America’s Heritage

Part 7 in the Series:

Is America a Christian Nation?

By Don Enevoldsen

America has largely forgotten its heritage. The developing moral failures of the past century portray much more than simply a declining influence of the church on American life. They indicate the loss of the foundational principle of American freedom. In 1819, Thomas Jefferson wrote to Judge Spencer Roane, “Independence can be trusted nowhere but with the people in mass. They are inherently independent of all but moral law.”

His understanding of “moral law” was defined, however, by the Christian notion of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, not by Christian dogma or the political correctness of modern times. The language of compassion and toleration have disguised the tyranny of majority rule that routinely violates the rights of individuals. Jefferson called it “the tyranny of the legislatures,” a phrase he used in a letter to James Madison explaining his support for attaching a bill of rights to the Constitution. He was far more concerned with laws passed in opposition to Natural Law than he was in centralized power.

“The tyranny of the legislatures is the most formidable dread at present, and will be for many years. That of the executive will come in its turn.”

Thus the most non-Christian of the Founding Fathers warned of the consequences of losing the Christian morals protecting life, liberty and property. De Tocqueville perceived the same danger:

“If it be admitted that a man possessing absolute power may misuse that power by wronging his adversaries, why should not a majority be liable to the same reproach? Men do not change their characters by uniting with one another; nor does their patience in the presence of obstacles increase with their strength. For my own part, I cannot believe it; the power to do everything, which I should refuse to one of my equals, I will never grant to any number of them.”

As the majority in America loses sight of the Christian foundation of American law, American democracy becomes increasingly dysfunctional. The government of the people and by the people no longer functions for all of the people. The majority becomes the oppressor.

The unfortunate reality is that no amount of political activism will do more than delay the inevitable. Activism, at its best, will only produce some laws, and laws are easily subverted. Legislation will not protect life, liberty or property in a society unwilling to practice the Christian morality of early America. Indeed, the only change that can reverse the degeneration of America is a moral and spiritual regeneration of the people themselves. The evidence suggests this is something Americans don’t particularly want.

To go to the beginning of the series: A Schizophrenic History

Do you have an additional thought on this subject that will assist our search for truth? Please join the discussion and share your insights.

America’s Heritage

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