Independence from What?

I set the Wayback Machine to nine years ago and what I wrote on this weblog on July 4, 2002. I still like that post and believe what I was trying to say back then.  This is an update of the post, mostly to fix broken links but also in the text a bit to more clearly make some of my points (and fix a bit of grammar).

July 4 is Independence Day in the United States.  It is the day on which we celebrate the birth of our country when our founding fathers declared independence from the rule of Great Britian.  They did this with the Declaration of Independence, a document written by Thomas Jefferson between June 11 and June 28, 1776, and signed by 56 men from the original 13 colonies (which would later become states).

If you read the declaration (and please do, best via a transcript as the high resolution image is difficult to read), you’ll find that it is not a declaration of independence from God, but rather that it includes a recognition of God’s supreme authority.

More and more people seem to be declaring their independence from God these days.  And the courts in the United States seem to be going right along with them, as recent rulings have shown.

But that wasn’t the intent of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence 235 years ago.

In fact, Thomas Jefferson acknowledges God in the very first sentence of the Declaration.

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

The separate and equal station to which Nature’s God entitle them.  Entitled by God, not by Great Britain, by any man, or by any other man-made institution. Right out of the gate, Thomas Jefferson clearly acknowledges not only that God exists, but also that He is the authority that made independence possible.

The very next sentence of the Declaration recognizes a Creator God.

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

How long before a Circuit Court tries to declare that unconstitutional?

Thomas Jefferson closes the Declaration with this statement, in which he and the other signers recognize the need for support from God and call upon it.

And 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.

The foundation of our country was laid by men who had God in their hearts and minds.  They clearly state this in our Declaration of Independence.  But they just as clearly state that the independence they sought was from things made by men and not from God Himself.  On the contrary, they called upon Him for protection.

So must we.

God’s will, God’s providence, God’s intent for us, and God’s requirements of us certainly should be in our hearts and minds today.  We need to recognize our dependence on God and live in recognition and appreciation of that dependence.

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