My wife and I have 6 children. Our oldest is our only daughter and the younger 5 are all boys. So, it is reaching back there a ways, but I remember when our daughter was little, maybe 3 or 4 years old. One day she got my tape measure. She pulled it out a little bit and then ran around the house putting the tape measure up to things and saying, “Half, two inches”. She was so cute. 😊 No matter what she measured, everything was “Half, two inches”. There is much going on in today’s world that makes me think about the wisdom of what she was unknowingly demonstrating to us that day.
As my daughter measured, and determined everything to be (as she meant to say) “2.5”, she knew she had to include the word “inches”. Had she left out the word “inches” and just gave a number, her listeners would be confused. If I gave you a value, but did not include the standard I was measuring by, and for example, said something was “two and a half”, you would rightfully look at me and ask “two and a half what?” If this is true with simple household measurements, how much more when you want to talk about what is right vs wrong for a nation. If I express a value independent of the measure that gives it legitimacy, then it is incomplete and has no basis, and I have nothing to stand upon.
Each of us as individuals, as well as all of us collectively as a nation, need to ask ourselves a question, “If I need to know whether something is right or wrong, what standard do I use?” What determines whether something is right or wrong? In the Biblical Citizenship classes we host, David Barton from Wallbuilders asserts that right now, truth is on “life support”. He points out that 3 of 5 Americans believe there is no absolute, moral truth. He further says that no nation has ever survived if at least half of the population doesn’t agree that certain things are right and wrong. Similar to the example of our daughter, we are running around spouting off measurements, but we are in total disagreement of what the word “inches” even means. In short, this all means that our nation is on a crash course headed for its own destruction.
If a nation has no agreement on what is right vs. what is wrong, how can that nation have meaningful laws? My wife recently showed me an advertisement for an event that is going to be held at a nearby town’s municipal swimming pool. For this event, the town was going to take down the “men” and “women” signs from the dressing areas and allow anyone to use any dressing area, regardless of gender or age. Mind you, this was being hosted at the city’s swimming pool and advertised as a family friendly event. Not too long ago in this country, that kind of behavior would have been considered detestable. It certainly would have also been illegal, and nobody would have ever dreamed it would be hosted by an official government entity. In fact, the laws prohibiting that kind of thing are still on the books, but the city itself decided to do it anyway. We have lost our minds in this country, and we have also lost our grasp of how to determine whether something is right or wrong.
One of our national founders from Pennsylvania, James Wilson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, a signer of the Constitution, and also an original Supreme Court Justice said, “Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority of that law which is divine.” Do you understand what that means? That means that if our laws are to be legitimate, they must rest upon the foundation of God’s law. They must be consistent with the basic definitions of right vs wrong as described in God’s Word. The universal symbol for God’s law is the tablets of the 10 Commandments. We have mentioned in articles like “Foundational Principles of the United States – What are they?” how the 10 Commandments demonstrate the unalienable rights given by God that must be protected by civil government (e.g., right to life and right to property). The 10 Commandments also represent the Divine law of God which has always been foundational to the laws of this nation. I hope you start to understand why the 10 Commandments are carved into the walls of our legal institutions, and are on display on the lawns of our official buildings. God’s law has historically defined right vs wrong in this country and therefore has been the foundation of our law and society.
This foundation can be seen clearly in the Declaration of Independence which asserts,
“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. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
Our rights come from God – not government. In fact, this passage from the Declaration of Independence tells us the reason governments are instituted at all is to SECURE rights already given to us by God. If our rights came from government, then perhaps they could change over time. If our rights were given by government, then perhaps then they could be given or taken back as different things came into or out of fashion. If our rights were given by government, perhaps they could be reactive to public opinion. However, if our rights were given by government, they would also be FAR less secure. We should all take comfort that our rights do not come from Government, but from God Himself.
Since our rights come from God, however, we can also confidently know several other things about them. Since our rights come from God, we can know He does not give rights to participate in behaviors that He calls abominations. Since our rights come from God, we can know He does not give us rights to actions that are against the rights He gave to someone else – like theft, or abortion. We addressed some of these things in the article, “Born to be a Car Thief”, and learned some of these valuable lessons alongside Morris, our car thief friend.
In this nation, we must get back to how to define right and wrong. We need laws based upon the solid foundation of divine law, and not on the wavering, shifting sand of public opinion. God made us and created this country. He gave us our rights, and He gives us life and sustains us every minute we live. He communicates clearly right vs. wrong in His Word. We have followed that standard for our nation’s history and made our laws in accordance with it. We must not allow our nation to be hijacked by those who hate our country and our God. We have to reaffirm the words of our founders who clearly told us our laws must rest on God’s laws. Without that foundation, this nation will surely perish.