I do want to make one more pit stop before we resume with the next scheduled installment. I think it might be wise to drop back and clarify one other major point here, a clarification that may help readers to more fully understand what I have written up to this point. The purpose of this diversion is to drive home the point that
It Is All About Authority
That's right. Human rights are all about authority. Consider the answers to these questions:
- Why is the President of the United States allowed to command the military? Answer: Authority.
- Why are the courts allowed to incarcerate folks whom they determine deserve it? Answer: Authority.
- What allows the IRS to seize one's bank account if it determines that taxes are due? Answer: Authority.
- But what keeps any of these folks, even the government, from entering into our homes and taking what they want at random? Answer: Lack of authority. And that means that the government may possess authority for some actions, and none for others. Whereas Americans may have what seems an all-powerful government, that does not mean that every action of that government is authoritative. One of the principles embodied in the Declaration of Independence is that "Tyranny" is an unauthoritative use of the power, power without requisite authority.
Now consider a few of the complaints of the American British Colonies against actions the King. Among other complaints, according to the Declaration of Independence, the King George
- obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.
- made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
- erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
- kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.
- affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.
Regardless what the British divine right system might require, the Declaration of Independence contends that God gives absolutely NO authority directly to an unelected king. According to America's founding document, authority from God does NOT first flow through a monarchy. Instead, all authority for men and nations endows directly to individuals, and then flows from individuals, as they elect, to a government of their choosing. And because the King of England is mere human, even the king has not sufficient authority to deny God's basic rights to other men. Yet according to the declaration's contentions, that is exactly what King George did. And therein lies the rub.
So because King George conspicuously, and over a sufficient time frame, denied the colonists their basic rights, personal rights which if they are correct flow to them directly from God, then by default, the colonists possessed the God-given right to abolish the king's rule and institute a new government, authorizing it in any fashion on which they might agree. According to the Declaration of Independence, the divine right of kings model of human government is a violation of God's Natural Laws and thereby contradictory to God's charge of authority to mankind.
Well that's all fine and good, but until that allegation is adjudicated by some source of common authority that is greater than men making it, one that even has jurisdiction over the King of England, and agreed as a common source of authority, then why should anyone, especially the King of England, respect what the colonists might have to say about the matter? Great question, one that can only therefore be answered by appealing to the common authority of the New Testament Scriptures, Scriptures to which both the American colonists and the King of England legally submitted. Because both sides submitted to the authority of the New Testament Scriptures, the final determination of right and wrong is simply a matter of Scriptural interpretation.
But to adjudicate that question sounds very much like going to court, does it not? And who might possess jurisdiction to settle a dispute over scriptural interpretation? Another good question! And the authors of the Declaration of Independence thought of that very question. According to the Declaration, the Founders were content to leave it to God, the 'Supreme Judge of the World, to judge the rectitude of [their] intentions.' So the American Founders recognized that their conflict with the king boiled down to a matter of Scriptural interpretation. That question regarded whether God deals directly with men as the colonists claim, or whether God deals with men, but first through an emissary such as a monarch, as the British divine right government contends.
Regarding that question, certain authoritative references are found in various books of the Bible, one of which is the book of Matthew. In that book, Matthew relates that Jesus came into the temple and began teaching the people certain lessons He obviously wanted them to know. As you might imagine, that Jesus would bypass the presumed authority of the chief priest and elders, and take His teachings directly to the people, did not sit well with the priest and elders. So they interrupted Jesus asking Him,
By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority? (Matthew21:23,KJV)
That day in the temple, Jesus Christ demonstrated the Christian principles, held by the colonists, that no man is authorized to stand between another man and God, and that God desires a personal relationship with all men through His Son, Jesus Christ. According to the American colonists' interpretation, King George played much the part of the chief priest in the scriptures. And because Jesus, Son of God, God in the flesh, bypassed the established authorities, the priest and his elders, and took His teachings directly to the people, then that established the right of the people to deal directly with God. That being the case, the people are under no compulsion to respect any presumed authority, the use of which denies or crosses the personal relationship between man and his maker, as they allege King George did.
Now I quote Matthew directly from the King James Version of the Bible, the same version adopted by the Church of England, scriptures of which King George was obviously aware. By English law, the Church of England was, and is, the established church of England, which church ordained King George, conferring English sovereign authority from God directly to George. So the standards against which the American British Colonists would cite crimes by King George were the very same standards that authorized the king's rule in the first place, placing the King and his government under a common jurisdiction. In citing these standards, these upstart American colonists placed the very idea of rule by divine right into question, using the king's source of authority against him. That move put King George in a precarious position. If the king assented to the demands of the colonists, then he would admit that the colonists were correctly interpreting the scriptures. And if that were true, then that fact, once understood by the British people, might even topple the British monarchy.
So for that reason, and certainly others, King George found himself motivated by his own earthly desire to remain king, to enforce his will against the the colonies. As a result, the American Revolutionary War broke out. But that war was much more than simply a war for independence for a nation of folks who desired to be free from the rule of a certain king. That war was fought over a much larger question. That war was fought over conflicting interpretations of the very Scriptures that authorized the rule of the British monarchy. And in the end, according to the Treaty of Paris of 1783, both sides would just agree to disagree, each party to that agreement holding to their respective Scriptural interpretation, each party submitting to the authority of the Scriptures, which as they interpret them authorize each nation's sovereignty, and thereby each side publicly and obviously submitting to the authority of the Holy Trinity, simply under different interpretations of the same Scriptures.
So this discussion is all about authority; and it is not about religion at all. According to the Declaration of Independence, the foundation of God's Natural Law that underwrites the sovereignty of the United States is not any sort of religious belief. No, that foundation is TRUTH, self-evident TRUTH. Remember, religions deal with beliefs, and faith in those beliefs, not truths. Now the foundation on which America's declared sovereignty rests is an ASSUMED truth, for sure. But the manner in which America's sovereignty is reasoned to exist depends on that assumed truth actually being true! The American Experiment, the discussion of which will resume in the next installment, is designed to prove the truth of that assumption, or disprove that assumption altogether.
Something in the comments I recently received made me realize that I needed to backup and retrace these certain points before we went any further. So thanks again for your comments and questions. They really help me to understand what you are thinking and whether I am making sense. In the next Installment, we will resume discussing the American Experiment and the Theory of America.