This month’s post will probably be labeled by many as right up there with Don Quixote’s “Impossible Dream”, but I still have faith in people, and so I’m going to write it anyway. It’s addressed to everyone, and particularly to Woke, secular progressives, who think the Judeo-Christian foundations of our nation’s laws and principles are not important today. They are. Please follow this argument:
The terrible, destructive impact of Evil, always present but usually doubted by modern thinkers, has been manifestly displayed for all to see in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and in China’s brutal authoritarianism, from previously killing girl babies to currently reprogramming Uyghurs and locking down hundreds of millions of their citizens. Evil is real and wants to destroy us. I agree with President Biden that, despite all our faults, America is now the main bulwark standing between societies with individual rights and freedoms, and those where autocracies rule and perpetrate evils on a daily basis.
The unique difference about America is the interaction of two different but equally necessary foundational truths designed to minimize the impact of Evil on our national life:
- Our Declaration of Independence proclaims that our rights as individuals (to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, among others) are ordained by our Creator, because He made us, male and female, in His image. These rights are not given by any government or by other people. They are always and inherently ours as individually created humans, not because of our race, gender, tribe, income, location, or any other characteristic. We are all created equal in God’s eyes. And since He created us, and since He is the opposite of Evil, wanting only the best for us, He has rules on how it’s best for us to act and to live.
- Because of our fallen state, everyone placed in positions of power, without exception, will eventually use that power to his or her own advantage, in either small or large ways. The only protection against the worst abuses of selfish power is to set up checks and balances which define how everyone can continue to pursue her or his own interests, but without harming others, governed by the Rule of Law (i.e., a Constitution), and with a free press dedicated to reporting the truth, not promoting lies or spin.
The thought revolutions of Romanticism, Abiogenesis, Evolution, Marxism, Post-Modernism and Progressivism, and the actual Revolutions in France, Russia, China, and elsewhere, all denied the first truth, that we are the image-bearers of a personal God-Creator. But if there is no God, then our rights and rules do not come from Him, and they therefore may be made by and defined by other people. So other people can by whim, or majority vote, or the latest poll, give “human” rights to you, or they can take them away, as in, at the extremes, slavery and abortion.
The second requirement, Rule of Law and Checks and Balances, were, and still are, rare in human societies. The early European nations accepted the first truth, but then invested all power in a Monarchy and/or the Church, thereby stripping individuals of their rights, and leading to constant wars. Even today, the number of countries where one can expect that the Rule of Law might in most circumstances outweigh bribes, tribal loyalties, religious divisions or the whims of autocrats are thirty or less. Everyone else lives in nations where individual rights are basically non-existent. Clearly Russia and China are vivid examples of that reality.
For America to continue to be the final defender of individual liberty and human rights, both truths must be honored, taught and uplifted by the majority of the nation.
Just as early Europe floundered by largely believing in God but without the Rule of Law, so we have been increasingly experimenting with a society trying to do just the opposite: sustain the Rule of Law, but without belief that our individual rights and the best rules to live by are given to us by the God-Creator. And the results are increasingly disastrous.
It’s important to note that whenever the moral dictates inherent in the first truth have come into conflict with generally good but still imperfect human Rule of Law (like the provision for slavery in our original Constitution), it has often taken a struggle, but the triumph of God’s rules and individual liberty have until now prevailed. Think of the American Revolution, the Civil War, Women’s Suffrage, and the Civil Rights Movement.
Without that God-given moral compass of the first truth, imperfect laws which decrease individual liberty are often the result, because their enactment only depends on who is in power, and there is no recourse to a greater authority.
The terrible result is the increasing triumph of authority over the individual, as we would predict. That authority may be represented by any government at any level, but it can also be exercised by employers, schools, and institutions.
Covid lockdowns, Abortion, Critical Race Theory, Media Conformity, High Tech Censors, Covid Rules for Living, Red Lining Neighborhoods, Prohibition, Laws against Adult Sexual behavior, Hostility to Free Speech, the War on Drugs, Data Mining, Sexualizing Schools, Woke Educational practices—the basis for all these attacks on individuals, and on individual families, is the belief that one group of people knows better than all others the rules for how every adult and every child in America should live.
Let me be clear on an important distinction that often is confusing, and with this I may anger some of my conservative friends. As I have written about for years (See “The War on Drugs Causes Insanity“), I think that drug addiction, alcoholism, and all forms of sex outside the marriage of one man and one woman go against God’s will for us and eventually lead to terrible outcomes—which is why He tells us not to participate. And marriage should not be redefined—it is a sacrament defined by God. Moreover, I think these truths should be taught in our schools and held high in the public square as the correct values for living, as God’s plan for all of us. But I also don’t think there should be laws which punish adults for using drugs, alcohol or sex outside marriage. At best, like Prohibition, they are self-defeating. These are very important moral issues on which everyone needs to hear God’s truth, but they should not be legal issues. My point is that it’s vitally important for God’s truth to be heard openly in the public square, so that it can impact individuals, and not silenced by zealots, as it is today.
The result of trying to govern without both truths firmly in place is always a disaster of authoritarianism crushing freedom and liberty. Always. From Catholic France in the eighteenth century to today’s Islamic governments and increasingly domineering secular governments and institutions in the West.
