By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings
As we celebrate our Independence Day, a thought process which is slightly different than calling it the Fourth of July, I’ll start by sharing an excerpt, …a fabricated 1776 journal entry from a person who lived on Long Island, New York. Consider how you might have felt were you to have been subjected to the same environment.
“Thomas Paine has written a new pamphlet, Common Sense, in the which he has defined quite clearly the need for us to act as a unified body, aware of the usurpations which have heretofore been imposed on a once loyal colony of Englishmen; but now have been estranged and are left with few options, nay, but one option if we are to hold our heads high before our families, our neighbors and before our God. We must abandon hope of ever being addressed as anything but unworthy subjects of the King, of ever achieving equal status as Englishmen with rights shared by anyone other than those living here in these back water townships.
It has been established that gatherings to discuss our plight are now outlawed, those attending face grave consequence; loss of property, confinement and even death for uttering seditious words against the Crown. Is it seditious to desire equality of rights from a government which treats some citizens better than others? I ask only for those rights granted to other common men, no more, no less. If this is treason then I am a traitor.”
What followed is part of history; our Declaration of Independence outlined some very specific complaints against the King of England along with a basic acknowledgement that certain aspects of mortality can only be attributed to God.
“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.”
I should mention something I found interesting regarding an early draft of the Declaration as pertains to unalienable Rights. For a brief time the words “inherent and” appeared along side unalienable Rights; but it was considered redundant and removed. In today’s anti-religious climate what that line might have done to drive home the point that we are literally children of our Father in Heaven. We are heirs to all His blessings; oh that this line had been left in tact.
Several years ago a few low life members of the community visited our meeting house during the night time hours prior to the Independence Day celebration at our church building. They left our beautiful building covered with graffiti which had to be sand blasted off. Surely these independent thinkers were only trying to express a distorted interpretation of their right of free speech when they kicked in the bottom glass panel on one of the entry doors making it inoperable; another item which required time and effort to repair.
We had our pancake breakfast anyway, young children paraded about with traditional patriotic banners on decorated bicycles and we listened to talks by military veterans. The choir sang America the Beautiful and tears ran down my cheeks as the words sank deep into my soul. The Spirit of America lives within us and so we celebrate; in spite of those who would destroy that which we hold sacred. We rejoice in each others inalienable rights and express gratitude to God, the Author of our Liberty.
Let us acknowledge our dependence on divine intervention, for surely the back woods marksmen who took on the Red Coats must have employed many prayers to overcome such incredible odds as our nation won the day so many years ago. Take a few moments to recognize the fragile balance between freedom and subjugation and act responsibly that we might hold onto freedom for another season.
The things I celebrate do not come in a box of fireworks, a parade with flags waving or in a well planed meal with friends and family. I hold in my thoughts the celebration of individual awareness, a burning need to establish for ourselves, a place in which these inalienable rights; Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness as granted to us from our Creator, even God Himself, that these are sufficient cause for celebration. These are worth fighting for and if need be, to take life… or sacrifice our own in defending them.
May God continue to protect and bless us with the necessary wisdom and courage to provide these precious intangibles for the next generation is my hope and my prayer. In the sacred name of our Savior, even Jesus Christ. Amen.