Thoughts for the 4th of July

I have nev­er read the Dec­la­ra­tion of Inde­pen­dence. That may come as no sur­prise to you if you know me well enough — I’ve not read many things which I should have by now. So today, I am read­ing the Dec­la­ra­tion, and I am shar­ing it here for you as well, giv­ing you the oppor­tu­ni­ty to read it if you have not.

In read­ing it, I have not only learned what “con­san­guin­i­ty” means, but I have seen that belief in God real­ly is part of our Amer­i­can her­itage; in the Dec­la­ra­tion He is referred to a num­ber of times in ways which can only be assert­ed by theists.

These men, who staked their lives on their free­dom and who include such men as Ben­jamin Franklin & Thomas Jef­fer­son, in affirm­ing their inde­pen­dence did so by invok­ing a most per­son­al God. A God who…

  • is the God of nature who enti­tles men to just government,
  • is the Cre­ator who enti­tles men to unalien­able rights,
  • is the Supreme Judge of the world, and
  • is the exer­cis­er of Divine Prov­i­dence upon which the Found­ing Fathers relied.

In essence, in declar­ing their inde­pen­dence from Great Britain, these men declared their depen­dence upon God, from whom prop­er gov­ern­men­tal author­i­ty is derived.

Today, this depen­dence upon God is being chal­lenged every­where in Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment. As the Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment for­gets its roots and for­gets upon whom they depend, we will increas­ing­ly see abus­es of pow­er and dete­ri­o­ra­tion of free­doms with­in Amer­i­ca, just as is hap­pen­ing even now with our neigh­bor Canada.

I guess it could be point­ed out that our gov­ern­ment isn’t based upon the Dec­la­ra­tion but rather upon the Con­sti­tu­tion. Fair enough. You could also say that the Con­sti­tu­tion isn’t as bla­tant­ly the­ist as the Dec­la­ra­tion is. Also, fair enough. But to make the leap, then, that Amer­i­ca does­n’t have Chris­t­ian roots is some­thing I do not believe is pos­si­ble. If any­thing, the Dec­la­ra­tion reveals the mind set of ear­ly Amer­i­cans to be that gov­ern­ment is sub­ject to God in a very real way. I do not believe they could have com­plete­ly ignored such con­vic­tions while writ­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion lest they have come up with some­thing com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent than what they did. Frankly, sec­u­lar­ism does not breed free­dom, par­tic­u­lar­ly of reli­gion or expres­sion. Again, just check out what’s hap­pen­ing in Canada.

Any­way, at the very least, today we cel­e­brate the inde­pen­dence of Amer­i­ca, an inde­pen­dence which was declared via a doc­u­ment which at the least was the­ist if not whol­ly Judeo-Christian.

Read through the Dec­la­ra­tion and be remind­ed of just what sorts of things the founders of Amer­i­ca con­sid­ered to be usurpa­tions of prop­er gov­ern­men­tal author­i­ty. Some of the acts, as writ­ten, remind me of cer­tain ele­ments tak­ing place today in our government.

“He has erect­ed a mul­ti­tude of New Offices, and sent hith­er swarms of Offi­cers to harass our peo­ple and eat out their sub­stance.” — The founders advo­cat­ed for a very lim­it­ed fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, which is just the sort of gov­ern­ment we today don’t find in Amer­i­ca. We do, how­ev­er, find all sorts of new offices being estab­lished by the government.

“He has com­bined with oth­ers to sub­ject us to a juris­dic­tion for­eign to our con­sti­tu­tion, and unac­knowl­edged by our laws; giv­ing his Assent to their Acts of pre­tend­ed Leg­is­la­tion.” — The founders believed in the sov­er­eign­ty of a nation and would not sub­ject Amer­i­cans to pow­ers for­eign to our own con­sti­tu­tion. Today, the head­quar­ters of the Unit­ed Nations resides on Amer­i­can soil and far too few politi­cians (such as Ron Paul and Chuck Bald­win) are call­ing for Amer­i­ca’s com­plete inde­pen­dence of such uncon­sti­tu­tion­al pow­ers over Amer­i­can citizens.

The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes nec­es­sary for one peo­ple to dis­solve the polit­i­cal bands which have con­nect­ed them with anoth­er and to assume among the pow­ers of the earth, the sep­a­rate and equal sta­tion to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God enti­tle them, a decent respect to the opin­ions of mankind requires that they should declare the caus­es which impel them to the separation.

