From the Declaration of Independence:
“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. — That to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. — That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundations on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. . .
[Wh]en a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. . .
The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these States. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. . .
He has obstructed the administration of justice by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers. . .
He has made judges dependent on his will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to the civil power. . .
. . . For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing taxes on us without our consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of trial by jury:
For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offences:
. . . He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation. . .
In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people. . .
We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare,
That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and Independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent States, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent States may of right do.
— 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.
I’m afraid this is only a fond dream in an America where most college graduates can’t name all the states of the union, and barely recognize George Washington and Thomas Jefferson; but this almost-perfect formulation of the human response to tyrannical government ought to be memorized. Don’t those phrases just ring with truth? “the separate and equal station to which the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them” “deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” “it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government” “these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states”
Ahem. <recovering from awe-struck meditation> We will now enjoy several quotations from leaders involved in creating the Declaration, tending to show their strong Christian beliefs, and how that influenced their political actions. These quotations are found in David Barton’s The Myth of Separation.
In The Rights of the Colonists, published in 1772, Samuel Adams (cousin of John Adams, and one of the key figures in the Boston rebellion) wrote: “These [rights] may be best understood by reading and carefully studying the institutes of the great Law Giver and Head of the Christian Church, which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament.”
Abigail Adams (wife of John Adams) in 1775 wrote: “A patriot without religion in my estimation is as great a paradox, as an honest man without the fear of God. . . The Scriptures tell us righteousness exalteth a nation.”
When George Washington addressed the troops at Valley Forge in May 1778, he said: “To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.”
William Prescott helped organize shipments of grain from the town of Pepperell, Massachusetts to Boston, as that city was being blockaded in retaliation for the Boston Tea Party. He wrote to the citizens of Boston: “Let us all be of one heart, and stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free; and may he, of his infinite mercy, grant us deliverance out of all our troubles.”
When the members of the Congress signed the Declaration of Independence on August 2, 1776 (it had been approved two months earlier; which shows that even then Congress was slow), Samuel Adams said: “We have this day restored the Sovereign to whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven, and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let his kingdom come.”
Since I can’t type up the whole book, or even the whole chapter, that will have to do for now. May God have mercy on our country, once so great, which has fallen so dreadfully from a good beginning. If there is any way left open for national repentance, that we could escape God’s just judgment for the corruption of our whole society, I pray God we could find it before it is too late.