Preserving America's Foundation

Many Americans, who understand neither evangelical Christians nor America's religious foundation are needlessly worried that evangelicals' role in the historic re-election of President George W. Bush will somehow jeopardize the evolving separation of church and state in America. These concerned citizens have the matter entirely backwards.

America’s founding fathers based our laws and, more importantly, our rights, on the creator, God of the Bible. What most Americans do not realize is that if the rights of Americans do not continue to be based upon America’s original religious foundation, any rights we retain will become increasingly dependent upon the beneficence of the state. That is exactly what America’s founders were seeking to avoid when they penned the foundational words of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Do the rights bestowed on Americans by the Creator include rights for those Americans who are not evangelical Christians, or who are not even religious? Absolutely! What most atheists and non-Judeo-Christian religious citizens in America do not fully understand, is that the only reason they are permitted to be an atheist or a Muslim without penalty in the United States is because the right to believe or not to believe was granted to them under the authority of the very God many Americans are now seeking to eliminate. It is important to understand that the God of the Bible does not demand allegiance or fealty from those to whom He imparts unalienable rights. The God of the Bible desires to be worshipped only by those who freely choose to do so. For that reason, the founders of America made it possible for every person to have freedom — to choose to believe or not to believe.

While it is true that this biblical ideal of freedom has not always been fully or perfectly realized in America, there is no other system in the history of the world that has provided a better foundation for government than the biblical model followed by America’s founders. The French, a decade after the American Revolution, sought to create freedoms that were based upon the beneficence of the state, not upon the eternal Creator. The end result was the guillotine. Bloodshed and loss of freedom have been the end result of every society in the history of the world that has sought the origin of rights in the state rather than in the sovereign God of the Bible. Even Christian civilizations collapse when men see themselves, rather than God, as the national originator and preserver of rights. As the British nobles learned as far back as the Magna Carta, if the King was not under the authority of God, his boot would soon be on the backs of every citizen.

Americans of all religions and of no religion should feel blessed that evangelical Christians are becoming more involved in politics in America. They are people of the Book in the same way that America’s founders were people of the Book. American’s rights must continue to come from the God of that Book because that is the only way our rights will be preserved. Hopefully (or prayerfully, for those who do), that is the mandate that will be preserved in America by the recent election.

David C. Gibbs III is the president of the Christian Law Association, which provides free legal assistance to thousands of workplace believers.