Results tagged “John Leland” from onegoodmove

The Rights of Conscience Inalienable

contributed by Charles Lemos

As I am not a native born American and as I spend some time in some rather repressive countries (most recently Burma), I can express to you what freedom truly means to me. It is the rights of conscience inalienable. For what that truly means, I suggest that you read a short yet powerful sermon from 1791 entitled oddly enough “The Rights of Conscience Inalienable” written by John Leland (1754-1841), a Baptist minister from Grafton, Massachusetts though this sermon was probably delivered in New London, Connecticut. While it deals primarily with a religious question, Leland writes what it means to be free and to have rights of conscience.

With the FISA debate still going on in the Senate I thought I might remind the Senate and my fellow citizens what a Baptist minister from the early days of the American Republic who lived and preached in both Virginia and Massachusetts and who ministered to the Founding Fathers had to say about freedom and the compact between the rulers and the ruled. Leland wrote “that law should rule over rulers, and not rulers over the law” and then adds “that every law made by the legislature inconsistent with the compact, modernly called a constitution, is usurprative in the legislators and not binding on the people.” He believed “that legislators in their legislative capacity cannot alter the Constitution, for they are hired servants of the people to act within the limits of the Constitution.” These three sentences sum my view of the FISA debate as well as the erosion of civil liberties that has taken place over the last seven years.

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