Next week we celebrate our founding fathers’ 1776 decision to declare independence from England. In so doing they laid down the principles that would guide the new nation. Their Declaration of Independence began:
“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.”
By 1789 our founding fathers had drafted, and the states ratified, a unique Constitution based on the Declaration’s principles, a Constitution embracing government by the people and designed to forever secure their Creator-endowed rights.
In writing the Declaration, Thomas Jefferson drew heavily from John Locke’s “Second Treatise of Government” wherein the English physician turned political philosopher cited God-made natural law to assert that all men are created equal, the only legitimate governments are those that have the consent of the people, and “no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.”
Throughout the start-up of the new nation, our founding fathers sought the favor of their Creator. For example, the Continental Congress in 1782 put on the Great Seal of the United States the inscription Annuit Coeptis, meaning he (God) has favored our undertakings. In 1789, George Washington gave his First Inaugural Address, saying therein, “No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States.”
Reflect on this heritage. Then, consider where we are today.
Many think our government now rejects the notion of a Creator. Why else, they say, are “God” and “Creator” wiped from school textbooks and religious expressions ousted from public places? How else can biblical concepts of marriage and perversion be upended by a government instituted to secure Creator-endowed rights?
Indeed, it has become politically incorrect to side with the Bible, ironically the holy book most federal officials swear on when they take oaths to uphold the Constitution.
If we allow our government to reject the notion of a Creator, what, then, becomes of the principles underlying our Constitution — Creator-endowed rights, that all men are “created” equal?
Some say liberty, alone, is a sufficient principle. But, as Locke asserted and Alexis de Tocqueville affirmed, “liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.” History shows liberty unconstrained by morality decays into indulgence and depravity.
Some say such decay is well underway with our rampant pornography, sex and associated diseases; predatory abuse; epidemic lawlessness and senseless murders; unconstrained greed; and so on.
“I have a dream,” said Martin Luther King, “that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.’”
Lacking a Creator or creed, we have no up to rise to. This July 4th, pray for our nation.