America became a nation on July 4, 1776. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution became law and together are the moral and political foundation of the United States. It is because of our moral and political foundation that we became different from all other nations in the world, the freest and most powerful one with a leadership which listened to God and applied His commandments. This freedom fostered envy especially from immoral socialists around the world. God is the difference between them and us.
I grew up under the Nazis and know that it was godlessness which brought Nazi Germany down – the absence of God which produced the atrocities of their government. This nation must not take the same road. Every Socialist in the world is closer to Hitler than to our Founding Fathers.
In his 1923 Memorial address, President Calvin Coolidge stated: “There can be no peace with the forces of evil. Peace comes only through the establishment of the supremacy of good.” We as a nation must chose to maintain this supremacy of good.
At the beginning of the Declaration of Independence it states: 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…” It defines that the task of government is to protect these rights of the people and receive their powers from the consent with the governed, who have the right to replace the present government “whenever any form of government becomes destructive to this Ends…”
This means, that Almighty God and His commandments were at the heart of the American nation building. According to the American Political Science Review the Bible contributed 34 percent of all direct quotes made by the founders. John Witherspoon was, the only clergyman to sign the Declaration and served on 120 Congressional committees. He was President of Princeton, leader of a New Jersey committee to abolish slavery and taught 9 of the writers of the U.S. Constitution, including James Madison. John Adams described him as “A true son of liberty… but first, he was a son of the Cross” He told his students, “He is the best friend to American liberty…who is most…active in promotion true and undefiled religion…to bear down profanity and immorality of every kind. Whoever is an avowed enemy of God, I scruple not to call him an enemy of this country.
“The First Amendment was not written to protect the people of this country from religious values” Ronald Reagan told the Alabama Legislature on March 15, 1982, “it was written to protect religious values from government tyranny.”
America with its Constitution and history has the answer for the longing of humanity, it is our strength and our future and has to be taught and discussed in our schools. We must decide to vote for and fight for our freedom, realizing it is the task of all Americans to return God to the center of this nation, or we lose our freedom forever. Witherspoon concluded: “God grant that in America true religion and civil liberty may be inseparable.” That is the challenge today for America.
Hilmar von Campe is president of the National Institute for Truth and Freedom and the author of several books including "Defeating the Totalitarian Lie." His website is www.voncampe.com
(Denver Post, July 4) Hecklers, on guard. On this Independence Day, in a stormy election year when Americans are out of sorts, I’m fool enough to mount a soapbox and orate upon the proposition that “politics” should be an honored word, not a dirty word, in our vocabulary.
Politics deserves its bad name, you scoff. It’s a hustle wherein we are lied to and led on, defrauded and dumped on. H. L. Mencken nailed it, you say, when he groused that an election is but an advance auction of stolen goods. Will Rogers was right that just as “con” is the opposite of “pro,” so Congress is the opposite of progress. Fie upon the politicians, the parties, and all their tribe.
I concede your indictment up to a point. But before you let fly with the rotten vegetables, remember that the Greek derivation of POLITICS, 2500 years and counting, simply denotes those things concerning the community, or CITY, and its individual members, or CITIZENS. Can we write off those things? Not unless we’re prepared to live in solitude as hermits or in servitude as slaves. I’ll take my chances with politics, messy as it is.
Like any human endeavor, politics can be done in a noble way or a base way. July 4 commemorates the noblest political moment of all – our nation’s birth in genius, blood, and fire. But the Fourth also looks forward, reminding us how timeless our political challenges are across the centuries, powdered wigs and parchments aside.
Prove it to yourself today by reading quickly through the Declaration of Independence. The Framers, after a lofty opening argument on “laws of nature” and “self-evident truths,” enumerate specific grievances like hammer-blows to pound home the case for change. They deliver (speaking of indictments) a 27-count rap sheet convicting king and parliament of intolerable misrule.
It’s as gritty as a police blotter and, at many points, as current as this hour’s 9News crawl. You’ll notice amazing relevance of these issues from 234 summers ago, into a 2010 campaign over whether Betsy Markey and the Democrats or Cory Gardner and the Republicans control Congress; whether Colorado’s legislature stays with the Dems under Sen. Brandon Shaffer or shifts to the GOP under Sen. Mike Kopp.
Jot a number by each itemized act of tyranny, and follow along with my examples. Taxation without consent, top of the Cliff Notes but only Item 17 for the revolutionaries, remains a flashpoint for TABOR defenders today. Immigration and ill-defended borders, Items 7 and 27, fester still as the Arizona model beckons many Coloradans.
Bureaucratic bloat with “swarms of officers to harass our people,” Item 10, will be a target as McInnis or Maes battles Hickenlooper for governor. Judicial impartiality and accountability, Items 8 and 9, will animate this year’s Clear the Bench campaign. Redistricting, Item 3, will polarize next year’s legislature.
