The American Revolution displayed that biblical faith and freedom are inseparable.
IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING
Alexis De Tocqueville, the French political thinker and historian, is known, among other things, for his observations during his travels throughout America in 1830. What he found most remarkable was the fact that the American people were both very religious and very free. Christianity and liberty were so inter-connected that, to the Americans, they were inseparable. He had never seen Christianity have such an effect on the lives of the people as he saw in America. To him, it had become the most enlightened and free nation on earth. It amazed him because there was no such connection between religion and freedom in France. In fact, the two were diametrically opposed.
This difference was directly reflected in the vast differences between the American Revolution and the French Revolution. In America, the people were willing to fight for both freedom of religion and civil liberty. In France, true liberty would be attained only when the chains of religion were broken. In France, they cracked down on the Church and confiscated its properties. They went so far as to do away with anno Domini, “the year of the Lord,” and made 1792 their “year one,” the first year of the Republic-a republic without God.
With all religious influence suppressed, it didn’t take long for chaos, anarchy, and, finally, tyranny to prevail. In Paris, more than 20,000 perished in the chaos the Revolution brought. The blood that was shed for liberty was not the Savior’s, but their own, and the result was tyranny and bondage, not freedom. The American people had connected faith and freedom and were peacefully enjoying the fruits of the union they had fought for.
AS I SEE IT
I have no idea how well the Americans back then understood the depth of what “freedom in Christ” really means, but I would guess it to be much stronger than it is today. They had to fight and endure great hardship for their freedom to worship as they chose. When it costs you something, you tend to appreciate and enjoy it more than when it is handed to you. I believe there were many back then whose real freedom was the freedom from sin that Christ made possible. When you’re no longer a slave to sin, you see “boundaries” as protective, not restrictive. It’s very possible that what De Tocqueville witnessed was a host of people whose religion was much more than a set of beliefs or traditions. He likely saw a nation of people who had been set free from the bondage of sin and were willing “prisoners of Christ.”
Today, I’m afraid we, as a nation, resemble France in the 1780s. Religion is seen as a hindrance to the freedom to sin. Liberty has been transformed into license, and today’s hedonist sees Christianity as repressive, and not liberating. In their efforts to redefine and remake morality, they are blindly plunging headlong toward a form of tyranny and bondage from which escape is unlikely. What these morally bankrupt “freedom-seekers” don’t realize is that true civil liberties are among the gifts that Christianity gave to the world. Those nations that enjoy the greatest degree of civil liberty are generally those where the gospel has penetrated deepest.
After our Christian foundation had been firmly laid, people of all faiths were welcomed and given the opportunity to enjoy freedom to the fullest. They came from all over the world and took America up on its offer. Millions of lives were made better because of the Christian foundation that made all the blessings possible. It’s hard to imagine why anyone would desire to go backward, but that’s just what is happening. Those who seek to divest America from her Christian foundation in their attempt to win freedom will, in fact learn what tyranny really is, but by then, it will be too late.