Ideas have consequences. The very existence of America is proof of that fact.
But ideas have origins, too.
Where did the ideas that America was built upon originally come from?
Atheist activists would tell us the answer to that question is ‘deists’.
But is that true?
Hardly. The foundational ideas on which America was built go a lot further back than that group. And they owe their origins to Christianity.
Three key theological concepts from the Protestant Reformation of the 16th and 17th centuries–congregational self governance, the covenantal nature of the relationship between man and God, and the free will of individuals to choose–eventually found expression in political philosophy and formed the basis for notions of popular sovereignty and self governance that our founders used in writing and approving the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the Constitution between 1787 and 1789.
Published in 1560, the Geneva Bible gained widespread popularity in England, especially because Protestant Elizabeth I succeeded Mary in 1558.
The translation was a giant leap ahead of earlier versions, but of particular interest were the annotations offered by the English translators, which tended to promote a more republican view of governance, as opposed to the sort of absolute monarchy that was emerging across Europe.
When a literate people takes the Bible seriously, it has consequence. It shapes their thinking and expectation. The influence of the annotations from John Calvin’s Geneva generated a conversation, reshaping the understanding of the relationship between those who govern and they people.
All it needed was a spark to hit critical mass.
Enter Charles I, for the FIRST phase of that change.
When Charles I dismissed Parliament in 1629, he began an eleven year period of personal rule in which Parliament did not meet at all. English Puritans reacted strongly to what they perceived as another unsupportable action by an increasingly tyrannical monarch:
One group, led by John Winthrop, determined to leave England and establish a Christian Bible-state that could be a “city upon an hill” and an example to all Christians of the proper godly way to organize and manage a country. From 1629 to 1640, an estimated forty thousand Puritans made the trek to Massachusetts, where Winthrop and other elders established the first Christian theocracy in the new world–the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Dissenters left for the new world.
In 1647, with Cromwell’s military challenge to Charles I succeeding, the Levellers proposed those rules for governance in a 900 word document called An Agreement of the People. Though never adopted, the document was seen as the first model for our American Constitution, as Justice Hugo Black wrote in his dissenting opinion in the case Goldberg v. Kelly in the 1970:
The goal of a written constitution with fixed limits on governmental power had long been desired. Prior to our colonial constitutions, the closest man had come to realizing this goal was the political movement of the Levellers in England in the 1640s.. In 1647, the Levellers proposed the adoption of An Agreement of the People which set forth written limitations on the English Government. This proposal contained many of the ideas which were later incorporated in the constitutions of this Nation.
In British North America, Lilburne’s friend, Roger Williams, pursued notions of free will, popular sovereignty, and a covenantal agreement fully entered into when he migrated from England to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 1630s.
The Mayflower Compact, of course, which was modeled after the government structure of the Pilgrims’ church, and body politic, — and emphasizing self-government — also had an influence on the eventual writing of the Constitution.
But none of that will stop people from thinking that the Constitution – like Athena from Zeus’ head — sprang directly out of 18th Century Rationalism.
Secular Rationalism had a Revolution of its own at about the same time — in France. And like so many other Atheistic regiemes, it had one HELL of a bodycount.
by Doug Giles
Doug Giles, best-selling author of Raising Righteous And Rowdy Girls and Editor-In-Chief of the mega-blog, ClashDaily.com, has just penned a book he guarantees will kick hipster males into the rarefied air of masculinity. That is, if the man-child will put down his frappuccino; shut the hell up and listen and obey everything he instructs them to do in his timely and tornadic tome. Buy Now:The Effeminization Of The American Male
What makes America so different from other nations? Other nations are built around regimes or systems. But America was built from on ideas. From a blank slate.
Built on ideas that are DANGEROUS to tyrants.
That we have God-Given Rights, like Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Dangerous ideas. Like this one: the people, when threatened, have a God-Given right to stand up in defiance of any government that dares threaten any of those rights.
There’s a men’s version…
And a women’s version, too…
Because in America, the bros AND the ladies BOTH have a rich history of badass rowdiness.