David Limbaugh

Some point to the so-called generic references to God in the declaration and Thomas Jefferson's authorship of its first draft as evidence that its influences were non-Christian. But as Dr. Gary Amos has noted, "The humanists and Enlightenment rationalists viewed the concept of inalienable rights with scorn."

As for deists, they believed in a "cosmic watchmaker," not a superintending God.

Plus Jefferson's draft was vetted by a congressional committee, which made more than 80 changes, removing some 500 words and adding two references to a "providential God." Jefferson denied he was speaking solely for himself in the draft, saying "it was intended to be an expression of the American mind."

Nor could the declaration's affirmation that "all Men are created equal … (and) are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights" have come from the polytheistic Greeks or Romans, because "Creator" is singular. And, as Amos observed, the Greeks didn't believe the universe or man was created, but that it "emanated … from an impersonal divine force that permeates the universe. … There was no room in Greek philosophy or religion for the notion of endowment because creatures and divinity were never separated." The Greeks "could not conceive of rights that were god given." They "believed that rights were a product of society and state."

Sounds hauntingly familiar, doesn't it?

The concept of unalienable rights inheres in the Judeo-Christian precept that an all-loving God created man in his image, thus entitling him to dignity, freedom and rights that cannot be divested by the state.

Our constitutional framework of government can only be understood in the context of the Framers' predominantly Christian worldview. While they believed in man's dignity, they also believed in his depravity and that only if they imposed limitations on government would it be possible to establish a scheme of individual liberties.

Much of our Bill of Rights is biblically based, as well, and the Ten Commandments and further laws set out in the book of Exodus form the basis of our Western law. Indeed, English legal giants Sir William Blackstone and Sir Edward Coke both believed the common law was based on Scripture. Though we often hear there were no references to the God of the Bible in the Constitution, the document closes by citing the date with "in the Year of our Lord."

Our ruling class today is dominated by those who no longer believe that our rights are God-given or that our liberties depend on effective limitations on the state. They are so divorced from true history and American statecraft that they fail to see the irony in their dissociation with and apologies for our Judeo-Christian heritage, which is responsible for making this the freest and most prosperous nation on earth for people of all races, ethnicities and religions.

David Limbaugh

David Limbaugh, brother of radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, is an expert on law and politics. He recently authored the New York Times best-selling book: "Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel."

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