By Hannah Ihms -
When a small band of American colonists took on the world superpower of their day, they didn’t speak from a position of military superiority. They also didn’t cite a Rasmussen poll or make an emotional appeal. They presented the facts: King George III’s actions assaulted God’s laws.
Their actions weren’t based on a moral majority; they were based on a moral authority. This appeal to a higher law is not to be underestimated. The Founders were deeply motivated by a Judeo-Christian worldview which showed that the unchanging God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was the definition of all that was good, and that He had revealed absolute truth by embedding it in each person’s soul, and providing a written, unchanging account of His Word. The Founders freely acknowledged the role that Judeo-Christianity played in the framing of this new nation’s laws. As John Adams said, “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion . . . Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” James Wilson, U.S. Supreme Court Justice and signer of the Constitution, said, “Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority of that law which is divine... Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual assistants. Indeed, these two sciences run into each other.”
According to Judeo-Christianity, each person has inherent worth because he is created in God’s image. But because man is fallen, he is not perfectible in this life. God is the ultimate authority, and no man is “above the law.” Anyone’s actions can be weighed against the ideal that God provided. The Founders established a system where all laws were compared to the Constitution, and, ultimately, to the absolute law of God. Americans could pursue a “more perfect” union by studying the ideal God provided for their nature and human systems and work to more closely approach the ideal. The Founders’ understanding of this and their first-hand experience with a tyrant allowed them to build a system that affirmed personal freedom and provided a limited government with separated powers. They gave us something they had not inherited from the Crown: a Constitution.
The words of our Declaration and Constitution were not intended to molder behind glass; they were intended to be read and understood by every American citizen. They can stand up to detailed legal scrutiny, but they can also be grasped by someone who wants to understand the Founders’ original intent. Interpreting the Constitution isn’t a privilege reserved for nine men in black robes; it’s something each of us should do. How else can the policeman, soldier, judge, or President’s oath to uphold the Constitution have any meaning? How can any of us obey a law we don’t understand?
The genius of the Founders’ system is evident, even as we see it crumbling through misuse. A person did not have to be a Jew or a Christian to survive and thrive in America, but he did need to respect the principles that governed the nation’s founding: principles such as the equality of all people before the law, the right to own private property, and the requirement for multiple witnesses to testify in criminal proceedings.
Law was not arbitrary, but purposeful. Laws could be found to be good or bad based on how they compared to the highest law of the land, and the Law of God. Even after many of our leaders ceased to be personally guided by Judeo-Christianity, a latent memory of this worldview maintained the original design of our nation.
All that is changing. Clay and iron are being mixed, and the amalgam is brittle. Various worldviews overlap to a point, but some of their core properties are completely incompatible. One must gain the ascendancy. A battle of worldviews is taking place in America, and it’s unclear which will dominate. Six of the major players are Biblical Judeo-Christianity, Secular Humanism (“liberalism”), Marxism-Leninism (“Leftism”), Cosmic Humanism (“New Age”), Postmodernism, and Islam.
All offer very different approaches to ethics, history, law, theology, and other aspects of a worldview. If Judeo-Christianity offers a bounded sandbox for statecraft, Marxism-Leninism stokes animosities between sandcarriers and sandcrafters, Islam demands a pre-fab home, and Postmodernism questions the existence of sand. Since many of the worldviews deny the very existence of God, they lift up man to the throne of absolute judgment. They see truth not as a fixed ideal, but as an evolving mass, which the more ambitious seek to shape. All have different answers to the question “What is the basic nature of man?” which is why they differ so completely on questions such as the ethics of taxation and redistribution, union lobbies, abortion, and homosexuality. Many worldviews do not see the Constitution as a guide to understand ultimate reality or a protective barrier that applies the truth discovered in a triumph over tyranny, but shackles on human development.
Several key battlegrounds between the worldviews are the education, culture, and politics. The trend in these institutions is not for a person to critically evaluate ideas on their merits, but to find the consensus and conform to it. Our educational system could be a location for the free interchange of ideas, but more often it radically transforms a person’s worldview by making full use of authority structures. The process that began inside the classroom can continue outside, if a person does not critically evaluate the messages of worldviews blazing to them through films, celebrities, and the news feed. Finally, as Sharia Law’s codified dhimmitude so eloquently demonstrates, a person does not have to convert to be manipulated and subjugated. A worldview can dominate others by occupying positions of power, even if its adherents are in the minority. Because the laws of our nation reflect our lawmakers, as the elected officials go, so goes the nation.
If we are to reclaim our nation, we must do what our Founders did. We must compare our laws and our leaders to the ultimate standard, draw our own conclusions, and take action. This country is too precious to surrender.