“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
These famous words form the opening paragraph of one of the most influential documents in all of human history – the American Declaration of Independence. According to this paragraph, the American claim to independence was established upon “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” but what did Thomas Jefferson mean by this phrase? Nearly all of the modern historians who have written about this phrase have accused Jefferson and the other signers of the Declaration of abandoning the God of the Bible and erecting a more deistic god of nature in His place. But this accusation is entirely false. Jefferson’s reference to the laws of nature and of nature’s God had a very specific meaning that was well understood by eighteenth century Americans.
July 4th, 1776, has long been celebrated as the birth of our nation, but is that really the day that America became independent of Britain?
The first recorded celebration of the 4th of July occurred on the first anniversary of that date in 1777 in the city of Philadelphia, where the Declaration of Independence had been signed. A reporter in Philadelphia wrote of the event:
There has been much debate over the years regarding the view of immigration and border control that was shared among the founding fathers of our nation. Historians on both sides of the argument have attempted to co-opt the founders into their camp, and there is so much misinformation on the subject that it is difficult to ascertain anything about the actual view of our founders without abandoning modern research and returning to the original source documents from those great men who formed our nation.
From 1997 to 2002, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) forced children in the foster care system of New York to take experimental medication that made them severely ill and had potentially lethal side effects. In 1997, Pfizer conducted an illegal drug trial on two hundred children in Nigeria that left fifty children dead and many others with severe brain damage and paralysis. Between 1932 and 1972, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted an illegal study of syphilis patients at the Tuskegee Institute, which resulted in the death of 128 of the study participants.
The history of medicine is replete with examples of people being ruthlessly subjected to unethical testing. The potential for amassing wealth from drug sales has often proven to be too great a temptation for those in the medical profession, and countless innocent lives have been lost as a result. When these practices are exposed, we are understandably outraged, and the demand for justice echoes around the globe. Unless, that is, the victims of this injustice were killed before they were even born.
More than three months have passed since the 2020 presidential election, and many conservatives are still claiming that the results were the results of massive fraud. After a scathing public rebuke from the Georgia Secretary of State's office, the Trump campaign dropped all of their lawsuits challenging the election results in that state, and the claims that Dominion and Smartmatic somehow rigged the election in Biden's favor have been soundly refuted. (For example, we now know that Smarmatic machines were not used anywhere in the nation except in Los Angeles County.) But many conservatives are still clinging to the false claim that there are thousands of affidavits which prove that massive election fraud occurred during the 2020 election.
It is with great hesitancy that I write unto you this day, and I fear that this letter may prove to be my last. The dreaded tea ships have been in our harbor for now seventeen days. We have exhausted all peaceful means of returning the despised cargo to England, but as a show of our good intentions, we will attempt once more to reason with the Governor this evening. If this final attempt meets with the same treatment as those previous, then we will have no other recourse but to take action. In so doing, let it be known that we bear no animosity toward the Crown nor toward parliament. We act not in rebellion to our King but in sincere adherence to the laws and the rights of Englishmen; assuredly knowing that it is the duty of every citizen to uphold the law and that the Crown itself is made subservient to that noble statute. Thus armed with the knowledge that our course is just, we have pledged to each other our lives and our honor, holding both sacred but neither so dear as to be of greater value than the defense of freedom. This evening, we will take action much sought to be avoided but nonetheless necessary, and it may be that this action will bring upon us the end of our lives upon this earth.
If you've followed any Christian media at all over the past week, you've probably heard about John Piper's controversial article in which he says that he will not be voting for either Trump or Biden in the upcoming presidential election. There have been several responses to Piper's article from other Christian leaders, but most of them have too poorly reasoned to be worth consideration (including one in which Albert Mohler neglected to quote a single passage of Scripture and based his argument instead on the philosophy of Voltaire). One of the better responses came from the hand of Wayne Grudem, and I would like to take a moment to share my response to Grudem's response to Piper.
Not too long ago, I taught a Sunday School series on Using the Law Lawfully. In that series, we analyzed all 613 of the laws in the Old Testament to determine which of them still applied to modern Gentile believers. One of the laws that we looked at was the prohibition against crossdressing found in Deuteronomy 22:5, and I think that we established a pretty good understanding of that law and how it applies to us today. Here is the outline from that lesson:
Originally published anonymously in 1905, this poignant essay from Mark Twain is still remarkably applicable to modern America.
Is there such a thing as Christian citizenship? No, but it could be created. The process would be quite simple, and not productive of hardship to any one. It will be conceded that every man's first duty is to God; it will also be conceded, and with strong emphasis, that a Christian's first duty is to God. It then follows, as a matter of course, that it is his duty to carry his Christian code of morals to the polls and vote them. Whenever he shall do that, he will not find himself voting for an unclean man, a dishonest man. Whenever a Christian votes, he votes against God or for Him, and he knows this quite well. God is an issue in every election; He is a candidate in the person of every clean nominee on every ticket; His purity and His approval are there, to be voted for or voted against, and no fealty to party can absolve His servant from his higher and more exacting fealty to Him; He takes precedence of party, duty to Him is above every claim of party.
Sir William Blackstone is often praised for laying the groundwork for American jurisprudence with his Commentaries on the Laws of England. Blackstone's Commentaries were one of the most widely read books in the colonies, and his views of the laws of England were often incorporated into the laws of America. One portion of Blackstone's Commentaries that has largely been forgotten by modern legal scholars but which played a significant role in forming the thought of founding fathers like James Wilson was Blackstone's answer to the question of where laws come from. What follows is a condensed version of Blackstone's somewhat loquacious answer to that question.
Bill Fortenberry is a Christian philosopher and historian in Birmingham, AL. Bill's work has been cited in several legal journals, and he has appeared as a guest on shows including The Dr. Gina Show, The Michael Hart Show, and Real Science Radio.
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"Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning." (Proverbs 9:9)