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. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
A New Nation, Conceived In Liberty…
July 3, 2011 by Blackiswhite, Imperial Consigliere
Liberty: freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc., according to choice.
If you are of a certain age, you probably read these words in school, but didn’t dwell on them much. If you are younger, you likely didn’t read them in school, or only did so in a perfunctory fashion, because the popular and widespread view is that this document is “a dead letter” with no operative legal meaning or authority in this day and age. While popular, this view is one that purposely marginalizes the ideals that this document embodies. And that isn’t an accident.
Perhaps the greatest lie pinned to this document, and its modern interpretation, is that this document is not a Christian document.
I know. It is shocking. I just spoke in contradiction to one of the greatest dogmas of our day…the belief that the man credited with the inflated, magnified, and the much misapplied “wall of separation between church and state” was a deist at worst, but more likely an atheist, thus justifying its application to religious (and specifically Christian) observances by activist jurists who have chosen to insert it in to a Constitution that never knew it.
I would refer you to the collection on Jefferson which speaks with the most authority, as it is the collection of his own words. Thomas Jefferson: Writings. Pay particular attention to his letters to Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse, Dr. Benjamin Rush, and Peter Carr. An accurate reading of these and his other writings outline a man who believed in God, and admired what Jesus said, but felt that those who came after, peddling religion, corrupted teaching meant to edify mankind and provide a morality superior to all others. He despised sectarianism, but wasn’t hostile to the morality set forth in its pages.
The reason why it matters is that the liberty refered to in the Declaration of Independence takes on a meaning best understood through the context of Christianity.
The Founders were all very familiar with the Bible. It was a text book. It was the only book in many homes. Church attendance was the rule and not the exception in that era. And the word “liberty” appears no less than 25 times in the King James Version of the Bible.
Christian liberty concerns the freedom from the bondage of sin. It makes men free in the liberty that Christ provided. But it was also about having enough restraint to keep from abusing that liberty and leading others astray. The men in Philadelphia who sought to take possession of the liberty that their Creator gave them understood that Liberty was the freedom to live without restraint, yet they also knew that man needed some restraint and boundaries to keep one’s exercise of liberty from encroaching on the liberty of others (as set forth in 1 Corinthians 8:9—”But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to then that are weak.” or 1 Corinthians 10:29 “Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man’s conscience?”) while understanding that an unfettered liberty was an invitation to ruin by the wickedness that dwells in every man (2 Peter 2:19 “While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same he is brought in bondage.”
Liberty has always been the ideal of this nation. Wise men seek the balance that applies just enough law to preserve the most freedom for people by regulating the outside boundaries of human behavior. However, wisdom is in short supply, and morality is not studied or sought, as people have fallen under the spell of their own understanding. In a climate of moral ambiguity, or laziness, more regulation becomes necessary, and as people are taught out of the traits which allow them to govern themselves, more regulation becomes necessary, and more desirous to the few in whom authority is vested…until liberty becomes a hollow word, the meaning and knowledge of which is foreign to the people who invoke it as an incantation with other words squeezed of meaning, like freedom, or justice, all of which become eclipsed in the growing corruption that enslaves all who must live in that place.
Just something for you to think about this July 4, as people celebrate “freedoms” that liberate wickedness and corruption, being rooted in the flesh, but do nothing to edify the spirit or the soul of man.
And as an aside, the Declaration of Independence is a charter, and an explanation of why we declared independence, but the real declaration of independence actually occurred on July 2, 1776.