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. Pru­dence, indeed, will dic­tate that Gov­ern­ments long estab­lished should not be changed for light and tran­sient caus­es; and accord­ing­ly all expe­ri­ence hath shewn that mankind are more dis­posed to suf­fer, while evils are suf­fer­able than to right them­selves by abol­ish­ing the forms to which they are accus­tomed. But when a long train of abus­es and usurpa­tions, pur­su­ing invari­ably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despo­tism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Gov­ern­ment, and to pro­vide new Guards for their future secu­ri­ty. — Such has been the patient suf­fer­ance of these Colonies; and such is now the neces­si­ty which con­strains them to alter their for­mer Sys­tems of Gov­ern­ment. The his­to­ry of the present King of Great Britain is a his­to­ry of repeat­ed injuries and usurpa­tions, all hav­ing in direct object the estab­lish­ment of an absolute Tyran­ny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be sub­mit­ted to a can­did world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most whole­some and nec­es­sary for the pub­lic good.

He has for­bid­den his Gov­er­nors to pass Laws of imme­di­ate and press­ing impor­tance, unless sus­pend­ed in their oper­a­tion till his Assent should be obtained; and when so sus­pend­ed, he has utter­ly neglect­ed to attend to them.

He has refused to pass oth­er Laws for the accom­mo­da­tion of large dis­tricts of peo­ple, unless those peo­ple would relin­quish the right of Rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the Leg­is­la­ture, a right ines­timable to them and for­mi­da­ble to tyrants only.

He has called togeth­er leg­isla­tive bod­ies at places unusu­al, uncom­fort­able, and dis­tant from the depos­i­to­ry of their Pub­lic Records, for the sole pur­pose of fatigu­ing them into com­pli­ance with his measures.

He has dis­solved Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Hous­es repeat­ed­ly, for oppos­ing with man­ly firm­ness his inva­sions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dis­so­lu­tions, to cause oth­ers to be elect­ed, where­by the Leg­isla­tive Pow­ers, inca­pable of Anni­hi­la­tion, have returned to the Peo­ple at large for their exer­cise; the State remain­ing in the mean time exposed to all the dan­gers of inva­sion from with­out, and con­vul­sions within.

He has endeav­oured to pre­vent the pop­u­la­tion of these States; for that pur­pose obstruct­ing the Laws for Nat­u­ral­iza­tion of For­eign­ers; refus­ing to pass oth­ers to encour­age their migra­tions hith­er, and rais­ing the con­di­tions of new Appro­pri­a­tions of Lands.

He has obstruct­ed the Admin­is­tra­tion of Jus­tice by refus­ing his Assent to Laws for estab­lish­ing Judi­cia­ry Powers.

He has made Judges depen­dent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and pay­ment of their salaries.

He has erect­ed a mul­ti­tude of New Offices, and sent hith­er swarms of Offi­cers to harass our peo­ple and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Stand­ing Armies with­out the Con­sent of our legislatures.

He has affect­ed to ren­der the Mil­i­tary inde­pen­dent of and supe­ri­or to the Civ­il Power.

He has com­bined with oth­ers to sub­ject us to a juris­dic­tion for­eign to our con­sti­tu­tion, and unac­knowl­edged by our laws; giv­ing his Assent to their Acts of pre­tend­ed Legislation:

For quar­ter­ing large bod­ies of armed troops among us:

For pro­tect­ing them, by a mock Tri­al from pun­ish­ment for any Mur­ders which they should com­mit on the Inhab­i­tants of these States:

For cut­ting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For impos­ing Tax­es on us with­out our Consent:

For depriv­ing us in many cas­es, of the ben­e­fit of Tri­al by Jury:

For trans­port­ing us beyond Seas to be tried for pre­tend­ed offences:

For abol­ish­ing the free Sys­tem of Eng­lish Laws in a neigh­bour­ing Province, estab­lish­ing there­in an Arbi­trary gov­ern­ment, and enlarg­ing its Bound­aries so as to ren­der it at once an exam­ple and fit instru­ment for intro­duc­ing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For tak­ing away our Char­ters, abol­ish­ing our most valu­able Laws and alter­ing fun­da­men­tal­ly the Forms of our Governments:

For sus­pend­ing our own Leg­is­la­tures, and declar­ing them­selves invest­ed with pow­er to leg­is­late for us in all cas­es whatsoever.

