How many of us still “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.”?
As July 4, 2013 approaches, it’s the essential question. After all, 53% of Americans voted for a president in 2008 who doesn’t seem to hold these truths. In several speeches after he was inaugurated, he left out the three essential words “by our Creator” when quoting from the Declaration of Independence.
One was in a speech to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus during which he paused and fluttered his eyelids, as if he were suffering an involuntary tick lasting a second or two – and then proceeded to leave out those critical three words. It didn’t seem like an accidental oversight to me. It seemed deliberate. Click the link here and watch for yourself.
The words are revolutionary. All the signers at the bottom of the Declaration of Independence agreed with them and placed their lives and property in danger when they signed because if they lost the ensuing revolution, they would be hanged and their property confiscated. They knew that. They believed in a Creator with a capital C. They believed in liberty. They were willing to die for those beliefs. How many of us are willing to die for them now? My guess is not so many.
The principle upon which our country was founded is that our rights come from God, but it looks like Americans today don’t believe that. They tend to believe instead that our rights come from government, and an increasing number don’t believe there is any such thing as a God. Most sit back as secularists chip away at religious freedoms in schools, in the military, and virtually every public place whether local, state, or federal. Provisions of Obamacare now require churches to pay for abortion-inducing drugs, which those churches consider murderous.
This has sparked a major backlash among Catholics – the largest Christian denomination in America. Catholics initiated their “Fortnight For Freedom” campaign last week in which they declare their unwillingness to obey this Obama’s mandate.
Secularists think they can create a perfect society without God because people are inherently good. They think government is the vehicle for their utopian creation. Believers, however, hold that all men are sinners, and don’t see any possibility of utopia this side of heaven. They see government as a necessary evil which, if allowed to get too powerful, can create hell on earth.
Then there’s the Declaration’s right to liberty, which the World English Dictionary defines as: “the power of choosing, thinking, and acting for oneself; freedom from control or restriction.” What follows, of course, is taking responsibility for those choices. Liberty also carries the right to fail in our “pursuit of happiness.” The Declaration doesn’t guarantee it – only its pursuit.
Conservative Americans believe liberty is the most important right. Leftists believe equality is more important. If some Americans succeed in pursuing happiness – or property, as it was originally written – leftists like President Obama believe government should confiscate it and distribute it to Americans who didn’t pursue it, or if they did, were unsuccessful in their efforts to obtain it.
Leftists do this not to only make them happy, but to persuade them to vote for leftist candidates who will pursue more redistribution. This is what America is becoming. Leftist redistribution schemes stifle our fabled American initiative and inventiveness, and consequently stifle our economy too. We’re losing our liberty – our freedom from government control and restriction. That is what’s bringing Europe down, and it will bring us down too if we allow it to continue. We’re seeing lately that Americans don’t want liberty so much as they want government to take care of them. That’s the trend.
America used to attract people from all around the world who wanted to experience liberty – to build a life for themselves without government control. People who came here did that. Now, more than thirty percent of immigrants go right on welfare – twice the rate for native-born Americans – and many of them are illegal aliens as well. To win a second term, President Obama appealed to people who see government as protecting their sexual liberties – and then making them dependent on government programs in every other aspect of their lives from cradle to grave. Those who put an X next to his name last November 6th were endorsing a “Declaration of Dependence,” and spurning independence.
On this Fourth of July, we should ask ourselves: Are we still a liberty-loving people, or have we become afraid of it?
Family Security Matters Contributing Editor Tom McLaughlin is a (now retired) history teacher and a regular weekly columnist for newspapers in Maine and New Hampshire. He writes about political and social issues, history, family, education and Radical Islam.