As the Presidential election season heats up and as we tackle such urgent needs in our country as unemployment, debt, and a stagnant economy, it seems advisable to ask ourselves some fundamental questions, such as: “Where does the authority of the office of the President have its origins?” If democracy is the answer to that query, then it begs the next question, which is: “What is the origin of a democratic society?” These and similar questions were certainly on the minds of our Founding Fathers.
Clearly, democracy has its origins in the people. Our Constitution states: “Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” The foundation of democracy is the very people governed by that democracy, which begins to give us the answer to the greater question regarding the source of governmental authority. Our Founding Fathers acknowledged the source of authority by which men govern themselves: “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.”
Our Founding Fathers recognized that such authority is rooted in the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God”. As the human person is the foundation of government, he/she is also the purpose and end goal of government. Surely, each human person has the capacity through reason to come to know this Law of Nature. This same reason complimented by faith comes to acknowledge the God who created all things, and who “governs” all things. This God is the source of authority.
We need Legitimate Authority to hold society together and to work for the common good of all people. Authority is rooted in nature, naturally flowing from the Creator. Thus, our democratic society, and those elected through the democratic process, owe their authority to “Nature’s God.” Our Founding Fathers acknowledged in public statements that the two pillars of our democratic republic are religion and morality. Even though this great nation does not espouse any one religion, it was founded upon the recognition of God, and that the moral foundation required for proper governance flows from the active and vibrant faith practice of the American people. Self-governance requires moral capacity. Moral capacity and the moral “order” have God as their source and their end. When a government or the culture of a nation cuts itself off from God, it will necessarily disintegrate.
The First Amendment holds Religious Liberty as the First Freedom of the people. Is it not time for us to acknowledge that aggressive secularism is also a “system of belief”? It may be a system which chooses “not to believe”, but it is a “belief system” none-the-less. When “no god” becomes the religion of the state, we can only expect moral decline, social decay, and the end to a properly ordered society. It is time for all God-fearing people to take their faith to the public forum once again, (with all due tolerance and respect) and reclaim the moral foundation, from which political authority comes, that is necessary for the common good of our nation.