The genius of America is that the Founders based our government on both truths, but they clearly warned that without a virtuous population well versed in Christian basics—as was the case in their day—this form of government could easily fail. People, not God, would then decide our rights and our rules, and people are by definition imperfect.
If you want our nation to continue as a bastion of individual liberty and to remain true to its founding principles, but you do not believe in God, that’s clearly your choice. But I ask you not to force your choice on others, and to think very hard about how important are both conditions to prevent tyranny.
As an aside, if you think “Science” has now triumphed over “Faith”, and that Judeo-Christian beliefs are old-school and silly, you are simply wrong. I invite you to read several earlier posts which I’ve written on this subject, over years of research. See “Faith is Reasonable” from 2018, and the links therein. Because no one on the Science side can explain the beginning of the universe, or how life first began, or even how Macroevolution works, it actually takes more faith to believe in “Science” than it does in a Creator God. I hope you will honestly look into this—it’s fascinating. And then, if you might imagine a Creator and His ideas for how you should live, you may also realize your need for a living Savior. But that is not the central topic today.
Rather, I want you, the Woke progressive, even as a non-believer, to simply appreciate how important it is and how much better off is our nation when we acknowledge that our rights and our rules come from the Creator who made us, thereby enshrining Individual Liberty under Rule of Law as the final standard for all possible laws and rules—as opposed to the right of the government to dictate its edicts to us, which always leads to disaster.
In short, I’m giving secularists, atheists and progressive activists a very important reason to stop banning or limiting Christian, conservative and traditional teaching in the public square, including in the media, schools, and institutions. It’s crucial to our nation’s future and for the protection of our liberty that we let everyone hear and decide on ideas and actions from all sides, banning no one. And silencing no one by calling him or her a racist or a bigot for disagreeing with certain views on any subject.
I don’t think a Christian baker should be forced to make cakes for a gay wedding. I think males should not compete as females in athletic events (and I believe there are just two separate genders). I think we are defined by our character, not by the color of our skin. I think abortion is the murder of a defenseless child. I don’t think white people are always and permanently oppressors because of their skin color. I don’t believe teachers should over-sexualize young students, away from their families. All of those ideas come from God’s truths, and I should be able to state them clearly and advocate for their adoption without fear of being cancelled, excluded, or fired. If you disagree, are your ideas so fragile that they can’t stand equal scrutiny?
So, here is my challenge, my plea, to the Woke among us, still hoping that many of you are people of good will: Believe and say what you want.
But recognize that your freedom to speak as you do, as much as mine, depends on encouraging the belief—in my mind, the truth—that our individual rights come from a Creator, not from the government or from other people.
By the way, I believe these to be truths because truth makes its way quite well on its own. Truth doesn’t need protection or secrecy or blustering to survive. Think of Russia’s threatening manipulation of the events in Ukraine, or of our Educators hiding books and curricula from parents. Lies need hiding, explanation, and diversion. Truth flourishes in the light, and loves to be challenged.
If you agree, then our debates can go on, and our nation will continue to be the bastion of freedom.
If you disagree, then you are the leading edge of the tyranny that will easily destroy us all, including you. And you are, in fact, a dupe of that Enemy. But God’s Truth will win, despite his and your best efforts at deception.
It is interesting how smoothly truth flows forth from the human spirit when unfettered. And this flows smoother than the Federalist Papers authored by James Madison, James Monroe, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. I think it is also important to distinguish how the phrase “the pursuit of happiness” is allowed to take root and seek its own level in a free society among free people and the “multiplier effect” it has when it takes root. Freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion are all collateral licenses from our Creator to enjoy. So is the freedom to defend ourselves through the second and third, fourth and fifth amendments. It is interesting that the president prior to Trump bemoaned the fact that our freedoms described in our Constitution told us what government could NOT do instead of what it COULD do. That’s because we have here a government that does not exist for us to serve it. It exists only to serve us. You see, the Founding Fathers already had our number and had dialed in exactly what a “woke society” meant.
In all the world, that is quite revolutionary and to be cherished. Yet, I worry when those who would limit our freedoms will roll in the guillotines and begin whacking off heads because of their hatred of freedom. They live among us now those who would do so the longer we practice our freedoms. They are not just abroad, either. They live among us. And decided government policy is to import more of them. We have to wake up to threats both foreign and domestic and deal with each as is merited. Freedom is not a fetish, it is a fact to be preserved. Central truth is worth preserving. But it only lasts, as Reagan once said, one generation at a time, just like our Judeo-Christian heritage lasts. We should hold fast to these truths, because there are many around full of hate who want to extinguish the light of freedom.
Thank you, John, for your insights and encouragement over so many years.
As a Canadian I particularly dislike one of your laws: “the right to bear arms”. This law cmpletely ignores the time and circumstance when the law was enacted: guns at the time took minutes to load and fire. Is it not time to change the law, or better yet, change the behaviour of gun bearers?
As reading this , I felt as though I was standing on holy ground.
Well said Parker—simple truth put forward very directly, logically, and easily understood. Thanks.
Oh, this is good stuff!
Crystalized in my mind now is that if there is no God, and He did not bestow upon us our individual rights as spelled out in those three magnificent documents, then those rights originated from a fallen, fickle people.
And if that is true, our liberties can be removed.