Subject: The American Experiment: Guiding Principle #2 = Natural Law
Acts 5:29 “Peter and the other apostles answered and said: ‘We ought to obey God rather than man.”
On this July 4th week, we continue looking at the guiding principles of our Founding Fathers that has made America so exceptional. As we examine Principle #2, let me take you back to September 2017 and the Senate Judiciary hearing to confirm Amy Coney Barrett as Judge for the US Court of Appeals. Senator Diane Feinstein claimed Barrett’s religious views disqualify her from serving as a judge: “When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for for years in this country.”
Barrett’s answer was clear and concise – no. Neither her personal religious convictions, nor the teachings of the Church or the Scriptures, would override her responsibilities as a judge: “Judges cannot, nor should they try to, align our legal system with the Church’s moral teaching whenever the two diverge.” Why, although highly qualified, are Barrett’s personal religious views being touted as enough to disqualify her?
In his latest book ‘Rediscovering Americanism and the Tyranny of Progressivism’, Mark Levin provides insight to this question in the very first chapter, by focusing on the Founding Fathers’ Guiding Principle #2 in writing the Declaration of Independence and the ensuing Constitution: Natural Law. As Levin puts it, “To rediscover Americanism is to rediscover natural law.” So what is ‘natural law’? Here’s Levin’s definition.
“Natural law provides a moral compass or order—justice, virtue, truth, prudence, etc.—a fundamental, universal, everlasting harmony of mores that transcend human law. Through natural law discovered by right reason, man knows right from wrong and good from bad. Natural law is right law.” Where does natural law originate? Reread last week’s article on our Founding Fathers’ Guiding Principle #1. It is Almighty God who is the essence of righteousness and justice. As King David proclaims in Psalm 89:14: “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; mercy and truth go before Your face”.
Natural law originates from the character of God, and therefore transcends man’s laws. This is what Levin means when he says that knowing right from wrong, good from evil are innate within every human being. Everyone knows the difference, because we have a moral conscience put there by God. In the New Testament, Romans 2:14-15 backs up Levin’s point: “When the Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things contained in the law,… they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness… their thoughts accusing or excusing them.”
So with such a universally understood truth, why the backlash against Barrett? Because to be a member of the progressive liberal movement means to reject natural law. To be a secular humanist means to reject a transcendent God who presides over the affairs of men. You must reject our Founding Fathers’ Guiding Principles #1 (God, not government, reigns) and #2 (Natural Law is the moral compass for our legislative system). In addition, you cannot join the progressive liberal party in America today and confess to uphold the words of our Declaration of Independence, because you reject the following two sentences:
“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. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” In the first sentence, natural law is expressed in two terms: self-evident and unalienable.
SELF-EVIDENT means “obvious to everyone, and not needing to be demonstrated or explained”. Our Founders use it here in declaring that all of us have been created equal by God, who has endowed each of us with UNALIENABLE rights. And unalienable means sacred. These rights we each possess cannot be taken from you, nor can you give them to someone else. They simply are yours from your Creator.
In the second sentence, we learn why our Founders created our governmental system: to secure (protect) these God-given, unalienable rights. They knew men by their corrupt nature are sinners, and they will, if left unchecked, destroy each other. But sentence two goes further in asserting that government is to have its power only by the consent of those it is governing. This is the essence of Barrett’s answer to Feinstein. While Barrett personally holds to the reality of God ruling over her life, our government’s legal system, founded on Abraham Lincoln’s famous quote “Of the people, by the people, for the people”, is there to administer justice and righteousness across the land. This is our Constitutionally-mandated natural law, and it is the very basis of the Founders’ Guiding Principle #3 for next week – our individual liberty.
Ed Croteau is a resident of Lee’s Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called “Faith: Substance and Evidence.” He can be reached with your questions through the Lee’s Summit Tribune at Editor@lstribune.net.