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This Sunday we will celebrate Independence Day---the 4th of July.
Leo Strauss wrote that America became the only country in history founded, "in explicit opposition to Machiavellian principles"---which simply means the Founders and citizens of the colonies rejected the crass, imposing power politics of the King of England.
For 234 years, their beliefs and understanding of basic natural principles has served to allow America to become the greatest nation in the history of the world.
The American concept was essentially founded on three principles or core beliefs.
1. "...all men are created equal"
The Founders knew we were not all literally equal, each is born with different capabilities and attributes---to different stations in life. We are, however, created equal in the sense that all men and women have the same "natural" rights, granted to them by God.
Our freedom and independence is first and foremost predicated on the recognition of God and His existence.
2. "...endowed by their creator"
They not only acknowledged God, they recognized Him as Creator.
The core principle of the Declaration of Independence and the principle of natural rights upon which America was founded is that there is a higher moral order upon which the laws of man must be based.
The "authority" of "the Laws of Nature and Nature's God" referred to the Will of God as displayed by the natural order of the world.
The Founders believed power comes from God and is loaned to government.
The Declaration says, "That to secure these rights governments are instructed among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."
3. "...the pursuit of happiness"
The Declaration does not say that we have a "right" to be happy.
It says we have the right to Pursue happiness.
And what did "happiness" mean to those who penned the Declaration?
The idea of "happiness" at the time was most closely associated with the idea of pursuing "wisdom and virtue."
It was not, in their minds, the unrestrained self indulgence that many associate with happiness today.
The Founders understood that government could not give people "happiness".
The concept of "pursuing happiness" or pursuing your dreams has attracted people from all over the world---from Asia to Europe to Africa, and yes, Mexico, people continue to come.
While the "enemy within" seems to hate America and seeks to "remake" it, America remains a magnate. People keep coming to America.
Take a moment this weekend and thank God for America--it's past, it's present and it's future under God.
I have drawn from a column written by Newt Gingrich for my comments above. I recommend you read it.
Also, if you can take a moment between picnics, parades, fireworks and barbecue this weekend, why not consider actually reading the text of the Declaration of Independence? Read it to your kids or grand kids.
It really only takes a couple of minutes. Reading it will cause you to more closely identify with our Founders as we face the challenges of our present day America.
God bless you and this great country called America.
Be Vigilant. Be Free. Be Blessed.
Faith and Freedom
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