Russell and Duenes

Observations on the Declaration

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As has become my habit each 4th of July, I take the time to read carefully through the Declaration of Independence. I can’t say that I have any earth-shattering insights into it, but these are some things that struck me this year.

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. It’s safe to say that for a great mass of people in our nation, including many who will today celebrate this document and what it represents, these truths are no longer “self evident.” The above sentence forms no part of the official curriculum in public schools (particularly in the Bay Area where I live). Indeed it cannot, teaching as it does that it is evident to any rational person, even without argument (for that is what “self-evident” means) that we are created beings, given rights not by the State, but by God Himself. Thus is is barred from the classrooms, indeed, the courtrooms of America. I wonder if the ACLU would sue to have the above sentence removed were it to appear in a courthouse. Actually, I don’t wonder.

As I read through the Declaration, my mind comes back to the question: If I were living in one of the colonies at this time, how would I apply, how would my church apply, Romans 13, which tells us to submit to the governing authorities? In other words, am I bound to give continued allegiance to England, or do I now give allegiance to the States that Jefferson declared were “Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown?” To whom was I obligated to give allegiance before the Declaration was written, seeing as I was part of a colony of England, but lived under local legislatures; legislatures which Jefferson said were wrongfully “suspended” by England, who arrogated to herself the “power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever?” I helps me see that biblical application is not as simply as the bromides and platitudes we often hear in Christian circles. It also means the task of preaching and teaching the Scriptures is a difficult one.

Jefferson charged the King of England with “erecting a multitude of New Offices, and sending hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.” Hello! Can we look at Washington today? President Obama is guilty of creating all sorts of “czars” who are unelected and unaccountable, all on the taxpayer dime. And the political machine that is Washington D.C. keeps growing like a virus. All parties are guilty here, and we groan under the burden of paying for this elephant of a bureaucracy. Jefferson’s head would have exploded if he had caught a glimpse of the “multitude of new offices” that have been foisted upon the American people in the last 70 years or so.

We are still in the process of discovering, as Lincoln put it, whether such a nation “so conceived and so dedicated can long endure.” May she endure by God’s continual grace, and may we, her citizens, be brought to a national repentance and renewed worship of the God Jefferson rightly called “the Supreme Judge of the world,” Father, Son and Holy Spirit, world without end.



Written by Michael Duenes

July 4, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Posted in Duenes, Government

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