Fourth of July: We Still Hold Those Truths Because They Hold Us and Our Future
On this Fourth of July I reaffirm that we still hold those truths as Americans - because they hold us and will secure our future! Will you join me?
The Declaration was the birth certificate of the United States of America. The principles have informed our history and inspired our neighbors in other parts of the world to stand up against all forms of tyranny. We should remember that our forebears were not declaring their independence from Divine Providence. Rather, they were trusting in the Governance of God.
WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - On the 4th of July people will gather all over the United States of America to celebrate Independence Day. Fireworks will light up the sky in celebration of our liberty. Families and friends will remember those who gave their lives so that the promises set forth in that Declaration of Independence could inform our life together as a free people. The words of that Declaration proclaimed:
"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. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men." The Declaration was the birth certificate of the United States of America. The words are still memorized by at least some of our schoolchildren. They can bring a tear to the oldest American eye with little effort.
The principles of that Declaration have informed our history and inspired our neighbors in other parts of the world to stand up against all forms of tyranny. As we reflect upon the text we should remember that our forebears were not declaring their independence from Divine Providence. Rather, they were trusting in the Governance of God over their noble undertaking in forging a new Nation which Lincoln would proclaim years later was "conceived in liberty".
They sought independence from a monarchy which had become tyrannical precisely because it had forgotten the implications of the primacy of Divine Providence. The principles set forth in that Declaration were a rallying cry which called forth extraordinary sacrifice. They were rooted in something greater than political expediency. Those heroic men, women and children who sacrificed to birth this nation believed there were truths - objective truths- to be held. Those truths are self evident. They include the existence of unalienable rights given to all men and women by a Creator. Those truths and rights can be discerned by all men and women because they are revealed by the Natural Law written on all human hearts. It is a participation in God's law.
Of the 56 men who signed the Declaration, Charles Carroll of Carrolton, cousin of the Archbishop John Carroll of Baltimore, was the only Catholic signer. At the time of his signing it was illegal for Catholics to hold public office or to vote in Maryland. Yet, he still pledged with all of the signatories: "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." He knew the importance of the vision of freedom, rights and liberty which that Declaration proclaimed in those three profoundly simple but supremely powerful words: "We Hold These Truths."
What is clear is that competing visions of the human person, human dignity, human rights, marriage, family and human freedom are threatening our National future. Some counterfeits of liberty are now being imposed upon us; through the very institutions formed to protect the American experiment. The preeminent Right to Life affirmed in that Declaration is undermined by the positive/civil law of the Nation which the Declaration helped to birth. How can a Nation which has enshrined the killing of innocent children in the womb in its law claim that that it still recognizes the unalienable right to life?
The child in the womb is our first neighbor. Certainly all of the American founders would have agreed it is wrong to kill an innocent neighbor. How can we read Jefferson's words, "God who gave us life gave us liberty" and not see the evil of a jurisprudence which puts the police power of the Federal Government behind the intentional taking of her/his life? What makes it even more profane is that the ground for such a violation of fundamental human rights comes from a Supreme Court opinion which manufactured out of whole cloth an alleged "right" to commit such a heinous crime within a so called "liberty interest" of the U.S. Constitution. The entire infrastructure of human rights and freedoms is at risk. Life is the first right and first human good. Without Life there can be no other rights because only human persons can receive them.
At the root of the American founder's vision of a "good" society was the affirmation of a common morality upon which this virtuous and free society could be built. It alone could help to secure a truly free society which allowed all to pursue happiness. The classical vision of happiness included within it an obligation to live a moral life. It was understood that human persons flourish when they live virtuously. While the American founders embraced a properly understood freedom of religion, they did not ascribe to an enforced secularism, a freedom FROM religion, where the influence of religious principles and the leavening ...
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