God grants our rights; government just protects them
By Emmett Murphy
Saturday, June 30, 2018
“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.” — Proverbs 14:34 (The Bible, New International Version)
I'm so grateful that I live in the United States of America. But that doesn't mean that I place my citizenship in this great nation above my relationship to God. I'm proud to be an American because the American dream was placed into the hearts of our founding fathers by God Himself.
When the Pilgrims sailed to these shores on that tiny ship in 1620, they came seeking religious liberty and freedom. They wrote a document called the Mayflower Compact. It begins with: "In the Name of God, Amen." We usually say "Amen" at the end of a prayer. "In the Name of God, Amen." And then they stated their purpose: "Having undertaken for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith..." Our forefathers came here for the stated purpose of advancing the Christian faith.
A South American president spoke of the great difference between South America and North America. Why has North America been so blessed but South America has never developed as it could with all the rich natural resources that it has? And this South American president said the difference is, "The people who came to our shores came here because they were seeking gold. The people who came to your shores came because they were seeking God." That's what they were seeking. They were seeking the right to worship their Lord freely.
Our Constitution was born in the heat of a revival. And our government is rooted in a belief of Almighty God. The Declaration of Independence says, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights." I like that. Why? Because they said we are not going to argue about this. It is not up for vote; it is not up for debate, "this is self-evident... that all men are endowed by their Creator...."
What did they believe? They believed there was a God in glory who made man and gave man rights. The government does not give anyone rights. The government has no rights to give. God gives those rights; the government is here to protect those rights. They are God-given rights. Our very nature is rooted in Almighty God.
Also in that Constitution is a Bill of Rights. In that Bill of Rights it says, "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or the free exercise thereof." There was never meant to be the separation of God from government. It was meant to be the separation of church and state, meaning the church is not to control the state and the state is not to control the church. Each one is to operate in their own sphere. Nor does it mean that Christians are not to influence their government. The Constitution never meant that children could not pray in school. An American ought to be free to pray anywhere and anytime. All it meant was that nobody should be forbidden to pray and nobody should be coerced to pray. That's what America stands for.
None of our founding fathers was perfect and not all were Christians. Thomas Jefferson was a deist and a few, like Thomas Paine, were skeptics. But 52 of the 55 signers of the Declaration of Independence proclaimed themselves as Christians, and 27 were seminary graduates.
That Christian foundation has given America moral values that provide a common consensus of right and wrong, the sanctity of life, the structure of marriage and family, the love and protection of children, the inherent value of every person, the need for integrity and civility in relationships, the respect for people in authority, the pursuit of justice for all, mercy for the oppressed, the restraint of evil desires, the right to own property and enjoy individual freedom. And all of these values are rooted in the Bible.
America is a great country because of her Christian heritage. Let's make sure we keep it that way. Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.
Emmett Murphy is minister of Journey Christian Church.