Commentary: Where our freedom really comes from
The July 6 editorial on Independence by Forum News Service, while praising the principles of the American political experiment, left the readers with a huge misconception of the true nature of American freedom.
First, The Forum implied that the American experiment was not based in ethnicity, language or geography. Secondly, they stated that the concepts of Constitutional government developed by the founding fathers had their origins in the Enlightenment movement. Finally, they stated that the concepts of liberty expressed in the American form of government were based on the concept of "inalienable rights", a term the editor purposely left undefined.
It is important to understand the history of the American colonies in the 18th Century. First, nearly all the citizens of the colonies were English-speaking products of European society. The Europe of the 18th Century was the product of over 1,000 years of Christian Western Civilization.
All 13 colonies were the domain of the British Empire and all of the legislative and governmental systems in the colonies were shaped by the British system of representative government. America was not an unbounded amorphous non-nation state. On the contrary, we were bounded on the south by the Gulf of Mexico, the east by the Atlantic Ocean, the north by the St Lawrence Seaway, and the west by the Appalachian Mountains. The "new nation conceived in liberty" built by our founding fathers was not for all people, but for the Christian population of the original 13 colonies.
Remember the first action by the Jamestown colonists was to land at Cape Henry and plant a Christian cross on April 23, 1607 and proclaim the Christian roots of the new colony (a memorial still stands today, tucked away in the sand dunes, proclaiming the planting of that cross). Thirteen years later, the Mayflower expedition proclaimed by compact in 1620 that this new colony was "undertaken for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith." John Adams wrote of the new experiment in government that "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
So where did the inalienable rights of the this new nation come from? The Declaration of Independence clearly states they were "endowed by the Creator"… given to us by God. And how did we know them? Our founding fathers believed they were the product of Natural Law and of the Christian Scriptures. Natural Law implies that God has engraved them into the conscious of the human race he created. The Christian Scriptures declare they are the "revealed" plan for humanity given by the Creator. Yes, our founding fathers read Rene Descartes, John Locke, Votaire, Hume, Rousseau and their anchorless concepts of - human reason as the source of knowledge. Our founding fathers did not reject reason … rather they informed reason by Christian education and by Christian truths.
Consider the difference between the French Revolution (based upon the Enlightenment) and the American War for Independence.
Our founding fathers were taking the rights and principles of freedom granted by God in the Christian Scriptures and Natural Law and declaring a new government, independent of the tyrrany of the British crown (read the Declaration of Independence). On the contrary the French were declaring revolution against the ruling class of France. The French Revolution was a "Humanistic" murderous affair that led ultimately to the dictatorship of Napoleon. The American War of Independence led to the greatest experiment in liberty ever achieved by mankind. Let’s remember the truth about where our freedom really comes from!