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April 2017 Policy Study, Number 17-6

   

A Commentary on the Bill of Rights

   

Part 5

   

 

A pertinent question presents itself.  Was it the people of that period, those who wrotethe Constitution and the Bill of Rights, along with the majority who voted to ratify and implement the same, who were not in conformity with the documents they had only recently drafted and ratified?  Or is it us who fail to understand and conform to those documents?  This is a question worthy of national debate.  The freedom of religion clause of the First Amendment consists of two parts.  The first deals with a prohibition to the national central government with respect to the establishment of a national religion on its part, period.  The second deals with a prohibition to the national central government with respect to its interference in the free exercise of religion, in any way, shape, or form, by anyone in this nation, period.

 

But government in general, and the national central government in particular, has become openly antagonistic in its actions, and possibly even hostile, to the free exercise of religion.  This central government-sponsored antagonism extends, not only to Christians, but also to Muslims and Jews — in fact, to any religion whose tenets require its practitioners to honor and obey the Creator rather than government itself.  Though I am not sure about the Koran, the teachings of the Torah and the Bible each exhort man to tithe, to give ten percent of the fruit of his labor to the use of the Creator.  And this is not just any old ten percent, but the “first” fruits.  Who demands, and forcefully takes, the first fruits of your labor today?  For most of us laboring for a wage or salary, it is expropriated before the fruit even touches our hands at a rate much in excess of ten percent.

 

In order to accomplish this, the national central government has had to diminish the role of religion and weaken the practitioners’ belief in it.  They do this by excluding religion as much as is possible from national debate and prominence through the enactment of “laws” which are antagonistic to religion and through the courts.  This has not been done overtly and suddenly, but covertly and incrementally; most of us take no notice.  It is said that if you drop a frog into a kettle of boiling water, he will promptly jump out; but if instead you place him in a kettle of cool water and then slowly turn up the heat, the frog will not notice the change in water temperature and will quietly sit there until his demise.  We are about to suffer the fate of the frog.  Whether members of the national central government have purposely set this course or whether they are even aware of what they are doing is of little import.  It is happening.  If they are aware, it is certainly perfidy.

 

It is also said that nature abhors a vacuum.  With the erosion of what we recognize as religion from the national public stage, a vacuum is just what has been created.  What rushes in to fill the void created by the coerced exodus of those acknowledged religions are philosophies we do not recognize as religions; but they are belief systems and behave as religions nonetheless.  Examples would be atheism, nihilism, and humanism.  These have gained a major foothold in this nation in the last thirty years.

 

Atheism is the belief that there is no God or gods.  Atheists, following the lead of Madeline Murray O’Hare, have used the courts to demand and win the virtual suppression of so much as the acknowledgment of a Creator by any public, or quasi-public, body.  Under the pretext that theirs is not a religion because they do not believe in God and thus no god is involved, they put forward the demand that the government, with its power, enforce their religion of atheism.  That they have gained much ground with this argument in the last thirty years is beyond dispute.

 

Atheism is quite straightforward, and its guiding standard is easy to grasp.  Not so with nihilism.  It is much more ephemeral.  The nihilistic philosophy denies even the existence of any basis for knowledge or truth.  Hence they reject the customary beliefs in morality and religion.  A hardcore nihilist goes so far as to deny there is any meaning or purpose to his own existence, much less for any other’s existence.  A cursory inventory of the everyday behavior taking place in this nation should be all that is necessary to convince you that the nihilistic philosophy exists and is thriving.

 

There is a very noticeable difference in the practice of the two philosophies.  Atheists are quite overt in their word and deed regarding their faith — nihilists are much less so.  While their actions would indicate at least a subconscious adherence to nihilistic philosophy, I have encountered very few who will openly admit to its beliefs.  It would seem that they either do not recognize their own practice of the philosophy or that they have reason for their lack of candor.  There is another aspect of nihilism about which little is spoken.  This particular aspect of nihilism cannot be applied to all nihilists, but its consequences are no less devastating simply because all nihilists do not subscribe to it or are even aware of it.  This aspect is imbued with a political nature.  It is the belief that all political, economic, and social institutions must be completely destroyed in order to make way for the establishment of the new institutions envisioned by the nihilists themselves.

 

It would seem our “laws” (public policy), court decisions, and social policies could not be designed any more effectively to accomplish this purpose.  Why are we destroying the best healthcare system in the world, the institution of marriage, the family, our churches, and the concept of neighbor?  Why are we blurring the distinction between the sexes and promoting the notion of multiple genders?  Why are we teaching the children in our system of public education ideas that are contrary to those which are held in the home?  All of these things undermine the established conventions which have served us so well for over two hundred years.  Is it all random happenstance?  Whether it is by design or default is not the issue.  It could well lead to the much vaunted “New World Order” or just another Caesar.  The prospect of either is not appealing.

 

The third philosophy vying to fill the vacuum is humanism.  Though this word enjoys contexts outside the sense of the immediate discussion, here we will limit it to the sense of religion.  Humanism is man-centered.  Some humanists are atheists, while others deem God merely irrelevant.  All true humanists believe man can perfect himself and have come to rely entirely on other men, in lieu of God, for any needs they cannot meet themselves.  Government is the answer to all of their temporal problems, and they place their faith in it.  For them, government has become the modern-day golden calf.  Government provides the only salvation that presently concerns them, and it is at its altar they worship.

 

Adherents of each of the three, atheism, nihilism, and humanism, would probably deny their status as a religion; but what is that old adage in Washington?  “If it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck.”  Whether or not you agree that these are religions, they are indisputably belief systems.  As a practical matter, it would seem a government is incapable of absolute neutrality in its relationships with the various belief systems.  It is merely a question of which system of belief government is going to favor.  It is time for us, as a nation, to reevaluate which system of beliefs is to hold sway.  We need to choose carefully.

 

Though they may have had different names, or were perhaps unnamed at the time, these philosophies were undoubtedly present at the birth of this nation.  Each of the three was antithetical to, and irreconcilable with, the beliefs of our Founders.  They rejected them in favor of a nation based upon “the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”  And they did not proscribe God from the arena of public affairs.  Again, I encourage you to examine their speeches, writings, and actions; but don’t waste your time in the modern history books, which have been neatly cleansed of these facts.

 

   

 

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