As we enter the 245th year of the independence of these United States, it seems more than appropriate that we pause and consider what “independence” means, from whence it originates, and, perhaps most importantly, how it can be preserved for future generations.
At the heart of the Declaration of Independence is a legal and logical argument, which can be summarized like this:
The King of England had persisted in continual wrongdoing against the rights of the people of the American colonies. Therefore, the dissolution of the previous relationship between Great Britain and the American colonies was the reasonable and sensible remedy for that continual wrongdoing.
Well, that’s all well and good, but doesn’t it presuppose that the affairs of nations are governed by an objective standard of right and wrong?
Well, yes, it does. In fact, the Declaration contains a list of 27 grievances against the king; but without a transcendent standard for right and wrong, any listing of perceived wrongs would be nothing but an exercise in nonsense.
Perhaps this is why our founders dealt with this essential element of their argument in the very first sentence. They referenced the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” In other words, they said the standard for right and wrong was God’s Word.
The Declaration is direct evidence that American independence was — and still is — based upon a universal acceptance of God’s Word and His law as authoritative in all matters.
This is why it is so disappointing to hear foolish voices of politicians, institutions of higher learning, and members of media rejecting the moral law — rejecting God’s standards of right and wrong — and ignorantly and foolishly working against their own interest and the interest of future Americans.
America’s founders properly understood that rights come from God. Therefore, we have no right to do what God has declared to be wrong. There is no right to murder one’s child. There is no right to kidnap a human being and force them into involuntary slavery of any sort. There is no right to enact man-made laws that discriminate based on skin color rather than moral conduct. There is no right for ministers to perform same-sex marriages. All of these, and many more perverse behaviors, are unlawful and are in contra-position to the underlying philosophy of American law and government.
Here’s one more crucial thing to remember about Independence Day:
Our ancestors’ Biblical understanding of right and wrong would have no historic significance absent their commitment to boldly defend their God-given rights.
Despite the certain calamitous outcome, on July 4th, 1776, America’s fifty-six representatives sealed their commitment in the Declaration of Independence with a solemn oath: “For the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”
This Fourth of July, while you celebrate American liberty, let’s not forget the words of Thomas Paine: “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.”
Happy Independence Day, America!
Sign up for a FREE U.S. Constitution course with Jake MacAulay and the Institute on the Constitution.