The Biblical Basis of the Bill of Rights
By Pastor Earl C. Wallace and Dennis Jamison
The government of the United States is a constitutional republic, meaning we are organized under a constitution of laws that everyone is supposed to obey, from the President of the United States to the youngest person. Yet, many citizens do not clearly understand all the provisions of the U.S. Constitution. And today, many citizens do not easily realize that there is a discernible connection between the principles in America’s Bill of Rights and the Bible’s Ten Commandments. The Bill of Rights, also known as the first Ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, provided the framework within which our beloved homeland was governed and regulated.
These ten provisions of the Bill of Rights were written by America’s founding fathers to guide the government of the newly created United States. These ten provisions are rooted in the Judeo-Christian based Ten Commandments. These Commandments, and other Biblical principles, are the foundations of the Judeo-Christian ethic, which is the value system America’s Founding Fathers utilized when constructing America’s founding documents. This connection can be described as “The Biblical Basis of The Bill of Rights,” which applies personal responsibility before God to corporate and civic life, so that no matter what occupation, position or pursuit one enters, the same behaviors are expected, and should be anticipated.
“The Biblical Basis of The Bill of Rights” expresses how the Ten Commandments parallel the Bill of Rights. In fact, the Bill of Rights could have been named “The Ten Commandments for Government.” Those who have the basic knowledge of The Ten Commandments understand that they are written in a series of do and don’ts or “Thou shalt nots.” When people obey them, such as Commandment number six, which says ‘Thou shall not murder,” everyone else enjoys the right to not be murdered. In the same manner, when the U.S. federal government obeys its “Thou shalt nots” codified in the Bill of Rights, then “We the People” enjoy our rights to pursue life, liberty and happiness – as long as we do not violate the Ten Commandments against other citizens while engaging in our own pursuits.
When government obeys the Bill of Rights it safeguards our people’s rights, so “We the People” enjoy freedom. When government violates the Bill of Rights that safeguards the people’s rights, it violates the freedom from “We the People.” Operating in God’s wisdom of the Founding Fathers, they constructed rules for to compel government to treat “We the People” according to the Ten Commandments. In fact, the U.S. Bill of Rights are so Biblically-based that government cannot violate one of them without also violating at least one of the Ten Commandments, and vice versa. Since the Ten Commandments express the way God wants a civil society to function, when government violates one of the Bill of Rights and — simultaneously violates breaking one of the Ten Commandments, it is violating the way God wants us to live.
Specifically, in the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson and the rest of the signers of that cornerstone document dramatically proclaim that people have “inalienable rights” that are “endowed” to them by a “Creator.” Moreover, that the governments are established by people for the purpose of securing the “endowed” rights, they can be abolished by the people for attempting to violate those rights.
The cornerstone of these concepts is The Declaration of Independence, drafted by Thomas Jefferson and approved by the rest of the Constitution’s signers, dramatically proclaims that we have “inalienable rights” that are “endowed” to us by our “Creator.” Moreover, that governments are established by people for the purpose of securing these “endowed” rights. We the People” are encouraged to abolish any government that attempts to violate those rights.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government… (The Declaration of Independence)
These inalienable rights also are called “Natural Rights” and are derived from the “Laws of Nature” and “Nature’s God,” as reflected in The Ten Commandments. This means that the inalienable rights were also expressed in The Ten Commandments. This more specifically means:
- As God explains how we are to worship Him in Commandments one through four, America’s Founding Fathers realized God is saying in Commandments one through four, that “Everyone has a right to worship Him publicly in those ways.” This is why America’s historical buildings have Bible references carved into them in stone – by architectural design, not as the result of college pranksters sneaking around at night to place them there.
- In Commandment Five, God explains that He wants honor to be the guiding principle of our families, so the Founding Fathers limited government’s ability to interfere with a family’s faith in God, and their personal desires for how they raise their children, and how they inherit their family’s property. The Bible also places responsibility for educating children squarely on the shoulders of their parents.
- God told us in Commandment Six, “Thou shalt not murder,” which is another way of saying all citizens have the right not to be murdered. So America’s Founding Fathers gave us the Second Amendment right to bear arms, so we can defend ourselves against criminals taking our lives.
- God says in Commandment Seven that people should not commit adultery, nor fornication, which is having sex outside of marriage. In light of this, the Founding Fathers realized that everyone has a right to conduct their lives according to God’s commands about sexual relations, and the laws they made reflected this. America’s legal system traditionally has provided strict penalties as a deterrent to rape and kidnapping, which violates God’s desire for people to be secure in their own persons. This is the opposite of how today in government-provided public schools, children are mandated to learn an evil and destructive plan for their sexuality instead of God’s plan for their natural humanity.
- Where God says, in Commandment Eight, we should not steal, America’s Founding Fathers understood that God is saying that everyone has a right not to be stolen from. When government steps over the line and steals from people either through excessive taxation, fees and regulations, it is ripping off a) itself, b) “We the people,” and c) those deprived of their property – out of God’s plan for the material blessings of all involved! In God’s sight, this is sin regardless of how people who work in government try to cloak the activities under the guise of the “greater good,” or through “eminent domain,” or some other positive sounding propaganda dissembling.
- Where God says in Commandment Nine we should not “bear false witness against one’s neighbor,” it denounces people who lie. America’s Founding Fathers understood that God is saying that everyone has a right not to be led astray by being lied to, or lied about.
- Where God says in Commandment Ten we should not covet, America’s Founding Fathers understood that God is saying everyone has a right not to be conspired against by others (including especially those acting as stewards of our government institutions, who should not covet our four P’s, meaning: a) our persons, b) our people, c) our positions, and/or d) our possessions.
We understand that people who violate the Commandments God gives His children, will include those who work in government. So, citizens need to keep in mind America’s Founding Fathers understood that only people who possess a Judeo-Christian value system that honors the Ten Commandments, would administer freedom as they and God intended. The government cannot make enough laws that will force dishonest and evil people obey them. Only conscientious people, who have a Ten Commandments oriented value system, are those who are qualified to administer, represent, and oversee the American way of life the Founding Fathers established and codified in the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution. This would safeguard and empower “We the People.”