The Passionate Republic- Part I

The time had come in the colonies, for the people to band together and to stand united against a form of tyranny, which had taken such an ungodly persona that, it caused the people of those original colonies to realize that the darkness which had beset them must be resisted. Imagine that for most of them, the British tyranny was a familiar evil. The nature of the oppression was perhaps unique only in that until then, no such evil had visited itself upon supposedly free men of middle class. In the past, the Church of England and its monarchy had reserved its special brand of colonialism for the non-Christian, and the dark skinned. Yet, since the colonies had originated as a refuge for a band of religious dissidents, who had fled England seeking religious freedom, it would not be surprising if the old Church of England sought to reassert its authority over these renegades through the monarchy, who imposed various oppressive laws and forms of illegal taxation upon the colonies which if left unchecked, would have prevented them from enjoying either economic prosperity, or any type of real happiness, since their hard earned monies, and natural resources were being diverted from the colonies, and ended up instead in the pockets of the British nobility and clergy. The colonists could not have achieved the sought after freedom and independence so long as the British law was arbitrarily dictated by a king who held power over the colonies. While old Britain sought to extract what it could of goods, and services and taxes from the people of the colonies, the old Church of England may have had an interest in reclaiming the unorthodox Christians who in leaving England and establishing the colonies, had committed an unthinkable act, that being to resist the authority of the established Church, and adopting a religious doctrine that was not to be dictated by either the Church, or the state, but rather by the people within whose heart’s God reigns as King. 

American history begins on a boat. The story of the Mayflower and the Pilgrims and Puritans of Plymouth Rock is too often disregarded, while our history and revolution is too often presented to us as a mere tax revolt. Religion not only played a major role in our history as an American people and nation, but also in our law, whether or not that law was inspired by the British common law. England itself was a country where the law was without any controversy deemed inspired by God, who supposedly inspired, or informed the Clergy who in turn counseled the King, who pronounced the law in recognition of what was believed to be the revealed word of God, including the Ten Commandments, and no Parliament ventured far from that course, and that explains why we have a King James version of the Bible, since it was common to use scripture to explain human phenomenon. Many commentaries on the Puritan movement have documented the Puritan’s fascination with the prophet Abraham, who was neither Christian nor Jewish, nor Muslim, as we understand that term today. He was debatably universalistic, since he believed in one God for all of mankind. Abraham had also fled his homeland seeking religious freedom, but only after suffering years of persecution for his profession of belief in that One God, and his mission and ministry may have been the inspiration that guided the Puritan pursuit of independence and religious freedom. Abraham neither submitted to the established Church of his time, nor to the political hierarchy who ordered Abraham killed because he refused to worship the idols they carved with their own hands and later prayed to. The Puritans are known as a people of covenant, as was Abraham, and all the righteous prophets that followed him. Covenant, which can be explained as a set of rules, or laws, symbolize only one aspect of the relationship between God and man, to the extent that man was sworn to keep the external, or written, covenanted law, and God promised that in return He would not punish us. Even though other religious ideas and commandments and laws were later revealed, none ever abrogated the basic precepts laid out as Ten Commandments that prohibited what we call in Islam the major sins of which some say are seven in number, while others say are of an infinite number, beginning with the most well known, which are idolatry, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, slander and greed.
Prior to the revelation of the first known laws, all of which arguably originated with God, upon observation, it seems that man had initially demonstrated recognition of an unwritten law within our being. An example of this might be infants, who react to a set of laws that demonstrate like and dislike for certain things without having been taught, such as reactions to pain, and affection, sounds, and smells. We assume that a response to such things is instinctive. Yet, instinct itself might be some type of unwritten law that says that something should be done or not done, or that one thing causes another. We can imagine that even the first man of prehistoric time had a need for order, and organization to some degree, and so he also had to have some type of law, or rules. Chances are that the social rules would have been designed to temper, or discourage his natural, yet undesirable emotional responses, which might also be the outcome of certain internal laws. A cave man would perhaps feel jealous if another took liberties with his wife, or stole his food, etc. demonstrating that already, even with no Ten Commandments, man has an unwritten law within him that says it is wrong to take his wife, or his property, or to kill, etc. The revealed or external law does not ever conflict with the internal law, and never imposes upon the human being what is unnatural. It reaches deeply into the psyche of man and explains us to ourselves with confidence and care that only a Creator, and lover can possess, while man has no comparable knowledge, or unconditional affection, except what we learn through trial and error, a long and arduous and always imperfect process, wrought with jealousies and competition. This is perhaps why God said in the Scripture that the revealed law is a blessing and favor to mankind. Those radical secularists who say that their opposition to public religious expression is based upon their objection to the idea that someone would choose their god, perhaps don’t see that when they protest the right of a religious people, whether a majority, or even arguably a minority, to express publicly, and also in publicly owned buildings etc., their belief and reverence for a universal God, they are in fact doing that very thing that they are condemning, and in so doing, they are recreating a situation similar to the one faced by the Puritans of England, except in this instance, they are in the land founded and established upon the Puritan idea, and not the monarchy, or Church of England’s idea . Historian Scott Atkins described this extraordinary situation saying:

