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Declaration spells out the United States difference

 


A certain seemingly innocent, even holy-sounding, reference made recently by a high government official in defense of an unpopular policy should give Americans pause.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions sought to shore up the position of the government by using the authority of scripture, quoting the Apostle Paul when he advises following the laws of the earthly government. “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order,” he said, according to Fox News. “Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves and protect the weak and lawful.”

Not a bad passage to quote, a logical one to call on to get people to follow the government’s lead in a time of controversy.

Except that doing so is a direct contradiction of the founding document we will celebrate next week — the Declaration of Independence.

After carefully laying out that our rights are endowed by the “Creator,” the declaration penned in 1776 claimed for the first time in history that government does not get its power from the ultimate high authority.

Rather, “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

This is a fundamental difference between the United States of America and every other nation that came before it. We, the people, create the government, not God, not in America. In that way, the founders reasoned, the government could never be subjugated to any religion. And religion could be free of government intrusion.

This basic principle is one that many in history have sought to undermine when they needed to defend an indefensible position, sometimes using the same Bible verse Sessions quoted, slavery for example.

If you’d like to read the rest of the Declaration of Independence, you’ll find it in our special section inside this issue of The Star.

Scott Hunter

editor and publisher

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