Every law passed in a free society is a partial definition of that society. The perpetual question at hand is: Who are we? When a law is proposed, it is that question that is being asked.
Sadly, the answer has been disappointing. We have chosen to be slaves, dependents and recipients of other's fortunes. We have accepted a role lower than those who govern us, lower than those wealthier than us. We have defined ourselves as the ones less entitled to a fair trial, less entitled to our own decisions, less entitled to our own bodies.
One might wrap up almost every law that has been written in the past 150 years as a partial definition of the above description.
Our Christian ethic, whether one is an atheist, or not, has led us to the proposition of charity. That ethic led to our first and most revered universities, it led to our greatest hospitals, to our proudest accomplishments of human advancement, to our most important charitable works. All of the great institutions once inspired by individuals seeking a method of repaying the society that had provided such great fortunes to themselves have been taken over by the statists and that ethic has been turned on its head.
No longer are these institutions guided, presided over and funded by the Christians and the ethic of offering to the less fortunate the bounty of their efforts owing that a good degree of their own success was derived from divine opportunity. Now, the statists have bent that vision into one of being owed to the less fortunate (and not believing in God's intervention) by those who only could have come to such success by fraud, cronyism and deceit.
Each law now takes this view. The people will not do on their own what society requires out of a sense of compassion and spiritual goodness, but must be forced to help the petitioners, must be coerced to offer payments to others (corporations, foreign nations, swindlers, etc), not for the glory of God, but in fear of the penalty of the state.
As these demands are greater and greater every day and the penalties harsher and harsher the kindness and compassion one might have once had has been stripped of them and replaced by resentment. With the state as the council to decide where these funds should go and to whom, they have stripped the source of the funds from the wisdom and discretion of those who produced them. It has become a formula for distribution rather than a critical decision of who is in need and who is merely a clever manipulator of the system.
We do not feel the joy we should at sharing our wealth, we feel resentment, we feel cheated when those funds go to someone who refuses work rather than to those who cannot find work. In a compassionate system the person who is destitute is not in need of funds, but in need of work. Those who offer kindness have no interest in giving money away, but do have an interest in providing opportunity.
What has been sacrificed is liberty. As an atheist one might still value liberty and recognize that the two possible forces that drive human endeavor are religion and government. The king or the priest. I ask: what other institutions are there that can command the masses?
It has been said that of the founders most of them were not religious, at best some of them were deists. Yet, throughout the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution there is the specter of God. On our money, on our oaths, etc. If the former statement is true, then the conclusion can only be that of the founders they recognized that there are only two choices to be made: the king or the priest.
We have seen in the patriot/liberty movements what advancements have been made by sheer appeals to reason. Yes, we have the unconditional right to arms, it says so in the Bill of Rights, clearly and without qualification. That is our appeal to reason, where has it gotten us? We have the unconditional right to free speech (just don't say that too loudly). We have the unconditional right to be free from unwarranted searches and seizures (just don't make that claim in the TSA line).
It is my opinion and my view of history that when we abandoned God as our justification, as our claim to our rights, we abandoned the only ally that might have led us toward victory against the state. That once we accepted the concept that there could be a purely secular government we made all oaths to it meaningless. Once "so help me God" became a useless formality in that pledge we made conspirators against us of public officials sworn to defend us. Sworn to what, exactly? In fear of what, exactly? We created a whole basket of Eric Holders.
My reverence for the Constitution does not stem from the brilliance that is evident in its drafting, but in its simple message that God is a greater power than any man, any government. What is sought to protect by the power of the government is what every person is endowed with by their creator, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness or property. Where we have made exceptions we have deviated from the vision God has for each and every one of us and from our bounty derived from this condition...charity.
Every law passed today reflects a distancing from the principles of the founding toward a collectivist state, a dependence state, a totalitarian state. Every law passed today is in contradiction to God's vision of freedom and liberty for Man.