With Memorial Day, Flag Day, and Independence Day creating a patriotic season, the current issue AmacAdvantage magazine (Summer 2018i) offers a set of patriotic articles based on the theme “The American Spirit.”
A love for United States history filled me as I read the cover article about the Founding Fathers, Civil War heroes, and World War II battles. Another article discussed the current immigration crisis from the angle of our immigration heritage and E pluribus unum. Then I read “Transcendent Day at Arlington National Cemetery” by Robert B. Charles and its common reminder that we Americans wouldn’t have our current freedoms but for the sacrifice of our military men and women. I have no desire to belittle the fallen who bravely fought to protect our nation from outside tyranny. Yet, part of our freedom story was missing.
Wars and military actions have helped to preserve what we already had established, but they did not create our culture and government of liberty. On patriotic days, we celebrate our successes of keeping outer enemies from toppling our republic, but we don’t always celebrate those who fight against the internal attacks on our Constitution and Western civilization.
Source of Freedom
Where did our political, economic, cultural, and religious freedoms come from? Not Athens, though many history books point to the Greeks as our source of democracy. Their short-lived democracy only provided freedom for the noble classes. Not solely from the Enlightenment philosophers. Although they championed democracy and free speech and other individual liberties, the more radical also rejected the church and denied the existence of God and sin and opened the way to unbridled license.
A comparison study between the French and American Revolutions will demonstrate that the Enlightenment was not the sole source of American liberty, despite what the history books say. Unlike the French, who believed all rights could be derived from and protected by human reason, the Framers of the Constitution found a balance between human reason and faith. They recognized that our rights come from God, not the government, and that the innate sinfulness of man required appropriate safeguards to be included in our law. (See From Tyndale to Madison: How the Death of an English Martyr Led to the American Bill of Rights by Michael Farris for a scholarly study on how the US government is primarily based on the Reformation and not Enlightenment.)
The Value of Judeo-Christian Culture
The Bible serves as the foundation of our national freedoms and those of the other Western nations with a Judeo-Christian culture. Americans cherish these inalienable rights, yet some citizens want to obliterate this God-given heritage. They have rejected Western Civilization and desire to put American on a different course than the one that the Founding Fathers placed us on.
Why should we protect our Western biblical heritage in the first place? Some say our society should continue to “evolve” with new ideas (Not that they are really new. As King Solomon once said, there is nothing new under the sun.) and reject the old-fashioned ways. But new isn’t always better. We should protect our Judeo-Christian culture because only the societies shaped by biblical teachings have true hope and compassion. All others live under the belief in fate or naturalism, and both lead to despair. (See The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization by Vishal Mangalwadi for a discussion on how biblically based cultures have more hope and compassion than other nations.)
Where did the American can-do attitude come from? Not from Eastern religions that claim fate dictates the destiny of all and one has no way of improving his lot in life. Not atheism that teaches that human life has no more value than that of a worm. These worldviews provide no hope.
Where does American compassion come from? While other belief systems put self before others, the Judeo-Christian worldview encourages people to put others before themselves. The parable of the Good Samaritan is a familiar example of this concept. This biblical foundation makes America one of the most hopeful and charitable nations on the planet.
Cheer the Freedom Fighters
If we desire to preserve our national freedoms, and with them hope and compassion, we must cheer on those who fight for our Judeo-Christian cultural heritage and join into the fray ourselves as well. We need to stop those who wish to enslave us to socialism, naturalism, and nihilism. Our freedom fighters include not only the founders, the abolitionists, and the soldiers, but also the defenders of religious liberty.
This month we’ve seen such people prevail in a few recent Supreme Court decisions with the aid of the Alliance Defending Freedom. The Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission decision states that the government cannot compel people, such as cake artist Jack Phillips, to create messages that conflict with their religious convictions.
In light of this decision, the Supreme Court vacated the Washington State Supreme Court judgment in Arlene’s Flowers v. State of Washington, giving florist Barronelle Stutzman a fighting chance to avoid financial ruin because the state sought to compel her to violate her religious beliefs when she refused to celebrate a same-sex marriage.
The third victory for freedom came through the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra ruling against a California law (Reproductive FACT Act, AB 775) that stated that California’s crisis pregnancy centers must post advertisements for abortion, a message that violates the very mission of these pregnancy centers. This decision overturned similar laws in Austin, Texas; Montgomery County, Maryland; Baltimore; and New York City.
While you enjoy a tasty barbecue and “bombs bursting in air” this July 4, remember not only those involved in the American Revolution who won freedom for you and those who codified those freedoms in our Constitution and Bill of Rights but also remember those who continue the fight to preserve our rights. For if religious freedom falls, all of our other inalienable rights will tumble.