On July 4, 1776, fifty-six representatives from the British colonies in America signed the Declaration of Independence. With their signatures, the British colonies in America became the United States of America. The document they signed said the following…
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.
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
What the signers created was not a government that gave them certain rights. The signers, in fact, created nothing. Putting together a patchwork legal system by using social contract theory and continuing the course of libertarian political theory in which the American political landscape was forged would be the task of others to come at a later date. The signers didn’t create something. The signers of the Declaration of Independence merely recognized something. The signers recognized that rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are given by God and not by government. Because the British Crown did not seem to recognize those rights, their social contract was considered null and void.
And, the signers were ready to bleed for the recognition of those rights. The Declaration of Independence ends with these words…
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.
Although reports vary and there’s some misinformation out there, the majority of these signers proved that statement true with the sacrifice of their blood and fortunes.
FLASH FORWARD TO TODAY
Many American Christians are wondering how we should celebrate Independence Day. Recently, I took my flag to half-mast and decided to never raise it again. So, pardon me if I don’t sing ‘God Bless America’ and say the pledge of allegiance. Christians used to get mad that some refused to say “under God” when reciting the pledge. Most of the Christians I know today, have a hard time saying it themselves, albeit for entirely different reasons.
First, we saw the Supreme Court ruling on gay ‘marriage.’ Doubtless, neither the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence nor the framers of our federal government would have believed state-recognition of sodomy was one of the rights endowed to us by our creator. And then yesterday, we saw that the Christian bakers in Oregon not only have to pay a 135k fine for exercising their right of conscience, but were issued a gag order to not discuss their opinion on the matter in what is a clear violation of the First Amendment. Frankly, I wish I knew where to find some tea in a harbor.
The social compact upon which our
Republic Democracy fascist regime has been framed has clearly been violated over and over again. So should we celebrate Independence Day when the nation in which we live is far more similar to Orwell’s 1984 than Jefferson’s 1776?
Yes. Yes, I think so.
We should celebrate our Independence because we are truly Independent. Our liberty has not been taken from us. In fact, the liberty of those Christian bakers was not taken from them. A fine was imposed, but their liberty of conscience remains as steadfast and sure as when God ordained it.
Christians truly need to grasp the mindset of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. They recognized that liberty is not granted by government, but by God. The government could impose restrictions, taxes, fines and imprisonment for the exercise of our liberty, but they could not take our liberty away. Liberty cannot be legislated and neither can it be removed by an act of Congress or by executive fiat.
So why all the bloodshed? Why the Revolutionary War? Why the countless souls lost in battle for the sake of liberty – not only here, but around the world? No life has ever been given up to pay for liberty. Again – liberty is given by God. Rather, lives have been lost by brave men like those who signed the Declaration of Independence not to pay for liberty, but to remove the punitive consequences for exercising that liberty. And like the 135k fine imposed upon the bakers, those punitive consequences for exercising liberty can be pretty draconian. For that reason, blood is sometimes shed.
Please consider this:
- Your freedom of conscience is not in jeopardy
- Your freedom of religion is not in jeopardy
- Your freedom of speech is not in jeopardy
God gives these freedoms; government’s role is to merely recognize and steward such freedoms. When John the Bunyan and the other non-conformists sweated away in prison in 17th Century England, they were gloriously free to speak, preach, and worship God. They were just beat and imprisoned for exercising that freedom…but they were free. God said so. They knew it.
The question, you see, is not whether or not our liberty will be taken from us. It cannot be. The question is only how many of us they will have to kill before they recognize that our liberty exists. How much blood is a wicked government willing to shed before they recognize liberties given us by God? That’s always been the struggle of despotism. God makes man free. Government recognizes that freedom…or doesn’t.
Imposing fines, imprisonment, or gag-orders that attempt to curtail First Amendment freedoms don’t remove our liberty. They only impose punitive consequences for utilizing such liberty. Man, under God, is free to exercise our religion and speech. The First Table of the law is not man’s to enforce, but God’s. For that reason, we celebrate.
I fleshed this out in “You Beat Me As With Roses” – a tale of Obadiah Holmes and early Baptist resistance to oppression and I think it’s worth taking a listen.
Beloved, we are free.
[Contributed by JD Hall]
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