Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

7/4/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

As we reflect upon the text this weekend we need to remember that our forebears were not declaring their independence from Divine Providence


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. As we reflect upon the text this weekend we need to remember that our forebears were not declaring their independence from Divine Providence. Rather, they were trusting in the primacy of the Governance of God over their own lives and their noble undertaking.

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/4/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Declaration, Independence, Fourth of July, Thomas Jefferson, Founders, Marriage, family, Life, Liberty, happiness, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, Va. (Catholic Online) - We once again celebrate the 4th of July as a Nation. People will gather all over the United States of America to celebrate Independence. Fireworks will light up the sky, families will gather and we will all pause to remember those who gave their lives so that the promises set forth in that Declaration of Independence could inform a new Nation. Their courageous Declaration, signed on this date 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 of Independence was the birth certificate of the United States of America. The words are still memorized by schoolchildren and can bring a tear to the oldest American eye with little effort. The principles they communicate have informed our history as a free people and inspired our neighbors in other parts of the world to stand up against all forms of tyranny.

As we reflect upon the text this weekend we need to remember that our forebears were not declaring their independence from Divine Providence. Rather, they were trusting in the primacy of the Governance of God over their own lives and their noble undertaking.

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 much greater than political expediency. That is why those principles became a measuring stick against which all governments of men would be measured in the future.

They believed there actually were truths to be held - and that those truths are self evident. Those truths include the existence of unalienable rights which are given to all men and women by a Creator. They believed that those truths and those rights can also be discerned by all men and women because they are revealed by the Natural Law which is written on all human hearts and is itself a participation in God's law.

Certainly, not all of the American founders were Christians. Thomas Jefferson was more of a Deist than a classical Christian. He had a fondness for the French Revolution - which was cut from a very different set of principles than the American Revolution. According to some sources, he had a scissored Bible, with all references which he considered to be superstitious removed. Other sources indicate he grew in his embrace of the tenets of the Christian faith over time.

Whatever is more accurate, one thing is clear, Jefferson was a man who understood the true sources of our liberties. He knew they did not come from a civil government. He secured the first freedom, Religious Freedom, as a fundamental human right. It is Jefferson's words which still speak from the third panel of the Memorial built in his honor: "God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?"

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."

Carroll 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." The question which must be asked as we celebrate our Independence this weekend is a sobering one, What Truths do we Still Hold?

There are competing visions of the human person, human dignity, human rights, and human freedom at work in many of the institutions which were formed in response to this Declaration. The recognition of the preeminent Right to Life so clearly set forth in the words of this Declaration is currently being undermined by the positive law of the very Nation which they helped to birth. How can a Nation which has enshrined the killing of innocent children in the womb in its positive 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 agree it is wrong to kill an innocent neighbor. She is the first legal immigrant with her citizenship assured if she can make it out of the birth canal alive under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

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 behind the intentional taking of her life by pretending to find the "right" to commit such a heinous crime within a so called "liberty interest" of the same U.S. Constitution? The second part of Jefferson's statement cries out for an answer on this 4th of July: "Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?"

Some of my readers may ask "Does everything come back to abortion for you?" The answer is "YES" because the entire infrastructure of human rights and freedoms is at risk when we fail to recognize the preeminent Right to Life.Human Rights are goods of the human person, not ethereal concepts floating around somewhere. Every procured abortion kills a human person and violates their very Right to Life. Liberty itself is at risk when there exists in our positive law a so called "right" to kill the very human person required to receive the other rights or to exercise them.

Now, the Supreme Court has acted again without any regard for the objective truth about marriage and the Natural Moral Law. In its declaring that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstituional, the majority has committed another egregious act of jurisprudential arrogance. They have again acted as though they can change the structure of reality, reject the Natural Moral Law, disregard the will of the people and manufactiure another "right". Thay have, in effect, declared to be a marriage what can never be a marriage and, with no judicial analysis, used the phrase "equal protection" to assert that what they say the law is, is, and anyone who disagrees with the majority opinion is now a bigot.

The long term effect of this decision will have a devastating effect on the social order. Marriage and family have been inscribed by the Divine Architect into the order of creation. Marriage is ontologically between one man and one woman, ordered toward the union of the spouses, open to children and formative of family. Family is the first vital cell of society; the first church, first school, first hospital, first economy, first government and first mediating institution of our social order. The future of a free and healthy society passes through marriage and the family.
 
Marriage as existing solely between one man and one woman was not an idea manufactured by the Christian Church. It precedes Christianity. Though affirmed, fulfilled, and elevated by Christian teaching, the truth that marriage can exist only between one man and one woman is not based on religion or revelation alone, but on the Natural Moral Law, written on the human heart and discernible through the exercise of reason.

This claim of the existence of such a Natural Moral Law is the ground upon which every great civilization has been built. It is the source of every authentic human and civil rights movement. This Natural Moral Law gives us the norms we need to build truly human and humane societies and govern ourselves. It should also inform our positive law or we will become lawless and devolve into anarchy. The Court has once again rejected the very source of its authority.

The promise of the Declaration of the Declaration of Independence cries out for those who believe in its promise to stand up for its true meaning and work to restore the unique experiment in ordered liberty which it offers for future generations. Like millions throughout the United States of America, my family will pause to thank God for the privilege of living in this Nation. Then, we will rededicate ourselves to working for the more perfect application of the principles which inspired the founders. They beckon every succeeding generation to sacrifice again to secure the blessings of liberty for all.

