America was founded as a Constitutional Republic on uniquely Biblical precepts beginning first and foremost with the Genesis account of creation and man. A Republic by definition has two principle elements. First, it is controlled by pre-existing Law which transcends mankind, hence neither man nor Republic control Law.
Second, it recognizes the private, sovereign nature of each man for the reason that the transcendent living, personal Creator Who gave us Law gave us life and liberty at the same time. Life and liberty are inseparable because all men, regardless of creed, color, and sex (male or female) are human beings made in the spiritual image of the living Creator, hence each person is endowed with an individual soul and mind (spirit) endowed with reason, conscience, will, imagination, and memory. This means that all men, while not physical or mental equals or equal in gifts and talents, are however, spiritual equals in the eyes of their Creator, and since by their nature men are both free and individual thinkers and choosers, they are therefore endowed with the capacity to be self-governing when they mature morally, emotionally and intellectually.
By extension, America's founding documents are spiritual documents. For it is our spiritual property--mind, conscience, moral choice--- that is unalienable and precedes material property. Unalienable means not from man but from the transcendent living Creator:
"The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If "Thou shalt not covet" and "Thou shalt not steal" were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free." John Adams, A Defense of the American Constitutions, 1787 (source: The Patriot Post, http://patriotpost.us/ )
In the essay on "Property," by Madison, published in The National Gazette on March 29, 1792, Madison clearly defines the meaning and importance of spiritual property, temporal property and just government in the examples below:
"He has a property....in his religious opinions, and in the profession and practice dictated by them."
"He has a property...in his opinions and the free communication of them."
"He has an equal property in the free use of his faculties and free choice of the objects on which to employ them."
"He has property very dear to him in the safety and liberty of his person."
Property is "a man's land, or merchandize, or money..."
"...as a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights."
"Government is instituted to protect property of every sort....This being the end of government, that alone is a just government, which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his own."
"Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties or his possessions." (source: Lex Rex; http://www.lexrex.com/ )
In other words, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely because man is fallen, his human nature is a mixture of good and evil, of strength and weakness, and is not perfectible during life on earth, therefore:
"In questions of power...let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution." (Jefferson, Kentucky Resolutions, ibid)
"Show me that age and country where the rights and liberties of a people were placed on the sole chance of their rulers being good men, without a consequent loss of liberty! I say that the loss of that dearest privilege has ever followed, with absolute certainty, every such mad attempt." (Patrick Henry, Virginia Ratifying Convention, 1788, ibid)
The Constitution therefore, recognizes man's sovereignty, the divine nature of man's creation and man's divine right to life, liberty, the means of acquiring and possessing property, and the pursuit of happiness. Hence our Republic recognizes Law is unchangeable because the transcendent Creator is the eternally unchanging Lawgiver.
In sum, the foundations of our Constitutional Republic are firmly grounded in the Bible's Genesis account while the moral ethics that underpin the Rule of Law and our society's traditional understanding of right and wrong are the Ten Commandments. Hence, in order to determine between just law and unjust or broken law, explains Martin Luther King, Jr., one must determine if it coincides with the law of God:
"How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law." (Martin Luther King, Excerpts from his Letter from the Birmingham Jail, Apr. 16, 1963)
In his impressively researched book, "Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance No Longer Tolerates Religion," William J. Federer reveals that America's founding generation consisted of Christians who disagreed with their country's particular form of Christianity.
