Judeo-Christian Values and Constitutional Principles
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men … are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men.”
(The Declaration of Independence)
“Congress shall make no law … prohibiting the free exercise (of religion), or abridging the freedom of speech.” (First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution)
“Powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution … are reserved to the States … or to the people.” (Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution)
“Government bureaus (and new entitlements) are the closest thing to eternity we will ever see on this earth.” (Ronald Reagan)
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The Old & the New: Three Milestones on the Road to Recovery
Obama’s Old Record: During his eight years in office, President Barack Obama made it his mission to “fundamentally transform” America.
Regrettably, that included prohibiting or removing references to God and expressions of Christian faith from the public square and promoting a more secular, even godless, culture to take their place.
Therefore, he defended abortion and supported same-sex “marriage”. He also collaborated with LGBT activists who demanded support for an agenda that violates God’s moral code.
As a consequence, Christians in all walks of life were persecuted and prosecuted for taking a stand and living out their deeply held religious beliefs.
His “transformation” also included expanding the role of the federal government at the expense of the states and of the people. Mandated national health care was a prime example.
In sum, as Obama increased the power and the reach of the government, the freedom of the people declined proportionately. It was a dangerous trend.
Trump’s New Beginnings: President Trump took three big steps this past week to reverse that trend and to return power and freedom to the states and to the people. The contrast with the Obama record is crystal clear.
1. He signed an executive order to protect and promote free speech and religious liberty.
2. He issued a Presidential Proclamation on the National Day of Prayer that explicitly and repeatedly affirmed the importance of God in our individual and national lives.
3. He worked with Congress to pass the first stage of health care reform.
1. President Trump’s Executive Order for Free Speech and Religious Liberty
The President’s order begins with a clear commitment to “vigorously enforce Federal law’s robust protections for religious freedom … in which religious people and institutions (are) free to practice their faith without fear of discrimination or retaliation by the Federal Government”.
It also demands that departments, with particular mention of the Treasury Department (which includes the IRS), “take no adverse action against any individual, house of worship, or other religious organization (that) speaks or has spoken about moral or political issues from a religious perspective ….”
This is a clear reference to the so-called “Johnson Amendment” of 1954 which has restricted pastors from addressing “political” issues from their pulpits.
While this is a good start, more needs to be done. Congress must now pass legislation to ensure that religious liberties are protected by law rather than simply by executive orders which can be more easily challenged and then overturned by activist judges.
2. President Trump’s National Day of Prayer Proclamation
Obama’s Old Proclamation of 2016: Last year, Obama urged Americans to pray as “an outlet for introspection”, and as a “cure for our fears”. It was primarily a paean to mankind aimed at making the world a better place.
He included only two references to God, urging us “to see God in everyone” and to ask for God’s continued guidance, mercy, and protection as we seek a more just world.
Trump’s New Proclamation: This contained eight direct references to God. Trump began by affirming that we are “One Nation Under God”, giving thanks for His providence, and asking for His wisdom, strength, and protection for the future.
He recognized that our religious liberties are a natural right bestowed on us as a gift from God rather than as a favor from government. He concludes by referring to God as the great Lord of all Nations and asking for God’s love and mercy over evil.
3. Health Care Reform
Finally, the American Health Care Act passed by the House this week also reflects at least a partial return to Constitutional principles by putting more health care decisions in the hands of the states, of the people, and of their doctors where they belong rather than in the hands of Washington regulators.
It is a first step in a long and difficult process, and much more needs to be done. However, removal of the individual mandate is in itself perhaps the most visible and important indication that the Constitutional spirit of limited government still lives.
However, a complete repeal of Obamacare will continue to be an uphill battle. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, “A government entitlement is the nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth.”
“Hope & Change”
In sum, these three actions foster hope that we are in a season of change that can take us back to the Judeo-Christian values and Constitutional principles on which America was founded and has prospered.
Therefore, in the spirit of the National Day of Prayer, may we continue to pray that God will listen, forgive, and guide us and our leaders so that America can once again seek to be that City on a Hill for all the world to see – for His Name’s Sake.
For God and Country,