Restore America to its Jeffersonian Ideals
The Jefferson Memorial pledge on
the "altar of God (of) eternal enmity against every form of
tyranny over the mind of man" challenges Americans today. Governments
can cause tyranny, a welfare state can cause tyranny, and political
correctness creates tyranny. Pat calls for freedom for believers
to pursue their faith, freedom from undue government regulation
and a restoration of Jeffersonian defense of God-given liberties.
University of Virginia, March 3, 2000
evening, I think back to one of the most profound experiences
of my life when for the first time I entered the Jefferson Memorial
in Washington, looked up at the statue of that incredibly handsome
and powerful man, and then I read his words chiseled in the
marble frieze surrounding the ceiling: "I have sworn on the
altar of God eternal enmity against every form of tyranny over
the mind of man."
stirred something visceral within me, and I repeat them: "I
have sworn upon the altar of God eternal enmity against every
form of tyranny over the mind of man."
Jefferson Played Unique Role
Ladies and Gentlemen, unless you understand these words, you
do not understand this great genius who played such a key role
in shaping the United States of America.
what else Jefferson said. In the Virginia Statute of Religious
Freedom he wrote, "Almighty God has created the mind free."
In a letter to George Washington, he wrote, "God who grave us
life, gave us liberty." In the Declaration
of Independence, he wrote, "We hold these truths to be self-evident
that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their
Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are
life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
Gentlemen, tonight I stand before you as a Jeffersonian Conservative,
and as such, I share his hatred of any form of tyranny over
the minds of men, be it Communism, be it Fascism, be it Socialism,
be it the over-bearing liberal welfare state, or be it the stultifying
political correctness that has reached out to stifle freedom
of expression on countless college and university campuses across
be Free to Question
I believe that men and women should have the freedom to explore
truth, to question pedagogical orthodoxy, to speak out on any
side of an issue, and above all, to be free from the current
crop of liberal thought police who permit only those forms of
speech which agree with their view of reality.
since my days at Yale Law School in the 1950s, all the way
to the Presidential election of 2000, I have learned a sobering
truth. Those who call themselves "liberal" are not liberal at
all. They want government control of business, government control
of labor, government control of education, higher government
taxes on the people, government control of families, and most
of all, they want, in their own hands, control of the flow of
thoughts and ideas that are disseminated to the people.
There is nothing
"liberal" about them. They are elitist -- convinced that they
and their associates are the sole possessors of nlightenment
and truth needed to lead all others.
Jefferson on 20th Century Liberals?
How would Thomas Jefferson have regarded these 21st Century
- These self-proclaimed
liberals, who, in the matter of human life, permit full and
favorable discussion of a woman's right to choose abortion,
but castigate and deny expression to those who wish to plead
for the rights of the unborn?
- Who, in
the matter of human sexuality, insist that taxpayers support
promiscuity, pay for illegitimacy, advertise condom use and
distribution, but file lawsuits to deny the teaching of abstinence
and traditional marriage for young people?
- These liberals,
who in the matter of politics accept all segments of society
to participate in the political process except the 100 million
members of society who are Evangelical Christians and pro-family
And if you
think that assessment is overstated, please consider the fact
that on Monday of this week, there was a misguided attempt to
humiliate certain Virginians of religious faith in order to
deny them and the candidate they supported the access to those
privileges of citizenship which all Americans should enjoy as
a matter of course.
I am not talking here about the free discussion of ideas on
their merit. I am not talking about heated debate in the vital
marketplace of a free people. I am talking about the mind-set
of those who say simply that the deeply held beliefs of people
of faith are not worthy of discussion, and therefore those who
hold them should be stigmatized, ridiculed, and suppressed.
As I stand
before you tonight, I am pleased to report that the people of
Virginia still cherish the ideals of Jefferson, and on Tuesday
repudiated a call for divisiveness and intolerance.
But what of
the vast nation we call America? Does this nation still cherish
the Jeffersonian ideal of freedom? You be the judge.
the former Democratic Attorney General said and I quote, " The
state owns your children, and it owns you too."
When our Republic
was founded, there were only three federal crimes under the
Constitution. From then to now, Washington has created over
3,000 federal crimes. New federal regulations restricting our
freedom in some way total 60,000 pages a year. Under
The Health Care Proposals advocated in 1993 by the President
and Senatorial Candidate Hillary Clinton, ordinary citizens
and their physicians could have become a new criminal class-threatened
with heavy fines and prison sentences merely for seeking life-saving
medical care outside of a government mandated health alliance.
Regulations on the Rise
In the name of improving our lives, political liberals controlling
the federal government have raised the taxes on the average
American family to a level that exceeds the tribute paid by
serfs in Medieval Europe. These same liberals have given us
the IRS, the SEC, the EPA, the NLRB, the FEC, the FCC, the EEOC,
the ICC, and the ATF, plus an alphabet soup of federal departments
and agencies which along with the Justice Department have the
power to intimidate, harass, bankrupt, fine, or imprison virtually
every citizen of this nation.Why do we now have
3,000 federal crimes? Why were there at least 70 criminal sanctions
in a plan designed to give us better health care? The answer
is simple. Political liberals want utopian governmental solutions
for all of society's problems. And if the ordinary people don't
buy their far-out schemes, let the government declare that ordinary
people are criminals.
the words of Jefferson, "To compel a man to furnish contributions
of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves
and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical."
