America's experiment in ordered liberty is unique. Many countries have fought revolutions. Many have proclaimed the rights of man. But America has from the beginning acknowledged her liberties as a gracious endowment from a loving God.
The man who wrote that declaration was chosen for the task because his fellow members of the Continental Congress were impressed with his ability to write clearly and convincingly. Even earlier than 1776, young Thomas Jefferson had put the Americans' case well: "The God who gave us life, gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?"
All too often today, we hear that we are the people we have been waiting for. We are told that we are the ones who will frame a newer, better America through the force of our own will and our own goodness. This is not what the Founders thought. They knew that each one of us could be corrupted by power. "If men were angels," wrote Thomas Jefferson's young friend, James Madison, "no government would be necessary." Still, with proper checks and balances, the Founders were willing to trust the American people more than they trusted kings and lords in a faraway capital city.
Tomorrow is the anniversary of that fateful declaration. In declaring our own independence, we were doing more than breaking away from England. We were breaking away from tyranny. We were breaking away from the idea that some men were fit to govern others without their consent. We broke the chains of dependency and servitude.
The great document we celebrate today inspired Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass in the fight to end slavery. It inspired Americans of the World War II generation to stand up against Nazi cruelty. It motivated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to fight against segregation. In one hand, Dr. King held the Declaration. In the other, he held the Bible. "Let justice roll on like a river and righteousness like a never failing stream," he said in the prophetic words of Amos.
Dr. King did not see the need to separate his dedication to the Declaration of Independence from his devotion to God's Word. Neither do we. The atheizers of today would have us believe that there is a conflict between our God and our country. It is not so. Pray it will never be so.
When the President signs a Proclamation tomorrow, he will conclude with these words: "In the year of our Lord two thousand eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third." This is no mere formula. It is a powerful acknowledgment that our liberties, our independence, and our very life as a people are dependent upon the power and might of the Lord. And "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." (2 Cor. 3:17)
God bless you all and God bless America.
Courtesy: Family Research Council