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July 4, 1776, was a historic day for our nation as it is when we declared our independence from the tyranny of England. We, of course, celebrate it every year with fun festivities such as fireworks, family get-togethers, and, of course, grilling up a bunch of grub. While the sentiment of the holiday often gets lost today in all of the trappings associated with this day, it is important that we remember exactly what we are celebrating.

In that letter that was signed on July 4, 1776, some of the greatest truths were put down on paper. These truths were designed to be guiding principles that our Founding Fathers understood as self-evident. It is vital that we realize the self-evident nature of what they declared on that day as it reveals what their moral foundation was and what our nation’s moral fabric ought to be.

“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.”

Among these self-evident truths is the understanding that God is the giver of rights and that the government is to be the recognizer of these rights. While these rights were not exhaustively laid out in this document, we can see the three at the top of the priority list. The first in this list isn’t by mistake, as without it, no other rights could exist—the right to life.

Life is fundamental by nature; if you are denied this right, you are also denied liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Without life, there are no other rights that can be gained. We will look more at this right in just a moment, but I want you to understand how foundational it is to all other rights; that is to say, it is imperative.

The right to liberty, of course, became the highlight of what people think of when they think of Americanism. The freedom or liberty of speech, the freedom or liberty of the press, the freedom or liberty of religion, or whatever else kind of liberty you can think of is probably associated with Americanism. I won’t say much to this other than to point out that the liberty our Founding Fathers were referring to was called a right, and these rights were given by God and are self-evident in the laws of nature and God’s laws. This means that we have the liberty to do what is in accordance with God’s law and the law of nature, because to do otherwise would be considered a wrong and not a right.

The pursuit of happiness that the Founders were referencing was not a hippie-dippy kind of happiness that is based on feelings to do whatever makes you happy. How can I say this with certainty, you may ask? If we took a look at Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England, we would quickly see that the context of this happiness is rooted in the idea of pursuing what is best according to what God has designed—a pursuit of holiness, you might say. But I won’t make you read quotes from an Englishman on Independence Day; rather, I will remind you that the context of these listed rights is that they are “self-evident” and are “endowed by their Creator.” A person has no right to pretend to be a different gender than what was obvious at their birth and endowed to them by their Creator.

When we think of the Declaration of Independence, we often think of these three rights, but the second part of the Declaration of Independence lists 27 grievances that Americans had against England in the day. These grievances span a wide range of crimes that the King of England had committed against the colonists, but they started off with this one: “He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.” The King of England refused laws that were in the public’s best interest, and given the context of the letter, we understand that the colonists were referring to laws that would uphold and recognize the right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Today, I have the same grievance, but this time it isn’t against the dirty old King of England; it is against the Pro-Life movement and Republican Leadership in Iowa. This past session, the Republican leadership—specifically Rep. Steve Holt—killed HF2256, a bill that would have abolished abortion in Iowa. He was defended and bolstered by the Pro-Life industry in Iowa as these groups largely stayed silent, and a few of them publicly spoke out against the bill—Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition even registered on the side of Planned Parenthood as “opposed” to the bill.

Republican leadership in Iowa, supported by the Pro-Life industry, has refused their assent to laws that would be most wholesome and necessary for the public good. In doing this, they have perpetuated the continual denial of the most self-evident right of them all—the right to life. In doing this, they have usurped the authority of God in their arrogance by refusing to understand their role is not to give rights but to recognize the rights only Almighty God can give. No person has the standing in which to arbitrarily decide that a group of humans do not have the right to live based upon their age, circumstances of existence, location of dwelling, or any other exception they may invent in their vain imaginations. God has stamped His image upon each person at the moment of conception; no one has the right to write laws that would contradict this truth or, to put it in the context of Iowa—no one has the right to oppose laws that seek to establish this truth.

So, in the spirit of our Founding Fathers and in agreement with the Declaration of Independence, I list my great grievance towards the Republican Party of Iowa and Pro-Life Leaders in this state and call them to repent of their wicked deeds and to stop playing the role of the tyrannical King of England.

Author: Sam Jones

Pastor Sam completed an intense pastoral internship at Hagerman Baptist Church and served as a chaplain at Heritage Care Center in Iowa Falls, Iowa before accepting the call to pastor at Faith Baptist Church in Hudson, Iowa. He loves people and his goal is to make disciples of Christ by personally, prayerfully, and persistently investing the Word of God into others.

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