|Language of Liberty|
Thursday, June 23, 2016
“America: Still Worth Fighting For” Part 1
By KrisAnne Hall, Guest Columnist
Our contemporary American experience seems often Orwellian. We have a Congress that denies our Rights in the name of security. We have a president who not only writes laws with his pen, but is also in the habit of rewriting history to serve his political purposes.
Many patriots have expended a great deal of energy this year in the fight to see our Liberty protected and America’s greatness restored. We are all well aware that there are still many struggles ahead and mountains yet to be conquered. But let us be reminded of a hope that is rooted firmly in the original American experience that makes our land so exceptional.
Our history is rich with men and women who have surrendered all so that many could live in the greatest place the world has ever known. For over 700 years before the Declaration of Independence, men and women were learning the lessons that would be taught to our founders. Lessons that would infuse our founders with the courage and hope that would build this exceptional land.
Patrick Henry said, “I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know no way to judge the future but by the past.” He was letting us know that his knowledge of those last 700 years were the very reason he knew how this fight would turn out. He knew that every time men and women understood the value of Liberty and pledged all to protect it, they were always victorious.
These guarantees of history must have raced through Henry’s head; 1100 Charter of Liberties, Magna Carta, 1628 Petition of Right, 1641 Grand Remonstrance, and his very own Bill of Rights of 1689. These were battles fought in the name of Liberty and he knew that victory was a guarantee. This is our history. This is our guarantee. This is our victory!
We have so much to be thankful for. Let us not forget that Liberty is a gift that was purchased for us with great sacrifice. Among the many things we have to be thankful for, we must be eternally grateful for the wisdom of men and women that understood that Liberty was a gift from God and that all God’s gifts are worth our every sacrifice.
John Adams, in a letter to Abigail in 1777 expressed this sacrifice. “Posterity! you will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it.”
We must honor this sacrifice by honoring their memory and continuing their efforts. Too often I see the revisionism of our history in an effort to demean these men and women with the purpose of destroying our Constitution. We do not properly respect their efforts by allowing these lies to be taught to our sons and daughters. We must teach the truth. We owe it to them. We owe it to our children. It is our hope.
I am not trying to give the founders some divine status or even suppose them a level of perfection that they did not have. We must understand that our Liberty was not founded upon people, but upon principles. The people that gave us our exceptional American principles were flawed vessels just like you and me. However, the really amazing part of this history is that flawed men understood that the foundation of an enduring union must be Liberty moored in morality.
Consider these words by Alexander Hamilton: “Equal pains have been taken to deprave the morals as to extinguish the religion of the country [France], if indeed morality in a community can be separated from religion…The pious and moral weep over these scenes as a sepulcher destined to entomb all they revere and esteem. The politician who loves liberty sees them with regret as a gulf that may swallow up the liberty to which he is devoted. He knows that morality overthrown (and morality must fall with religion), the terrors of despotism can alone curb the impetuous passions of man, and confine him within the bounds of social duty.” The Stand, No. III (April 7, 1798)
Our founders knew that Liberty is a combination of two equally important parts – it is FREEDOM under the constraints of MORAL LAW. Liberty cannot survive where there is pure freedom. Pure freedom gives man the right to do whatever is right in his own mind: cheat, lie, rob, murder. Pure freedom is anarchy. At the same time, Liberty cannot survive with moral law alone. Moral law not mingled with freedom is theocracy. Theocracy in the hands of men is tyranny in the name of religion. Our founders attempted give us this balance and secure the blessings of liberty for us in our founding documents. If we abandon our history, we abandon our founding documents and disregard our moral foundations, then liberty is in peril.
Thomas Jefferson gave us this warning, “Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that is justice cannot sleep forever.”
While Benjamin Franklin warned America’s founders directly: “In the beginning of the Contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for Divine protection…. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of Superintending Providence in our favor…have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?…. God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?”
Patrick Henry said “Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us.”
Our founders knew that Liberty is a gift from God. They knew that through their faith in Christ, their rewards in standing for God’s gift would be certain, whether on the battle field or in Heaven.
Tomorrow see Part 2 of “America: Still Worth Fighting For”
KrisAnne Hall is an attorney and former prosecutor. She hosts weekly radio and TV programs and teaches an average of 265 classes in over 22 States each year on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. KrisAnne is a disabled Army veteran, a Russian linguist, a mother, a pastor’s wife and a patriot. Learn more at krisannehall.com.
The Language of Liberty series is a collaborative effort of the Center for Self Governance (CSG) Administrative Team. CSG is a non-profit, non-partisan educational organization, dedicated to training citizens in applied civics. The authors include administrative staff, selected students, and guest columnists. The views expressed by the authors are their own and do not reflect the views of CSG. They may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org