Deb Billado: Morality and faith are keys to a limited government

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In my message two weeks ago, I spoke of the assault being made on religious liberty. Sadly, many as well have fallen away from their religious beliefs and upbringing while at the same time the nation is in a moral free fall. This was not anticipated by the framers when they constructed the plan and created the founding documents that put into motion a new nation founded on basic God-given freedoms and rights. No one could have imagined at that time the greatness that America would rise to where every citizen would have the opportunity to build their lives, communities, raise a family, accumulate wealth, own their own home and do that under the umbrella of a limited government that would provide them safety and security. The founders believed that people would remain as they were then, faithful, moral and able to properly conduct their own affairs in a way that was harmonious with their neighbors, so a limited government was all that was necessary to do the basics to keep people safe and the nation secure.

As it turned out, morality and religion were the key elements in the equation of American greatness. The Attorney General of the United States, Bill Barr, an expert on this history, observed that; "The reason they felt they could grant so much freedom in the Constitution and only provide for limited government was because they felt that religion was there and the people were religious people who could largely govern themselves." He echoed what our second president, John Adams reasoned when he said; "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." It worked because the people were suited for it.

Fast forward to today with a nation, once proudly claiming to be a Christian one, experiencing a moral freefall as many have fallen away from the faith they once held so dear. While there are still faithful and moral people, America is rapidly developing into a Godless nation and as one would expect, our Constitution is not working well as a result. Democrat/Progressives have manipulated our government in a socialistic direction free of the values and religious ideology that once were her strength and instead of following the Constitution, they are manipulating it to fulfill their selfish goals of power and control.

This dynamic is true in Vermont. The Vermont Democrat platform reflects the decline in the moral climate of Vermont by advocating for unrestricted abortions that would permit the killing of a full-term baby seconds before delivery. Their platform also urges the passage of a retail sale of marijuana bill in spite of the vociferous opposition of law enforcement, medical and education organizations as well as the scientific medical facts that document the many dangers of cannabis, especially high-potency THC products that can cause psychosis, hyperemesis, brain damage to children, youth and young adults as well as the increased deaths and maiming of people caused by impaired drivers. These big-spending liberals have moved Vermont government so far from the limited model the framers created that it is unrecognizable. Conservative Vermont Republicans can start the process of bringing us back to what their intentions were for us but we must get the basics right.

While there are still faithful and moral people, America is rapidly developing into a Godless nation. Even in Vermont, where most of our picturesque towns and villages have beautiful church buildings with spires bearing the cross that identifies them as Christian, few have healthy attendance and it has been said that Vermont is the least churched state in the nation.

President Adams was prophetic when he opined that the Constitution was inadequate for people other than those that were moral and religious. The most current example of that is the purely political impeachment of the president of the United States. I don't need to tell you that our president committed no crime, was wrongfully and unconstitutionally impeached by a Democrat controlled House of Representatives who had the power to do what they did, just because they could and would not accept the will of the people in the election.

Then Tuesday night (Feb. 4), the president stood before those who impeached and tried him and delivered his State-of-the Union message in which he declared; "The state of our union is stronger than ever before." I listened for 90 minutes as he impressively laid out the successes he has brought to us all over the last three years and his plans to continue them into the future. I could not help but think that while our economy may be strong the same cannot be said for the moral and religious health of our people. Until our people regain the spirit that made this country great and until the pendulum swings back, if it ever will, to a time when people were moral and religious, it will be just a matter of time before America, this nation that for over two centuries has served as a light of hope, will cease to exist as we know it and want it to be.

Government cannot make people religious. The framers did not establish a religion and prohibited the government from doing that but at the same time they made it clear in the First Amendment, that the limited government they created should not get in the way of people exercising their chosen religion. While there is still some life in that right, it is up to us all to exercise it. We need to regain what gave our nation strength and vitality. We must rededicate ourselves to moral and religious living and teach that to our children.

Deb Billado is chairwoman of the Vermont GOP. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.

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