Paul Eidelberg: A JEWISH UNDERSTANDING OF AMERICA’S DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

Source: NewsWithViews.com, 7-5-09

The American Declaration of Independence embodies a doctrine of revolution. The Declaration teaches us that the people of any country are not obliged to obey the laws of the State if these laws violate the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” But who is to judge whether the laws of the State violate the “Higher Law”? This question involves another: “Where is the supreme authority in a State that recognizes a ‘Higher Law’”? That crucial question was addressed by the Italian rabbi, theologian, and philosopher Eliyahu Benamozegh (1823-1900) in his magnum opus Israel and Humanity…..

One more thought. The Declaration, as Abraham Lincoln understood, embodies the political philosophy—more accurately the “political theology”—of the American Constitution. Here is what John Adams, another signatory of the Declaration, said of the Constitution: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” That religious morality is crystallized in the Declaration of Independence on which America stands and which is now being subverted.

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