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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Cornerstone of Liberty

In 1772, to confront the unjust acts of Great Britain, citizens of Boston formed a Committee of Correspondence to coordinate their efforts with those of the other colonies. The citizens charged the Committee with several tasks, one of which was to create a statement of the rights of the colonists. This duty was given to none other than one of the leaders of the original Tea Party, the “Father of the American Revolution” himself, Samuel Adams.

“Among the natural rights of the Colonists,” began Adams, “are these: First, a right to life; Secondly, to liberty; Thirdly, to property.” On liberty, Adams later added that, “‘Just and true liberty, equal and impartial liberty,’ …is a thing that all men are clearly entitled to by the eternal and immutable laws of God and nature, as well as by the law of nations and all well-grounded municipal laws, which must have their foundation in the former.”

Adams was a Congregationalist who was raised by devout Puritans. As the governor of Massachusetts, he was dubbed “the last Puritan.” Adams was quite proud of his Puritan heritage, and rightly so, for more than any other group the Puritans were most responsible for the Christian foundation that America enjoyed.

The Puritans were not the sin-obsessed, witch-hunting, killjoys in tall black hats that many have made them out to be. As David Marshall and Peter Manuel note in The Light and the Glory, “Far from fleeing the persecutions of King and Bishop, they determined to change their society in the only way that could make any lasting difference: by giving it a Christianity that worked.”

In June of 1630, 10 years after the Pilgrims founded the Plymouth Colony, John Winthrop and 700 other Puritans landed in Massachusetts Bay. This was the beginning of the Great Migration, which over 16 years saw more than 20,000 Puritans leave Europe for New England. On June 11, 1630, aboard the Arbella, Winthrop, the first Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, penned A Model of Christian Charity, which became a model for future constitutional covenants of the Colonies.

Under the leadership of their ministers, the Puritans established a representative government with annual elections. By 1641 they had a “Body of Liberties” (essentially a Bill of Rights), which was penned by the Rev. Nathaniel Ward. This was the first legal code established by the colonists.

In 1636 the Rev. Thomas Hooker, along with other Puritan ministers, founded Connecticut. They also established an elective form of government. In 1638, after hearing a sermon by Hooker, Roger Ludlow wrote the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut. This was the first constitution written in America. It served as a model of government for other colonies and, eventually, a union of colonies. It also served as a model for the U.S. Constitution.

However, as historian David Barton notes, “While Connecticut produced America's first written constitution, it definitely had not produced America's first written document of governance, for such written documents had been the norm for every colony founded by Bible-minded Christians… This practice of providing written documents had been the practice of American ministers before the Rev. Hooker's constitution of 1638 and continued long after.”

Like Samuel Adams, another Founding Father understood well who was most responsible for the founding of our great nation, and upon what that foundation rested. America’s Schoolmaster, Noah Webster, noted, “The learned clergy . . . had great influence in founding the first genuine republican governments ever formed and which, with all the faults and defects of the men and their laws, were the best republican governments on earth.”

Webster concluded that “the Christian religion, in its purity, is the basis, or rather the source of all genuine freedom in government. . . . and I am persuaded that no civil government of a republican form can exist and be durable in which the principles of that religion have not a controlling influence.”

This explicitly Christian heritage, more than any other reason, is why the United States stands alone in the world. It is why the U.S. is the world’s longest ongoing constitutional republic, enjoying unprecedented longevity among contemporary nations of the world, with over 220 years under the same documents and the same form of government.

“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom,” wrote the Apostle Paul. Of all the nations of the world, this has never been more evident than with the United States of America. God Bless America.

(See this column on American Thinker.)

Copyright 2011, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The War on the Family Rages On

Following Father’s Day, here is some sobering information concerning dads. According to the U.S. Census, one-third of American children are growing up without their biological fathers, while 40% of newborn babies in the U.S. are delivered to unmarried mothers. This percentage has increased about ten-fold since 1950.

Even more sobering: According to the CDC, over 72% of black children in the U.S. are born out-of-wedlock, along with over 52% of Hispanic children. Thus, while accounting for only about one quarter of the total U.S. population, blacks and Hispanics account for about 57% of the total number of out-of-wedlock births.

The absence of dad is devastating for children in a wide variety of ways. Children from single-parent homes are twice as likely to be suspended or expelled from school and are more than twice as likely to be arrested for a juvenile crime. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 85% of children with behavioral disorders don’t have a father at home.

Children living without dad are much more likely to abuse drugs, commit suicide, and run away from home. They are more likely to have lower academic achievement along with lower self-esteem. Children born to unwed mothers are about seven times more likely to live in poverty than children with fathers in the home. The correlation between fatherless homes and the negative effects on the family is irrefutable.

With statistics like these, which have been trending in this negative direction for decades, one would think that no matter a person’s religion, political persuasions, etc., it would be clear to most that it benefits our culture to support traditional marriage.

Yet, in spite of all this, the left continues its march towards the destruction of the family. Led by the homosexual movement and its war on marriage, like-minded liberals in the media, the aiding and abetting by Democrats in Washington, and Feministas like Gloria Steinem (who once declared, “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.”) and NY Times columnist Maureen Dowd, author of “Are Men Necessary?” (which has been described as “the manifesto of the man-hating movement”), the varied attacks on the family are well funded, coordinated, and unrelenting.

For example, recently in the U.S. House, a bill introduced by Democrat Pete Stark (CA), called the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, would, according to World magazine, “force any group that receives federal aid to place kids in foster families and adoptive families without regard to the sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status of the prospective parents.”

Stark’s bill currently has 52 co-sponsors in the House (all but one are Democrats). Not to be left out, Democrat Sen. Kristin Gillibrand (NY) plans to introduce similar legislation in the Senate.

Then there’s the case of the Redwood Heights Elementary School in Oakland, California. According to the Oakland Tribune, last month “children learned more about what gender means, how it's been expressed in different cultures throughout human history, and that it's possible to be both genders -- or neither.”

Recently MSNBC (surprise!) proudly profiled Andrew Viveros as the “first transgender student in the United States to be crowned prom queen at a public school.” Despite being born a boy and having male reproductive organs, Viveros wants to be a girl—thus MSNBC treated him as a girl and permitted no voice in opposition to such behavior on their show. Echoing one of the great lies of the secular left, Andrew said, “it's OK to be who you are, it's OK to do what you want to do.”

Whether we are talking about divorce, out-of-wedlock births, redefining marriage, or disappearing dads, there are profound consequences for everyone in our culture anytime we deviate from the traditional family model. It is amazing that such has to be said in these “enlightened” times—as Mark Alexander wrote in 2006, “What cadre of nescient dolts does not already know (such things)?”

Adoption, education, legal issues such as custody, wills, inheritances and estates, matters concerning health care and retirement benefits—all of these are affected by how a society—and its government—view marriage. President Reagan summed it up well when he noted, “The family has always been the cornerstone of American society…in the family we learn our first lessons of God and man, love and discipline, rights and responsibilities…the strength of our families is vital to the strength of our nation.”

(See this column on American Thinker.)

Copyright 2011, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com