This post is part of the Favorite Founders’ Quote Friday meme. Go to Meet the Founding Fathers to see who else has participated today.
Because of time constraints, it’s been a while since I’ve joined in the FFQF. When I learned that this month’s topic is the Bill of Rights, though, I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist. I didn’t make it for last week, but here’s my thoughts for this week.
I grew up in a small town where everyone knew everyone else, doors were never locked, kids had the run of the village, and policemen were our friends. Unfortunately, life has changed and we need to stop thinking America hasn’t changed with it.
You have only to grab a few headlines now and then to realize that the values our country was founded on have changed substantially and dramatically since its inception, most blatantly since 9/11. Phrases like the war on terror, the war on drugs, hate speech, handgun bans, pro-choice, national ID card, wire-tapping, no-knock warrants, waterboarding, and Gitmo are red flags that have turned our Bill of Rights into swiss cheese. I took a quick run through this document, and covered over those items that no longer apply. Here’s what’s left, and that’s probably because of my own ignorance. [click to enlarge]
So what has gone wrong? How did we metamorphose, with barely a wimper, from a country founded on the freedom and responsibility of the individual to life, liberty, and property into a socialist/fascist regime of special interest groups that legislate everything from our ability to travel freely to how we make our french fries – not to mention stealing the fruits of our labors through incredibly excessive taxes?
I believe there are two underlying reasons, and the founding fathers warned us about both of them.
1) We have rejected God and Christian principles
This is clearly the fault of the church at large, as well as each individual Christian. Where the Bible tells us to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and make disciples who will walk in His ways, we have preferred to legislate good behavior from a distance, creating not Christians, but hypocrites or criminals.
Where the Bible tells each one of us to care for the poor and needy, we have turned that job over to the government as well. It’s been much easier to have the welfare state, through excessive taxes, force everyone else to take care of the poor than to honor Christ by doing it ourselves.
The consequence of forsaking these responsibilities is that people rely on the government instead of God. People worship the government instead of God. And the government, even though some within it may be well-intentioned, can never replace the power of the Holy Spirit in the life of the individual.
John Adams spoke to this concept:
Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak; and that it is doing God’s service when it is violating all his laws.
As a result of rejecting God and worshiping government,
2) We have become ignorant
I posted a little quiz last summer on the Bill of Rights. Much to my amazement, it has been one of my most visited posts, even today. There was nothing unusual in this post, so why are people searching it out? I can only conclude that they are unfamiliar with the Bill of Rights – and those in government, who are sworn to uphold our Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, are no better informed.
I think the main reason for this is our government-run public school system. Is it a surprise to anyone that when we turn our children over to the government at age five, instead of raising them in the fear and admonition of the Lord as the Bible instructs us, they come out thirteen years later as godless, obsequious chattels of the state? The Foundation Forum recently posted a video that addresses these issues that’s well worth the time to watch.
Again, our founding fathers spoke to the subject of ignorance:
A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to Farce, or a Tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance. and a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives. -James Madison
Whenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights. -Thomas Jefferson
So is it too late to turn our country around? In my heart, I believe it is. Those in power will not give it up without a bloody revolution, and we are too ignorant and apathetic and without principle to wage the battle.
On the other hand, all things are possible with God.
“Yet even now,” declares the LORD,
“Return to Me with all your heart,
And with fasting, weeping and mourning;
And rend your heart and not your garments.”
Now return to the LORD your God,
For He is gracious and compassionate,
Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness
And relenting of evil.
Who knows whether He will not turn and relent
And leave a blessing behind Him,
Even a grain offering and a drink offering
For the LORD your God?