An Essential Liberty


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ABSTRACTAn Essential Liberty - By Carl A. Anderson - The Corner - National Review Online Get FREE NRO Newsletters   Log In   |   Register Follow Us Everywhere         April 30 Issue  Subscribe to NR  Renew  April 30 Issue   |   Subscribe   |   Renew Home The Corner The Agenda Campaign Spot The Home Front Right Field Bench Memos The Feed Media Blog Critical Condition The Tyranny Blog Larry Kudlow David Calling Exchequer Phi Beta Cons Planet Gore UK Between the Covers Tweet Tracker NR / Digital Subscribe: NR Subscribe: NR / Digital Give: NR / Digital NR Renewals & Changes Shop! Donate Media Kit Contact Close To: Your Email: Your Name: Subject: Black: Afghan and Iraqi Woes Bate: The Threat of Substandard Drugs Rusin: Polygamy, Too Abrams: Egypt: Pity the Winner Brennan: The Buffett Rule’s Chump Change Hanson: When Administrations Implode May: Liberate ‘Zones of Electronic Repression’! Murdock: Seventeen Trillion Reasons to Repeal Obamacare Barone: Will Mitt Pick a ‘Double Vanilla’ Veep? Costa: Dead Poet’s Society Williamson: Elizabeth Warren's Wall Street Money Machine Alexiev: The Mugging of Ambassador McFaul Glyn: Peter Beinart’s Zionism Cooke: The Department of Labor’s Derrick Bell Costa: Hot Tea Sexton: Assad: An Arab Problem Goldberg: Obama’s Problem? His Record Nordlinger: North Dakota Journal, Part III Malkin: The Real GSA Scandal Tanner: Christie the Prophet New on NRO . . . The Corner The one and only. About This Blog Archive E-Mail RSS Send Print   |  Text   An Essential Liberty By  Carl A. Anderson April 19, 2012 7:05 A.M. Comments 4 On the occasion of receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn spoke of the ideological manipulation of history that occurred under Soviet Communism. It was, he said, “a closing, a locking up, of the national heart, [and an] amputation of the national memory.” He warned that when this happens, a nation “has no memory of its own self. It is deprived of its spiritual unity. And even though compatriots apparently speak the same language, they suddenly cease to understand one another.” Religion has long been a key component in America’s national life. But today it is increasingly marginalized and erased. Alexis de Tocqueville observed that “religion does not give [Americans] their taste for freedom. It singularly facilitates their use of it.” Our Founders declared that we are “endowed” by our “Creator” with inalienable rights. Our first president’s Farewell Address insisted that “religion and morality are indispensable supports” of our “political prosperity,” and added that “reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can be retained without religion.” John Adams asserted that “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” More recently, in his inaugural address, President Kennedy spoke of the rights for which our “forebears fought,” namely “the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.” And in his historic letter from the Birmingham jail, Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. maintained that he and his followers “were in reality standing up for what is best in the American dream and for the most sacred values in our Judeo-Christian heritage, thereby bringing our nation back to those great wells of democracy” that, he said, “were dug deep by the founding fathers in their formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.” But just over half a century later, there is a profound break with such ideals. At the memorial to Reverend King on our national mall, unveiled last year, there is not a single reference to God. Not one. There is no more shocking symbol of the ongoing campaign to drive religion out of our public life than this. King’s statue looks across the Tidal Basin to the Jefferson Memorial dedicated to the president now championed by secularists for inventing a “wall of separation” between Church and State. Ironically, while the King Memorial was scrubbed of any reference to our Creator, the walls in Mr. Jefferson’s memorial tell us that “the God who gave us life, gave us liberty.” And they ask us, “Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?” A great deal hinges on how we answer that question. Today we find a new hostility to the role of religious institutions in American life, while the role of government is expanding in unprecedented ways. It is not only the Obama Administration’s HHS mandate — which forces religious organizatio.......