On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress passed a resolution on independence from Britain and two days later agreed upon a statement known as the Declaration of Independence explaining this legal separation. America’s Founding Fathers and their writings support the establishment of this nation upon a foundation of belief in God and the free exercise of religion. This freedom is symbolized by the broken shackle at the feet of the Statue of Liberty. It symbolizes freedom of those who were once tethered to British oppression and tyranny.
John Adams is one of America’s founders who was also a member of the Committee of Five responsible for presenting to Congress a draft of the Declaration of Independence. He is also the second President of the United States. Before Congress voted on separating themselves from British tyranny, Adams wrote his wife, Abigail, about America’s independence. In this letter he said the nation’s freedom:
will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.
Adams believed that God Almighty was the one to be praised for this new independence.
The Declaration of Independence makes the bold statement that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
One’s own conscience bears witness to the fact that God created all of humanity with inherent rights that cannot be taken away from any human being. Since these rights originate from the Creator, then humanity, as the beneficiary of these rights, is subject to Him who declared them in the first place.
God’s law governs these self-evident rights, but His law has been increasingly replaced with the idea of a radical, personal autonomy. An autonomy that believes, “I have rights and I can do what I want regardless of what others think and say, God included. I am my own authority and determine my own destiny.”
The result of a dramatic increase in individual autonomy is the suppression of religious freedom. Those who hold this extreme view of autonomy oppose the idea of an objective or absolute truth, such as marriage between one man and one woman (Matt. 19:5).
Most same sex marriage advocates deny the biblical truth of the immorality of homosexuality and gay marriage because they view themselves as their own final authority—not the Bible. Therefore, they “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Rom. 1:18) meaning their own views and opinions take precedence over biblical truth. Not only do they suppress the truth, but they also fervently insist that others must not have the religious freedom to practice their faith concerning biblical marriage in their daily lives (Barronelle Stutzman, Aaron and Melissa Klein, the Benham brothers, etc.).
This opposition is a direct contradiction to what the Founding Fathers and framers of the Constitution intended. Faith in God and the expression of faith is a public matter. The ministry of Jesus and his proclamation of the Kingdom of God was presented publically (Matt. 9:35) just as Christians are called to do so today (Matt. 28:18-20).
While it is true that “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel” (2 Corinthians 4:4), this does not mean that the foundational principles of religious freedom in America ought to be suppressed given their state of blindness. The proclamation of the Gospel is rightly within the public discourse as is the biblical definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman. It is beyond the pale to suggest the Founding Fathers or the U.S. Constitution would ever force either into the shadows of life.
The Founding Fathers guaranteed freedom of religion in the First Amendment. Christians in America enjoy the constitutional protection from the government imposing laws prohibiting religious expression in both public and private realms.
Benjamin Franklin in a speech before the Constitutional Convention said,
I've lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing Proofs I see of this Truth — That 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? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that except the Lord build the House they labor in vain who build it. I firmly believe this, — and I also believe that without his concurring Aid, we shall succeed in this political Building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our Projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a Reproach and Bye word down to future Ages.
If Americans continue extolling themselves as their own god while the church tries its best to accommodate the world around it, then disaster looms and God’s judgment is inevitable.
May Christians not squander their rights and the responsibility to direct Lady Liberty on the path of protecting religious freedom nor sit idly by and allow America to refashion herself into the instrument of tyranny and oppression she so adamantly opposed from her birth.