Squires: John Adams told us US Constitution is ‘intended only for a moral and religious people’

The mass shooting at an elementary school that killed 19 children and two adults in Uvalde, Texas, was the second murder in less than two weeks committed by a disaffected, isolated male teenager. The nation mourned together and tried to process the unspeakable pain of the grieving parents, families and school staff in Uvalde.

It’s hard to understand why gunman Salvador Ramos kills innocent children at school. Unlike the Buffalo shooter, Ramos did not attempt to justify his actions in a political manifesto or appear motivated by any racial grievances.

Based on firsthand accounts from his family and others who knew him, Ramos was a high school dropout with anger issues, an unstable family life and few friends. In the absence of a clear motive or politically advantageous racial dynamic (e.g. white shooter and non-white victims), the national conversation has quickly shifted to guns.

Calls have been made to ban “assault weapons” and to pass stricter background checks. Ramos had no criminal record and legally purchased his AR-15 style rifles after turning 18, which required a background check. It’s hard to say what specific changes to our current laws would have prevented this tragedy. The demand for new laws after every mass shooting and viral street crime reveals a much deeper problem that stretches back to our nation’s founding.

John Adams, a leader of the American Revolution and our second president, was aware of the limits of state power.

We have no government armed with might, capable of fighting with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Greed, ambition, revenge, or bravery would snap the strongest cords of our constitution as a whale through a net. Our Constitution is for a moral and religious people only. It’s totally inadequate for everyone else.

Adams’ words reveal the belief that morality and self-government are prerequisites for freedom and liberty. People who cannot control their own feelings, passions, and behaviors need outside control. Because of this, some families cannot have a holiday meal without a visit from the local police station.

Our nation feels increasingly unstable because we have no moral center. The Founding Fathers had different views on religion, but they never saw themselves as omniscient mini-gods who could control an entire nation. This has been a thoroughly Christianized nation for much of our history. Several states had established churches by the time the US Constitution was ratified, and prayer in public schools was common into the 1960s.

Some people see this kind of overt religious expression as a slippery proclivity for theocracy, but separation of church and state does not require separation of faith and public life. The truth is that we are no less religious today than in previous generations. The only difference is that we have a new source of faith and an outlet for spiritual zeal.

Joe Biden said he sees his presidential campaign as a “fight for the soul of the nation,” but replacing religion with politics is a bipartisan symptom of cultural sickness.

There are those on the right who cling to the words of the last president as if he were an infallible pope when it comes to making political demands ex cathedra. True believers on the left prefer a touch of political Protestantism, always ready to take to the streets. Their souls will never rest as long as there is an issue to protest against, be it racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia or abortion, climate change and so on sexual modesty.

A nation that lives by the principles of the Ten Commandments, including the prohibition of theft, murder, and adultery, will produce a more stable, orderly culture than one that attacks God’s plan for the family, calls killing the unborn “reproductive justice,” and promotes the mutilation of young people as “gender-affirming care”. The leaders who run our largest cities support far more taxpayer money funding drag queens teaching children favorite pronouns than do pastors reading Proverbs.

We often hear about the dynamics of a big fish in a small pond. This metaphor speaks for the size of the environment. We should think about what happens to a big fish in a polluted pond. Air and water quality are not just issues affecting our physical environment; they also apply to culture.

As is so often the case, the ultimate spread of immorality and dysfunction traces back to the first institution created by God—the family. The decline in marriage and two-parent households is having a significant impact on the health and well-being of American children. Absent and uninvolved parents—especially fathers—often result in vulnerable children who struggle with feelings of worthlessness and abandonment. Even parents who are physically present but busy with work, their own relationships, or social media may be totally unaware of all the forces trying to seduce their children.

Children – especially boys – need a sense of identity and purpose. They need strong relationships, a meaningful mission, and goals that set them up for the future. Therefore the “success sequence” – Get your high school diploma, work full-time, and get married before you have kids – should be the basis of all political discussions about young adults. Young people need to know that regardless of the circumstances of their birth and the families into which they were born, they have agency.

The Bible teaches that the institution of government was created by God. Problems arise when civil judges believe they are the supreme authority and the arbiter of morality. Governing officials who believe they can single-handedly control entire economies, save the planet, and eradicate sin have delusions that eventually lead to despotism, the very result the founders wished to avoid. Like the false gods described in the scriptures, their wickedness is a function of their powerlessness. Anger arises when people recognize the gap between their perceived power and their ability to actually change the world around them.

Laws are important, but they must be kept in their proper perspective. Without an objective, external standard of morality, they degenerate into expressions of the perceived virtues and preferred vices of the majority. They demonstrate our values, but cannot make us moral.

Earlier generations spoke of the world in transcendent terms and openly recognized a Creator and the fallenness of human nature. Leaders today speak in transactional terms, framing the presence of evil as a reflection of unmet material needs.

The most unique element of the American experiment is not the racial and ethnic diversity of our country; they are the twin concepts of self-government and individual freedom. People who use their freedom to kill innocent children, abuse the elderly, steal from hard-working neighbors, encourage drug use, degrade the human body through sex work and pornography, and deny human biology are in deep spiritual bondage . No amount of money or power can buy freedom from the bondage of sin. Only repentance and faith in Jesus Christ can change a person’s heart and bring freedom out sin to do good works. That kind of freedom lasts forever.

https://www.theblaze.com/fearless/oped/squires-john-adams-us-constitution Squires: John Adams told us US Constitution is ‘intended only for a moral and religious people’

Laura Coffey

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