NEWS FROM THE CENTER FRIDAY DIGEST July 23, 2021- The Constitution Secures the Blessings of Liberty
It may have been among the first times in human history that any would suggest that government could be a blessing, let alone liberty secured. As Thomas Paine observed, “government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.”
Liberty, the Founders insisted, is rooted in the human condition. Historically, these God-created, divinely-bestowed rights, among which are “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,” were not easily secured. Yet, to secure the divinely-created rights of man, Paine is correct: human government is necessary.
Forming this “more perfect Union,” would require a social compact, taking rights otherwise common to our humanity—self-defense, resolving disagreements, etc.—and imbuing a representative government with the authority to raise a Navy and institute a judicial system. In this way, the Constitution borrows from our individual liberty to form our republican democracy.
Americans did not, however, divest themselves of religious liberty. Quite the contrary. While the seven articles of the Constitution enumerate specific, limited powers and responsibilities of our government that are derivative of our individual liberty, the authors of the Constitution were equally explicit about what our government was not formed to do.
Following seven articles of articulating what government could do, the Bill of Rights begins with the rhetorical equivalent of a stop sign: “Congress shall make no law . . .” First among those precious freedoms the Bill of Rights refuses to relinquish to government is religious liberty. Other civil rights follow as amendments to our Constitution, but it is instructive that the framers secured religious liberty as our first freedom.
Religious liberty is necessary to preserve one’s duty to the Divine. As James Madison put it, “Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe.” If a subject of the Divine, then man has a duty to that Divine being. Thus, Madison writes, “what is here a right towards men, is a duty towards the Creator.” In other words, our Constitution secures the space for one to do what one is under a moral obligation to do before God.
Thus, your freedom to exercise your faith is secure, but only when government – federal, state, and local – is held accountable by you to the words of the First Amendment.
God created government for man’s good and God’s glory. The Constitution takes into account the nature of man, dispersing the limited power of governing among many. In so doing the Constitution further “secures the Blessings of Liberty” by providing robust freedom for “We the people” to meet our eternal obligations to the Creator of our souls.
Jeremy Dys is special counsel for litigation and communications for First Liberty Institute, a non-profit law firm dedicated to defending religious freedom for all Americans. Read more at FirstLiberty.org.
What does your Christian faith have to do with being a good citizen? Read more here.
Ever wonder how religious freedom has changed over the years? Click here for a downloadable timeline of religious freedom from the time of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther to today.
“Two centuries ago in Germany, the king of Prussia systematically crushed religious liberty by forcing all Protestants to jettison their theology and join into one state church. He imposed his views on Lutherans, prevented the free exercise of their religion and harshly punished them for following their conscience. Many of those persecuted Lutherans left their families, property and homeland for America, where they could find religious freedom. These were the founders of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. So, yes, we Missouri Synod Lutherans keep the church out of politics, but we have a big stake in religious freedom.” – Dr. Gene Edward Veith
Help support our efforts to contend for the freedom to proclaim the faith. Click here to learn more or to donate.
Leave a comment
Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.