Freedom July 4, 2008Posted by Daniel Downs in church, Constitution, covenant, First Amendment, freedom, Freedom of Religion, Independence Day, news, politics, religion.
by Rev. Dallas E. Henry
“When in the course of Human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. 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.”
Signed on July 2 and adopted in the Congress on July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence set free the 13 colonies of America from its rule by Great Britain. Richard Stockton, a Quaker from New Jersey, was one of the 56 signers of that declaration. Stockton, in 1758, helped to construct the Quaker Meeting house near his home. Stockton was a prominent lawyer and landowner until the day that he signed that declaration. The English army routed him and his family from their home, and he was imprisoned as a traitor to the crown. As a result of his harsh treatment, his health was broken. After his imprisonment he returned to the burned and sacked remnants of his home and died there four years later at the age of 51. His is only one of the stories of these 56 men- many others tell the same story of men who gave their life for freedom.
Of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence:
5 were captured by the British and tortured before they died.
12 had their homes ransacked and burned.
2 lost their sons in the war.
9 either died from war wounds or from hardships suffered in the war.
We conclude from this that freedom is never free.
Rev. Henry goes on to compare the ancient occupation of Israel led by Joshua to our founders and the price they paid for gaining freedom.
The Lord, through Joshua, makes clear that the price of our continued freedom is two-fold:
1) The price is Devotion to God [Joshua 23:6]. Joshua reminded Israel that their continued freedom rested on their willingness to follow God. If they were to turn from God their downfall would surely come. It is true for us today. James Madison, 4th president of the US and one of the framers of the constitution said, “We have staked our future on our ability to follow the Ten Commandments with all our heart.¨ He knew as Joshua spoke so many years before him that freedom and democracy can only be maintained if men walk with God. You cannot write enough laws to govern a godless society. You cannot make enough rules to make moral an immoral nation. Often we look at our nation and become discouraged as we see the continual practice of abortion, homosexuality, same sex marriage, pornography, violence, crime, and hatred. We see it and we become discouraged. We see it; and we hear that the downfall of America is inevitable as God’s judgment comes upon us for our sin. We feel helpless to change our society and our world. But the truth is far different. We are far from impotent to affect the world around us.
Rev. Henry says we can make a difference. It does not begin with them but with ourselves. That is, changing our world begins with reforming the Church. He quotes the familiar scripture: “If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” Many who use this verse imply that if the Christians repent then God will heal and restore America to its former goodness. The implied magic is not part of Rev. Henry’s view.
Like Israel, America was founded as a nation upon a national covenant with God. Read the entire Declaration of Independence for what it actually states and not as your particular political bias dictates. The Church is not synonymous to the whole of America. Nevertheless, the biblical law and morality is synonymous with freedom and the natural law basis of the Constitution. That is why Rev. Henry goes on to say:
Revival will not come to a nation until reformation comes to the church. We must be willing to pay the price. The saddest commentary on our society today is that in all its decay and decadence no one seems to care. The people revel in their debauchery and the church remains silent. It’s as if people shut their windows and doors and refuse to become a part of the national debate. For far too long we have shut ourselves out of the arena of ideas and our Nation and our churches have suffered for it. The fact is that if we don’t fight for what is right no one will.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “All it takes for evil to prevail is that good men do nothing.”
2) The second price of continued freedom is vigilance. We must be vigilant. We must protect the right. We must demand better than we have. James Garfield, the twentieth president of the United States, wrote this in 1877: “Now more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature. If the next centennial does not find us a great nation it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.”
Rev. Henry seems to assume everyone realizes that out religious liberty is eroding away. Gay rights, abortion rights, the spread of public corruption makes it obvious. However, I think many people’s view of religious liberty has become fuzzy. It is not just the erosion of actual liberty but the erosion of our view of what religious liberty is. The so-called Separation of Church and State defined and defended by the secular Left is not the same as it was defined and defended by our mostly Christian founders. The divorce of Christian religion from public and political life was never intended by those who established wrote the final draft of the Declaration or the First Amendment. There was a very good reason Congress intentionally left out the wall of separation clause and why in the 1870s Congress rejected it again. Secular neutrality represented by the Lemon test did not exist until the 20th Century secularists gained political power. The Ten Commandments in U.S. the Supreme Court chambers is proof.
Rev. Henry concluded his commentary saying,
If our nation’s leadership has become dominated by liars, adulterers, cheats, and nare-do-wells, then it’s time we use the power of the voting booth and vote them out. It’s time Christians begin to run for office and take back what has been taken from us. Our nation’s pride, morality, and freedom are at stake; and we must not be shut out of the arena of ideas. We must stand up and be counted as those willing to pay the price for freedom.
Source: Christian Civic League of Maine.
See also Declaration of Independence Banned from Calif School classroom. [From banning the Declaration and Nature’s God]; The Real Issue [to embracing fascism and gay sexual politics.].