Sunday, February 01, 2009

What Do Conservatives Believe, Part Two: GOD Is The Cornerstone of Our Republic














I am thrilled to have found the book, "The Conservative's Handbook (Defining the Right Position on Issues from A to Z)", by Phil Valentine, a few weeks ago. It is chock-full of "facts, not emotions", and it is the study on which I am basing this series of posts on conservative principles.

One major difference between liberals and conservatives is this:
"the writings of our Founding Fathers leave [absolutely] no doubt that belief in GOD was, and is, the cornerstone of our republic".  
Want to hear something that I would venture to say most Americans do not know?
"There is NO such thing as separation of church and state in the U.S. Constitution. It is nowhere to be found in the entire document. The First Amendment simply states,"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". It articulates a freedom OF religion, not a freedom FROM it."
Now, to understand the original intent of the founding fathers, it's necessary to do our homework, and in The Conservative's Handbook, Valentine has done it for us. I encourage you to get a copy for yourself and study it--you will be amazed. In short,
"the individual state constitutions laid down the law regarding church and state"
and in fact, many states required that if a man was to become a politician, he must first be a man who believed in God.  It wasn't until the courts began to completely disregard or misinterpret the U.S. Constitution that such a fuzzy line was drawn, and so many people were led to believe that, according to the Constitution,  God-and anyone professing to be a practicing Christian- is to be left out of any government entity. Not so. In fact, our founding fathers "were protecting the states from an overbearing federal government".  Guess what constitution DOES mandate separation of church and state? That would be the Soviet Union Constitution, chapter 7, article 52, section 2, which states:
"In the USSR, the church is separated from the state, and the school from the church."
Interesting, don't you think? Does this mean that every conservative is a born again Christian? No. It means that conservatives believe that the idea of inalienable rights is exclusively a biblical idea. The right to be free is given by our Creator--there's a reason why there are no naturally occurring Islamic or Buddhist democracies. GOD is the cornerstone of our republic. HE is our foundation. 

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

It means that conservatives believe that the idea of inalienable rights is exclusively a biblical idea. The right to be free is given by our Creator--there's a reason why there are no naturally occurring Islamic or Buddhist democracies.

This really made me laugh. For most of the last to millenia, Christianity has been a form of institutionalized slavery two assuage the suffering of millions at the hands of tyrants. "It's ok if you suffer now because you'll be rewarded in the next life." How ridiculous. Living life by someone else's rules, someone who may not even exist, is not being free. You should really reevaluate your beliefs.

Anonymous said...

I am blessed to have been born in America in 1937. I was born again by God's Holy Spirit in 1970. No one forced me to make that decision. A suggestion was made to me once where I worked running a production line for Dow Chemical Corp. in Findlay, OH. That believer said to me "Why not try the claims of Christ? If there is nothing to them, you lose nothing but your time. If there is something to them, you gain everything." I could not be honest with self and not at least put Him to the proof test. He passed it with flying colors and always will. He is truth, He is the way, He is the life. Everyone is free to believe or not believe what they wish. To deny me the right to free expression of my belief is to chain the denier of me on down the road should you change your mind or belief. I have never seen electricity but it's existence is evident. I have never seen the wind. It is there. What I do not believe changes nothing. I can climb to the top of the tallest bldg., leap off screaming all of the way down "I do not believe in gravity", but the end result is still the same. Freedom brings restraint. I am free to grab live electrical bare wires and electrocute self. I am free to walk against the traffic light and perhaps be wiped out by an inattentive driver. We must all be free to choose what we believe and be free to express it. You are free to shout your unbelief. I am free to stand up for mine. That is the way it should be. I would persuade you peacefully to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Would you for the sake of truth put His claims in Romans chapter 10, verses 9to 13 to the test? Don't we owe ourselves that much? Is not free expression of thought what brings conversation? Brings the opportunity to think of what's been expressed and make a relative decision about it? whether we decide to believe or reject what has been verbalized or penned.
Remember that chains bind, grate, and abrade, and restrict free expression. Loose the shackles that bind and walk out of jail a free individual. Is not choice a wondrous freedom?
Ken Woodstock 22664

Mel said...

It is always amazing this total confusion about church and state...but people latched onto that and decided to run with it...the government is not allowed to keep me from practicing religion or not practicing religion...it does not mean removing God from the public square...the evidence of the results of that desire by the minority is all around us..excellent post.

DarkBlue04 said...

First of all, I think it is an excellent idea to frame a multi-part series of entries around The Conservatives Handbook. I'm excited about the opportunity to dive deeply into the ideas behind our political parties, rather than just sniping about particular policies.

I want to start by addressing the assertion that "...the idea of inalienable rights is exclusively a biblical idea." This is inaccurate.

The concept of inalienable rights - also referred to as "natural rights" - appears independently of religion throughout Western philosophy. Aristotle, Locke, and Rousseau would probably be the best examples (with Aristotle of course writing well before the time of Jesus). None of these authors ties the existence of natural rights to Christianity - or to any religion at all. Rather, they are presented as logical conclusions drawn from both empirical observation and a priori analysis.

