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Ignoring Founders’ Warning

January 16, 2013
By WILLIAM M. YAVELAK , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

The senseless Sandy Hook slaughter is another horrible abuse of freedom that must be put into proper perspective. Currently in the public square, the foolishness of much of the commentary and proposed solutions do similar grievous violence by ignoring the substance of our founding documents that sought to minimize the work of corrupt hearts.

The Founders' appeal to the Triune God and the "Rule of Law" characterizes their understanding of the dangerous conditions that pervade human existence. According to Robert Winthrop, an early Speaker of the House of Representatives, "Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled either by a power within them or by a power without them; either by the Word of God or by the strong arm of man, either by the Bible or by the bayonet."

Given our present government's disdain for the First Amendment's guarantee of religious freedom in the public square, and especially in our schools and medical facilities, is the "bayonet" close at hand? John Adams declared that "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." President Obama is on record as calling for a new "Declaration of Independence" as well as stating that the Constitution is "too restrictive."

It was not an accident that the Founders appealed to "the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions" as a nation. The problem then and now is the tendency of the human heart to abuse freedom by choosing wrongly. America's Declaration of Independence and Constitution represent the best political attempts to secure freedom for the individual against all forces who would assassinate it by edict or other forms of violence.

The Founders submitted not just their deeds but their "intentions" for the Supreme Judge's adjudication for good reason. It is truly ironic that President Obama posits his new Declaration of Independence upon the failed socialist policies of false authorities/ gods that have wreaked such havoc throughout the world. Ask the disarmed populations in countries such as Zimbabwe, the old Soviet Union, North Korea, or just as sadly, the extreme firearm restrictions imposed in the new South Africa if their existence has not been filled with expanding terror, gross incompetence, wretchedness and death. For that matter, ask so-called well-intentioned secular Democrats of Chicago and Washington, D.C. if their gun laws have made their communities "murder-free zones."

First and foremost, the Constitution's Second Amendment that the president finds "too restrictive" sought to minimize the threat to the individual and his property from the tendency of past governments and other thieves and murderers to cause harm, if not inflict total loss. The Founders did not believe in an illusory "Utopia" but in the reality of sinful human beings throughout history to do harm to themselves and others, especially when organized politically. However, the aberrations of certain citizens were not then grounds for enslaving the rest of the population.

Now, we live under a government that sanctions the killing of the most vulnerable among us via abortion while voraciously consuming ever more of our private property in the name of "social justice." What hypocrisy! The Founders are proving correct in their attempt to minimize the tyranny of the majority as well as the tyranny of a minority by fashioning a system of checks and balances and the separation of powers to protect freedom that is now under assault.

Jan. 1 marked the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. Invoked by President Lincoln as a wartime order that turned a war over national sovereignty into a war with the dual purpose of freeing the slaves, it still required the Thirteenth Amendment for absolute legitimacy. It was a policy issuing from Lincoln's prayer to do so if God would give him a sign in the form of a military success. Lincoln interpreted the bloody battle of Antietam to be that victory.

It remains ominous that "the government of the people, by the people, and for the people under God" continues to encourage the annulling of this priceless heritage of wisdom bathed in so much blood, by submitting to a false interpretation of history drenched in envy, greed, and death that divides and defiles our nation. Benjamin Franklin's reminder uttered to the delegates in the Constitutional Convention remains vital to our well-being to wit: "And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? Or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance? ... Without His concurring aid ... we ourselves shall become a reproach and a byword down to future ages."

Yavelak is a lifelong resident of Eastern Ohio who served as an educator at St. Clairsville High School for 30 years, nearly equally divided between administration and history instruction.

 
 

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