• Amy Travis

The Pursuit of Liberty

America… “the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.”

You may recognize this as the last line in the Star-Spangled Banner written by Francis Scott Key as he watched a huge American flag raised by soldiers at Baltimore’s Fort McHenry after a critical victory over the British in 1814.

The British had recently captured Washington D.C. and were now moving to invade Baltimore. They were confident that taking Baltimore—a thriving port city—would prove more strategic than conquering the capital city. Major General Robert Ross, the commander of the British Army, felt certain that taking Baltimore would cripple the American war effort and provide a victory for England.[1]

With over 10,000 men and 100 cannons, the Americans mounted a stronger defense than anticipated. British warships were pressed to engage and bombarded Fort McHenry with mortar fire. However, because of the shallow waters surrounding the Port of Baltimore, the British fleet eventually withdrew. Their defeat at Fort McHenry in Baltimore was a decisive victory for the Americans and led to both sides signing a peace agreement later that same year.[2]

Unfortunately, many may not recognize these famous lyrics from the Star-Spangled Banner formed as a result of that fateful battle. In recent years there’s been a coordinated effort to erase history and reshape the narrative in our country. Our heritage is being uprooted daily. We are seeing individuals disrespecting our flag, desecrating our monuments, and erasing the brave heroes who fought for our freedom.

The “Land of the Free” is facing unprecedented challenges that threaten our very freedoms.

America’s uniqueness lies in the fact it is the only country expressly founded on the idea of religious freedom. The early settlers to America risked their lives and their children’s lives to make the treacherous journey across the Atlantic Ocean in search of this elusive target. It’s highly unlikely that any of us in this country will experience the persecution and torture for our religious beliefs that the first Americans did back in England. This persecution—including the seizing of land and assets and physical torture—came at the hands of the State-run church.

Now think about that for a minute… State-run church. I’m not talking about the Methodist church of Pennsylvania. State-run churches, also known as state-sponsor religions, grant power to the government to tax, punish, torture, or kill you for not conforming to their laws. And let’s be clear about this… state-run religions have absolutely nothing to do with God. State-run religion is a means of controlling the population.

In 1776, the United States of America declared independence from the oppressive, totalitarian British government, sparking the Revolutionary War. The men who signed this document understood the risk they were taking to secure their own freedom and the freedom of many generations to come. This heroic act didn’t go without notice. England branded these men as traitors and hunted them down like animals. According to historian Allan Hicks,

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.[3]

These brave individuals risked losing everything, including their lives and lives of their children in order to find “religious freedom.”

Our freedom to worship our Creator in any way we choose—the primary cornerstone on which this country was built—is slowly eroding away.

Unfortunately, not all Americans recognize what is at stake here. The loss of freedom of religion is more tragic that we could imagine. Let’s look at countries where state-sponsored or state-run religions still exist: Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, for example, have Islam as their State-sponsored religion. Also, in Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Thailand, Buddhism is the state-sponsored religion. These countries are notorious for consistently and systematically violating human rights.

In these countries, and other places around the world, government replaces God. There are no freedoms—religious, personal, or otherwise—because an individual has no rights. The government controls all the wealth, all the resources, all the land, all the people, all the time.

Unlike the horrific violations of basic human rights perpetuated by governments all over the world, the United States’ Constitution grants us PERSONAL freedom. We have the ability to live where we want, pursue any career we want, and make as much money as we can. We can go to church anywhere we would like and practice any religion we choose.

This is why the Declaration of America’s Independence from England was, and still is, so radical. No other nation on the face of the earth had ever granted such freedom to their citizens. Let that sink in.

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.

As difficult as it may be to comprehend, personal freedom—the right to own property, to build wealth, to protect yourself and your family, and pursue happiness—didn’t exist prior to 1776.

The Founding Fathers who secured our independence from England were conducting a social experiment called America. They drafted the new Constitution in 1787 (four years after the Revolutionary War ended) to establish rules for the government based on the idea that God created the universe and is the only One who can give life and take it away… not the government. The creators of the constitution patterned the new form of governing after the ideals found in scripture: freedom to worship, sacredness of human life, the ability to own private property, the traditional family, and free markets.

Contrary to popular opinion, the notion of the separation of church and state isn’t a liberal ideology, it references the First Amendment to the Constitution. Previously, the Church and State were the same thing. Government was intended to be god… our provider, our security, and our savior. Separating the two entities in this new government system allowed the individual freedom to worship the Creator, not the government.

The amazing thing about our Constitution is that it guarantees freedom of all religions. Americans are free to practice their faith as Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, and the like, as long as it is done peacefully and within the boundaries of the law.

Governed by God

There is no factual or historical basis for the removal of Christianity from the Rule of Law in America. As mentioned above, our Constitution is built on the foundation of Biblical Christianity. The brave young men who rebelled against the tyrannical government in England understood this truth.

William Penn, the colonist who purchased Pennsylvania said, “Men must be governed by God or they will be ruled by tyrants.”