The Forgotten Founding Father

In a nation that appears to be doing everything possible to expunge the remnants of its Christian foundation and heritage, it is no wonder that John Calvin has been forgotten as the virtual founder of our nation. John Adams, America’s second President; Leopold von Ranke, a nineteenth century leading German historian; and George Bancroft, a Harvard educated historian known as the “father of American history”, all testified to the significant influence Calvin had upon the foundation of America.

Unlike Locke or Montesquieu, however, Calvin did not write a political treatise on how to organize civil government. Instead, he wrote Biblical expositions that completely changed how people in western culture thought about their relation to God and, subsequently, how they thought about their relation to their civil government.

John Calvin

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Religious Freedom

In the entire later half of the 20th century, Christianity has been under attack in America. Some of these attacks have manifested themselves as restrictions on the display of the Ten Commandments in schools and other public places, erecting Christian crosses on public property in memory of lost loved ones, displaying nativity scenes during the Christmas season, or individual public expressions of Christianity such as school teachers giving a “glance at inspirational Bible verses between classes.”[1]

In each case of public displays of Christianity, the alleged law-breakers have the same things in common: they are not Congress, they are not making a law, they are not establishing a religion, and they are not restricting the free exercise of religion. To the contrary, they are all doing exactly what the First Amendment protects their right to do.

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Is Religion the Foundation of Justice and Law?

Atheists in America complain that having the Ten Commandments as the foundation of American law is an imposition of religion upon them. However, religion, justice and law are inseparably linked, because justice and law are always based on religion. The logic connecting these concepts is found in the dictionary definitions of each and the understanding of how societies form around common ideas.

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The Origin of Rights

Too many people in America act and speak as if they believe rights, protected by the US Constitution, are granted by government, and therefore can be diminished or abolished by government decree. This assumption is not only wrong it is dangerous to the well being of every man, woman, and child in America, because if government is allowed to do this then no one’s life, liberty, or property is secure. Legally, this assumption does not have any precedent set in America’s founding documents and will not stand up in a court of law dedicated to biblical truth and justice.

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