A new museum has opened in Philadelphia right across from the Visitor’s Center at Independence Mall calling itself the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center. The main exhibition is on the first floor and the very old American Bible Society is on the floor beneath. A parking garage could not be closer. By its name it is clear that Faith comes first and Liberty comes second. Is that true? Can Liberty stand alone without Faith? Well, we know that Faith can stand alone without Liberty and often has to. When murderous regimes take over whole societies the first actions are often the slaughter of the faithful. For tyrants of all kinds, Faith implies a duty and loyalty to a power higher than any mortal. Hence, the faithful cannot, by definition, be completely and unquestioningly loyal to a person or persons who temporarily hold life and death in their hands. But for our more important question, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin would say that Liberty can stand alone without Faith but that Liberty cannot stand alone without Virtue. They would probably have named the new museum the Liberty and Virtue Discovery Center.
Miss Constitution – are you not putting too fine a point on it?
Miss Constitution does not think so. She admires the attempt by the Trustees of the Museum and those tasked with the displays to link faith and liberty and many of the displays go to one or the other and to persons in their era who seemed to embody the two. But what the museum really concentrates on is the museum’s notion of justice – fairness that leads to equal outcomes – or equity. The emphasis is on racial justice and the journey of America that represents inherent conflicts between one’s faith, America’s stated emphasis on personal Liberty, and the facts of slavery and segregation in the nation’s past. Thrown into the mix are the struggles for voting rights for women and immigration policy over the history of the country. My goodness, Miss Constitution had a hard time unpacking it all so that the answer to her ultimate question could be answered, and after answered her next question be addressed, Can Liberty stand alone without Virtue? She then had to add a third, What is Justice?
Miss Constitution – can you not just enjoy the museum and the new museum techniques that involve film and personalized digital experiences? Does it really matter if the distinctions and connections between Faith, Liberty, Justice, and Virtue are not clear?
It matters a great deal. One of the most important issues of our time is a movement to mangle language into such a contortion that the average person does not know what common words mean. The movement is not accidental or unintentional, it is an insidious attempt to separate the American people from the understandings that bind them, from the loyalties that sustain them, and from the goodwill that joins them in common purpose. If unbound, if unsustained, if without common purpose, the American people can be divided into irreconcilable groups and encouraged to take on each other in internecine warfare that destroys the whole. It is a malicious and malevolent plan, and Miss Constitution thinks one way to take this iniquitous plan on is through critical thinking that includes understanding the definitions of important words. Miss Constitution would remind you that the attempt to divide and conquer America has been going on for a very long time. America was thought the hardest nation to “crack” because of the nature of her people. But mass propaganda, including the mangling of language, is now the preferred weapon to turn a Constitutional Republic into a Marxist State. First, we need to know what Faith, Liberty, Justice, and Virtue mean in the American system.
Faith – a certainty in belief grounded in the Bible
Liberty – lawful choice
Justice – equality of process
Virtue – morality, rightfulness
More importantly, we need to know what these words do NOT mean in the American system. Faith in America has always been centered in the Bible. Whether Old or New Testament the first duty of the faithful is to love God. This love of God and what He commands of us is the basis of what we say is rightful or moral and what is rightful and moral undergirds what we say is lawful which in turn creates the boundaries of our liberty and the processes around the lawful are what we call justice. The American system is not grounded in other equivalents of the Bible or in atheism, but in the Bible itself. Yes, there are versions of the Bible, and different sects have different interpretations of the Bible, but our Law, our Governance, our sense of Right and Wrong, are all grounded in the Bible. Justice is not fairness of outcome but fairness of process. When we use the term “Due Process” we mean, in the American system, that a lawful process applied to one person applies to all equally. There can be no absolute fairness of outcome (equity) in the American system because to attempt to obtain it would sacrifice our primary notion of Liberty. Each person makes different lawful choices and each person, then, has a different outcome. People often confuse justice with fairness or equity.
Miss Constitution, this is as clear as mud. What about your first two questions?
Miss Constitution will hurry, then. Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, among many other Founders, felt that Virtue, or morality, could be obtained by other than Faith. They felt that virtue could be obtained by Aristotle’s Golden Mean – or habits of behavior between extremes. There are many Americans who feel that their “spiritual” inclinations can create the Virtue needed to sustain Liberty and the processes to establish Justice. That is why you hear so many Americans today say that they are “spiritual” not religious. What Miss Constitution would say is that she questions whether developing good “habits” is strong enough to counter the malicious and the destructive. She thinks the new language-mangling and other propaganda such as Critical Race Theory and the 1619 Project that are poisoning our children and adults are so powerful that only Faith (God) can take them on. She would say that Liberty Cannot Stand For Long Without Faith. She thinks the museum got its name right. Here is a quote from one dark corner of the museum that Miss Constitution thought factually accurate:
Once freedom was won, how would it be sustained? The American Founders agreed that public liberty depended on private virtue – and that virtue was sustained by religion. This understanding grew from their reading of history and of classical and contemporary philosophers, as well as from the Bible. Even free-thinking Founders like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson held that vice bred tyranny and that virtue was essential for lasting liberty. Most Americans believed that the new republic depended on people who were morally and ethically informed by the Bible. Virtue, faith, and liberty were seen as inseparable to sustain the new government. These sentiments were encouraged by public actions like declarations of national days of fasting and prayer and national days of Thanksgiving, and by appointing chaplains for legislatures and the military.
Who are the virtuous? The faithful who would take on those who would mangle our language, divide our people, and destroy our nation. The faithful who would give their very lives for Liberty, willingly.