We mandate no belief in this country. We are free to believe or not believe whatever we want. Yet our country and its laws were established on the fundamental belief that our individual rights comes not from government, but from God. The recognition of this fact by our Founding Fathers and by citizens throughout the years has allowed this nation to prosper beyond its wildest dreams.
The Tampa Liberty School was founded last year to provide an opportunity for children learn about these principles, and I have been privileged to be its Director. The school is run by adult volunteers from the community, and is dedicated to educating, enlightening, and exciting children to the values on which this country was established.
Children are taught that beginning in the 1600s, many settlers came to what they considered this new Promised Land seeking religious freedom. They could relate to the biblical Jewish Exodus from Egypt because they had left an oppressive Old World seeking the blessings of liberty in this New World. Ours was the only country to identify with Old Testament Jewish beliefs, and is why we are called a "Judeo-Christian" nation. These values include the importance of laws, fighting for justice, and a belief in judgment by loving and forgiving God.
By the 1770s, colonists were seeking freedom from the British Crown with reliance upon, what the Declaration of Independence calls, "Nature's God," the "Creator," and "the Supreme Judge of the World." The Founders understood there is a divine order that rises above the human order.
They recognized that there is a Natural Law in which individual rights do not come from a king, a congress, a court, a president, or any other form of government. These unalienable rights can only come from a Creator. Under Natural Law, the government works for the people, and not the other way around. These rights include the rights of life and liberty, the right to own private property, the right to self-defense, to assemble peaceably, and so on.
While Natural Law may have been forgotten over the years, the Framers recognized it and established it as the basis of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. They knew that if we, as a people, ever lost our biblical foundation, no amount of Constitutional protection could preserve the republic. They recognized that without Divine Providence, their struggle for freedom would be lost.
John Adams wrote, "We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our constitution was made for a moral and religious people."
Adams and the other Founders knew that without God there could be no prompting of the conscience. And only those humble enough to admit they are imperfect before God could bring to an imperfect democracy the tolerance it requires to endure.
God's authority and eternal laws are therefore prerequisites for or way of governing. Children instinctively know that people should have equal rights under the law, and that we should have the freedom to try new things, and to fail sometimes. We should expect equal rights, but not to expect equal results. The Framers knew these concepts. So should we. This is what we teach at our school.
For this system to work, the country must have a people that are moral, virtuous, and educated in these principles of liberty. That means we must know where our rights come from, and we must live by them. Our nation rests on the voluntary consent of its citizens. Children leave our school understanding this message. All citizens should know about Natural Law because we are the ones responsible for maintaining our liberty.
America arguably represents an extraordinary achievement in the history of human civilization. Our Forefathers, by the grace of God, created a society in which more people enjoy more liberty and more prosperity than has ever been known at any time anywhere in history. There is no better time than the year of 2012 to express our gratitude to God for these blessings and his laws, and to call upon His providence to see us through a turbulent time.