He has abdi­cat­ed Gov­ern­ment here, by declar­ing us out of his Pro­tec­tion and wag­ing War against us.

He has plun­dered our seas, rav­aged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time trans­port­ing large Armies of for­eign Mer­ce­nar­ies to com­pleat the works of death, des­o­la­tion, and tyran­ny, already begun with cir­cum­stances of Cru­el­ty & Per­fidy scarce­ly par­al­leled in the most bar­barous ages, and total­ly unwor­thy the Head of a civ­i­lized nation.

He has con­strained our fel­low Cit­i­zens tak­en Cap­tive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Coun­try, to become the exe­cu­tion­ers of their friends and Brethren, or to fall them­selves by their Hands.

He has excit­ed domes­tic insur­rec­tions amongst us, and has endeav­oured to bring on the inhab­i­tants of our fron­tiers, the mer­ci­less Indi­an Sav­ages whose known rule of war­fare, is an undis­tin­guished destruc­tion of all ages, sex­es and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppres­sions We have Peti­tioned for Redress in the most hum­ble terms: Our repeat­ed Peti­tions have been answered only by repeat­ed injury. A Prince, whose char­ac­ter is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been want­i­ng in atten­tions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their leg­is­la­ture to extend an unwar­rantable juris­dic­tion over us. We have remind­ed them of the cir­cum­stances of our emi­gra­tion and set­tle­ment here. We have appealed to their native jus­tice and mag­na­nim­i­ty, and we have con­jured them by the ties of our com­mon kin­dred to dis­avow these usurpa­tions, which would inevitably inter­rupt our con­nec­tions and cor­re­spon­dence. They too have been deaf to the voice of jus­tice and of con­san­guin­i­ty. We must, there­fore, acqui­esce in the neces­si­ty, which denounces our Sep­a­ra­tion, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Ene­mies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, there­fore, the Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca, in Gen­er­al Con­gress, Assem­bled, appeal­ing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rec­ti­tude of our inten­tions, do, in the Name, and by Author­i­ty of the good Peo­ple of these Colonies, solemn­ly pub­lish and declare, That these unit­ed Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Inde­pen­dent States, that they are Absolved from all Alle­giance to the British Crown, and that all polit­i­cal con­nec­tion between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be total­ly dis­solved; and that as Free and Inde­pen­dent States, they have full Pow­er to levy War, con­clude Peace, con­tract Alliances, estab­lish Com­merce, and to do all oth­er Acts and Things which Inde­pen­dent States may of right do. — And for the sup­port of this Dec­la­ra­tion, with a firm reliance on the pro­tec­tion of Divine Prov­i­dence, we mutu­al­ly pledge to each oth­er our Lives, our For­tunes, and our sacred Honor.

Today we, as Amer­i­cans, cel­e­brate our Inde­pen­dence Day, but may we do so remem­ber­ing that the preser­va­tion of the Repub­lic and of con­sti­tu­tion­al gov­ern­ment is not some­thing which end­ed 232 years ago. If we val­ue our free­doms and the ideals of the Founders, we must con­tin­u­al­ly strive for them. That is why what Ron Paul has advo­cat­ed for has been called a “rev­o­lu­tion”; it is a cast­ing off of so much of what Amer­i­cans have been all but forced to accept and a re-pri­or­i­ta­tion of gov­ern­men­tal pow­ers to bet­ter resem­ble what was so care­ful­ly craft­ed cen­turies ago.

And if you are a Chris­t­ian read­ing this and do not feel it nec­es­sary for a Chris­t­ian to con­cern him­self with such things, I must beg to dif­fer and, in doing so, rec­om­mend Fran­cis Scha­ef­fer­’s A Chris­t­ian Man­i­festo, which explains the Ref­or­ma­tion ori­gins of the Amer­i­can repub­lic form of gov­ern­ment as well as the Chris­tian’s duty in regards to gov­ern­men­tal pow­ers and abus­es there­of. Cer­tain­ly, we can­not neglect evan­ge­lism as the pri­ma­ry mis­sion of the church, but we can­not sim­ply accept the dimin­ish­ing free­doms asso­ci­at­ed there­with in America.

