Saturday, May 22, 2010

Random Thoughts About Things that Confuse Me.....

(This is not about Adventism.)

Most of the time I just keep my mouth shut and my keyboard still about certain ideas that rattle around in my mind, but occasionally I decide to actually write them down. I usually only do so after prolonged periods of illness when my brain feels foggy--like right now--when my self-preservation shields are down.

Here goes.

The Founding Fathers of the United States decided that God gave us certain rights. The writers of the Constitution and Bill of Rights claimed that these rights were from the self-evident Natural Law given by God. (I have often wondered just where they got these ideas about a self-evident Natural Law-- the writers do not source scripture--evidently we are supposed to believe these rights are written in nature or philosophy or reason. The problem is that to make the claim they are from God--you better have some non-subjective source other than "what I personally think.")

So the Founding Fathers say these rights are self-evident and they are given by God himself.

Okay, (even if I am not convinced) let's go with that....

If the premise is that the government does NOT give us these rights, they are directly from God--they also claim the government cannot take these rights away.

Humph, okay again.

Now where this gets all sticky in my mind is that if your government is supposed to have a clear disconnect between church and state (as it has morphed into today) the church is free to have its rights and the government can't interfere and visa versa, why would the Founding Father's expect the government to protect rights they claim are from God?

If the rights originate from God, then shouldn't God protect these rights instead of expecting the state to do it? It would only make sense if the church and state worked together that Christians could expect the state to defend their God-given rights.

Maybe we are getting things a bit convoluted in America. Maybe America, from the very outset and birth, assumed a deep connection between the state and religion---perhaps even believing that the state was set in place by the authority of God himself and God requires the state to implement God's self-evident laws? That is the only possible explanation for the Founding Father to assume that the state cannot take away what they claimed to be God-given rights.....


6 comments:

MotherofQ said...

It seems like back then, they just thought of both God and man as being a given. The church was a separate institution, where God happened to be worshiped. And that's what they wanted separate from the State (the Church), not God. I don't think they assumed a deep connection between the State and RELIGION at all! But a deep connection between the State and GOD! Which is really beautiful to me and mirrors the relationship God would have with each of us.

So, it seems to me that this country WAS designed to protect

Craig l. Balderston said...

I have no doubt that the founding fathers desired our government to believe in God and for God to guide our leaders. They, however did not want the government to set up a single state religeon. They wanted our country to be one in which people were free to worship God according to their beliefs and not one that goes out of its way to abolish God and any influence he may have.

Tompaul said...

"The writers of the Constitution and Bill of Rights claimed that these rights were from the self-evident Natural Law given by God."

Actually, the Constitution makes no reference to either God or natural law. The concept of natural law was certainly one that shaped their views, however, as evidenced by the opening lines of the Declaration of Independence. The founding fathers were primarily deists, who believed that any supreme being was an absentee landlord. They believed that a collusion of church and state had caused no end of trouble in the Old World, so they established a wholly secular government. That said, law and order has to rest on some foundation, and the enlightenment provided it in the form of natural law. Thus America's laws prohibited such commandments as theft and murder, but not taking God's name in vain, committing adultery, or breaking the Sabbath.

Teresa Beem said...

Tompaul, there are books out there battling those topics of whether the founding Fathers were deists or not. By the time all the revisionists and new revisionists are through, we are going to be totally confused!

My point is that the founding fathers DID NOT claim the government was the original source of human rights--but that certain rights (which they just decided based upon reason--natural law) were bestowed upon men by a higher source.

You hear this phrase among the tea partiers--"Man did not give us these inalienable right, therefore man cannot take them away." They claim the rights are from God.

So, now, how does a government who claims that it separates church and state--- and now some of its people want to go so far as to attempt to erase God from the public sphere--deal with the idea that the state MUST (has an obligation) to preserve and protect man's God-given rights..... ?

Why isn't it assumed that since God gave us the rights, it is HIS responsibility to preserve and protect them---NOT the state?

There is a real battle right now of logic going on in America. If we want to have a complete severing of Church and State--then by logic the state would not be obligated to defend rights just become some people say they are based on God/Providence/ Higher power....

If human rights are based in a natural law that comes from "Reason"/logic and the state agrees, (the State in a democracy being the source of those laws) then, of course, the state can also take away those laws.

Understand my confusion?

Teresa Beem said...

I just wrote a long comment and it was lost.... rats... maybe I will have time to write again later!

Teresa Beem said...

The Declaration of Independence states:

" 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..."

Thomas Jefferson cites the Creator/God as giving us certain rights.... then he says it is the governments duty to protect these rights.

That sets up an absolute connection with God and Government.

Those who wish to depose of God in the public square are going to have to find a solution to this dilemma. They are either going to have to say the state determines, protects and limits rights...

I just hear from the religious right a lot who say, "The state didn't give us rights, God did, so the state can't take them away."

Their problem is that they cannot source where God gives them those rights.....

So, what do we do? America isn't going to be able to resolve the question of God/government unless the Right simply say the Constitution is infallible and unchangeable. They will have to source the Constitution itself as if it were an authority beyond humanity....

Those who wish to eliminate God and become a totally secular society will have to re write the Constitution....