God was here right from the start. Our unalienable rights were given to us by God.
“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.”
When Thomas Jefferson wrote these words in 1776, he could not have known that the country he and the other Founding Fathers envisioned would become, by the grace of God, the greatest country on the planet. (I’m an American, and that’s what I believe. Any non-Americans reading this are free to believe whatever you want.) And there is no doubt that The Founding Fathers were counting on the grace of God in forming this country. As John Adams said in 1798, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
The Civil War
Four score and seven years after our country was founded, Abraham Lincoln said in his Gettysburg address “Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.”
Lincoln concluded his address resolving that, “. . . this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Presidents and politicians have continued to talk about God in speeches and prepared remarks right on up to today. Today every politician wants the Catholic and Evangelical vote even if they don’t all really believe the same things that Catholics and traditional Evangelicals believe.
A New Civil War
But’s it’s becoming more and more evident that we are once again “engaged in a great civil war.” This time, however, the civil war is between Christians and Secular Moral Relativists who want everyone to believe that Moral Truth does not exist and that God has no place in public education, or the public square either for that matter.
Today a new civil war is being fought to decide if the United States of America really is a Christian country founded on Judeo-Christian principles and natural law – God’s Law – or if it is a secular country where politicians, lawyers, judges, and the courts get to decide what is moral and what is not.
George Washington cautioned about removing morality and religion from civics over 200 years ago, in his Farewell Address of 1796:
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. . . . Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
Science or Religion and God?
Some today would have us believe today that science is supplanting religious truths with scientific facts. God’s existence cannot be proven, say the atheists. But neither can science disprove God’s existence, and no one has yet been able to come up with a good explanation for what caused “the Big Bang” that beat Intelligent Design. And truth be known, there are lots of scientists that do believe in God. Even the Big Bang Theory itself was proposed by a Catholic scientist – Fr. Georges Lemaître.
Bishop Robert Barron hit the nail on the head in an article at Catholic World Report, “It comes down finally to this: if Jesus was not raised from death, Christianity is a fraud and a joke; if he did rise from death, then Christianity is the fullness of God’s revelation, and Jesus must be the absolute center of our lives. There is no third option.”
We have to hold our elected representatives accountable for ensuring that our great nation does not lose its way. Only through prayer, an active participation in the political process, and, as the concluding words of the Declaration of Independence say, “a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence,” can we ensure that the United States of America is around to celebrate the 4th of July for a long time to come.
Happy 4th of July America. Have fun. Celebrate our Independence. But don’t forget to keep things in perspective. The late Vince Lombardi didn’t quite get it right. Our priorities should always be God, our family, our neighbors, and then our country.