What does it mean to be free? As Thomas Jefferson proclaimed, liberty is freedom and freedom is a God-given, inalienable gift. In other words, freedom is the right to choose among alternatives of one’s choice. Without the alternatives of choice, a man is not a man but a mere creature, an instrument, a slave or a thing.
Who wants to be a slave, an instrument or a mere subject, when one can be a free citizen with God-given rights to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (alluding to the right to own and use private property)? Are we as U.S. citizens still free (in a Jeffersonian sense)?
When the 56 Founders signed the Declaration of Independence to declare their legal separation from the King of England, they also pledged their “Lives, Fortunes and sacred Honor” to uphold, preserve and protect our God-given inalienable rights. This very act was high treason against the King and his monarchy, punishable by death. There was no higher crime in all of England. Why would they rebel against their King? Here are just a few of the top reasons why.
1. In England, the Rule of Law held that you were “guilty until proven innocent” if you were charged with a crime. It didn’t matter whether you were innocent; you had to prove your innocence. This system was tyrannical, unjust and upside-down in the eyes of our founders, so they reversed it where everyone would be innocent until proven guilty. Are we still innocent until proven guilty today? Perhaps we should ask Martha Stewart, Bill Cosby, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton or others who have been accused in the media before their “wrongs” were proven by an impartial court.
2. In England and its territories, whatever was declared by the King officially became law. In Latin, this is known as “Rex Lex,” meaning the king is law. If the King imposed a tax, or a “health-care law,” it became law and the people, who were just subjects, had to pay the tax or follow the law, similar to Obama(does he really?)Care. The Revolutionary War is said to have begun with the Boston Tea Party largely because the Colonists believed that “taxation without representation is wrong.” Why did we not have a federal income tax for more than 150 years in America? Chiefly, because the Founders believed such taxes were unconstitutional. How well do your taxes today represent your interests?
3. The Founders reversed the system of jurisprudence in England and made a new one for America called “Lex Rex,” meaning the Law as strategized in The Declaration and The Constitution would forever be the law of the land. In Latin, it means “the Law is King,” not vice versa. Instead of kings deciding what is law, the essential gifts from God to us would be the law of the land. What were these essential God-given gifts? Read on.
4. Three cardinal truths would forever be the bedrock values of America if it were to become “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” What were these three cardinal truths or values? In Jefferson’s words: “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, endowed by their Creator (God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) with certain unalienable (God-given) Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of property” (which James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and others defined as private property ownership; British philosopher John Locke is credited for the phrase, which was later edited by Thomas Jefferson into “the pursuit of Happiness”). Why would the Founders agree to such principles and write five times about God as Creator, divine Providence, unalienable (God given) and sacred Honor if they intended to separate Church and State? They didn’t mean to separate these two institutions, but rather intended that the Church would have supremacy, not the State.
As Jefferson wrote in his letter to the Danberry Baptists who were worried that the Congregational Church would become the “official church of the Republic,” he gave credit to Fisher Ames, who drafted the First Amendment. Jefferson declared that there was “a one-way veil” between the church and the state in which the church would be able to impose its morality or values on the state, yet the state could not oversee or regulate the church. Is this still true today? If so, how many churches or Christian leaders today are overseeing what our government is doing? A bumper sticker I saw recently is quite telling. It read “I love my country, but I fear my government.” Perhaps we would do well to return to the essential God-given truths and values to which our dear forefathers pledged their “Lives, Fortunes and sacred Honor.”
After reading many of the original letters, articles and drafts of our forefathers, it is clear to me that they were not only men of unshakeable faith and integrity, they were also Trinitarians. They believed in God in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, so much that they set up government on three levels—federal, state and local—in three branches: executive, legislative and judicial; and on three forces: power (executive), love (legislative) and a sound mind as final authority (judicial). Why did they do so? As Trinitarians they were not Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim or Taoist. No, they were Christians; thus to honor God, His Ten Commandments and the Gospels of our Lord Jesus they pledged everything they believed in and everything they owned. What was the price of doing so? Nearly half of the 56 Founders lost their property, their families or their lives. The others who survived the Revolutionary War went on to birth the only nation on earth established to honor God in the Trinity. Makes one wonder: Are we still the land of the free and the home of the brave? The answer is still in His Trinity and the Honor that radiates in our “Lives, Fortunes and sacred Honor.”