The King was the leader of the Church, and the State decided how the Church was to function, and in 1629 when Charles I dissolved Parliament, the people found they no longer had political representation, and no means to act legislatively. Their secular agency had then become a measure of their religious agency. The removal to Massachusetts, in turn, was a way to gain a political voice, to create a state that would develop according to their beliefs and fashion itself harmoniously with the Church.

Dr. William Prescott explains the persecution of the Puritans in the “Prescott Memorial.” Through his words we are able to see that the Puritans were not opposed to either the Church or state as institutions. They disagreed that either should be involved in the individual human beings pursuit of God, and whatever type of redemption and salvation was available to us. They were persecuted because they refused to conform to the Church and the State’s opinion, or to accept institutional interference in matters of religion, such as when the State attempts through law, to limit the rights of free speech, inquiry and opinion. Prescott quotes from Bancroft’s History of the United States, saying:

As early as 1534 so far was the freedom of private inquiry from being recognized in England, as a right, that all means of forming judgment on religious subjects were peremptorily denied. The “Act of Supremacy” which effectively severed the English nation from the Roman See, contained no clause whatever favorable to religious freedom. And a statute, alike arrogant in its pretensions and vindictive in its menaces, was after great opposition in Parliament, enacted that abolished diversity of opinion.

The Church of England, at least its ceremonial part, was established by an act of Parliament, or a royal ordinance. Puritanism’s zealous independence admitted no voucher accept the Bible, a fixed rule, which it would allow neither Parliament, nor hierarchy, nor King to interpret. The principle was announced and accepted, that not even a ceremony should be tolerated unless it was enjoined by the word of God. They would yield nothing to the temporal sovereign. They would retain noting that would even seem a relic of the religion they had renounced (Vol.1, p.275).     

Much has been written in our secular history that portrays the Puritans as religious and racial bigots and zealots, or a people who had high ideas for themselves, but no compassion for those who disagreed with their religious belief. Like much of history written by secular scholars, the truth has been turned upon its head to damn the faithful, and to exalt the godless as the guardians of freedom, and public virtue, when in reality it has always been the secular that sought exclusive rights to dominate the State, and to dictate to the Church, and to control access to the public square, and to empower their henchmen and lackeys while they persecute and destroy anyone who does not serve them. For nearly half a century in this country our children have been taught that religion is the number one cause of violence, while statistics prove that secular nationalism, and not religious nationalism brought about the most brutal and violent period of human history ever, and most of this violence was carried out by the secular state against its own people, whose strength in unity was weakened by racial and religious and economic disparities instigated for that purpose.  History has shown that once the radically secular nationalists accomplish dominance over the Church and the State, the individual’s private rights, among which is the right to own property, to believe as one chooses to believe, the right to have an independent opinion and to speak freely, are their next goal. Fortunately, the power of the individual heart and soul is the only power that cannot be subjected easily by godless man, and enslaved to their worship. It is only once the godless have conquered the institutions of government and faith, that they have the ability to force conformity upon a nation. Unless one knows the history and the belief of the Puritans, one cannot understand the letter and spirit of the US Constitution whose words seem relative now, but where not relative when written and ratified. The US Constitution is passionate, and its speaks for the believers in God who established a republic where they would always worship God openly, and freely, and where neither the Church or State would have the power to separate the individual singularly or collectively from their inalienable rights, only a few of which are spelled out in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, which is why there is no suggestion that the Constitution or Bill of Rights exhausts the list of inalienable rights bestowed by God, and not man, not the Church, or the State upon mankind.  The people of that era understood what they had escaped, and what they fought for, and their Constitution was intended to forever protect this Republic from ever being subject to the same again, which means that no interpretation, from wherever it emanates, can be deemed accurate, or legitimate, if it undermines this original, and established intent and purpose.

