“From the day of the Declaration . . . they [the American people] were bound by the laws of God, which they all, and by the laws of the Gospel, which they nearly all, acknowledged as the rules of their conduct” (John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State, Oration celebrating July 4, 1821). We became “One Nation Under God.” This Declaration coincided with the truth and gave God priority and secondly, faith in God gave substance to the behavior of the governed. “We hold these truths . . . that men . . . are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights: that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness–That to ensure these rights, governments are instituted among men…”

This ideal provides the fundamental and uniquely American basis for the entire spectrum of society’s existence. It quite obviously is a 1) political concept with tremendous 2) spiritual and 3) economic overtones. It is political in that rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are “unalienable,” and the people have a right to use force against others who would alienate these God-given rights. The power possessed by the government is given by the people. This power is a tertiary force created by collecting a small portion of each individual’s right to use force to protect his life, liberty and property. It is spiritual in proclaiming the Creator as the endower of men’s rights and thus is sovereign. “I have lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth–that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? …I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel…” (Benjamin Franklin, in the Constitutional Convention, 1787, making a motion for prayer). This basic principle implicitly denies the state or a human elite as the endower of men’s rights and thus the state or bureaucracy is not sovereign. The Declaration is an economic concept because it follows from men’s inherent right to sustain their lives, the sustenance of life being nothing more than the right to work and to have the fruits of this labor. The Declaration is political, spiritual, and economic in that it did not promise happiness at the expense of others, only the environment of “liberty” for the “pursuit of happiness.”
 
Collectivists who would centrally control property, education, government, and business know precisely what they must do by any and all means–remove the God of liberty and moral absolutes from our society. When a new generation is persuaded that socialism exists by its own right even with oppressive taxation and outrageous legislation, tyrannical leaders can rule. They rule by the ignorance in which the people are held, ignorance of the sovereignty of God and ignorance of lesser responsibilities and simple duties of individual conduct by which they can be free. To say that any people are not fit for freedom is to make subjection their lot and to choose for them the load of heavy oppression. If such a case could be proven, it would equally prove that those who govern are not fit to govern, for they are of the same species–man. 
 
As adamant as our fathers were that there be separation of church and state, they were just as explicit in stressing in education and elsewhere the necessity of an atmosphere of respect and thanksgiving for the counsel of the nonsectarian God, Supreme Judge and Provider for individuals and nations. These principles have been the most contested ideals of government because of what they do for those who believe, live and implement them; they liberate! Alexis de Tocqueville had a full appreciation of the point: “I doubt that man can ever support at the same time complete religious independence [atheism and agnosticism] and entire political freedom. And I am inclined to think that if faith be wanting in him, he must be subject; and if he be free, he must believe.” If we lack this spiritual faith and do not understand the principles of 1776, our rights to life and liberty are placed on the altar of collective caprice, and they must suffer whatever fate the political apparatus dictates. The record clearly shows what this fate is.
 
We have a restoration job on our hands. Freedom must experience a rebirth in America; that is, we must re-establish it from fundamental principles. Politics, education, more taxes, all without God, fall short of freedom. Liberty is synonymous with genuine belief in God.
 
~ David Norris