America, Do We Know What We’re Celebrating?
A prophet of old once said “my people perish for lack of knowledge.” Today, our stunning lack of knowledge of what it is we’re really celebrating this weekend means we could be the generation that sees liberty perish in America.
Look at what happened this week. Arguably our biggest “win” since the Scott Walker recall came from the Supreme Court abiding by the actual wording of the First Amendment in the Hobby Lobby case, but only by a scant 5-4 margin. The fact we even had to win the argument at all that government can’t force you to do something that violates your moral conscience, like directly pay for the killing of innocent persons for example, is proof positive large pockets of Americans really have no idea what Independence Day is all about.
Our Founding Fathers intended this holiday to be about much more than barbecues and camping trips. They intended it to be a commemoration of American Exceptionalism. Consider this excerpt from a letter Founding Father John Adams sent to his wife Abigail on July 3, 1776:
“(Independence Day) will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other. From this time forward forever more. You will think me transported with enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is more than worth all the means. And that Posterity will triumph in that days’ transaction, even though we should rue it, which I trust in God we shall not.”
Nowadays, if you’re a community that attempts to take John Adams’ advice, you end up in court for violating the so-called separation of church and state. Why have we strayed so far from the path to freedom our forefathers blazed for us?
I believe it’s because most of us have never truly read, studied, and thus understood the words in our founding document — The Declaration of Independence.
In my opinion, the Declaration is one of the greatest treatises ever written. Given what was at stake, and the history that was riding on its every syllable, it had to be. It’s formatted like a legal argument, which is exactly what it was. There is the opening argument which lays the groundwork for the case, followed by the presenting of evidence that reinforces the case, and then it concludes with the closing argument with the verdict to be rendered by history.
Much of its terminology and ideas are sadly foreign concepts to those of us worked over by political correctness and statism, but they remain every bit as true and inspired now as they were when the ink first fell from the pen of Thomas Jefferson 238 years ago.
It begins “When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…”
Right away Jefferson is letting you know this is a document of separation, or secession. These United States are seceding from the British Crown.
Jefferson continues “…and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God entitle them…”
Now Jefferson is making the case that there is a higher law than the laws that bound the colonies to England, and he invokes the highest law of them all in justifying this secession—“the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God.”
Then Jefferson writes what essentially becomes the mission statement of American Exceptionalism: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights. That among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
In a nutshell, Jefferson says this: There is a God and it’s not government, our rights come from Him and not government, therefore government’s only duty is the protection and preservation of those God-given rights, and a people doesn’t have to consent to being governed by a government that is derelict in that God-given duty.
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