Most Americans don’t realize when they take a tour of the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., the guide will probably not show the group the east side of the building. Why? Because, located on the east pediment of the Supreme Court building, is a statue that is no longer “politically correct.” Moses, holding the two tablets of the Ten Commandments, is the center statue of the East Pediment. He is also depicted on the south courtroom frieze, designed by sculptor Adolph Weinman. Moses is represented at the Supreme Court building because he is acknowledged as one of the great law-givers in history. But those of us who study the Bible know that the law Moses gave was not his – it was God’s law. How important was God’s law to those who drafted the laws of our nation?
Thirty-four percent of the citations found in the writings of America’s founding fathers came from Scripture. The majority of those citations were from the book of Deuteronomy. Moses wrote the book of Deuteronomy to teach the Israelites how a strong and godly society should be governed. In many ways, the book of Deuteronomy is a constitution for the Promised Land. Moses wrote, “What other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?” (Deuteronomy 4:8)
Here are some of those laws Moses “set before them” in the book of Deuteronomy. See if you think they sound familiar.
Every person has the right to be physically secure and protected. (24:7)
Every person has the right to be protected from false accusations and slander. (19:15-21)
The weaker person is not to be mistreated or taken advantage of by the stronger. (21:10-14)
No one should be punished excessively or for the purpose of demeaning that person. (25:1-3)
Every person should be treated with dignity. (15:12-18)
Every person has the right to work, own land, and pass the land on as an inheritance to their family. (25:5-10)
People are allowed to own property and no one is allowed to take it from them unlawfully. (22:1-4)
Every person has the right to worship and rest from their work. (5:12-15)
Every person is allowed to have their marriage protected. (22:13-30)
No one should be allowed to exploit the disabled and those who are disabled should receive the care they need. (24:6)
Everyone is allowed a fair trial. (19:15-21)
Every person should be given a fair and honored position is society. (21:15-21)
The laws apply to all people, even the kings. (17:18-20)
All living things should be cared for and treated as one of God’s creations. (22:6-7)
When the founding fathers decided to declare their independence from Great Britain they wrote:
have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal
station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of
mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
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.
Jim‘s essay, Does Democracy Require Morality, discusses a recent survey asking Americans what they most want to change about our society. Their first response was the economy. But tied for first place, ahead of preventing terrorism and curing cancer, was the nation’s desire to “restore values and morality” to the culture.
What does this mean for you and I today? As a Christian, and a believer in the Laws of God, we know how to make our country a greater nation. When people find God, they find the society and values they most desire. The founding fathers understood the importance of what Moses taught, and that wisdom helped create our nation. That same wisdom will help recreate our nation. But most people don’t know or believe what I just wrote.
I’m glad President Obama wanted to place his hand on two Bibles when he took the oath of office. I imagine President Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. would be pleased to know their Bibles were used for such an important occasion. I believe God would be pleased if those Bibles were opened, read, studied and esteemed by the President and by the people of our nation today. God’s laws are perfect and they are still the best laws for society. How do we convince people of that today? We all need to pray about that question – because God has the answer.