Whether you agree with the above sen­ti­ments or not, I hope you have a great Inde­pen­dence Day week­end as we express to the Supreme Judge of the world our grat­i­tude for not liv­ing under a tyran­ni­cal monar­chy… and as we express our com­plete depen­dence upon the Cre­ator for our life, our lib­er­ty, and our hap­pi­ness. Praise God from whom all bless­ings flow.

11 thoughts on “Thoughts for the 4<sup class="ordinal">th</sup> of July”

  1. “a “rev­o­lu­tion”; it is a cast­ing off of so much of what Amer­i­cans have been all but forced to accept and a repri­or­i­ta­tion of gov­ern­men­tal pow­ers to bet­ter resem­ble what was so care­ful­ly craft­ed cen­turies ago”

    “Forced” to accept??

    I’m sure there are aspects of gov­ern­ment that you are “forced” to accept. I know there are aspects that I am “forced” to accept.

    But that Amer­i­cans in gen­er­al are “forced” to accept??

    There are a few instances where the major­i­ty has been forced to accept things that a minor­i­ty wished for (end of slav­ery, minor­i­ty vot­ing rights, etc.). But even in those cas­es, the “major­i­ty” may not nec­es­sar­i­ly have been a majority.

    You want to get rid of a gov­ern­ment pro­gram?? Then orga­nize enough peo­ple to force con­gress to get rid of it. It will take a lot of peo­ple, but it can be done (keep in mind the folks who ben­e­fit from the pro­gram you want to get rid of will fight to keep it, so it takes a LOT of people…)

    Can’t get all those peo­ple?? Hmmm, maybe Amer­i­cans in gen­er­al are not bear­ing a bur­den forced upon them by the government.

    Rev­o­lu­tion?? That would just clean things up for awhile, but the prob­lems that caused the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment to grow would sim­ply reap­pear and the process would repeat.

    State gov­ern­ment has it’s place, but the states are stuck try­ing to reg­u­late cor­po­ra­tions that (in many cas­es) have more mon­ey (read: pow­er) than the state does. Also, the corps have the option of sim­ply not doing busi­ness in a giv­en state, so the states can only do so much. This same met­ric takes place internationally.

    Also, his­tor­i­cal­ly, the states have been slow­er to pro­vide their cit­i­zens with equal rights.

    You men­tion Cana­da and I can’t help but think you are think­ing of your ear­li­er post about the Chris­t­ian who had to deal with the pos­si­bil­i­ty of break­ing the law if he preached against homosexuals.

    And I see the prob­lem there.

    But what about the oth­er side of the coin?? Should he be free to preach so vehe­ment­ly against gays the some in the con­gre­ga­tion are moti­vat­ed to go out and com­mit crimes against gays??

    I sus­pect that that is the prin­ci­ple rea­son for the exis­tence of the laws.

    In the­o­ry that law would pro­tect Chris­tians from Mus­lim preach­ers vehe­ment­ly preach­ing against Chris­tians to the point that the fol­low­ers would com­mit crimes against Christians.

    Bal­anc­ing reli­gious free­doms is tricky work.

    May you and Ali­cia have a ter­rif­ic Fourth!!

  2. Walt Dickinson

    Rick, I do hope you are not sug­gest­ing Ben­jamin Franklin and Thomas Jef­fer­son were Christians.

    Grant­ed, they were not athe­ists. There­fore, they did have reli­gious con­vic­tions, albeit deis­tic rather than the­is­tic. But they were not Chris­tians, and a basic knowl­edge of his­to­ry can sup­port this.

    Take Jef­fer­son, for exam­ple. He com­piled what we know as “The Jef­fer­son Bible” where­in is his per­son­al opin­ion about what Jesus real­ly did teach. In the Jef­fer­son Bible, you will not find a sin­gle ref­er­ence to the deity of Jesus, the Trin­i­ty, mir­a­cles (includ­ing the vir­gin birth and the res­ur­rec­tion of Jesus). Why? Because he believed that all these were mis­in­ter­pre­ta­tions of Jesus’ teach­ing added to the Gospels by the four Evan­ge­lists. Of course, you and I both know that in order to be a Chris­t­ian, a per­son needs to believe in the com­plete deity of Jesus Christ.

