Over the past four years Mr. Ted Weiland has posted behind several of my articles making the point that there is a difference between the American People and the governance system set up by our Founding Fathers. He made such a post last week behind an article in The Gem State Patriot by Bob Shillingstad. I agree with the premise of the first statement, but last week Mr. Weiland again made an argument claiming that we are not a Christian Nation because our Founders were theistic humanists, and it is because of our Founding on Enlightenment principles and not Christian principles that the problems we face today have come about. Mr. Weiland again succumbs to violating Plato’s fallacy of composition.
The signers of our Declaration and the signers of the Constitution almost universally believed in God (Yahweh)—Congregationalists, Episcopalians, Catholics, and Jews. They almost uniformly were grounded in Greco-Roman and Hebrew-Christian history. They had seen the failings of theocratic rule both in the early American Colonies—the Puritans established theocratic rule at Plymouth even though they were fleeing from a King who supported such rule, and in the stories of the Old Testament where the transactions of government took place between The Kings, The Prophets and The Judges. Just like in the Bible the earthly rule of men needs to be based on “free will” and liberty, not on coercion and enforced obedience to a moral order that is enforced by civil theocratic rule.
The uniqueness of our country’s Founding was that it occurred during the confluence of the ideas of The Enlightenment and those of The Great Awakening. Mr. Weiland invokes Biblical Scholars Dr. Frazier and Dr. Mohler in making the argument that our Founders were Deists and Theists. This argument upon closer inspection doesn’t hold water. God gives man only one way to reach Him and that is through Jesus Christ. God can reach down to man anyway, time and place that He wants. There is no question in my mind that our Founding was Providential and not prudential. The melding of Biblical and Enlightenment principles proves it. In fact, at the time of our Founding nine of our colonies had church sponsored theocratic rule—three Congregationalists, six Church of England (Episcopalian). One of the States Pennsylvania founded by Charter from the King to William Penn a Quaker, purposefully made religion not a condition for participation in civil affairs. Conscience and “free will” were a bases for liberty and participation in the Civil State. Writings between Jefferson and Madison in the years of Jefferson’s absence in France during rule under The Articles of Confederation are the best example of their own beliefs and their allegiance to the concept of “free will” as the bases of liberty.
There is no such thing as a theocratic democratic republic. Those are based on Old Covenant principles. The new Covenant—Jesus Christ was anticipated by the prophets and that is the bases of the New Covenant. The Legitimacy of governance in the New Covenant is given to the people by God, not through His rulers and then to the people.
It is appropriate that we talk about this issue at Christmas time because many people who argue for theocratic rule do so without understanding the history of THE NEW COVENANT. This new relationship between God and man didn’t begin with Jesus’ teachings, but rather with the Annunciation to Mary of her being pregnant with Jesus. As describe in a supplement to The First Glorious Mystery in the Catholic Catechism:
IN THE ANNUNCIATION, the birth of the Son of God in the flesh is made to hinge on the consent of a woman. God in His power may have assumed His human nature by force. But He willed not to invade His great gift of freedom without a creature’s free response. The Annunciation is the Mystery of the joy of freedom. Our free will is the only thing in the world that is our own. God can take away anything else, our health, wealth, power, but God will never force us to love Him or to obey Him. The charm of Yes lies in the possibility that one might have said No. Mary has taught us to say Fiat to God. “Be it done to me according to Thy word.” But God Himself has taught us that, since He would not invade the freedom of a woman, we should expect no less in the way that we govern ourselves.
This our Founding Fathers understood—The relationship between “free will” and freedom (liberty). Freedom and theocracy cannot coexist. Yes, means nothing if we don’t have the liberty to say “no”
The annunciation and the march of liberty that continued through the New Covenant did not end with Jesus but has continued through today. Maybe Mr. Weiland and the other scholars and I can agree on this one point:
NO JESUS—NO LIBERTY
Below is a link to a Wall Street Journal article that has been published at Christmas for over 60 years. It tells how the story was continued, and the sacrifice of those brave souls who had the courage to speak the truth. We are called on to follow in their footsteps