The earth was not designed by God to be the devil’s playground. Never doubt Lucifer’s intent to take it over, control it, and ultimately destroy it. God did not leave us here as His witnesses to live in defeat or defeated by the schemes of the devil. Hear the call of God! Become the witnesses He commissioned and set you aside to be. We must win hearts and minds to Christ even while seeking to win elections by putting people in office who have a biblical God-centered worldview. If not, we will have given the enemy the reins and control of our children’s future.
If we lose the freedom Americans appreciate and we’ve been blessed to enjoy and share, it will be because Christians, church leaders, pastors, and priests did not find common ground to declare, demonstrate, and defend the truth that makes us free. The great commandments will have been ignored by those who profess to know God. The command to love Him with all our heart and love our neighbors will have been cast aside. The essential laws of nature and nature’s God are being trampled underfoot because believers have failed to effectively be salt and light. We see innocent life destroyed in the womb, marriage redefined, and biblical morality ridiculed. It is imperative that those who love God and others find common ground to stand upon while declaring freedom’s essential principles.
Jay Richards and I have shared “The Ten Principles of Faith and Freedom” which leaders who have read them agree cover the necessary basics for working together without compromising different theological positions. All who love faith and freedom can surely agree on these. Here are the first two. I will share two each week until you have read the brief summary of each.
1. Every human being has equal value and dignity.
It’s right there in the Declaration of Independence, described as a self-evident truth, “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.” Life is the first right. Without it, you can’t enjoy any other right.
Everyone knows vaguely that man is more than a mere animal, but most ancient cultures had a much lower view of human life than we do. America emerged from a culture that had been taught for centuries the biblical truth that each of us, male and female, is created in the image of God. We still have a hard time applying this truth consistently, and the culture of death seeks to erase it from our cultural memory. Yet the truth still haunts the minds of Americans, even those who insist there is no God.
Unfortunately, secularism and progressivism have eroded this belief. Progressive Charles Merriam once wrote, “Rights are considered to have their source not in nature, but in law.” Alas, what the government giveth, the government can taketh away, as we have learned in spades since Roe v. Wade. A culture once committed to life now risks being consumed by the culture of death.
Against this, we must proclaim that the twelve week old, unborn baby sucking its thumb, the handicapped infant, the grouchy widower hooked up to an oxygen tank, the losers that we don’t think contribute to society, are valuable simply by virtue of being human. They don’t earn their value, and the government does not bestow it upon them. A just and humane government recognizes, in its laws, the equal value of every human being. The first duty of government is to protect the right of innocent human beings not to be destroyed by others. Pull out that thread and eventually the whole tapestry will unravel.
The right to private property, to enjoy the fruits of our labor, is closely linked to our right to life. Our property is, in a sense, an extension of ourselves; it is intimately wrapped up in our God-given role as stewards, so a right to property also protects our right to life. This is why no coherent defense of the right to property will deny the right to life.
Because we believe that every human being has value, we treat extreme poverty, disease, and death as enemies rather than just bad karma. We can’t create heaven on earth, but we should act and support policies that lift people out of extreme poverty in the long run.
None of this is to say that we all have, or even should have, the same skills, motivation, or economic value. In announcing his Great Society initiative, President Lyndon Johnson asserted that “we seek not just equality as a right and a theory but equality as a fact and equality as a result.” No. This is to seek what cannot be had—unless we merely want equality in misery. Bitter experience teaches us that trying to establish an “equality of outcome” among diverse individuals is not only counterproductive. It violates justice and our dignity as individuals. While insisting that we are created equal, we must also protect our diversity.
2. We are inherently and specifically social.
Each of us has value by virtue of being human, but, as God said of Adam, it is not good for man to be alone. No man is an island. Our many, diverse, relationships also define us. Each of us enters the world at a time and place not of our own choosing. We are utterly dependent on our parents and countless others. Though we become less dependent over time, we are never fully independent. The ideal of Robinson Crusoe is not only unattainable. It’s not the ideal.
Our relationship with God is the most fundamental one. God created each of us, He loves us, and He sustains us at every moment. “For you formed my inward parts/you knitted me together in my mother’s womb,” says Psalm 139. God is closer to the unborn child than that child is to his mother.
After our relationship with God come our relationships with other people. As children, we depend on our parents. Our relationship with our father is not the same as our relationship with our mother. As parents, we’re responsible for our children; we love them, sacrifice for them, and can’t imagine life without them. As spouses, we give ourselves to another person uniquely. Marriage is so profound that Paul compared it to Christ’s relationship to the Church.
As Christians, we are members of Christ’s body, surrounded by the great cloud of witnesses that have gone before us (Hebrews 12).
We seek communion with others and develop natural ties among our fellow countrymen. We pray, live, learn from and with others. We work with others, trade goods and services with others and, when we are free, create value for ourselves and others.
Just as we have rights that others are bound to recognize, we also have obligations to our fellow human beings, especially to those closest to us and to those in need—the poor, the orphaned, the widowed, the outcast. We can best help the hurting when we practice well thought out acts of charity, not random acts of kindness. And when charity is replaced by political coercion, it tends to hurt rather than help.
Some view individuals as isolated atoms and miss this principle altogether. Socialists make a near-opposite mistake: they confuse society with the state. Socialism can appeal to well-meaning people who seek community; but it destroys real community. Under socialism, the quirky variety of real relationships—spouses, parents, children, friends, co-workers, trading partners—is dissolved and confused by a coercive state, leaving poverty, enmity and envy in its wake.
It might seem paradoxical, but policies that do not respect the natural diversity of our relationships end up violating our rights as individuals. Just policies, in contrast, respect the natural diversity of our relationships. The way the federal government ought to relate to individual citizens, for instance, is not the same as the way a mother relates to her children.
Today’s secular culture makes a hash of relationships because it is a confused hybrid of libertine individualism and collectivism. On matters of sexuality, it’s every man and woman for him or herself. If it feels good, do it. Yet, the secular left wants the coercive state involved in pretty much everything else. In fact, many leftists seek international governance. On this view, ordinary patriotism is not a healthy, natural expression of our social natures, but a dangerous and jingoistic nationalism.
Finally, while most of our relationships involve other persons—God and other human beings—we also depend on the Earth and its creatures for our sustenance. The Earth is the Lord’s, and we are made from its dust; but the Lord has made us stewards over it. So we should treat the creation responsibly while never mistaking it for the Creator.
Please remember, all of these principles are thoroughly covered and discussed in the book INDIVISIBLE: Restoring Faith, Family and Freedom, which you can order at lifetoday.org or Amazon.com. We wrote this to help give people who care understanding of the times. Gov. Mike Huckabee said, “INDIVISIBLE can change forever how you see the world. Grasp the wisdom shared in this book, and the scripture ‘My people perish for lack of knowledge’ will no longer apply. This can prove to be the much-needed game changer for America.”