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America's unique place in history is in the fact that it took the biblical principles of equality from the Protestant Reformation and incorporated them into a theory of government. Since the people were equal, it forbade an monarchy, aristocracy, or any other privileged class of people from receiving special (unequal) privileges. Likewise, the people were made sovereign over its governing body.
Standing above the people, God was sovereign over all of these "equal" people. The big conflict of that day was whether or not God had ordained a privileged class of people who had a "divine right to rule," regardless of their misrule and disregard for the laws of God who had entrusted them with the reins of government.
The city of Boston was the center and focus of the American Revolution in the 1770's. The leader of the Massachusetts delegation was Samuel Adams, whose father had been converted in the 1730's during the revival of George Whitefield. Samuel Adams said this after the vote for independence had succeeded:
"On this day we have restored the Sovereign, to whom alone men ought to be obedient. He reigns in Heaven and . . . from the rising to the setting sun, may his Kingdom come."
In 1799 Justice Samuel Chase wrote in the case of Kunkel v. Winemiller, "By our form of government, the Christian religion is the established religion; and all sects and denominations of Christians are placed upon the same equal footing, and are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty."
The First Amendment in the "Bill of Rights" has been used by the Supreme Court in recent years to remove God from government institutions. This has brought about a fight among the three branches of government to see who can be God's successor as the Supreme Sovereign in America. But the First Amendment did not originally intend to remove God as America's Sovereign. It was intended to prevent the "establishment of religion"--that is, to prevent one denomination from imposing its will upon the other denominations.
The First Amendment was never intended to replace the First Commandment: "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me." If that had been the intent of the founders, the people would have had a second revolution. The First Amendment has been used in recent years to secularize the government, rather than to keep government from interfering in men's pursuit of happiness (i.e., beatitudes, "Happy is the man...") as guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence.
The use of the terms "Divine Providence" and the "Creator" in the Declaration of Independence is based upon the common usage of the day. It really goes back to Bishop Augustine in the 5th century, who said that the pius man will "refer everything to Divine Providence."
But does it really matter?
Yes, it matters. If governments are the highest authority on earth, then they are the ones who determine right from wrong by their decrees. That is the norm of history. Anyone who disagrees is prosecuted in the courts or simply executed by the whim of the monarch. If there is no God, then there is no appeal when injustice or oppression occurs. Any talk of the "rights of man" are only dispensed at the discretion and will of the sovereign.
The American form of government established the fact that all rights come from God alone. Governments only grant privileges. But the American government was instituted to SECURE the rights of man--not to grant them. The government was formed to protect the (equal) rights that God has decreed from the beginning.
Once God is removed from government, "rights" have been redefined as that which the government allows its citizens to have--independent of God or of Scripture.
Thus, the secularization of America has destroyed the basis and source of American rights. We have only privileges, and the government continues to call them "rights" in order to keep us from realizing what has been done to us. Rights are no longer "inalienable" but are now called by the Supreme Court, "foundational rights" or "Constitutional rights."
No one asks where those rights came from any more. The Supreme Court says they are given to American citizens by the Constitution. No, the Constitution did not GIVE Americans a single right. They are given by God and guaranteed by the Constitution.
Yes, it makes a big difference. We now have a new form of government from what was originally established. It is Mystery Babylon. God was overthrown, and Nebuchadnezzar now reigns in America.
Ultimately, even as President Bush will have to repent on behalf of the presidency (particularly foreign policy decision), so also will the Supreme Court have to repent of its rejection of God as Sovereign over America--as established by the Declaration of Independence. The Supreme Court must declare America to be "under God" even as so many presidents have declared it in the past. And it must be substantive, not just a nostalgic sentiment. It must be re-incorporated into our legal system and backed by our judges.
The House and Senate, too, must repent of passing laws contrary to the law of God, i.e., "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" as the Declaration of Independence puts it. With God as our Sovereign, we have no right to overrule God and His Word. Those who wrote the Declaration understood this perfectly.
All three branches of our government must rediscover its original reason for existence that has been lost. There is no true liberty apart from God, because men are inadequate to the task of granting inalienable rights that will not be eroded over time.
James Madison, the "Father" of the Constitution, said years ago: "We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of GOD."
This was Madison's own interpretation of the Constitution that he had just fathered. Does this sound like it was meant to be a secular nation? Separation of Church (denominations) and State is good, but separation of God from America is not what was meant by the First Amendment. We must and we WILL at some point give God His recognition as our Sovereign.
Such a major change will not happen, of course, without God's intervention through a move of the Holy Spirit. So that is what American Christians ought to focus upon first and foremost.