April 4, 2011
The religious views of America's Founders were not segmented into a discrete compartment, segregated away from their political views. Rather, the faith of Fathers infused their understanding of government, the public good, and way in which they believed men and women could most productively live alongside one another in a free but ordered society.
Dr. Daniel Dreisbach, who has spoken eloquently at FRC about the Founders and religious liberty, said recently that the American founders looked to the role of religion ... and morality informed by religious values to provide an internal moral compass that would prompt the citizen to behave in an orderly, disciplined fashion. This is an idea that is replete in the political literature of the American founding. It is said over and over and over again."
Religious liberty is rich ground out of which all our other liberties grow. As FRC Senior Fellow Bob Morrison writes in his new booklet "What the Founders Really Did on Religious Liberty: 'Deeds not Words,'"
The Founders of our country considered religious liberty our 'first freedom.' In their view, it was the bedrock upon which all other freedoms rest. Why? They understood that ones right to worship God and follow his conscience according to the principles of his religious faith was foundational to all morality. A man whose religious faith was repressed could never be a loyal citizen, since the state was usurping his first allegiance and costing him his primary, or first, freedom.
Samuel Adams wrote in his Rights of the Colonists in 1772, The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of Man to alienate this gift, and voluntarily become a slave. If we do not acknowledge that God is the author of our liberty --- an inherently religious assertion, stated clearly in the Declaration of Independence --- then liberties of all kinds are merely trinkets of the state.
So, at a time when religion in public life is under attack by those who would scrub our government and public institutions of all vestiges of our Judeo-Christian heritage, it is imperative for conservatives to stand for religious liberty as the foundation of our laws and our nation itself. Bob Morrisons new booklet is a great place to start.