It's interesting to look at Locke in particular, since he was enormously influential on our own Founding Fathers. His position was that among the natural rights we enjoy as human beings were the right to "life, health, liberty [and] possessions." The reasoning behind this was that if we could not guarantee these to all people, then society itself could not exist (because these are all fundamental human desires, and those who do not feel that they securely possess them will secure them by force).

In identifying "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" as "inalienable rights," Jefferson and his colleagues were certainly alluding to Locke's work if not necessarily quoting it directly. It's true that the phrase "Endowed by their Creator" also appears there, but Jefferson was much more of a Deist than a practicing Christian and certainly didn't intend to be a religious revolutionary.

Secondly, I want to address the argument that "...there are no naturally occurring Islamic or Buddhist democracies." This is also inaccurate.

Turkey, Egypt, and Morocco are all practicing democracies of various sorts. Egypt is a parliamentary republic that has moved beyond parliamentary selection of the chief executive to now allow popular direct elections. Morocco is a constitutional monarchy (similar to the UK), and Turkey is a democratic republic that also uses a parliament. All three have universal suffrage (meaning men and women can vote) for individuals 18 and older. All three also have a judicial system in place to hold the legislative and executive accountable. It is also worth noting that Turkey is currently in the process of earning admission to the European Union, which will ensure additional safeguards for the democratic process in that nation.

It is true that these nations are still the exception rather than the rule in the Arab world, but trying to equate Islam with authoritarianism and Christianity with democracy is a bit specious. Democracy, after all, was first practiced by pagans (the ancient Greeks) and the "Divine Right of Kings" asserted throughout Europe for hundreds of years was a product of Christianity.

Last but not least, I must profoundly disagree with the assertion that "belief in God was, and is, the cornerstone of our republic." Quite simply, nothing could be further from the truth.

Our country began because of individuals fleeing religious persecution (and to a certain extent, seeking economic opportunity.) While the Catholic Church certainly exerted a fair bit of political influence for much of British history, the Church of England ultimately proved far more powerful because of its inextricable entanglement with the Crown. When looking to create a totally new form of government, our Founders were keenly aware of the dangers that came from a government being able to exercise spiritual as well as legal authority. The fact that religious freedom was included in the very first amendment to our Constitution underscores how vital the separation of church and state was to its authors.

To close, it is worth pointing out that this certainly does mean we have freedom from religion as well as freedom of religion. The core of the First Amendment is freedom of thought - to choose what to believe and how to practice that belief. Whether or not one believes in God is surely the most personal of all thoughts, and the last that should ever be subject to government scrutiny.

Apathetic Apostle said...

"The right to be free is given by our Creator--there's a reason why there are no naturally occurring Islamic or Buddhist democracies."

According to your statement, Lucifer would be a great example to all men. Lucifer, in fact, had the right to be free, and chose that right. Those of us who worship God, chose to follow the word of God and so by definition (not free).

And what do you mean by "Naturally Occuring". Would you define the Revolutionary War a "Naturally occuring" event?

Also, which conservatives believe that inalienable rights are exlusively a biblical idea? I am certain there were many atheists during that period that also felt they shouldn't be oppressed by a tyranical King in England.

Finally, when you speak of Islam, are you saying that Muslims don't believe in God? If that is the case, I would suggest you brush up on your religous studies, because the last time I checked, the Muslim religion is an Abrahamian religion. "allah" is just a word for God.

Jules said...

Jefferson's Letter...Thomas Jefferson (in his oft miss-quoted dissertation on the subject) did NOT state that there was or should be such a separation, but that there was a "wall of separation" which the government could not breach.

The misunderstood statement from Thomas Jefferson has resulted in Judges who ignore the Constitution and the original intent of the First Amendment of our Founding Fathers.

Jefferson's statement was in a letter to a group of Baptists in Connecticut (January 1, 1802), who were concerned about the government breaching their religious freedom and the affairs of the Church. Jefferson in his letter stated exactly this:

"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State."

Is not Jefferson saying the legislature can not favor a specific religion and it can not prohibit religious exercise?

As he also stated: "No power over the freedom of religion is delegated to the United States by the Constitution."

I have to go with the Founding Fathers and not our Liberal Court System.

Tami said...

Thanks for making this point Jules. The book I refer to goes into great detail on this point on page 44.

John said...

Apathetic,

I am always amused by your choice of identity because it is so apropos of you. Once again you amaze me with your profound ignorance of the relevant concepts.

I'm not sure what you were smoking when you wrote your first paragraph, but Satan's choice was one of rebellion which resulted in his enslavement to all that is wicked. He has made himself The Enemy and is to be bound for all eternity in the Lake of Fire. Satan chose to turn his back on the ultimate form of freedom...freedom to do what is right, good, and holy. He is now a slave to his own baseness and wickedness. Just as all of us, who do not know Christ, are enslaved by our sin. Freedom is only freedom as it relates to being holy. Your statement is simply stupid, ignorant in the extreme.

