We Hold These Truths
This was not the article I intended to write, but some things are to big to pass by.
When in the course of human events…
In 1776 our founding fathers determined that the course of human events had necessitated the independence of the American colonies from the British crown. When the “long train of abuses and usurpations” had at last reached its full measure, the great American experiment in ordered liberty was launched with a declaration that established the core identity of what would become the United States of America. It would take more than a decade for a tenable constitution to be developed, but the principles at the heart of who and what the fledgling nation committed to be were in place.
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.
In this Declaration of Independence, our Founding Fathers endeavored to explain before God and all the powers of the earth the reason for this change of government, but they did more than explain. They established the foundation of principles upon which that government would stand. They established a sort of national covenant based on inescapable, pre-political (self-evident) truths.
Those who wrote the Declaration of Independence and the framers of ou Constitution understood these self-evident truths, these presuppositional principles, to transcend all human laws. Such principles are above, beyond, and beneath the laws made by governments; they are pre-political. In other words, they exist before and provide the framework and foundation for the differing philosophies of how to govern.
The rights given to all by their Creator are pre-political in this way. They are “unalienable” in that such rights cannot be taken away by the government or the law, since they were not given by government or law. The role of government is to recognize and support these principles, establishing systems and laws that reflect them.
Laws against murder reflect the unalienable right to life, without which no other rights can exist. This most basic right is something the Creator alone can bestow; people or governments can merely acknowledge or violate it.
The recent overturning of the Roe vs Wade decision is a matter of law. The Supreme Court recognized that case (along with subsequent related cases that leaned upon Roe’s premise) had been illegitimately decided and that the US Constitution does not enumerate or imply a right to abortion. Legal recognition of such a right is a legislative matter and not within the purview of the Court. The recent decision does not outlaw abortion; it rightly asserts that it is not a matter specifically addressed by the Constitution.
In reality, however, the right to life is not granted by any branch of government; it is the specific endowment of God, the Giver of life. Viewing life as a sacred, presuppositional, pre-political, unalienable right is no more specifically religious than the founding documents of our nation, but it is absolutely rooted in the stated values upon which the nation was founded. While the Supreme Court’s decision was a matter of law, the innate evil of abortion and the sanctity of life in all its stages are beyond human laws and presuppose basic eternal realities—self-evident truths. The Supreme Court’s decision may be a matter of constitutional law, but the evil of abortion is much bigger than the Court, the Constitution, or any law.
It is absolutely appropriate for those who know the Lord and treasure His Word and His will to celebrate the reversal of the Supreme Court’s most heinous failure since the Dred Scott decision, but do not think for one moment the the Court or even the Legislature can make evil good or good evil. Nor should anyone think that this decision has made abortion illegal; it has not. If it had, however, or even if Congress were to pass a federal ban on abortion, it would not be enough. The goal must not merely be to make abortion illegal, but to make it unthinkable.
Good and evil are pre-political concepts. They are not matters of preference on the level of, say, bigger or smaller government or state-funded healthcare. Good and evil are rooted in the character of God; therefore, they are fundamental objective realities, regardless of whether we the people embrace them as such. Christians must always stand against evil and for righteousness, as defined by the whole counsel of God’s Word, even if all of society—including the government—opposes us.