On October 28, 1886, the United States opened her 100th birthday present a decade late. On that date, French sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi unveiled his most famous work, the Statue of Liberty. Although Lady Liberty is perched atop a granite pedestal and towers more than 300 feet above New York harbor, she isn’t standing still; she’s moving forward to enlighten the world with her torch of knowledge and truth. Cradled in her arm is a keystone tablet that represents the rule of law on which this Republic was found. Embossed on the tablet is the date, July 4, 1776. Lady Liberty is dressed in the robe and sandals of the goddess Libertas, representing freedom from tyranny and oppression. On her head she wears a crown with seven spikes representing the seven continents, and windows symbolizing the light of heaven shining down upon the people of the earth. At her feet are the broken chains and shackles that symbolize her passage from slavery to freedom.
In the decades since her dedication, more than 12 million people have sailed under her torch hoping to start a new life in America. They came to these shores with the knowledge that God created free and autonomous human beings, with the free-will to build and live their own lives. They understood that this was God’s purpose and plan for mankind, and the right and natural condition to which every human being is entitled. Man’s freedom stems directly from his relationship with his creator, because God is both the source and author of our liberty! Unfortunately, we live in a world that continuously tries to thwart God’s will and usurp his authority.
Man has an unquenchable thirst for power, and the desire to dominate his fellow man. He usurps God’s authority and human autonomy by making his fellow man dependent upon him for his liberty and livelihood. In ancient times, Pharaohs and Caesars established their control over the people by declaring themselves divine. As man evolved and began to reject these claims, their rulers responded by asserting that their right to rule came directly from God. In the modern secular state, such as Nazi Germany and the former Soviet Union, dictators use their position in the party to subjugate others to their will. Regardless of the era, the method is always the same. By supplanting God and making the people dependent upon the state, you cut them off from the true source of their liberty and freedom.
It starts with a promise; a promise to create jobs, end corruption and redistribute the wealth; a promise for a better life. All it takes is for the people to give the ruler, the party, or the government the authority to make it happen, which they do! They surrender their autonomy to the state trusting that those in charge will do what’s right. Initially, they may do what’s in the best interest of the people, but inevitably it changes.
The state in its desire to expand its power starts to target private property. As happened in the former Soviet Union, when the state takes control and eliminate private property, it controls the economy and the livelihood of the people. This occurs in all communist countries, where the government simply outlaws and assumes control over private property. In other nations, governments use regulation and tax policy to control it. The end result is the same, a people who are economically dependent upon the state.
At the same time, there’s a move towards secularism that’s designed to eliminate the influence of God on the culture. Some nations, like North Korea, are atheist. They outlaw religion in order to make the state the highest moral authority. In other societies, the secularization takes decades or generations; court rulings, government regulations, and political correctness conspirer to drive God from the public sector. As the people begin to drift away from God they become morally corrupt. The moral corruption creates a multitude of social problems that brings about even more government regulation and control, and an even greater dependence upon the state. Without God, the state becomes the arbitrator and benefactor of human rights. The end result is the loss of personal liberty and freedom.
Over the past five decades, the rise of secularism has contributed to the moral decline of our society, and the creation of a terminally dependent class. This is evident in the illegitimate birth rate. In 1960 only 5.3% of the births were to unwed mothers. Today, 41% of births are illegitimate. Correspondingly, in 1960, twenty-five percent of the federal budget went to support the 21.7 million members of the dependent class. Today that number is seventy percent! With 67.3 million dependent Americas and an ever expanding federal bureaucracy, more than 91 million Americans are dependent upon the government for some form of subsistence.
There is no freedom in dependence, and no liberty on government subsistence. It is a life of limited choice, limited opportunity, and limited hope. Being born out of wedlock and dependent upon the state is the single biggest indicator that a child will drop out of school, do drugs, become a pregnant teen, and face a life of limited opportunity. A child raised in a public housing project is far more likely to end up in prison, than in college.
This is not the liberty that our Founding Fathers envisioned. When they declared our independence, they proclaimed that the rights and freedoms of all human beings are given to us by God, and not by any state or monarch. They created a nation in which an individual’s liberty is paramount, and intentionally designed the Constitution to minimize the power of the government, while maximizing the autonomy of the people. They added the First Amendment to guarantee that the government could never infringe upon the right of the people to acknowledge and worship God; the origin and source of our liberty and freedom.
Lady Liberty has enlightened the world for almost a century and a half. No country has beckoned to the huddle masses more than the United States. We are a nation found on the divine truth that all men are created equal, a nation of immigrants where every individual has the opportunity to live with the freedom and autonomy with which their creator endowed them. However, today the light of freedom is beginning to dim. The secularization of our society is all but complete with our government’s all-out assault on the first amendment. More than half of our people are dependent upon the government for some form of subsistence. If “We the People” don’t reconnect with our creator and source of our liberty, and reclaim our autonomy from the secular state, Liberty’s torch of knowledge and truth may be extinguished forever