Magna Carta: The Foundation for Freedom

On June 15, 2015 the English speaking world celebrated the 800th anniversary of the world's foremost liberty document: Magna Carta. This ancient sheepskin may seem irrelevant to us in the 21st century as we face financial chaos and the usurpation of private property on a scale never before seen in America. Why should we care about what some archbishop wrote 800 years ago? We should care because Magna Carta was the foundation and inspiration for America's freedom documents. Most Americans have forgotten that Magna Carta was a spiritual charter declaring God and His law as Sovereign over the king and his law. "The Magna Carta doesn't start with barons, and doesn't start with individual liberties. It doesn't start with political considerations, and it doesn't start with the issue of who holds what power. Magna Carta starts as a religious document, concerned with the 'health of the soul' of the King, and with the 'honour of God,' and with the 'exaltation of the Holy Church.' In addition to that, the King acknowledges that the 'advice' for signing the Carta comes from the bishops first, and then from the barons."

Like Americans today, the English of the 13th century had nearly forgotten their great heritage of Christian liberty. Their nation was filled with corruption and lawlessness. A small group of landowners and business leaders at that time experienced much of the same anger and frustrations that we face each day. They were overwhelmed by a lawless monarch, in their case, a king. King John had killed the true heir to the throne and began tyrannizing the people. He confiscated more and more of their wealth, imprisoned them without trial, and even violated their wives. In 1214, he demanded such high taxes from everyone that the poor serfs were starving in the streets.

The nobles and landowners, wrote a letter to the king demanding that he abide by the law. King John refused their request and multiplied his efforts to tyrannize nobles and peasants alike. So the nobles made a wise choice and went to the most committed spiritual leader of the time, Stephen Langton, the Archbishop of Canterbury. They asked him to write a document that would force the king to limit his power based on the law of the land (the biblically-based common law). Langton was well motivated to write this document since he had seen some of his own family torn from his house and exiled by this wicked monarch.

[Read the rest of the article at World History Institute.]