments: rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights derived from the Great Legislator of the universe.”
With those words, all three men testify that they both believe in God and that our rights and liberty come from Him and cannot exist apart from Him. What’s more, with these words, all three men testify that they were not Deists. A Deist believes in a ‘watch maker’ god, and a watch maker god has no interest in the affairs of man. And a god with no interest in the affairs of man cannot and does not grant rights and liberty. Rights and liberty can only be secured by a God who is involved in the affairs of man and Who will judge us in the next life according to how we treat each other in this life.
This bring us to the second point that we need to understand: that our founders knew a free and self-governing nation can only exist if its people are moral, and that morality is only found in religion. Here again, all three of the men these Atheist have chosen to represent their cause testify against them:
“Statesmen, my dear Sir, 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, and if this cannot be inspired into our People in a greater Measure than they have it now, they may change their rulers and the forms of government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty.”
“Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”
“Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God.”
But what did these three men think about Christianity? Once more, I let them testify for themselves:
“The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”
“[My views on Christianity] are the result of a life of inquiry & reflection, and very different from that anti-Christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions. To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every human excellence; & believing he never claimed any other.”
“Here is my creed. I believe in one God, the Creator of the universe. That he governs it by his Providence. That he ought to be worshiped. That the most acceptable service we render to him is in doing good to his other children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental points in all sound religion.”
“As to Jesus of Nazareth … I think the system of Morals and his Religion, as he left them to us, the best the World ever saw or is likely to see;…”
So there remains but one point left to discredit: that the men who said these things would then turn and design a secular government. That is more difficult to do, not because they wanted a secular government, but because the proof they did not is found in their actions and not their words. Jefferson started Sunday worship services in the capital building and attended for years. Perhaps the best evidence that the Bill of Rights was never intended to prevent religion from being a part of our government is found in the words of those who opposed the ratification of the Constitution until the Bill of Rights was added – and even then they warned that it would not be sufficient to stop people such as modern Atheists from destroying the rights and liberty they sought to protect:
“Bad men cannot make good citizens. It is impossible that a nation of infidels or idolaters should be a nation of freemen. It is when a people forget God that tyrants forge their chains. A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, is incompatible with freedom. No free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue; and by a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.”
“The only foundation for… a republic is to be laid in Religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.”
–Dr. Benjamin Rush
It was because of men such as Hamilton and Rush that the Bill of Rights was written, and anyone who reads the notes from that time will know the 1st Amendment was intended to prohibit the federal government from ever doing what the Atheists are now demanding it do: favor one religion over another. And yes, Atheism is a religion, and has been recognized as such by the Supreme Court. So they are guilty of advocating a State-sponsored religion in the name of being ‘free from all religion.’ What they want is the government to trample on the rights of the majority so they can appease their conscience, and the founders had a few words about people who do just this sort of thing. I start with the closest kin to themselves, Thomas Paine:
“An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws. He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates his duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.”
“What is true of every member of the society, individually, is true of them all collectively; since the rights of the whole can be no more than the sum of the rights of the individuals.”
“No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another, and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him.”
“Bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.”
“A nation of well informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the region of ignorance that tyranny begins.”
These Atheists are advocating that the rights of others be trampled so they can enjoy something to which they have no right. There is no ‘right’ to be free of religion, nor of offense or any such thing. One has the right not to listen, or to walk away, but not to force another to be quiet. This applies to religion. The Atheists are not harmed by people living their faith – even in government. But those who are of a different faith are harmed when the Atheists use government to silence all but their own religion – as they are trying to do. They are violating Natural Law — and the Constitution. They are seeking to empower government to do that which they do not have the right to do themselves. And they are seeking to destroy the rights — not of a minority — but of the majority in this nation. And it is all in connection to their religion. This is exactly what Franklin meant when he said:
“It is in the region of ignorance that tyranny begins.”
Now I ask you — and be honest with yourself — do you really think Jefferson, Adams and Franklin would have supported what these Atheists are trying to do?
[NOTE: I could have easily written ten times the number of pages with quotes just from these men saying the same thing over and over again. If I expand out to the whole of the founders, I can fill books with words such as these — because the founders believed in God and did not intend for this nation to be ruled by a secular government. It is the truth, which is why it is so easy to disprove these lies.]