    What about Ben­jamin Franklin? No, he did­n’t believe in the divin­i­ty of Jesus, either. In a let­ter to Ezra Stiles, he wrote, “As to Jesus of Nazareth, my Opin­ion of whom you par­tic­u­lar­ly desire, 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; but I appre­hend it has received var­i­ous cor­rupt changes, and I have, with most of the present Dis­senters in Eng­land, some Doubts as to his divinity.”

    Were they reli­gious men? Yes, there is no deny­ing that. But to sug­gest they were Chris­tians is to turn a blind eye to what his­to­ry has so kind­ly record­ed for us.

  3. Walt Dickinson

    Rick writes, “If any­thing, the Dec­la­ra­tion reveals the mind set of ear­ly Amer­i­cans to be that gov­ern­ment is sub­ject to God.”

    Dec­la­ra­tion states, “Gov­ern­ments are insti­tut­ed among Men, deriv­ing their just pow­ers from the con­sent of the governed.”

    The dif­fer­ence? Gov­ern­ment, accord­ing to the Dec­la­ra­tion, is sub­ject to the gov­erned. Not God.

  4. Walt Dick­in­son: I did not sug­gest that Franklin & Jef­fer­son were Chris­tians. I know that they were not. I includ­ed them because even they accept­ed & signed a doc­u­ment which claimed author­i­ty in a vari­ety ways upon a God who is a whole lot more than the tra­di­tion­al deist con­cept of Him: He is Cre­ator, nature’s God, Supreme Judge, and He who has domin­ion over man. The god of the deists can claim none of those attributes.

    I sim­ply find it fas­ci­nat­ing that in estab­lish­ing our nation, these intel­li­gent men moved away from their beliefs toward a Judeo-Chris­t­ian con­cept of God. It’s amaz­ing to me because today we see the com­plete oppo­site; gov­ern­ment is mov­ing away from God in any form as quick­ly as court deci­sions or pop­u­lar opin­ion will allow.

    Regard­ing my state­ment that gov­ern­ment is sub­ject to God, I believe the dec­la­ra­tion sup­ports this. The whole con­text of the state­ment you quot­ed is the unalien­able rights which are endowed by the Cre­ator; to secure these rights, gov­ern­ments are insti­tut­ed among men — insti­tut­ed by who? I would say God, and I’m sure the framers had in mind Romans 13:1–7, the first verse using even the same lan­guage: “For there is no author­i­ty except from God, and those that exist have been insti­tut­ed by God.”

    That gov­ern­ment derives its pow­ers from men still refers back to the rights; if gov­ern­ment vio­lates these unalien­able rights, it is no longer exer­cis­ing “just pow­ers” and must be cast off. That there ought to be human gov­ern­ment, how­ev­er, is an insti­tu­tion of God and all are sub­ject to Him. I doubt the framers would dis­agree, espe­cial­ly in light of their recog­ni­tion of Him as Supreme Judge who exer­cis­es providence.

    Unless of course the writ­ers of the Dec­la­ra­tion were being com­plete­ly hyp­o­crit­i­cal in the use of faith­ful lan­guage as men are apt to do… I sup­pose that is a pos­si­bil­i­ty, but then what I’ve always been taught about these men is that they were of an upstand­ing char­ac­ter. Hypocrisy does­n’t seem becom­ing of them.

  5. Walt Dickinson

    Rick, sor­ry if I offended/hurt you. After reread­ing my last com­ments, I noticed I appeared way too antag­o­nis­tic, which, in hind­sight, I think I was.

    I don’t know why I felt the need to lash out at you. I guess it’s just because I think we can­not legit­i­mate­ly say that Amer­i­ca (or, rather, the DoI and the CotUSA) is found­ed on Chris­tian­i­ty. You can make the argu­ment that it was found­ed on Chris­t­ian-like beliefs, but “Chris­t­ian-like” and “Chris­t­ian” are two inher­ent­ly seper­ate things. Mor­monism, for exam­ple, is very Chris­t­ian-like, but it is, and nev­er can be, Chris­t­ian. It is a false reli­gion that pos­es to be truth. (Then again, I’m not exact­ly a Chris­t­ian myself, but that’s nei­ther here nor now).