Yes, inalienable rights, as inherent in the person, are exclusively Christian in origin. All the other political philosophers linked the idea of inalienable rights to the persons relationship to the state. Therefore, what the state gives it can take away. The Christian scholar conceptualized inalienable rights as inherent--based on man being made in the image of God. I have no idea where you're going with the rest of that paragraph.

I'm only including your comment as a teaching point. Otherwise, there is no relevance in what you have to say here.

For the edification of other, thinking, individuals: The God of Islam is not the God of the Bible. What is "Abrahamian?" Is that some island in the Bahamas? Anyway, Muslims do not believe in the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) a fundamental tenet of Christian theology. Muslims DO NOT believe in the God presented in the Bible.

Apathetic, perhaps you should be less sluggardly in your studies so that, in the future, you don't appear quite so ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

The constitution speaks of the FREE EXERCISE THEREOF. It says nothing about PAID or TAXPAYER SUBSIDIZED EXERCISE THEREOF. To follow the constitution, get religion out of subsidized activities like school. Put the FREE back in freedom and stop making others PAY so you can worship your god. End tax subsidies for religion and church exemptions from taxes.

Keith said...

I always find it odd how Christians go on and on about how there are no other democracies in non-Christian countries. What about India? That's a democracy where the population is overwhelmingly Hindu and Buddhist. What about Thailand which is a Constitutional Monarchy like England and Canada? There's democracy there. What about Japan where there is less than 1% Christian population and the majority of the people are either Shinto, Buddhist, or non-religious?
Religion is not the reason for democracy, just like democracy is not the reason for religion.

Keith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

In thinking about the posts discussing the Muslims and their belief; I admire their determination, but there is far more involved. To believe in God that had the power to come down from the cross and destroy the world, but in His infinite power, love and mercy chose to remain nailed to it for us, makes me love Him even more. He had the strength of character to take no vengeance. He had the power to raise Himself up from the dead and did do so. He had the power to rise to heaven before more than 500 living witnesses. He is coming back for us that believe. That is the God that I chose to worship back in 1970. He came in Spirit and filled my life with love, joy, peace and satisfaction. I await His coming in the clouds for us. What amazes me is that men kill those that God only had the power to create. Men made in His likeness and image. Is not God the final judge? Do we not all indeed stand before Him at the last to receive what we deserve? When will men stop playing God? Yes! Jesus Christ could have taken the weak stance of "I will get revenge" and could have stepped down from His cross and destroyed the entire world in an instant. He was too strong and mighty to take that weak stand. Children almost always fight back and strike out at each other. Let's grow up and become strong men and women. Try to be like this God that I serve. You too can know Him. I am praying.
Ken Watkins

John said...

DarkBlue04,

I apologize for the delay in posting your comment. However, this isn't a profession for us. Though your comment is lengthy it belies a fundament flaw. Inalienable rights, specific to the person, is a uniquely Christian idea. Yes, yes, Lock, the Greeks, blah blah blah. These political theorists attached natural rights, rights that we understand today as inalienable, only in relation to the person's citizenship. Therefore, the rights that a man or woman possessed were granted by the state, they were not understood as being characteristic of a citizen's personhood. Therefore, the state could revoke those rights at any time e.g Greece and Rome. This idea, that certain rights are inalienable--that they are incapable of being denied or bartered away--inherent in personhood is derived from the concept of man being made in the image of God. Man derives all of his value from this concept. Apart from this, man is only meat. A hunk of flesh with variable value based on his relationship to the state. It is a monstrosity that can only be corrected by making reference to Divine Revelation. I understand your confusion. These are not concepts that are taught in schools and universities. As we become an increasingly Godless society, these precious notions will be lost and mankind will be debased as a result.

Turkey, Egypt, et al. These nations know democratic institutions only to the extent of their exposure to the West and to Christian ideals. Certainly, any conceptualization of inalienable rights are due to the work of Christian missions.

To disagree with the assertion that our nation was founded upon Christian principal is patently absurd and reveals your profound ignorance of U.S. history and of our founding documents. I find your assertion to be shocking and a revelation of the poverty of our educational system--a nationalized behemoth which begets twisted and stunted offspring.

"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 of the Gift of 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; that His justice cannot sleep forever." Thomas Jefferson

"Moses lifting up his wand, and dividing the red sea, and pharaoh in his chariot overwhelmed with the waters. This motto: 'Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.' " Benjamin Franklin--proposed for seal of the United States, July 1776

How about one more:

"To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest Glory to laud the more distinguished Character of Christian." George Washington

I will not consume more space to continue the catalogue. It is voluminous and beyond dispute. This nation was and still is a Christian nation. To assert otherwise is to argue the absurd.