We believe that no people can maintain freedom unless their political institutions are founded upon faith in God and belief in the existence of moral law.
We must acknowledge the existence of moral law as the first principle in understanding the proper role of government. Thomas Jefferson stated in the Declaration of Independence:
“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.” (P.P.N. S., p.519)
Before governments, we had rights and we created governments to ensure that these rights were protected. Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson stated:
"Rights are either God-given as part of the Divine Plan, or they are granted by government as part of the political plan. Reason, necessity, tradition, and religious convictions all lead me to accept the divine origin of these rights. If we accept the premise that human rights are granted by government, then we must be willing to accept the corollary that they can be denied by government." – The Proper Role of Government
On Law and Rights
“True law is right reason in agreement with nature; it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting; it summons to duty by its commands, and averts from wrongdoing by its prohibitions… And there will not be different laws at Rome and at Athens, or different laws now and in the future, but one eternal and unchangeable law will be valid for all nations and all times and there will be one master and ruler, that is God, over us all, for he is author of this law, its promulgator, and its enforcing judge.” – Cicero (106-43 B.C.), De Republicai
“The principal aim of society is to protect individuals, in the enjoyment of those absolute rights, which were vested in them by the immutable laws of nature; but which could not be preserved, in peace, without that mutual assistance, and intercourse, which is gained by the institution of friendly and social communities. Hence it follows, that the first and primary end of human laws, is to maintain and regulate these absolute rights of individuals.” – WIlliam Blackstone.
In 1764, Massachusetts patriot James Otis defined Natural Law as “the rules of moral conduct implanted by nature in the human mind, forming the proper basis for and being superior to all written laws; the will of God revealed to man through his conscience.” (Annals of America, 2:11)
“Natural rights are those which always appertain to man in right of his existence. Of this kind are all the intellectual rights, or rights of the mind, and also all those rights of acting as an individual for his own comfort and happiness, which are not injurious to the rights of others. Civil rights are those which appertain to man in right of his being a member of society. Every civil right has for its foundation some natural right pre-existing in the individual, but to which his individual power is not, in all cases, sufficiently competent. Of this kind are all those which relate to security and protection.” – Thomas Paine, Rights of Man
“Of all the dispositions and habits that lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.” – George Washington in his farewell address
“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?” – Thomas Jefferson
“Liberty must at all hazards be supported. We have a right to it, derived from our Maker. But if we had not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us, at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their blood.” – John Adams, A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, 1765
As one delves into the beauty and horror of history, one sees a people and a time-period that God honored, because they honored Him, and believed in a better life for their posterity – that’s us! When speaking of freedom, and the creation of a Union which would perpetuate moral law, Revolutionary history is replete with quotes to this affirmative.
Examples of 1776 Patriot’s Printed and Spoken Words/Examples
A belief in God’s might, majesty, power and dominion inspired the great Patriots of the American Revolution. Removing God and His moral law from America, is the very definition of ‘Un-American.’
“We have proclaimed to the world our determination to die freemen, rather than to live slaves. We have appealed to Heaven for the justice of our cause, and in Heaven we have placed our trust. Numerous have been the manifestations of God’s providence in sustaining us. In the gloomy period of adversity, we have had our cloud by day and pillar of fire by night. We have been reduced to distress, and the arm of Omnipotence has raised us up. Let us still rely in humble confidence on Him who is mighty to save. Good tidings will soon arrive. We shall never be abandoned by Heaven while we act worthy of its aid and protection.” – Samuel Adams, 1777, Father of the American Revolution
“Man as a creature must necessarily be subject to the laws of his creator. This will of his maker is called the Law of Nature. No human laws are of any validity if contrary to this.” – Sir William Blackstone
“…in France I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom marching in opposite directions. But in America I found they were intimately united… [the early American colonists] brought with them into the New World a form of Christianity which I cannot better describe than by styling it a democratic and republican religion. This contributed powerfully to the establishment of a republic and a democracy in public affairs; and from the beginning, politics and religion contracted an alliance which has never been dissolved.” – Alexis De Tocqueville, 1831 (Democracy in America)
“We should always remember that the many remarkable means and events by which our wants have been supplied, and our enemies repelled or restrained are such strong and striking proofs of the interposition of heaven. That our having been delivered from the threatened bondage of Britain aught, like the emancipation of the Jews from Egyptian servitude, be forever ascribed to its true cause. And instead of swelling our breasts with arrogant ideas of our power and importance, kindle in them a flame of gratitude and piety, which may consume all remains of vice and irreligion. Blessed be God!” – Founding Father John Jay, First Chief Justice
Principle 8 & 9 in Cleon Skousen’s “5000 Year-Leap” reads: “Mankind are endowed by God with certain unalienable rights” & “To protect human rights, God has revealed a code of divine law” respectively.
“The doctrines thus delivered we call the revealed or divine law, and they are to be found only in the Holy Scriptures. These precepts, when revealed, are found by comparison to be really a part of the original law of nature…” – William Blackstone
When offered “great personal rewards for making peace with your king…” Samuel Adams response was “Sir, I trust that I have long since made my peace with the King of kings.”