The American experiment in ordered liberty presupposes the existence of a Supreme Being who instituted a universal moral code. As the Declaration of Independence reminds us, this code is “self-evident.” Indeed, the Declaration enshrined this simple yet powerful truth, that “unalienable rights,” or basic human rights, do not come as a gift from a ruling elite, such as kings and rulers, parliaments and legislatures, judges and courts; rather, natural rights come from God.
The Founding Fathers went out of their way to acknowledge God no less than four times in the Declaration of Independence. This bold “Declaration of Dependence” upon God led the early 20th century British writer and philosopher G. K. Chesterton to describe America “as the only nation founded on a creed.”
Indeed, those who framed our government not only did so with an acknowledgment of the God of natural revelation, but also with the God revealed in the pages of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures. This is the same God worshipped by the vast majority of Americans from the time of the first colonial settlements in Virginia and Massachusetts through the time of the establishment of our constitutional government, thus providing the foundation for the many public calls to prayer, fasting, and thanksgiving. In that environment, it is not surprising that adherence to the Christian religion, and the morality espoused by it, were seen as essential elements for America to become and remain a successful nation.
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