Our story, the American story begins for some of us, with a group of men and women, who suffered tremendously before and after their journey from Old England to freedom’s gate. Having escaped religious persecution, they landed and disembarked from their ship called the Mayflower, with an uncommon faith and unreasonable hope. They hand attempted previous to their journey to Plymouth Rock to establish a colony in the Netherlands, but they returned to England, complaining that the permissive culture was having a bad effect on the young people, and that it was too difficult to establish an independent colony in Europe with all of its history. They later left England again, but this time set sail for the New World, landing safely upon a land that has become the most powerful country in the world. Their first official act was to write and ratify the Mayflower Pact, an agreement between themselves and those non-believers, or people of other faiths who had joined them on their journey. The Pact was an agreement that called upon all present to respect the rights of all men equally regardless of their religious or other differences. This perspective would have been in keeping with Puritan belief, since they believed in pre-determination, and that God has already determined who will enter the Kingdom of heaven and who will not, so they saw it as their duty, simply to make the scripture available to all men, but not to interfere in the divine judgment which would determine who would believe and be saved and who would not, or by what path man would find his way back to God.

It was through the sufferings of these men and women that America became home to not only the Puritans and Pilgrims, but also every group of people that the great historic powers of Europe and the old kingdoms and empires of Africa, Asia, and even Arabia had enslaved, persecuted, massacred, hated and rejected. Americans are descendants of those whom God saved from throughout the world, after they had suffered enslavement, poverty, famines, earthquakes, and even volcanoes that destroyed entire villages and cities. At one time or another our American ancestors were once all revolutionaries and madmen, and refugees, and dissidents, and heretics, and geniuses, craftsmen and artists, princes and princesses, statesmen and noblemen and knights, and people who, no matter what color their skin, or ethnicities, shared a common character which personifies the will and the courage to be free, and to survive. No average man would embark upon such a Revolution as ours, and no average men and women will sustain it, and so none other have received it.

The American people are one people, who arrived through various ports, upon various ships, and by various circumstances, but we all reached these shores through trial, longing for refuge, security, and freedom, the common desires of all mankind, yet not necessarily attainable by all, though we must wish them for all, and through our efforts to make our union more perfect, we must strive to encourage the same throughout the world. Not many of the great empires of the past, in their centuries of existence, have accomplished what a colony of indentured and chattel slaves, gentleman farmers, pioneers and pirates accomplished in little more than 200 years. This is the truth, rather than the myth of our origin, and it is intended, and not by accident,  accepting of all good as explained in the Bible, and opposed to all evil as condemned in the Bible, without being oppressive or tyrannical.

For some of us the passage from old worlds was more traumatic than for others, some didn’t come by choice, yet God in His mercy moved us from what was past, to a future. He delivered us all according to His Will and Plan, and there are few of us here today, who would go back. We have taken on the personality of the new people, described in the New Testament by the founder of the New Church, the disciple Peter, who turned away from the old ways, the old beliefs, and the worship of men. We are the people who humbled kingdoms with our faith, and built a nation, a City upon a Hill, “Al-Balad” the land of the freeman and the freewoman, built upon belief in God, by a compassionate and benevolent people, to whom God’s promise came to fulfillment through courage, and hard work, and skill, and the freedom to dream and to think, to discover, and create, and to compete, to cooperate and disagree, and protest, and march, to argue and make mistakes, and learn from mistakes, to love, and to choose, and to unite all under one law, not blind, but seeing, and within its sight are truth and justice. We, the people of the United States, are a Passionate Republic of new men and women, gathered not under a symbolic crown of gold, but under a symbolic crown of thorns, that speaks to the mission of Jesus, and other men of God, whose revolutions marked the expansion of the movement that had began in the East, and spread to the West through Antioch, and then Rome, and its Empire, which became the vehicle by which the word spread to the West, where it was later corrupted by men and women who claimed to be kings and queens, and gods. As the message of God spread West as Christianity, Buddha had shared a message in the East, as Muhammad challenged the powers and kings of the Middle East, though perhaps not in this order, all calling mankind back into submission to the One God through whom many had falsely claimed divinely ordained authority, and who had sought on occasion to replace God with false deities, and carved images, created by their own hands, and made up in their own minds, hoping to create myths of hereditary authority that exalted the evil over the good, and caused mankind to wrongly assume that God’s favor is discernible among men as brute strength, and tyrannical rule, rather than righteousness, and mercy, charity and compassion.

