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July 4 is the birthday of our nation. It is the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the document by which the American colonies declared their independence from British rule, which had become burdensome if not tyrannical.
This was, however, not an end but the beginning of a struggle for freedom that would last for more than seven years and cost many of the brave men who signed that document their comfortable homes, their land, their fortune, their children and – for some – their very lives.
The men who met in Philadelphia that fateful day in 1776 to sign that document were not poor, malcontent scalawags. These were men of means who risk everything to give us this nation where “all men are created equal, … endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights. …”
It is important to remember that, while these men were declaring their independence from Great Britain, they were also declaring their dependence on the God who created us. And in case that was not clear enough in this declaration of rights, they closed the document in such a way that it could not be missed.
“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred honor.”
The years that followed were difficult, and victory would have been impossible without the direct intervention of the hand of God. Those who doubt this simply do not know their history. How else could a rag-tag army of colonists defeat the powerful British? The miracles that followed are too numerous to mention, such as the blinding fog that allowed Washington’s men to escape from Brooklyn or just the right amount of snow and thaw on the icy Delaware River that paved the way for – not one – but three miraculous crossings.
Katharine Lee Bates put it in proper perspective in a national hymn of praise:
“America! America! God shed His grace on Thee …”
Our forefathers knew that it was not by their efforts alone that this freedom, which most now take for granted, had been secured. That is why every coin minted in this country bears the words “Liberty – In God we Trust.” It was a message – a warning, if you will – to future generations that God’s hand of protection will remain only as long as we continue to acknowledge Him.
These are dark days for America: We have lost our moorings and seem to be hopelessly adrift in a sea of red ink. We are in debt up to our eyeballs to the communist Chinese. The economy is struggling. The cost of energy is soaring. Unemployment is high and many have lost all hope.
On the world stage, the once strong “superpower” has become a paper tiger. Our president’s word is no longer good at home or abroad. We have become a laughingstock. Our military is characterized by retreat. Our immigration laws have become meaningless and go unenforced.
The majority of the Supreme Court has lost its moorings. Political correctness rules the land.
Our federal agencies are being used against us. While we tighten our belts, government workers “party hearty” at our expense – yet the president and Democrats who control the Senate want more of our hard-earned dough.
Our Founding Fathers wisely gave the power of the purse to the House of Representatives, which must stand for re-election every other year, because they knew that we would hold them accountable. Not a penny can be spent unless the House says it can be spent. But, alas, most people can’t even tell you the name of their congressman.
It’s little wonder House Speaker John Boehner lost his nerve and threw in the towel early on and bemoaned, “We control only one-half of one-third of the government!” Yes, but he – and we – seem to have forgotten that it is the most important third!
It is time to put partisan politics aside and hold them all accountable.
John Quincy Adams, our sixth president, said this:
“Posterity – you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it.”
On this 237th birthday of our nation, we must humble ourselves and turn from our wicked ways – our slothfulness – and pray that God will not lift his hand of protection from this country that was once a shinning city on a hill. And when we get up from our knees, we must fight as hard as our founders did to be worthy of that protection once more.