The year is 1620 and you’ve just made a perilous crossing of the Atlantic; leaving behind all you once possessed and knew for the unknown. You disembark the ship and there is no welcoming committee to meet you, no Holiday Inn to check in to, and no welfare office to go to so you can sign up for benefits until you get on your feet. All you see in front of you is vast uncharted land and opportunity.
Why would you do such a thing; leave friends, family, your previous home; all for the unknown? Before you answer take a moment to think about it; there was no industry, no jobs, and no commerce; so it couldn’t have been for wealth. Therefore it must have been for some other reason, something that wasn’t as tangible as wealth or possessions.
You’ve heard me speak of our Founding documents; the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution repeatedly; yet our nation’s first founding document was written and signed in the year 1620; it is known as the Mayflower Compact.
I don’t know if you’ve given these things much thought, but many of our nation’s early founding documents begin with a statement of intent. The first part of the Declaration of Independence talks about our unalienable rights and the purpose for which governments are established; the Constitution has its Preamble which declares the reason it was written. The Mayflower Compact is no different.
The very first part of the Mayflower Compact explains why these first settlers made such a treacherous journey to a land that had nothing awaiting them; no creature comforts, just peril and the slim chance they might survive; “Having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one of another, covenant and combine our selves together into a civil body politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid…”
The first of the settlers who would eventually form the 13 Colonies came here for one thing, and one thing only; the ability to worship God as their hearts, and their faith, dictated. They did not come here under orders from any church; they sought to seek the oppression imposed upon them by the Church; to come to a place where they were free to practice their faith as their beliefs required.
This is not to say that, as the Colonies grew, they did not impose their own form of persecution or at least impose their own views upon others of differing faiths; they did. Religious service was considered, almost, a duty, not a choice. For instance, in 1624 an ordinance was passed which contained the following, “That whosover shall absent himselfe from divine service any Sunday without an allowable excuse shall forfeite a pound of tobacco, and he that absenteth himselfe a month shall forfeit 50lb. of tobacco.”
The underlying reason these first settlers came to America was freedom; religious freedom. They sought to live in a land that was free of the entanglements between church and state that had oppressed their beliefs to the point they believed they had no other recourse but to flee to a far away land where they could worship God as they saw fit.
Yet all the time I hear people say America was not founded upon the Christian faith. While it may be true that our Constitution and Declaration of Independence makes no requirements of man to attend religious services, the fact is that our country WAS founded by men for the sole purpose of spreading the Gospel and living according to God’s Laws.
Of the assembly of men who affixed their signatures to the Declaration of Independence were Congregationalists, Episcopalians, Quakers and Presbyterians. It is ludicrous to think that their faith did not, in some way, guide them in deciding whether to submit to all laws imposed upon them by their rightful sovereign the King, or to stand up against what they believed to be violations of their Natural Rights; rights granted them by their Creator; God.
Now I know people are going to say, “What about your idol, Jefferson; he was a Deist and didn’t believe in God.” I do not believe that to be true. After much reading on the subject I do not think it was that Jefferson did not believe in God, it was that he may have had doubts about the divinity of Jesus. Yet he did believe in God, in some fashion.
Jefferson spent a great deal of time combing through the New Testament and collecting passages which contained the teachings of Jesus; as he felt Jesus to have been the greatest teacher regarding morals and how to treat others that ever existed. The Jefferson Bible is the finished work of many years of effort by Jefferson on the subject.
I may be wrong, but it is my understanding that Jefferson was against organized religion; believing it to be oppressive. In fact, in a letter to Samuel Monticello, dated January 19, 1820, Jefferson wrote, “Nothing can be more exactly and seriously true than what is there [the very words only of Jesus] stated; that but a short time elapsed after the death of the great reformer of the Jewish religion, before his principles were departed from by those who professed to be his special servants, and perverted into an engine for enslaving mankind, and aggrandising their oppressors in Church and State; that the purest system of morals ever before preached to man, has been adulterated and sophisticated by artificial constructions, into a mere contrivance to filch wealth and power to themselves; that rational men not being able to swallow their impious heresies, in order to force them down their throats, they raise the hue and cry of infidelity, while themselves are the greatest obstacles to the advancement of the real doctrines of Jesus, and do in fact constitute the real Anti-Christ.”
