As America — and the world — celebrates the founding of America this week, we reflect on the divine underpinnings of freedom and the dichotomy between freedom and government. According to our founders — who mutually pledged “to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor” — life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were endowed to all people by their Creator, and governments derive their powers from the consent of the people.
In Congress, July 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands 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. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Galatians 5: 13
13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
PHOTO CAPTION: “Writing the Declaration of Independence, 1776” by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (circa 1921). The painting is part of a series of 78 scenes from American history titled “The Pageant of a Nation” — the largest series of American historical paintings by a single artist. The painting is part of the collection of the Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, Va. (Public Domain | CC0 1.0)