One Nation Under God

Our very political superstructures stand upon the critical bedrock of cherished biblical principles.

Following the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Benjamin Franklin famously responded to the question, "What have you given us," with "You have a republic, Madame. If you can keep it."

There had been other governments before that description- that word, "republic."

But those were different. Different in origin. Different in nature. Different in structure. The best of that past was incorporated into this new and true republic. The rest - the evil, the excess - was rejected.

So, this new creation stood unique. A system of self-government. By the consent of the governed. And with union.

A constitutional republic with individual liberty, elected representatives and limited government. A government with its powers nailed down: fastened and confined to the proper defense of the individual -- to his pursuits of live, liberty, property and happiness, thus inalienable rights endowed by the creator.

A republic in which the power to govern was checked and balanced by devices designed to stop the tyrant in his tracks.

The sons of liberty joined to erect four fences around their government, so it could not bet out of hand or out of bounds. The Executive, the Legislative, the Judicial, and the Individual. Each was to be a check, or balance on the other.

After God, the individual came first. Only by his consent could government govern -- and then, only to protect life, liberty and property. Not just his but all men -- equally.

The New Nation: A Republic, not a Democracy -- and so the Founding Fathers created a republic -- not a democracy? Where half plus one can squash the rest? Where a fanatical majority can deprive the individual of his rights, his life, his property? Not for these men. They knew democracy with its excesses, its leveling down process, its Inherent seeds of destruction. They knew Plato's warning that unrestricted democracy must result in dictatorship.

The very essence of democracy rests in the absolute sovereignty of the majority. Our Founding Fathers could never accept such tyranny. They recognized only one rightful sovereign over men and nations -- not the state, not the majority.

"Each religion has a form of government, and Christianity astonished the world by establishing self-government... the foundation stone of the United States of America." But our Founders realized the impossibility of maintaining freedom unless those who are "at liberty" are able to exercise self-restraint. And they gave to this government just enough power to serve. Just enough and no more.

And even then, with all the checks and balances and fences of that constitutional document, it was not until the Bill of Rights was tacked on that the states consented to the Union and ratified the federation.

New Ideal: Freedom of Religion, Not from Religion - Christ died -- and rose -- to make men free. All men, all nations. Through Christ we are freed from the wages and the death of sin. Eternal freedom. Free from the ravages of appetite; Internal freedom. If we choose to be. Free from the savagery of demagogues and kings. External freedom. If we choose to be.

Just as Christ brought us internal freedom and a rebirth into a new life through Him) so He brought us a new direction for our external freedom (and a new purpose for our civil government).

If Christ would die for men, where did Cesar get off forcing men to live and die for him?

There! There was the spark, the flame, the beacon light of the American idea. The power of the great American republic. The sense of the Constitution of these United States. "The concept of a secular state was virtually non-existent in 1776 as well as in 1787, when the Constitution was written, no less so when the Bill of Rights was adopted. To read the Constitution as the charter for a secular state is to misread history, and to misread it radically. The Constitution was designed to perpetuate a Christian order."

Why is there, in the main, an absence of any reference to Christianity in the Constitution? Because the framers of the Constitution did not believe that was an area of jurisdiction for the federal government. It would not have occurred to them to attempt to re-establish that which the colonists had fought against, namely, religious control and establishment by the central government. "The Freedom of the First Amendment from federal interference is not from religion but for religion in the constituent states."

Separation of church and state? Absolutely! Divorcement of God from government? Not so! The American system is the political expression of Christian ideas... a nation founded upon the rock of religion and rooted in the love of man.