As we start 2013, let’s reflect on the beginning of our nation and the moral and religious beliefs of the Pilgrim settlers of 1620. The Pilgrims were Puritans, a group of English Protestants who had become unhappy with the corruption in the Church of England and the English laws which controlled the practice of religion. At that time (1620), other religions weren’t represented. There were no Buddhists, Zoroastrians, Jews, or Muslims. Only Christians who wanted freedom of religion. Not freedom from religion, but freedom of religion.
As written in Wikipedia, the “Puritans sought both individual and corporate conformity to the teaching of the Bible, with moral purity pursued both down to the smallest detail as well as ecclesiastical purity to the highest level. They believed that man existed for the glory of God; that his first concern in life was to do God’s will and so to receive future happiness.”
Today, we call religious groups like that the fundamentalists. When you think about it, this sounds like Islam as interpreted by the Islamic fundamentalists. However, the Judeo-Christian ethic is spread by the intellect while, generally speaking, Islam is spread by jihadist religious war. The only wars in the world today are in the Middle East and parts of Africa where the Muslims are battling among themselves about whether the fundamentalists or the moderates are proper and about how to destroy Israel. Also, about which dictator will control the government. In any case, the final outcome will be an Islamic theocratic government. No freedom of religion there (sorry for the digression, but it seemed appropriate).
Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in “Democracy in America” (1832) that Puritanism was instrumental in providing the strong foundation for American democracy. As you read our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution, you’ll find his observation to be accurate.
As John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
Considering the cultural climate of the past 60 or 70 years, you have to wonder if we’re a moral and religious people (the non-secular). Or have the results of the music, a few politicians and hallucinogens prostituted our moral fibre to the point that anything is acceptable (the secular)?
History is full of Sodom and Gomorrahs. Are we to become another footnote in the chronicles of the world as one of them, or are we to take our place as the leader which has the moral courage to follow the Judeo-Christian ethic and participate in all it gives us?
So, what do you expect in 2013? The happiness of freedom and liberty as postulated in our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, or the misery and confusion of despotic socialism as promoted by those who say our Constitution is obsolete? You have a choice. Which will it be? The harmony of the laws of Nature’s God or the chaotic confusion of the laws of man?
Happy New Year!
• Don Kennedy is a graduate of Dartmouth College with a degree in sociology. He has been a resident of Ahwatukee Foothills since 2002.