JULY 4, 1776, some 239 years ago, the Declaration of Independence was approved and the battle was on. The world’s most famous political document — today studied daily around the world– for the first time ever declared to a watchful world that the only true way to be free and independent from the chains of powerful men was to be dependent upon the Creator of the universe. This firm reliance in providence is what gave the Founders the resolve and courage to set forth upon the greatest journey in modern history to birth a nation that was wholly dependent upon God and the Christian religion.
In patriotic boldness John Hancock signed first, saying “the price on my head has just doubled.” Rumor has it that Hancock wrote so big as to allow the King to read it without his glasses. Benjamin Franklin while signing said “We must hang together or most assuredly we shall hang separately.”
These men knew the risks to not only their fortunes but to their very lives. They risked it all. Many gave every last ounce of devotion. Are we today cut from that cloth? Do we have among us today a George Washington, a Thomas Jefferson, a James Madison, an Alexander Hamilton?
The original draft of the Declaration boldly declared slavery an abomination. However, two southern colonies prevented the language from remaining and thus without unanimous consent the language was removed upon the final draft. Make no mistake, the Founding Fathers, some even as slave holders themselves, were true abolitionists, abhorring the institution.
Three of the men most responsible for the birth of this new nation and the penning of the Declaration gave to us indispensable wisdom on how to remain free;
“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” — Thomas Jefferson
“Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom.” — John Adams
“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” — Ben Franklin
These three men would also comprise a committee set forth by the Continental Congress to come up with a Great Seal of the United States of America. Today that final design can be found on the back of the one dollar bill. However, the very first design included a depiction of Moses and the Israelites crossing the Red Sea (following the smoke and fire of God) with Pharaoh and his army being swallowed up by the rushing waters. The motto circling the image declared, “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.”
The Founding Fathers being the children of the Great Awakening knew their Bible and knew the significance of God’s providence in history. They studied culture, philosophy, history, law and government. They knew that for government to truly be an instrument of the people, by the people and for the people, it must begin with the unbending laws of nature, the standards of God. Only a virtuous people can be good public servants. America’s rulers would be chosen from among themselves.
The liberty bell in Philadelphia — cracked during the revolution — declares this truth. It holds the inscription of Leviticus 25:10 “Proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”
Today we are told by an all powerful IRS that the churches and pulpits of America are no place for partisan politics. Churches today face fines and loss of tax exempt non-profit status if they declare God’s standards over those of the state and proclaim the man of virtue preferable to the man of vice. It wasn’t always this way. Tolerance used to be a two way street.
Leading the trumpet charge to the American revolution was a group of patriot soldiers known as the black robe regiment. These men were the patriot clergymen who gave rousing sermons to their congregations and to town hall meetings held in their churches all across the colonies. These speeches were vital and instrumental in getting the word out to the people, encouraging and educating the colonists about the need for revolution — to throw off the bondage of tyranny for a freedom deserving of free men and women.
Today we call this networking and mobilization. It has become the foundation upon which success is achieved in both our personal and professional lives.
These black robed clergy knew that without God at the helm — life, liberty and the pursuits of man — were doomed to become little more than a darwinian “survival of the fittest.”
Soon after the Declaration, the Continental Congress assigned a paid Chaplain to each Regiment of George Washington’s continental army. Washington himself asking all soldiers to attend religious services and pray for the “blessing and protection of Heaven” and to “endeavour so to live, and act, as becomes a Christian Soldier defending the dearest Rights and Liberties of his country.”
Today we are a nation adrift — we’ve been lost at sea for some 50 years. So long ago in fact that most no longer remember when or why we set out on this journey and certainly fewer have any clue what-so-ever on where we are headed. We’ve lost our national purpose to such a great extent — that with open borders, lack of assimilation, a blurring of cultures and languages it hardly seems we are even a nation at all.
When Samuel Adams signed the Declaration, he said: “We have this day restored the Sovereign to whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His kingdom come.”
John Adams said optimistically: “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.” Continuing he said, “I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost to maintain this Declaration…Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory…Posterity will triumph in that day’s transaction, even though we should rue it, which I trust in God we shall not.”
Today we face a broken and dangerous world, divided peoples, discontent, fear, political crisis, war, famine, persecution, religious evil, moral depravity, licentiousness, covetousness and selfishness beyond comprehension. The subjective and unequal lawlessness of men are being proclaimed equal to the standards of God. Goodness is being torn down and vile deviancy is being put upon a pedestal and cheered.
Today I wonder, with great despair if we do still believe that all are created equal? Do we as a people any longer acknowledge that “great friend” our Creator, that our Founders relied upon? Do we truly still hold these Truths — the standards of God — to be self-evident? Do we really hold our fellow man equal when we cheer their “lifestyle” choices and allow them to be bound up in shackles of sin?
David is a perpetual student of religion, politics and American history. He lives in Southern California with his wife and their three children. Writer, thinker, speaker, blogger, he is the author of many articles as well as the book, The Conservative Directory – The Little Black Book of the Cultural Counter Revolution (1994). The book was honored with praise from Charlton Heston, Bay Buchanan, Joseph Farah among many others. You can follow him on Twitter @cogitarus. He’s available for speaking engagements upon request.