Tampa volunteers teach kids founding principles
By Jeff Lukens
We mandate no belief in
this country. We are free to believe or not believe whatever we want.
Yet our country and its laws were established on the fundamental belief
that our individual rights comes not from government, but from God. The
recognition of this fact by our Founding Fathers and by citizens
throughout the years has allowed this nation to prosper beyond its
The Tampa Liberty School
was founded last year to provide an opportunity for children learn about
these principles, and I have been privileged to be its Director. The school
is run by adult volunteers from the community, and is dedicated to
educating, enlightening, and exciting children to the values on which this
country was established.
Children are taught that
beginning in the 1600s, many settlers came to what they considered this new
Promised Land seeking religious freedom. They could relate to the biblical
Jewish Exodus from Egypt because they had left an oppressive Old World
seeking the blessings of liberty in this New World. Ours was the only
country to identify with Old Testament Jewish beliefs, and is why we are
called a "Judeo-Christian" nation. These values include the importance of
laws, fighting for justice, and a belief in judgment by loving and forgiving
By the 1770s, colonists were
seeking freedom from the British Crown with reliance upon, what the
Declaration of Independence calls, "Nature's God," the "Creator," and "the
Supreme Judge of the World." The Founders understood there is a divine order
that rises above the human order.
They recognized that there
is a Natural Law in which individual rights do not come from a king, a
congress, a court, a president, or any other form of government. These
unalienable rights can only come from a Creator. Under Natural Law, the
government works for the people, and not the other way around. These rights
include the rights of life and liberty, the right to own private property,
the right to self-defense, to assemble peaceably, and so on.
While Natural Law may have
been forgotten over the years, the Framers recognized it and established it
as the basis of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. They knew that if
we, as a people, ever lost our biblical foundation, no amount of
Constitutional protection could preserve the republic. They recognized that
without Divine Providence, their struggle for freedom would be lost.
John Adams wrote, "We have
no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions
unbridled by morality and religion. Our constitution was made for a moral
and religious people."
Adams and the other Founders
knew that without God there could be no prompting of the conscience. And
only those humble enough to admit they are imperfect before God could bring
to an imperfect democracy the tolerance it requires to endure.
God's authority and eternal
laws are therefore prerequisites for or way of governing. Children
instinctively know that people should have equal rights under the law, and
that we should have the freedom to try new things, and to fail sometimes. We
should expect equal rights, but not to expect equal results. The Framers
knew these concepts. So should we. This is what we teach at our school.
For this system to work, the
country must have a people that are moral, virtuous, and educated in these
principles of liberty. That means we must know where our rights come from,
and we must live by them. Our nation rests on the voluntary consent of its
citizens. Children leave our school understanding this message. All citizens
should know about Natural Law because we are the ones responsible for
maintaining our liberty.
America arguably represents
an extraordinary achievement in the history of human civilization. Our
Forefathers, by the grace of God, created a society in which more people
enjoy more liberty and more prosperity than has ever been known at any time
anywhere in history. There is no better time than the year of 2012 to
express our gratitude to God for these blessings and his laws, and to call
upon His providence to see us through a turbulent time.