First of all, law is an order inherent in the nature of things. There are self-evident physical laws, biological laws and moral laws to which reason can testify. Order, than, is the basis of freedom because without it society falls into anarchy and the destruction of true human freedom. And, when lawlessness become intolerable, society usually chooses a strong man to lead them and the abuse that absolute power can bring, e.g. Germany under Hitler.

Long ago Cicero defined natural law as follows:"True law is right reason in agreement with nature; it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting; it summons to duty by its commands, and averts from wrongdoing by its prohibitions.... It is a sin to try to alter this law, nor is it allowable to repeal any part of it, and it is impossible to abolish entirely. We cannot be freed from its obligations by senate or people, and we need not look outside ourselves for an expounder or interpreter of it." (W. Cleon Skousen, The 5000 year Leap, American Publishing, L.L.C., 1981) We must always remember the words of the psalmist, "The earth is the LORD'S, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it." (Ps 24:1) Therefore, any law proposed by man not in conformity with Natural Law can only lead to the destruction of true freedom. Human rights are not given by governments but by God who created the structure of the world as it is.

The most fundamental freedom is the right to life given by the Creator. Without this right there is no other right because deprivation of life takes way every other possible freedoms of human nature. In today's confused thinking the "Right to Life" is contrasted with the "Right to Choose" as if the two were equal. While the right of life is absolute, free choice is fraught with responsibility and consequences. While God has given us the freedom to choose He has also commanded us, "Do not kill!" which means that we have no right to choose to kill without a just cause. Benjamin Franklin was aware of this as he states, "Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters." Likewise, George Washington while praising the human rights embedded in the Constitutions pointed out that it could only survive as long as the people remained virtues. Virtue points to the Ten Commandments but referred also to public virtue or the willingness of individuals to sacrifice their private interests for the common good. Pope John Paul II supports our founding fathers as he states, "If, as a result of a tragic obscuring of the collective conscience, an attitude of skepticism were to succeed in bringing into question even the fundamental principles of the moral law, the democratic system itself would be shaken in its foundations, and would be reduced to a mere mechanism for regulating different and opposing interests on a purely empirical basis." (Encyclical: Evangelium vitae, No. 70) Indeed we have departed from the basic principle the U.S. Constitution for which we will be hold responsible by God.

This takes us to the idea of popular sovereignty meaning that those who rule must do so with the consent of the people. The people they rule, however, are not only the voters but also that stream of life entering a nation as well as those who are in the process of dying. The voters are a very small minority compared to this national corporate entity. So, those who govern must do so according to natural law if they are to protect the right to life of all. Pope John Paul II has well observed "The fact that legislation in many countries, perhaps even departing from basic principles of their Constitutions, has determined not to punish these practices against life, and even to make them altogether legal, is both a disturbing symptom and a significant cause of grave moral decline." (Ibid., No. 4)

In the recent past we have seen the Supreme Court split decisions on displaying the Ten Commandments. In one decision the State of Texas was allowed to display the Ten Commandments on the State Capital grounds. In the Kentucky case, it forbade the display of the Ten Commandments on walls of two county houses.

"Previous generations never questioned the use of, display of, and reliance on the Ten Commandments; rather they heartily endorsed their use. They rightly reasoned that “The law given from Sinai was a civil and municipal as well as a moral and religious code... laws essential to the existence of men in society and most of which have been enacted by every nation which ever professed any code of laws.” -John Quincy Adams Even though the Ten Commandments came through God's chosen people, it's fundamentally an expression of the natural law discovered by reason, therefore, it applies to all peoples regardless of race and nation.

 

6. Freedom of Thought