228 Years of Freedom
[This week's week in review replaced by this - perhaps one day I'll also upload the audio and video.]
These were not ordinary times, these were not average men.
July, 1776 the Continental Congress met again to debate and vote on the resolution Richard Henry Lee had proposed a month before. Once again there was much debate; however this time the Congress adopted the resolution.
"Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved."
The next two days were filled with debate over the acceptance of a document primarily written by Thomas Jefferson. Changes were made, including the removal of a clause outlawing slavery, but on July 4th, Congress approved the Declaration of Independence. A nation was born.
Just like a newborn child, this newborn nation would, over time, grow and develop. And perhaps more passionate, more zealous, and more influential than the fighting of the Revolutionary War, were the arguments, debates, and writings of these founding fathers, these patriots, these statesmen, as they poured out their lives and hearts into the forming of a new nation. A nation unlike any other. After 11 years a Constitution was ratified.
These were great men, and this was a Providential time.
July 4th, 1776 is not a date that stands alone - it is a product of ideas - revolutionary ideas - that were born in the fertile soil of a new world. Freedom, Liberty. Ideas like personal property, freedom of the press, capitalism.
And one freedom which perhaps all other freedoms are hinged upon. A freedom which in many ways is the basis of all others. The freedom which did set America apart from the monarchies of the old world. The freedom which would set her apart from socialism, communism. The freedom which still sets America apart from those that will do anything to destroy her today. Religious Freedom.
Long before the first Independence Day this freedom brought pilgrims to the New World. It grants freedom to all religions, yet is found in Christian principles. Is is a freedom guaranteed to those who would destroy it if and when they could. It is a freedom found not in the rejection, but in the acceptance of the God of the Bible. It would be wise to remember how precious, and still how fragile this freedom is.
For these men knew that this great experiment would not survive without the acknowledgment of the Almighty God. They knew that without a Creator there were no unalienable rights; and men are only equal because they were created so.No other nation has sought the assistance of the Almighty God in its inception and life as she has. And in turn no other nation has been as blessed by the Creator as this 'one Nation under God', much to the envy of her enemies and admiration of her allies.
It was this Divine blessing which secured the victory of the Revolutionary war. For this Declaration was not simply an academic exercise. To the cause of independence these men had pledged their lives, their fortunes, their honor. And often enough that was what was required.
The revolutionary war was fought for independence. In 1812 another war was fought to preserve that independence. Then a war that would seem to be a contradiction. A war, a conflict, a fight, waged for unity. One nation, indivisible. While it is easy to define that war by vast generalities - preservation of the union, abolishment of slavery, the rights afforded the states - in reality it was a war as complex as the men who fought it. Men who loved this nation. On either side, men who's desire was that "government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth." This was a great trial, but it would not be the only one.
George Washington, in his farewell address, warned against becoming involved in the affairs of Europe. But there came a time when America could no longer remain uninvolved. The world had become too small. Wars involved the entire globe. And again America fought for the right.
Once again powers in Europe were seeking a stronghold in the Americas. And America did the same. It was a new war, a cold war. It was a clash of ideas. The same ideas upon which America was founded. Ideas that flowed naturally in a Christian nation, ideas that were cut off, silenced, and unthinkable in an Atheistic society. Underlying the conflict between Freedom and Communism was a greater conflict between Christianity and Atheism.
Today there would be some that would say we are not, and never were, nor should ever be a Christian nation, that Religion has no place in Politics, and that there must be a wall of separation keeping the Church from any involvement in the State. They would be wrong. Now, as much as in any time - and perhaps even more - we must, as a nation, seek the assistance of God. The same God our founding fathers sought blessing from some two hundred years ago.
Do we think that this grand and noble experiment which could not have begun with out the aid of God, will continue with out His blessing? Or have we forgotten our heritage - forgotten that this nation was not simply formed by the will of men, but by the unmistakable Hand of God. We can not afford to forget, or we will cease to exist.
Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand between their loved homes and the war's desolation! Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation. Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just, and this be our motto: "In God is our trust." And the star-spangled banner forever shall wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!