The American Declaration of Independence states unequivocally that the purpose of justly empowered human governments is to secure certain unalienable rights, with which God has endowed all humanity. However, in our day many political ideologues in the United States deny divine creation. They therefore deny the authority necessarily associated with the conceptual foresight of the Creator. This, in turn, leads them to reject the premises of just government set forth the in Declaration.
This rejection is plainly evident in the political culture of the Democratic Party. But it is also evident in the rhetoric and priorities of members of the now misnamed Republican Party. Indeed, the open or implied rejection of the Declaration’s tenets is the characteristic that most clearly indicates that the Democratic and Republican Parties are wings of an elitist faction hostile to the constitutional, republican form of democratic self-government America’s Founders constructed on the premises laid out in the Declaration.
How can the GOP reject the Declaration, but claim the allegiance of voters still loyal to the U.S. Constitution, including many who profess the name of God in Jesus Christ? The Declaration sets forth the political creed in which the American people explicitly acknowledge “the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” The logic of the Declaration invokes creation and the authority of the Creator. In the New Testament the Word made flesh in Jesus Christ and the Word through whom all things were made — the Word that was with God and was God in the activity of creation — are recognized as one and the same. (John 1:1-4, 14)
The Declaration’s understanding of right and rights gives rise to the God-endowed unalienable right of liberty. It is the ground in which the people of the United States stake their claim to exercise the sovereign authority by which they ordain and establish the Constitution for the United States of America. Reject the Declaration and the ground is cut out from under that claim. As that claim falls away into the void, so does the purported authority of the U.S. Constitution. This is not just a matter of abstract logic. It has, in fact, a profound and immediately damaging effect on the American people’s ability to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.
In recent weeks two controversies have effectively illustrated this damage. In the Obergefell decision, a majority of the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court speciously fabricated and asserted the right of homosexual couples to demand that their so-called sexual activities (I say so-called because the sexual difference is functionally and literally irrelevant to those relations) be recognized as marriages under the Constitution of the United States. In the aftermath of the decision, the proponents of this speciously fabricated Constitutional right have sued for its enforcement. They mean to compel all government officials throughout the United States to accord homosexual relations equal status and recognition, in disrespect of the God-endowed unalienable rights of the natural family.
I have elsewhere laid out the reasoning that makes it plain that the Obergefell decision plainly contradicts the tenets of unalienable right set forth in the Declaration of Independence, as well as the clear and explicit language of the U.S. Constitution’s Ninth Amendment. The attempt to enforce the decision has now given rise to religious persecution, as penalties are being inflicted, under color of law, on people of Christian faith who refuse, as a matter of conscience, to comply with a ruling that makes them morally complicit in a violation of right, according to their conscientious understanding of God’s rule.
A problem arises, however, because religious tenets, per se, have never been accepted as sufficient to excuse acts that violate the unalienable rights which it is the aim of just government to secure. The fact that the practice of child sacrifice is the tenet of some ancient religion, for example, does not exempt the act of murder it involves from prosecution and punishment by law. People rely on this fact when they justify Ben Carson’s refusal to accept an openly Muslim president because some tenets of Muslim practice and Sharia law clearly conflict with rights the U.S. Constitution intends to secure. Yet some of the same people maintain that it is a travesty to suggest that Kim Davis be driven from public office, even though her actions violate what the United States Supreme Court recently asserted to be the Constitutional right of homosexuals to marry.
GOP politicians, including Carly Fiorina, Donald Trump, and Ben Carson, have said say that the Supreme Court’s decision must be accepted as the “law of the land.” Yet they insist that Christians who reject the purported right the decision fabricates should be allowed to remain in public office. But why should a Christian county clerk be allowed to contradict the Constitution by doing what Dr. Carson says he would bar a Muslim from the presidency for believing ought to be done? Dr. Carson’s prejudice in this respect is especially questionable in light of the fact that the U.S. Constitution says plainly that “no religious test shall ever be required for any office or public trust under the United States.” (Article VI)
However much they deny it, self-contradicting politicians like Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina and Donald Trump fall onto the horns of a dilemma. Either the Supreme Court’s decision is lawful, or it is not; either it is a violation of law to infringe the right the Justices have fabricated, or it is not. Pretending to have it both ways may be politically expedient, but it turns respect for the Constitution’s authority into a purely whimsical and arbitrary notion.
The confusion disappears, however, once the premises of God-endowed right set forth in the Declaration of Independence are restored to their rightful place in our reasoning. In light of those premises, two things become clear:
- Except in the most extraordinary circumstances, when an existential and immediate threat to the nation’s very existence is in progress, the Constitution’s provision’s must be scrupulously respected; and
- No humanly fabricated right takes precedence over the unalienable rights endowed by the Creator and retained by the people, as per the Constitution’s 9th Amendment.
Of course the latter point requires invoking, explicating and applying the words and logic of the Declaration of Independence. But the elitist faction’s rejection of the Declaration forbids such argumentation.
Because they have given in to the culture of shame and fear fomented by this rejection, contemporary politicos neglect the straightforward reasoning the Declaration enables. Even the Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court who dissented from the Court’s majority in the Obergefell case were derelict in this regard. They failed in their duty to invoke the 9th Amendment’s protection of God-endowed unalienable right.
All these politicians and officials tacitly accept the false conflation of right and licentious freedom. This falsehood vitiates the meaning of unalienable right by denying that it substantially depends on each individual’s willingness to respect the transcendent will of the Creator. But as William Penn prudently observed: “Those who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants.” Americans still have the choice, if they care enough to make it. What will it be?