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The founding fathers were explicit about America's humanistic goals in the Declaration of Independence which mentions the Creator four times. Paradoxically, slavery is a contradiction in a Christian society and the ownership of slaves by its patriotic and virtuous patriarch, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson the alleged author of the Declaration of Independence (Benjamin Franklin is the likely author)is a gross distortion of the moral code inherent in Americanism's stated virtues then and in the present day. Indeed, the ideals of Americanism are not moral period pieces, and owning slaves in 1660 was not the norm, especially among men who trafficked in the higher meaning of life.
The men who shaped the vision of this nation included John Adams, George Washington, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, Ethan Allen, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, and the other patriots who fought for and won independence. Among those patriots were the owners of human property, specifically Washington and Jefferson, who were morally compromised by their personal involvement in the peculiar institution and America's greatest paradox, the enslavement of African people.
On the one hand, Washington and Jefferson authored the modern concept of freedom and of human rights. They created and brilliantly articulated the humanistic virtues of Americanism, which were the essence of those rights. On the other hand, as slaveholders, they demonstrated the ability to isolate these precepts from the whippings, the murders, the denial of freedom, and, in the case of Illuminati Freemason Jefferson, allegedly theenslavement of his own children, born to his wife's half sister. Washington did express a form of contrition as a "luke-warm abolitionist," although he never publicly denounced slavery.3
Judging from their lifestyles, Washington and Jefferson never internalized their own bedrock sentiment that "all men are created equal," which lies at the heart of the American idea. They were engulfed by two of the most hateful traits of their own British oppressors: elitism and greed. In Jefferson's case, it may be possible to add hypocrisy, lust, and racism. Ironically, America's inspired documents the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence express the necessity of defending a nation from just such human failure. The founders knew that even a democratic Republic could eventually become corrupted by money and power, exorcise God's authority, and lay claim to being the source of human rights. They therefore made it abundantly clear that our rights as human beings are granted by God and cannot be transferred constitution-ally from one transient government to another or taken away altogether. It is the role of our freely elected government to protect and preserve human rights God's gift to every living soul.
That is the vision of the hymn "America the Beautiful," a nation of freedom, dignity, and equality in the eyes of God on which this country was built. It is only a vision, but as the Holy Bible teaches us, "without vision, the people perish." But as I look around me at America at the end of the twentieth century, all I see is an extinguished vision and a people that are perishing.
Copyright ) 1998 by Tony Brown