    True, both Jef­fer­son and Franklin had a dif­fer­ent con­cept of God than “pure deists” did, but that does­n’t mean they “moved toward a Judeo-Chris­t­ian con­cept of God.” A false god is a false god is a false god, no mat­ter how much it resem­bles the true God. And because it is this false god that Jef­fer­son and Franklin had in mind when writ­ing the DoI, I’m still skep­ti­cal as to whether it can rea­son­ably be said Amer­i­ca is found­ed on Christianity.

    I read Scha­ef­fer­’s “Chris­t­ian Man­i­festo” (well, a lit­tle over half of it. I also read “How Then Should We Live,” which was real­ly fas­ci­nat­ing, read it if you haven’t.), so I know about the courts and judges that argue in favor of the “Amer­i­ca is a Chris­t­ian nation.” Of course, a lit­tle knowl­edge in his­to­ry tells me that the founders were, in large part, Puritans.

    How­ev­er, just because we start out in some way, does­n’t mean we should stay that way (assum­ing Amer­i­ca was found­ed on Chris­tian­i­ty). Grant­ed, you would dis­agree. :P

    Either way, this was a great dis­cus­sion. I love a rous­ing his­to­ry debate (which I’m actu­al­ly think­ing of hav­ing as a sec­ond major once I go to col­lege next year).

    Again, sor­ry about my rudeness.

  6. Walt Dick­in­son: “Rick, sor­ry if I offended/hurt you. After reread­ing my last com­ments, I noticed I appeared way too antag­o­nis­tic, which, in hind­sight, I think I was.” — I did­n’t think you were; if your com­ments were you being over­ly antag­o­nis­tic, then you’re doing quite well. :)

    I agree that Amer­i­ca should grow. How­ev­er, as argued by Scha­ef­fer in his Man­i­festo, it is the free­doms & form of gov­ern­ment which we have in Amer­i­ca which must be safe­guard­ed. It’s less about main­tain­ing the “Chris­t­ian-esque” aspects of it and more about main­tain­ing the con­sti­tu­tion­al­i­ty of it — that we are a Repub­lic and that the gov­ern­ment is sub­ject to a spe­cif­ic law — the Constitution.

    Such a gov­ern­men­tal sys­tem has its roots in Protes­tant Chris­tian­i­ty, aris­ing out of the Ref­or­ma­tion from the work of Samuel Ruther­ford, who was seen as trea­so­nous in Eng­land for dar­ing to ques­tion the divine right of roy­al­ty, as well as fol­lowup work by the (nonchris­t­ian) John Locke.

    Scha­ef­fer argues that it is the Chris­t­ian basis & under­stand­ing of this form of gov­ern­ment which makes it work and that when it is imple­ment­ed in nations which do not have a Chris­t­ian base or world­view, the results are not pret­ty. Of course, I do not know enough about world his­to­ry to know what the heck he is talk­ing about. :P

    He also points out that the big chal­lenges to Chris­tian­i­ty or sep­a­ra­tion of church & state or var­i­ous oth­er things in Amer­i­ca did­n’t exist until mass immi­gra­tion in the ear­ly 20th Cen­tu­ry brought in mil­lions who did not have the same Chris­t­ian world­view — not nec­es­sar­i­ly Chris­t­ian beliefs specif­i­cal­ly, but rather a “big pic­ture” view of the world.

    Scha­ef­fer rec­om­mend­ed How Then Should We Live about a thou­sand and two times in A Chris­t­ian Man­i­festo, but thank you also for the rec­om­men­da­tion. It does seem like a book I would enjoy and ben­e­fit from; I just need to get through my cur­rent umpteen books that I’m reading.

    Again, don’t wor­ry about the rude­ness; I did­n’t even notice it. :P

    (And I take it you’re in high school? I’ve been think­ing you were at least my age if not older!)

    Take care!

  7. Senior wrote: “Should he be free to preach so vehe­ment­ly against gays the some in the con­gre­ga­tion are moti­vat­ed to go out and com­mit crimes against gays??

    I sus­pect that that is the prin­ci­ple rea­son for the exis­tence of the laws.”

    Unfor­tu­nate­ly the law is in place to end the sem­b­lence of intol­er­ance towards homo­sex­u­als. It is not the rad­i­cals they are try­ing to curb, indeed we have a sur­pris­ing few right wing rad­i­cals, it is the mid­dle-of-the-road con­ser­v­a­tive-but-do-lit­tle-but-talk-about-it types it is levied against.