To say that Jefferson did not believe in God would be to disregard the fact that he, as author of both the Declaration of Independence AND A Summary View of the Rights of British America make reference to God. In fact, in A Summary View Jefferson declares, “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure if we have removed their only firm basis: a conviction in the minds of men that these liberties are 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.”
So those who claim Jefferson had no religious beliefs, or did not believe in God, only shows me that they have not done their homework and have not studied the writings of the man they seek to defame.
You see, there is one other quote from Jefferson that I have intentionally left out — until now. If you’ve ever been to the Jefferson Memorial in our nation’s capital you may have read this, “Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God.” Not only is that among the inscriptions on the panels inside the Jefferson Memorial, he took it is his motto, found on his personal seal.
Let me ask you something; if resistance to tyrants is obedience to God, then what is submission to tyrants, or tyranny? Would that not be obedience to the devil? If it were not your duty to God, as Jefferson appeared to believe, to resist tyranny then does it not follow that if you fail to resist that tyranny you are submitting to the will of the one who originally opposed God; the devil?
Therefore, how can you, if you even remotely consider yourself a Christian, support any politician who does not uphold their Oath of Office to support and defend the Constitution? How can you claim to be a Christian when you give your support to candidates who, by their campaign promises, clearly show that they have no intentions of abiding by the limits the Constitution imposes upon the office they seek?
How can you support the violations of our most sacred rights, even in the name of national security, or your own safety, when, as Jefferson believed, these rights are the gift of God Himself and “… are not to be violated but with His wrath.”
How can you call yourself a Christian, or an American for that matter, when you fail to learn the principles which guided the men who originally sought to unshackle themselves from a tyrant and establish a nation of free and independent states? How can you call yourselves Christian or Americans when you sit back and do nothing as your government grows more powerful and encroaches upon more of your freedom, without lifting a whimper of protest?
You can’t. You may occupy space in this country; go to work, pay taxes and obey what you believe to be lawful impositions upon your freedom; but you cannot rightfully claim the title of Americans, or at least patriotic Americans. Patriotism is not blind obedience to your government; it is obedience to the original principles which founded this nation. If you do not fight to defend those principles you have no right to claim the title of being a patriot; no matter how many stickers you affix to your car or truck which has an American flag or say support our troops.
A quarter century before the Declaration of Independence was even an idea in the back of the mind of Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams wrote the following, “[N]either the wisest Constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.” (Essay in the Public Adviser)
Our country is screwed up because we have become corrupt. We no longer adhere to the same principles as did the men who established our Republic. You can go to the polls, hoping futilely I might add, that this year your choice will make things better; but it won’t be until you begin learning, and demanding that those you vote for, stay strictly within the limits for which government was created, that any true change will occur.
Yes that entails a bit of work on your part; but nobody ever said freedom was free, or that it comes without effort. When those 56 men affixed their names to the Declaration of Independence they did so, fully knowing, that they had just painted a big fat target on their backs. They had publicly told their King, for all intents and purposes, their government, to go screw itself; they no longer wanted anything to do with it. They knew the full weight of their government would come to bear upon them in an effort to force their compliance to its will.
The same thing occurred eighty-four years later when the Southern States seceded and gave their reasons in the declarations of secession. This time, however, those who fought for liberty and independence lost; and American has never been the same.
The titles American, patriot entail more than simply a piece of paper declaring that you were born on US soil, or have citizenship here; it entails adhering, and fighting if necessary, for the founding principles.
And from what I see, how I have been treated by those who oppose the things I say in these articles, there aren’t very many true Americans, true patriots left in this country. And as Samuel Adams once said, “Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”