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Why “In God we Trust”

Why “In God we Trust”

By Curtiss Wikstrom

     Our American founders firmly rejected the absolute power of the state.  Our human rights are not conferred upon us by the state, but by God.  Every individual has rights that the state cannot abrogate.  Our Declaration of Independence says that when the state tries to abrogate those rights, it is no longer legitimate, and we have the right to overthrow it and replace it with a government that respects our God given rights.  Whoever the sovereign is, whether King or Congress, they have a duty to God to recognize and respect the rights of each individual.

     Our federal Bill of Rights is written to protect us from the Government.  It specifically says that the “Congress shall make no law …. abridging the freedom of speech…” and so forth.  It does not grant rights, but recognizes our God given rights, unlike the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which assumes the power to grant rights.  Our founders did not use “whereas” clauses because God given rights don’t need to be justified by government.  They looked at our rights as sacred and absolute, not a “common standard of achievement” of governments. 

     The reason to have a Constitution is to prevent even a majority from violating individual rights.  Even a majority must justify its use of force, based upon higher moral principals.  It has no right to declare whatever moral principles it wants. 

     The Christian faith of our founding fathers is responsible for our Constitution of liberty.  That faith asserts that the fountainhead of liberty is the recognition of the sovereignty of God, and the intrinsic worth and dignity of every single individual.  The state must observe moral law in making laws, it cannot decide for itself what is moral law.

     Without a higher moral authority, without God, there is no basis for individual rights.  Even so, even an atheist should be happy to say “under God” in order to affirm that the rights of an individual are not subject to the whim of the state.

     Because we believe that it is not the state that gives us our rights, and that rights belong to individuals, not groups or governments, and because we do not put our trust in the state, we say “In God we Trust”.  We pledge allegiance to the United States of America because it is a nation “under God”.  Otherwise it would not deserve our allegiance.


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