Monday, July 03, 2006

Understanding the meaning of Independence Day

As we continue our conversation regarding the meaning of the Declaration of Independence, we need to consider that the times during which the document was written constitute a changing from one mindset as to the role and purpose of government to another. This new attitude toward government had its seeds in Magna Carta and now in the New World found the fertile soil for its full growth and development. Aside from the notion that all men were created by God, something pretty much of a given in those days, the concept of equality was still something being considered. Some still held to the class system and the notion that all was preordained, despite one’s best hopes and desires. Yet in America there was a sense that if a man could exercise his wits and ingenuity, there was allowed for him opportunity to succeed, and the recognition that with success came a place at the table.

Thus the history textbooks dramatize the birth of colonies that were populated by the excess of Newgate prison and other debtors’ jails. A chance for freedom was worth whatever the risk. The opportunity to make something of oneself gave the person hope.

This is the genesis then of our founding document: that men might have the opportunity to make something of themselves. The Declaration addresses the wrongs dome against the colonies because these wrongs affected their ability to make something happen in this new world. The complaints by these young Americans addressed the whole notion of respect for freedom. Further the writers were not asking for license or anarchy, but for an order that allowed for the flowering of a new society.

Thus do we see that the roots of our own right to life movement are found in this acknowledgement of the Creator’s hand in giving us life, in seeking His will that we might live in liberty so as to truly and freely choose to love Him, and to have the opportunity to exercise the talents, skills and gifts He gave to each of us in order to discover who we are so that we could be happy.

But there is a condition for this to happen. We must recognize it in each other. We must accept the fact that these rights rest in every person. We must revere and protect each person so he or she can exercise these rights. Thus becomes the role and purpose of government.

Unless we respect all human life, we respect none. Unless we acknowledge the right to life of every person, none of us can claim the right. It is an all or nothing proposition.

Our founders knew this. Even as they failed to address the issue of slavery, they knew this. Our history reminds us that each person is entitled to due process in application of the law. History sadly notes those times when man’s inhumanity to man destroyed the systems that were designed to insure these protections.

Only when Roe v. Wade is seen for the cancer in the law that it has become, only when this generation excises this cancer from the body politic, only when all persons are protected in law, only then will the ideals of this Declaration have the chance to be fully lived.


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