Ladies and Gentlemen, I submit to you tonight that the time
has come in America for those who cherish the ideals of Thomas
Jefferson to rise up and assert our God-given liberties and
reject a continuation of the tyrannical rule of the Radical
Left and their liberal allies.
"I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal enmity against every
form of tyranny over the minds of man." Then consider the liberal
assault on our children and their teachers:In Salinas, California seven years go, Lindsay Freeman,
a five-year old was asked by her kindergarten teacher to sing
her favorite song in front of the class. Lindsay reports that
when she started signing "Jesus Loves Me This I Know...," the
teacher stopped her, saying "I'm sorry Lindsay, you can't sing
that song here." Then she sent Lindsay to her chair, and told
her to put her head down. Lindsay says she felt hurt and angry
that she was being "punished" for signing her favorite song!
- In San
Antonio, Texas, a 52-year-old Grandmother was handcuffed,
arrested, and stripped searched three times for the crime
of passing out pro-life literature on a public sidewalk and
street outside of a high school.
- Micah Lynn
Harbison, a second-grader in Bakersfield, California, was
told by her teacher to bring a picture of her "hero" to school.
When Micah Lynn brought a picture of Jesus riding a white
horse, the teacher pulled her aside and told her that she
could not have Jesus as her hero. Later, when her father asked
the teacher why, the teacher said that the assignment asked
for a "living" hero and then proceeded to tell him that her
photo violated the "separation of church and state."
- When Jason
Bishop of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, took out his pocket Bible
to read during free reading time at school, he was told by
his teacher that his activity was "illegal" and that he should
put his Bible away. Only a threatened lawsuit restored to
Jason his constitutional rights.
to Restore These Ideals
Decades ago, I resolved to say no to tyranny, but my resolve
did not take the form I desired until nine years ago when I
founded the American Center for Law and Justice to go into the
courts of America to fight the ACLU and their allies of the
we have fought the tyranny of America's "thought police" in
virtually every major jurisdiction, and I am pleased to report
that from the Supreme Court of the United States on down, we
have never lost one case! In 1998, the Center
received over 102,000 complaints primarily from students or
their parents outlining attempts by public schools to deny them
their constitutional freedoms.
We give a
tyrannical school or school system 24 hours to correct abuses,
or we bring action against them in Federal Court. At present,
we have over 1,000 active cases, and could bring 85 federal
lawsuits against school districts demanding that they accord
fundamental free speech rights to children with religious faith.
Next month, our chief counsel will argue in the U.S. Supreme
Court for the simple freedom of a high school football team
in Texas to say a student-initiated voluntary prayer before
spoke of "enmity against tyranny over the mind." These school
officials haven't seen enmity against tyranny until they face-off
in a federal court against our Chief Counsel, Jay Sekulow, and
try to justify their actions.
But this brief
discourse would be incomplete if I failed to emphasize one facet
of the writings of Jefferson which the Radical Left has studiously
Comes from God
Every statement that Jefferson made about freedom carried with
it his clear understanding that the right to freedom for every
man and woman does not come from government; it does not come
from social position; it does not come from wealth; it does
not come from intellectual attainment. No …Freedom comes
from the direct creative act of a sovereign God.
said, in fact, that this truth in his day was "self-evident."
To George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John
Adams, Patrick Henry, in fact, to all of the Founders of this
great nation, religious faith was the indispensable support
of all of the iberties of a free people. As John Adams put it
when the Constitution was drafted, " This constitution will
serve only a moral and a religious people. It is totally inadequate
for any other."
In a letter to George Washington, Jefferson wrote, " Can the
liberties of a nation, be preserved when we have removed a conviction
that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for
my country," he continued, "when I reflect that God is just,
and His justice cannot sleep forever." Indeed, I tremble
for my country when I realize that the Radical Left has for
decades systematically excised from our nation's consciousness
virtually every vestige of the historic faith of the Founders
of this nation.
In the words of former United States Attorney General Bill Barr,
the liberals have performed a "moral lobotomy" on the public
schools of America.
are predictable. We are engulfed in a tidal wave of broken families,
illegitimacy, drug abuse, alcoholism, murder, rape, school shootings,
and spiraling health care costs -- all of which are rapidly
eroding the freedoms we have so long taken for granted. But tonight, there
is hope. What the political left has taken away, we can recapture.
You are the heirs of Thomas Jefferson. You study at the University
he founded. You honor his memory.
Let me challenge
you tonight to let his words move you to action. Fight for freedom.
Fight against tyranny. With God's help, work to bring about
a rebirth of the Jeffersonian ideal in this nation.
and God bless you.