The situation in Europe from the 1500's through the 1700's was such that whatever the king believed, the kingdom had to believe as well or suffer persecution. Federer writes that in general,
"England was Anglican, Germany was Lutheran, Switzerland was Calvinist, Scotland was Presbyterian, Italy, Spain, and France were Roman Catholic, Greece and Russia Orthodox. Those who disagreed with the king's chosen denomination were persecuted or fled. It was from these displaced peoples that immigrants came to North America and the concept of toleration developed..." (p. 175)
The first to arrive were the Puritans. In turn they extended tolerance to other displaced Protestant denominations followed eventually by Catholics and Jews. In a 1754 pamphlet titled "Information to Those Who Would Remove to America," Benjamin Franklin boasted of America's Biblically enlightened population, saying:
"...bad examples to youth are more rare in America, which must be a comfortable consideration to parents. To this may be truly added, that serious religion, under its various denominations, is not only tolerated, but respected and practiced. Atheism is unknown...Infidelity rare and secret; so that persons may live to a great age in that country without having their piety shocked by meeting with either an Atheist or an Infidel..." (ibid, pp. 162-163)
Timothy Dwight (1752-1817), grandson of Jonathan Edwards, President of Princeton, delivered an address in New Haven titled "The Duty of Americans at the Present Crisis" July 4th, 1798. The crisis Dwight referred to was the rise of irreligion and atheism in France:
"About the year 1728, Voltaire...distinguished for his hatred of Christianity and his abandonment of principle, formed a systematical design to destroy Christianity and to introduce in its stead a general diffusion of irreligion and atheism." (ibid, p. 163)
When American Christians extended tolerance to "liberal" Protestanism they had unwittingly opened the door to neo-pantheist infidels followed by atheist evolutionary materialists. In 1871, Princeton professor Charles Hodge foresaw the looming consequences of tolerance gone awry:
"The proposition that the United States is a Christian nation, is not so much the assertion that the great majority of the people are Christians, but that the organic life, the institutions, laws, and official action of the government, is in accordance with the principles of Christianity...
If a man goes to China, he expects to find the government...administered according to the religion of that country. If he goes to Turkey, he expects to find the Koran supreme (and) If he goes to a Christian country, he has no right to complain, should he find the Bible in the ascendancy and exerting its benign influence not only on the people, but also on the government...
In the process of time thousands have come who are not Christians. Some are Jews, some are infidels, and some atheists.
All are welcomed; all admitted to equal rights and privileges. All are allowed to acquire property...and to vote. All are allowed to worship as they please, or not to worship at all...
No man is molested for his religion or for his want of it. No man is required to profess any form of faith...
More than this cannot reasonably be demanded. More, however, is demanded.
The infidel demands that the government be conducted on the principle that Christianity is false, the atheist demands that it should be conducted on the assumption that there is no God...
The sufficient answer to all of this is that it cannot possibly be done." (ibid pp. 170-171)
In other words, America's unique constitutional republic can operate harmoniously only within the context of transcendent Biblical worldview principles, moral law, and precepts. To tolerate, meaning to give into the demands of atheists, secular humanists and liberal (neo-pagan) Christians is to destroy the very foundations of our Constitutional Republic and all that it stands for.
But for the sake of tolerance well-meaning Americans eventually gave into the demands of God-and-Christianity haters and now "they've forbidden religious practice in the classrooms," said President Ronald Reagan in a National Day of Prayer ceremony at the White House, May 6, 1982. Reagan added that atheists have used the law of our land to remove,
"...prayer from our classrooms. How can we hope to retain our freedom through the generations if we fail to teach our young that our liberty springs from an abiding faith in our Creator?" (ibid, p. 168)
In contemporary "atheist" America, the two primary forms of unbelief that pass for â€˜scientifically enlightenedâ€™ Progressive Liberal belief are evolutionary materialism in its many atheist humanist permutations and the various brands of humanist and/or liberal Christianity spawned by liberal Protestantism.
Liberal Christianity is an outward profession of faith that masks an actual faith in nothing, a â€˜faithâ€™ shared by the more outspoken materialist who asserts that there can be nothing outside a closed and all-encompassing â€˜realityâ€™ of matter in motion, the very same view held by 20th century Communismâ€™s dialectical materialism and articulated below by Dr William B. Provine, Professor of Biological Sciences, Cornell University:
â€œLet me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear â€¦ There are no gods, no purposes, no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. Thatâ€™s the end for me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning to life, and no free will for humans, either.â€ (The Descent of Manâ€”Episode 1: The Moral Animal, broadcast on The Science Show on the ABC Radio National, www.abc.net.au, 22 January 2000)
For the sake of tolerance Christians gave into the demands of wolves in sheep's clothing--evolutionary materialists and liberal Christians for whom there is no room for Heaven, the living, personal God, soul, spiritual property, Original Sin, unchanging Truths, Moral Law, purpose, meaning and eternity in their sterile box filled only with naturalistic precepts.
The consequences of misplaced tolerance are stark and terrible: America is now intolerant of what the founding generation tolerated and tolerant of what they were intolerant of, hence "property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties or his possessions." And now our position is the Psalmists lament,
"What are the righteous to do when the foundations have been destroyed?"