The Dillard Doctrine

Urban Conservative Commentary on Politics & Life

Freedom and the Founding Fathers: Remarks at Exodus Faith Ministries 2010 Convocation

My friend (and boss!), Bishop E.W. Jackson Sr., gave me the opportunity to participate in a panel at his church’s annual convocation entitled “The Promise of Freedom.” Below are my remarks.

Some of the greatest minds our country has ever known are those who created and authored the American experiment.  These Founding Fathers, as we’ve come to call them, codified into our nation’s fabric the concept of natural law-the acknowledgement that the fundamental rights of all men come from a God who created and ordained the universe by his design and for his purpose. At the core of this concept was freedom-the belief that all individuals are of sound enough mind to make their own decisions about what is best for their lives.

What did this concept mean to these men?

The Founders believed that, in men, God created a species that was able to both think and act for itself. They believed that we possess the God-given ability to act without limits, and to determine the best course of action for ourselves. This freedom is the result of God’s love for us as His creation, and while we can choose otherwise, it is His plan that we use it in his service.

To the Founders, this gift of freedom was the foundational principle for the natural rights of all men-the ability to live, live freely, and pursue those things that makes our lives happy. These natural rights are given by God and allow us as humans to realize the gift of freedom that He gave to us. These rights cannot be taken from men; however, we accept certain restrictions on these rights for the greater goal of living in a civilized society.  These concepts were both included in the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights;  that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

For the Founders, these rights were inherent in every man from birth, and were derived from the freedom granted to us by God.

Many have asked how these men, who believed so strongly in individual freedom, could hold other men in bondage; that the enslavement of others is an example of the contradiction between their beliefs and their practices. This paradox is a good example of how rights not given by men cannot be taken by him, despite his best attempts to the contrary. Slavery was an institution designed by men contrary to the design of God for us to live freely. That it ultimately failed is a testament to the strength and endurance of God’s promises to us-having promised us freedom in Him, no creation of man would be able to break that promise.

While nothing compares to the gifting of His son for us, our God-given freedom is one of His greatest gifts to us. The Founders recognized this fact, and succeeded in placing it far beyond the reach of the institution of government. Men will attack, assail, and attempt to limit it, but ultimately our freedom is in His hands and safe in His protection.

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Written by Coby Dillard

July 31, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Posted in Speeches

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