Archive for October, 2011

The Founders & the Rights of Conscience

October 12th, 2011 1 comment

Those who framed our great nation were not secularists or atheists. They all, from the most devout to the least religious, shared a common belief in a Creator God. They were not evolutionary atheists. On the contrary, each believed humans were created in the image and likeness of God. They acknowledged the fact that God has written His law upon the human heart, with our conscience acting as a built in moral compass teaching us the difference between right and wrong.

And since the conscience was placed within each of us by God, our Founders recognized it was out of the reach or authority of human government.

This is why Governor William Livingston (a devout Christian and a signer of the U. S. Constitution) declared:

“Consciences of men are not the objects of human legislation.”

John Jay (an author of the Federalist Papers, original Chief Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court, and President of the American Bible Society) likewise rejoiced that:

“Security under our constitution is given to the rights of conscience.”

Thomas Jefferson (a signer of the Declaration and a U. S. President) repeatedly praised America’s protections for the rights of conscience:

“No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience.”

”Our rulers can have no authority over such natural rights only as we have submitted to them. The rights of conscience we never submitted.”

James Madison (a signer of the Constitution, a framer of the Bill of Rights, and a U. S. President) similarly affirmed:

“Government is instituted to protect property of every sort. . . . [and] conscience is the most sacred of all property.”

According to our Founding Fathers, the final authority rests in the Author of our being – not in human governments. This conviction laid the philosophical foundation for the idea of “rights of conscience” and provided a safeguard against governmental tyranny.

No Conscience, No Liberty

October 10th, 2011 No comments

Liberties do not arise from a vacuum. Rather, they are attached to and nurtured by deep philosophical roots. When the root is severed, all you have left is an empty concept. Eventually you lose both the idea and the freedoms once associated with it.

This is where we find ourselves today. Secularism is philosophically committed to severing every root that links us to our deeply Christian heritage in America. As a result of fifty years, or so, of rabid secularism we now find ourselves cut off from the philosophical well-springs of liberty.

Perhaps this is why our “rights of conscience” are currently under siege by the Obama administration. Let me explain.

Ideas have consequences. If we reject God, as many secularist do, it impacts our view of humankind. It follows that we are not created in His image and likeness, since He doesn’t exist. If no God, then we have no transcendent Law. If no law, then God’s commandments are not inscribed within the human heart. If this is true, then the idea of “rights of conscience” do not exist because we have rendered the whole idea of “conscience” null and void.

Secularism places government as the absolute authority and therefore has no hesitations about trampling the religious beliefs of the people when they do not line up with the official religion of the “Almighty State.”

The end result of the State’s rejection of God is TYRANNY.

This is not the view of our Founders. We’ll delve into their thoughts on “the rights of conscience” in my next blog.

A Clean Conscience

October 7th, 2011 1 comment

As we shared in the last blog, the conscience has been described as a God-given moral compass which helps us determine right from wrong.

Someone once called it “a law we cannot not know.”

In other words, the conscience is that part of every person which, willingly or unwillingly, responds to the universal moral law of God.

The Apostle Paul writes, ”Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.”
(Romans 2:14-15, NLT)

Because we are made in the image and likeness of God, He has placed an awareness of His law within the heart of every person. This explains why our conscience always bears witness to our actions. It’s trying to give us an accurate witness of how we measured up to God’s standards.

If we ignore our conscience, we do so to our own peril. We must listen carefully to our conscience and nurture it by feeding our minds with the truth of God’s law as it is revealed in the Scriptures.

Our goal should be to live with a clean conscience. Consider this practical advice from the Apostle Paul. He said:

“I always strive to keep my conscience clear before God and man.” (Acts 24:16)

A clean conscience before both God and our neighbor – this is the aim.

Take a minute for self-examination. Is your conscience clear before God? Are there any thoughts or behaviors condemning you right now? Don’t ignore them. Instead, ask God for forgiveness.

Are there people that you know you have wronged? Your conscience will remind you. Don’t ignore these warnings. Act on them and make the situation right.

A clean conscience is priceless!