Sept. 21, 2012
There has been much talk regarding the use of God in the major party platforms. One simple word contributed to a major firestorm at the Democratic convention. In a recent column Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar, said he wished for a more humble expression of faith and less use of God as a prop. He calls our Constitution godless, in support of His argument that God should not be in the party platforms.
So is he right? Well perhaps partly in that we should not use God as a prop for anything but as the foundation for everything. To call our Constitution godless simply because God is not mentioned would be like calling the Book of Esther in the Scriptures godless because God is not mentioned. Principles come from somewhere. From whom did the Founders think we receive the blessings of liberty? If being godly meant simply referring to God, then we are indeed a very godly nation. But I think we all know it goes a lot deeper.
No matter how hard one tries to remain secular, God seems to come up in American culture. From health care to football (courtesy of Tim Tebow) God pops up in discussion. Recognizing that we are subject to the will and Laws of Nature and Natures God is a very humble position to take. It is not merely using God as a prop but recognizing that He is the foundation of all order in the Universe. If our rights and potential come from God then we have immense value. If they come from government they can be ignored and destroyed. If they come from God they should be recognized and protected. God must be recognized or all we have held dear for so long inAmericais potentially up for debate. If the Declaration was incorrect in saying the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are self-evident rights from God endowed on every man, then much is at stake. What, you ask? Lets look.
If God is taken out of the equation then one could make a utilitarian argument for killing those who were disabled or simply unproductive. Instead of debating how to help the poor and infirm, we could be debating how to dispose of them because of cost and inconvenience. One could limit the pursuit of happiness by restricting religious liberty and dictating to people what they should believe and how to apply that belief. Even career choice could be limited, as could the type of car, or the size of the soda.
And lest you doubt that God plays the critical role in these things or that they could not occur in a modern society, I offer some thoughts. In the debate over abortion, those who dont answer the fundamental question, when does life begin? are left to talk about the cost to the mother of raising an unwanted baby, of a womans choice, or of privacy. Of course, these all become secondary concerns if God grants a baby a right to life from conception and it is an inalienable right. In godless regimes such asNorth KoreaandChinayou have the untold slaughter of many through forced abortions, prison camp killings, and general government purges. All of this in the name of some greater good espoused by the ruler or ruling party. In this country, people like Margaret Sanger argued that some should be forcibly sterilized if they had bad blood lines. If God doesnt grant liberty then people are bound to be ruled by the government and the changing views its members espouse. The recent health care law passed by Congress and the President told many organizations who believe that abortion and contraception are wrong that they had to believe something else because the government said so. Cases have come up repeatedly about whether prayers and religious symbols should be allowed in the public square. Even the definition of marriage can be changed by a few members of a court.
Why is government so important when it comes to the rights of man? Because of a less quoted phrase in the Declaration after the statements on inalienable rights, That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men. The government exists to protect us from those who would infringe on our God-given rights and to promote a culture that praises good things. Im thankful we still care about having God in our party platforms, but even more importantly may He be at the heart of our great Republic and the policies we promote. The moment a government forgets God is the moment it becomes god. And that is a scary thought.