  8. Walt Dickinson

    Senior wrote, “Should he be free to preach so vehe­ment­ly against gays the some in the con­gre­ga­tion are moti­vat­ed to go out and com­mit crimes against gays??”

    I find this a bit iron­ic, because I am pro-gay rights, but I think every Chris­t­ian (pas­tors or con­gre­ga­tion) should have the free­dom of speech grant­ed with­in the First Amend­ment to express their dis­plea­sure with homo­sex­u­als. I am fierce­ly against any piece of leg­is­la­tion that destroys an Amer­i­can’s indi­vid­ual right to free speech. If, how­ev­er, a pas­tor were to rail against homo­sex­u­als in such a way that there is a clear link between his ser­mon and a crime involv­ing the abuse of a homosexual(s), I would have no prob­lem with the hate-crime bill.

    I agree that silenc­ing a Chris­tian’s belief is wrong, how­ev­er much I may dis­agree with it. Civ­il dis­cus­sion is the best policy.

    Although, Senior is right. Hate-crime bills are in place because, in prin­ci­ple, they are meant to pro­tect homo­sex­u­als from rad­i­cals. Sad­ly, hate-crime bills are, in prac­tice, used against oth­er­wise inno­cent Chris­tians to fur­ther the infa­mous “gay agenda.”

  9. Walt Dick­in­son: Just curi­ous about some­thing you said, about dis­agree­ing with the Chris­tian’s belief. I’m curi­ous how that cor­re­lates with what you told me on this past April 27:

    For the past five days now, I’ve real­ly felt the pres­ence of God. I’ve kept to my Bible read­ings, I’ve kept to my prayers. Last night I mem­o­rized five pas­sages of Scrip­ture (John 10:10, 1 John 2:1, Psalm 51:1–3, Romans 10:9–10, and Matthew 1:1–4). But the best part of it all is the fact that I feel so free from my sin­ful nature! God has removed all desire to flee from Him.

  10. Walt Dickinson

    Put two and two togeth­er, have you, Rick? Well, I did­n’t expect you to take too long. :)

    Just curi­ous, though, where exact­ly did I say that? Because I did­n’t find it at all in your archives.

    Any­way, like you, opin­ions change. I know we’re talk­ing about me here, but was­n’t it you who said some­thing along the lines, “I’m sor­ry for hav­ing for­got­ten about Jesus, and telling every­one I know about Ron Paul. Jesus Christ is the only Per­son that mat­ters?” And look at you now! Some­where along the way you man­aged to rec­on­cile your faith with your politics.

    I am on the same road, only instead of pol­i­tics, it’s human sexuality.

  11. Walt Dick­in­son: The quote came from a pri­vate mes­sage on the Hall when you mes­sage and said you were through with the “Mr. E. Nig­ma” account.

    The qua­si-quote you gave was­n’t a change in opin­ion, rather a con­fes­sion that my pri­or­i­ties were a bit out of whack. I’ve still not ful­ly rec­on­ciled faith & pol­i­tics; peo­ple have been try­ing to for 2,000 years… I don’t reck­on I will. As for the big­ger issue…

    Rec­on­cil­ing homo­sex­u­al­i­ty & bib­li­cal faith is some­thing that is an impos­si­bil­i­ty; to embrace one is to reject the oth­er. Either God’s Word is truth or it is not, and I would rec­om­mend to you The Same Sex Con­tro­ver­sy: Defend­ing and Clar­i­fy­ing the Bible’s Mes­sage about Homo­sex­u­al­i­ty by James White & Jef­frey Niell.

    I know you well enough to know that you under­stand the Truth, and I also know that you know that if you com­pro­mise Truth, the only thing that remains is a lie.

    You’re a good friend and I care about you, Justin… and I fear that you are jeop­ar­diz­ing your soul. What prof­it is it to gain a homo­sex­u­al rela­tion­ship if it costs you your soul, and how much of an idol is it that you would refuse to cast it aside to embrace the Father of Lights?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Use your Gravatar-enabled email address while commenting to automatically enhance your comment with some of Gravatar's open profile data.

Comments must be made in accordance with the comment policy. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam; learn how your comment data is processed.

You may use Markdown to format your comments; additionally, these HTML tags and attributes may be used: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Rick Beckman