No matter how diverse the American founders were in their religious convictions they all affirmed the truths this Declaration proclaimed and recognized that the unalienable rights which flowed from them were given not by civil government but endowed by the Creator. The implication is obvious; they could not be taken away by civil government either. On July 4, 2009, we should celebrate our Independence by reaffirming our Dependence on God and proclaim together again together that we hold these truths!

Thomas Jefferson was correct, the God who gave us life gave us liberty. Our Independence requires our dependence on that same God.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for June 2015
Universal:
That immigrants and refugees may find welcome and respect in the countries to which they come.
Evangelization: That the personal encounter with Jesus may arouse in many young people the desire to offer their own lives in priesthood or consecrated life.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More U.S.

Catholic Church in U.S. has weathered adversity before - and will emerge triumphant, historian says Watch

Image of As bishops warn of current threats to religious liberty in the United States, Catholics can take heart that such challenges have faced them before, and they have persevered, one Church historian says.

By Matt Hadro, CNA/EWTN News

As bishops warn of current threats to religious liberty in the United States, Catholics can take heart that such challenges have faced them before, and they have persevered, one Church historian says. Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) - "It's okay to realize that ... continue reading


After same-sex unions legalized, polygamous Montana trio demands same Watch

Image of The 46-year-old Nathan Collier owns a refrigeration business in Billings. He married 40-year-old Victoria in 2000. His second wife, Christine, was wed in a religious wedding ceremony in 2007 without a marriage license in order to avoid bigamy charges.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It was bound to happen. After the Supreme Court ruled same-sex unions legal in all 50 states, other proponents of non-traditional arrangements are clamoring for equality under the law. Nathan Collier, along with his wives Victoria and Christine have applied at ... continue reading


350-pound dolphin accidentally lands on cruise ship severely injuring woman Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

To kick off the summer break and celebrate Father's day, a family went aboard a cruise that ended with a traumatizing accident. As the cruise started to sail back to the harbor, a group of dolphins started to swim alongside the boat. However, as the passengers started ... continue reading


Episcopalians overwhelmingly vote to let same-sex weddings in churches Watch

Image of Episcopalians voted overwhelmingly this week to allow religious weddings for same-sex couples.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Episcopalians voted overwhelmingly this week to allow religious weddings for same-sex couples. The Episcopal Church has long been on the forefront of equal rights for homosexuals, ever since electing it first openly gay bishop 10 years ago.  LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


TERROR LEAK: ISIS learns of FBI command centers across U.S. for Fourth of July Watch

Image of One such likely ISIS candidate, 23-year-old Alaa Saadeh, was believed to be part of a group interested in detonating a pressure cooker bomb at a New York landmark.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It appears that an important bit of counter-terrorism may have landed into the wrong hands. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI is installing command centers around the nation to prepare for possible terror attacks for the coming Fourth of July holiday ... continue reading


Remaining U.S. troops in Afghanistan 'feel forgotten' Watch

Image of Several US Troops felt abandoned and forgotten by the US government

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A total of 10,000 American troops remain in Afghanistan. These troops believe they have been forgotten by the Obama administration, as the US Government shifts its attention to ISIS. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - The US Troops, 10,000 men and women left ... continue reading


Risk for massive earthquake in California increases as scientists find dangerous helium coming from fault zone Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Researchers recently discovered helium leaking from a giant fault in the Earth's crust near Los Angeles, as well as discovering an increase in chance for California to have an 8.0 magnitude earthquake. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - They did not expect the ... continue reading


United States prepares for Fourth of July amidst threat of ISIS attacks Watch

Image of The U.S. Government prepares for possible terrorist attacks this coming Independence Day celebration in the U.S.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Three days before the United States' Independence Day, the FBI has already began setting up command centers in all of the 56 field offices across the country prior to the fourth. The U.S. Government is preparing for possible terrorist attacks and terrorist threats that ... continue reading


America's MOST and LEAST patriotic states in 2015 Watch

Image of Virginia [not pictured] has been named the most patriotic state.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A recent American pride survey, published on June 29, 2015, revealed Virginia to be at the top of the current list of the most patriotic states in the USA. WalletHub, a consumer website, evaluated the military and civic engagement of all 50 states, included in the ... continue reading


The Martyrdom of the Apostles Peter and Paul Invites Us Into a New Missionary Age Watch

Image of On this great Feast we need to rededicate ourselves to being true witnesses, with an adult faith, willing to participate fully in this new missionary age of the Catholic Church. May the blood of the Martyrs continue to be the seed of the Church. St. Peter and St. Paul, pray for us!

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Since at least the Third Century, Christians have commemorated this day as a Solemnity, the day when the two pillars of the Church, the great Apostles, Peter and Paul, met the Lord whom they served with such beauty, face to face in the communion of eternal love. ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Genesis 22:1-19
1 It happened some time later that God put Abraham to ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 115:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
1 Not to us, Yahweh, not to us, but to your name give ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 9:1-8
1 He got back in the boat, crossed the water and came ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 2nd, 2015 Image

St. Bernardino Realino
July 2: St. Bernardino Realino was born into a noble family of Capri, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter