Commemorating the Magna Carta

The Madison County Record Jun. 16, 2015, 12:53pm


To the Editor:

June 15 was the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. What’s the Magna Carta?

Do you remember the animated Walt Disney film (1973) about Robin Hood and “bad Prince John,” who loved taxes? Perhaps you remember the same Robin Hood legend on the silver screen in 1938, starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland?

The legend of Robin Hood is…a legend, but Prince John and King Richard the Lionheart were real historic characters.

It was this same King John who was forced by the barons of England to agree to the Magna Carta on June 15, 1215, at Runnymede. This document, written by Archbishop Stephen Langton, is the great charter of liberties that placed the king under the law.

When our founding fathers wrote and signed the Declaration of Independence they knew the history of the Magna Carta …and the Bible.

The Bible?

There is much in the Bible that counsels limits on government. Here are a few examples:

• 1 Samuel 8. God had given the people of Israel minimal government. Israel had no king, only judges. But the people “wanted to be like the other nations” and clamored for a king. God warns the people of the taxes, forced labor, conscription, but they reject God’s counsel.

• 1 Samuel 10:25. Saul is anointed king, but the prophet Samuel “explains to the people the regulations of the kingship” and deposits this written “constitution” into the tabernacle.

• 2 Samuel 11, 12. King David commits adultery with Bathsheba and murders her husband Uriah. God sends the prophet Nathan to rebuke David and remind him that kings also live under God’s law.

• 1 Kings 12. David’s grandson King Rehoboam refuses to lower taxes and the ten northern tribes reject him as king.

The inscription on the Liberty Bell is from Leviticus 25:10:

“Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants thereof Lev. XXV X

By Order of the ASSEMBLY of the Province of PENSYLVANIA for the State House in Philad”

It’s a healthy thing to examine our rights, and where they come from.

Kurt Prenzler

Madison County Treasurer

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