The Truth About Judeo-Christian Government?
The founding fathers were clear in what they deemed to be the purpose of our government. It must provide for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Not for every person to be happy, but that they are free to pursue happiness to their own ends. This commission to find happiness is given a caveat, however, because the constitution is also bound by Judeo-Christian values and principles.
Most of the founding fathers were professing Deists, and consequently possessed an air of self determination in conjunction with a dedication to the laws provided by an absolute deity. The theological validity of their doctrines aside, the Deists were in general still bound by the same laws as Christians. The law of man derives from the law of God, they would contend. Most of them, especially the Moralistic Therapeutic Deists, truly saw the need for absolutes.
The influence of Christianity on the American government begins with the first sentence of the second paragraph in the Declaration of Independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal […]” Wherein the idea of equality derives from creation, there is no room for classism. This is a common point of misinformation for Marxists in America, who will die screaming about the upper class, not remembering the bottom class in England who could expect to stay in their social pond for several generations before ascending to the next.
The American, by contrast, is one lifetime of hard work away from making a better situation for their children. America might be considered a meritocratic society, but it is certainly not a classist society.
Instead, every man is considered equal in stature and value, as is reflected in the court of law. There is naturally room for man’s sinful nature, but with dedication to the same values these sins may be undone. It was the same Judeo-Christian society that penned the 13th, 15th and 19th amendments; and while the American Marxist may deride the United States for allowing these in the first place, it is worth remembering that the United States was born from a world that oppressed many, and was one of the first to free them from their bonds. Additionally, the U.S. or its constituent colonies took measures to free slaves, outlaw slavery, or prevent future generations of slaves as early as 1775, a decade before England began taking anti-slavery action. Three weeks before Britain abolished the Atlantic slave trade, President Jefferson signed a law prohibiting ‘the importation of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States.’
“[…]that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.[…]” Indeed, the rights that the founding fathers prescribed for their descendants are the same rights that can be found in the New Testament of the Christian Bible, as long as you don’t keep a Calvinist mindset.
Jokes aside, Born again Christians believe that they have been given a second life, redeemed from eternal separation from their creator. This new life is foundational to their worldview, and it carries over even into our government. Because man is made in the image of God, he is a sacred creation. The crown of England does not decide the worth of men, because the crown of all creation already deemed that man has infinite value.
From this postulation, it follows that there can be no class because the Christ saw no class. American opportunity means that the redeemed man is free to begin life anew.
“[…]That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed[…]” While the founding fathers were not all devout Christians, they understood the significant moral value of Christian philosophy. Donald Lutz, an American historian at the University of Huston, after analyzing over 15,000 documents, books, pamphlets, and literature from the 18th century determined that the founding fathers cited the Bible more than every other enlightenment book combined.
The ensuing political theory was based in a firm conviction that, at the very least, a Biblical perspective is undeniably healthy for a governmental body. The idea of self governance follows from this, as the representative republic is an intentional modification to the democratic system. In the Federalist No. 55, Thomas Jefferson argues that “In all very numerous assemblies, of whatever characters composed, passion never fails to wrest the sceptre from reason. Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates; every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob.”
Representative republics, by contrast, were designed to avoid the passions of the people, and ensure rational governance instead. The effectiveness of the system is a matter of debate, but nevertheless, America persists today because of the system architected by Madison which delayed reaction time of governance just enough to keep the minds of the people level and rational.
The system implemented derives its power of governance from the people, in order to benefit the people. It circumvents the tyranny that comes from a monarchy or a dictator while avoiding the drawbacks of collective rule. Our government is the safe middle ground.
“[…] But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
The final information in the second paragraph is a clear warning against tyranny. The duty of the American people is to safeguard their future. This means establishing a baseline for what tyranny is. In the Declaration, tyranny is exemplified by King George III of England. His actions include suppression, military interference with local government, taxation without representation, indiscriminate destruction, and murder among others.
The determination that a people should seek their own freedom can seem to run contrary to Christian beliefs, but that is explained away in the first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence. A people created by God deserve dignity. They do not deserve to be trod upon by tyrants.
“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
What is Judeo-Christian government? It is a concrete foundation that means justice, truth, and morality. Judeo-Christianity is what instructs American justice that all men are created equal. Without it, there could be no American dream, nor liberty, nor justice for all. From the notion that we are all equally designed and beloved by our creator, the American citizen enjoys a life that is unique in stature and history. The American citizen enjoys a life where he is freed from the restraints of class, of nobility, and of systemic worth. He is infinitely valuable in accordance with the doctrines of scripture.
The American citizen is a free citizen; and they owe it Christianity, regardless of whether they acknowledge their creator or not.