In Congress; July 4, 1776. That’s how the heading reads on the document we will celebrate this weekend. You know, don’t you, that the Second Continental Congress reached the unanimous decision to ratify the Declaration on July 2. In fact, future President John Adams predicted in a letter to his lovely wife, Abigail, that Americans would celebrate July 2 with bonfires and parades and such — so happy Second of July, y’all.
With the Fourth falling on a Friday this year everybody will be taking long weekends I am sure and there will be plenty of fish fries and barbecues and such. I’ll be at the Cody Stampede Rodeo myself — with about 40 of my newest friends. It won’t be my first rodeo. The Cody rodeo in 2001 was. I wore shorts with a draw string, flip-flops and a T-shirt and felt as out of place as a Presbyterian in hell.
This time around I will be sporting my jeans, boots, belt with an adequate buckle and a Stetson. Mine is white. I’m one of the good guys.
Whatever you are doing for the holiday weekend, even if it is nothing at all, I hope you will take time between John Adams’s day of remembrance and that of the rest of the nation, to actually read a copy of the document that is our birth certificate. Maybe it will remind you — or even teach you — what our nation was intended to be.
It was written, primarily, by old redheaded, slave-owning, womanizing Thomas Jefferson. He was assisted by Ben Franklin, who would take a drink and womanize a tad himself, and the aforementioned Adams. They borrowed heavily from the political ideas of John Locke.
But what I would encourage you to examine is the general principles stated so eloquently by Jefferson. “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Wow. Our rights come from our Creator — capital C. God. Yeah, Thomas Jefferson stated that our rights come from God — not our lawmakers or the president of the United States. We can take up the “all men are created” equal thing later, but we can’t ever square that with slavery.
Other than that, how do we make sure that those rights that we have been granted are assured. Tom had that covered.
“To secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
You get that? The government works for us. That is something that the signers of the Declaration of Independence, those men who pledged to one another their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honors, knew. That is something they were willing to die to institute.
Too many of us have forgotten that. Way too many. Might be a good time for a reminder. Please take a look at that document. It might do some good.
And if you have a 5th on the 4th, stay home ‘til the 6th or 7th, so they won’t have to bury you on the 8th.
Selah — and America bless God. He has already shed His grace on us.