The monotheistic revolution of which the United States was debatably a part, had begun in Eden, initiated by a man named Adam. Later, men like Abraham, and Noah, and Moses, and Jesus, Buddha, and Muhammad, also all spiritual revolutionaries who had inherited the mission, and whose duty it was to free the people of the world, through teaching, from the false worship of human powers, personality and ego, and return us, through knowledge and choice to the worship of the One God, who is the source from which we human beings are granted inspiration and capacity to bring under our dominion all other created things, with the sole objective of preserving the perfect order. We, human beings, according to the scriptures, are the trusted stewards of God who have been charged with the duty to serve mankind, and to take care of the earth, since it sustains us, and is part of a larger and sophisticated and complex system of sustenance, all of which serves the human being. The Holy scriptures teach us that God created many living beings, but only the human being, the descendants of Adam, were given the knowledge and ability to establish God’s kingdom on earth, and we are that earth. We are that firmament within which resides the law, and the power, since it is our hearts upon which the law must be written if we are to live, since the heart is the center of all life and it is the organ through which all life passes through, and nourishes this body, of people.

One description of life is knowledge and information that results in righteous and powerful ideas, and imagination, words and actions. The opposite is ignorance, represented by death, stagnation, and decay, which are the fruit of evil and false worship, which manifest as lethargy and powerlessness, since Satan has no power. He is a liar, and his greatest deceit was when he offered Adam a kingdom and immortality, since he doesn’t have a kingdom nor does he have the power to make anything either live or die. Satan is an enemy to man in that he is destructive because he diverts worship, drawing man away from our only source of empowerment, and seducing man into wrong acts that cause hatred and pain, and suffering.

How we worship is important because worship is the medium by which mankind connects with our source of life, and inspiration, which according to not only the scripture, but also the testimonies of many wise people, is God. Satan cannot benefit, nor do any further disservice to himself, but he can mislead mankind, and cause us to destroy ourselves through false worship, since uninspired man is subject to evil, and is like the dead, without the ability to change, to improve, to increase in hope, or to save anything. If Jesus wept in the garden, that is probably why. Perhaps he thought for a moment about the type of love that causes God to never give up on mankind, and the tremendous loss, even when one human soul is lost to false worship of anything, since only God is worthy of mankind’s worship, and only mankind is loved so deeply by God. If we knew, and believed in the possibilities and the potential for life inherent within us, not one of us would desire, or settle for anything less than God, and this is why the people desire religious freedom, so that others might know.

Just as the Holy scriptures were reduced to writing, so was the law. The law was not only to be made available to the believer, or the man in Church, or Mosque or Synagogue. Nor was the spread of this knowledge to be left to happenstance, or to be dependent upon relationships, or the proximity of one man to another. It is a mercy and favor from God to mankind that must be made available to the one who asks and the one who might for some reason be prevented from asking, or who would not know to ask. To present the word is not the same as imposing, or holding accountable, or persuasion, which is the tenor of a certain type of evangelicalism that is not Puritan, or even common.

  And for certain, the word of God is recognized through his laws, as well as through the gospels and testimonies of the righteous. This could be what Jesus meant when he said that that he had not come to abolish the law, and previous to Jesus, Moses had received a written law, and this is the law to which Jesus possibly referred. It might also be the law that Jesus accused the Pharisees of attempting to hide from the people, instituting their own laws in its place.  The transformation to which Jesus, and later Peter and the disciples called us, is understood by some as a change of emphasis from seeking the external power, who is God, to seeking the internal power which is within each of us, but that can only be unlocked by the words, and name of God, and through these words and names, which are no more than humble Praise, and gratitude, we ascend to the presence of God, and are removed from Satan’s authority, and this is the perfection of mankind’s journey from slavery, and death, to resurrection and freedom, and we are all at various stages of this journey, which was the exact same path of the prophets who marked it for us, and taught us the signs of God that serve as landmarks along that way.

The people of Plymouth Rock may have set out on that path, and their story is the real story of the American Revolution. No doubt men fought in those battles for their own and private reasons, yet the spirit of faith and freedom combined, that ignited that revolution, and carried the colonists to victory, likely had originated from within the hearts and the journey of those colonists who had joined the movement of Adam, and Abraham and other prophets, who made the historic journey to the New World, materially and metaphysically, seeking to worship, and to freely express their belief and worship of the One God of our humanly father Adam, who sinned, yet was forgiven, due to God’s unequalled Mercy, manifest as pity, which is known to us as Grace.