In the midst of the cultural values convulsions, we need to be reminded of some fundamental issues. I refer to key statements in the Declaration of Independence, a document that James Madison called “the fundamental Act of Union in these States.”
In it, we read what is often quoted but apparently not well understood or accepted in its original meaning and intent. “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.”
First, this text screams out at us that these founders believed in the creator God, who was the author, definer and giver of these “rights.” Elsewhere in the document, these men appealed to the “supreme Judge of the world” and appealed to “the protection of Divine Providence.”
Can there be any doubt that these were God-fearing men?
And can there be any doubt that they believed these fundamental “rights” were to be secured by government, not defined by them? As citizens, we are to be protected by our government so that these God-defined and God-given “rights” can be enjoyed toward our happiness and general welfare.
But perhaps even more importantly, it is absolutely clear that the definition of these rights is to come from the divine author and giver. Only he ultimately knows what is best for the “general welfare” of the people. History is strewn with the destructive intents of mankind (both government and governed) as well as the unintended consequences of even well intentions of leaders.
As another way to say it, these founders were convinced that there was an absolute sovereign moral definer and law-giver to whom all mankind is accountable. And his intentions are absolutely best for all mankind individually and our society corporately. These moral values were never intended to be based on societal average acceptance of behavior.
These founders were wise enough to provide for a means by which future generations could choose to become a different kind of nation.
This was to be by the process of amendments. We have 27 of them. The legality of slavery was resolved through a horrific Civil War and constitutional amendment No. 13. It was never the intent nor should it ever be allowed to happen that five unelected officials could make the kinds of “nation-changing” decisions contributing to the cultural convulsions.
Larry E. Miller