Home > Uncategorized > The Founders & the Rights of Conscience

The Founders & the Rights of Conscience

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.

  1. David
    November 6th, 2011 at 23:25 | #1

    Good word thank for the quotes i needed some.

  1. No trackbacks yet.