Correlating the colonists’ complaints to issues in present-day Washington is equally easy. Civil-military jealousies, Item 12; federalism, Item 2; trade, Item 16; and counter-terrorism laxity allowing “merciless savages” to plot “undistinguished destruction,” Item 27, all have their 2010 counterparts.
As the Bible observes, there’s nothing new under the sun. Ever since Samuel warned the Israelites in 1100 BC that they would regret forsaking decentralized rule under the judges for a centralized monarchy – because taxes might hit 10 percent! – the struggle between limited and unlimited government has raged.
Peruse the magnificent Declaration for five minutes before you sleep tonight, and you’ll know what the men and women of 1776 knew: Politics matters inescapably. Unchecked, political power will “eat out our substance” and “reduce us under absolute despotism.” But harnessed to “the consent of the governed,” it can uphold both liberty and community. The choice is ours.
(Centennial Fellow) As we observe the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence this Fourth of July, we should consider the unique form of government for which our Founding Fathers chose to risk “their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor” against the militarily-superior British. The definitive passage in the Declaration reads: "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 rights 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." In these 57 words, the Founders established that: • Our rights -- better understood as "freedoms" -- are given to us by a power higher than government. No matter what you believe about creation or evolution, you must acknowledge that government did not give us life. • Government's legitimate purpose is to protect the rights of the people. Just as government did not give us life, it did not give us our rights. • Government's legitimate powers are limited to only those given to it by the people. "The whole point was to show how government might arise legitimately, not to assume its existence," writes constitutional scholar Roger Pilon in "The Purpose and Limits of Government" published by Cato Institute. Pilon's insights are particularly useful because, as a libertarian, he does not advance a religious conservative agenda. Yet he acknowledges that the Founders' common view of "the laws of Nature and Nature's God" provide the cornerstone for all that follows: We hold these truths to be self-evident.... The signers of the Declaration didn't negotiate and compromise to define truth. They agreed that certain fundamental truths were obvious. For example: ...That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness... In that each of us exists because of the same creative process, the rights to which each of us are entitled are necessarily equal. Such rights are best understood as freedom from interference, whether by government or by other people which, of course, implies that others are entitled to be free from our interference. Freedom encompasses not simply the opportunity to make choices but the responsibility for those choices. Freedom does not mean that, because my choice seems superior, I can bend others to my will through the power of government, nor does it mean that when I make an irresponsible choice I am immune from consequences. ...That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. Once the Founders established a broad universe of rights, they discussed government, its sole purpose to protect those rights. Again it is imperative to understand "rights" as freedoms — not as an entitlement taken at the expense of another. When government legitimately protects our freedom, it simply does that which we have a right to do ourselves. By contrast, government does not act legitimately if it secures my rights by taking the life, liberty or property of someone else. When the rights of two people may conflict and neither can fully exercise freedom without adversely affecting the other, the Founders reasoned that in these circumstances, the boundaries between competing rights ought to be drawn by the people whom government serves. However, "consent of the governed" does not empower majority rule to deny freedom to the minority. This concept of a vast ocean freedoms and tiny islands of government power bears little resemblance to our federal government today, which is why it is so vitally important that we understand the foundation of our government before electing someone to lead it. As Ronald Reagan warned, "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."
Mark Hillman is a Centennial Institute Fellow. He formerly served as Senate Majority Leader and State Treasurer. To read more or comment, go to www.MarkHillman.com.
('76 Editor) This is Lincoln's birthday. It used to be a holiday in this country; no more. Yet some of us still revere Abraham Lincoln as the greatest American who ever lived. He is a hero to me because of the moral penetration of his mind, his greatness of soul, his political subtlety and discernment, his determined rise from obscurity to eminence, and the genius of his statesmanship in not only freeing the slaves while saving the Union, but helping the nation to a second birth of “more perfect Union” by so doing.
Here is what Lincoln said at Independence Hall on George Washington's birthday, February 22, 1861, as he journeyed toward the nation's capital to be inaugurated as President with secession already sundering the Union and civil war impending. If our country is less free and less confident of our destiny today, it is because the truths of the Declaration of Independence have less of a grip on us than they did on Americans in Washington's time and Lincoln's time. You and I should ask ourselves every day what we can do to turn that situation around - or we will lose our country.
I have never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence. I have often pondered over the dangers which were incurred by the men who assembled here and adopted that Declaration of Independence. I have pondered over the toils that were endured by the officers and soldiers of the army, who achieved that Independence.
I have often inquired of myself, what great principle or idea it was that kept this Confederacy so long together. It was not the mere matter of the separation of the colonies from the mother land; but something in that Declaration giving liberty, not alone to the people of this country, but hope to the world for all future time. It was that which gave promise that in due time the weights should be lifted from the shoulders of all men, and that all should have an equal chance. This is the sentiment embodied in that Declaration of Independence.
Now, my friends, can this country be saved upon that basis? If it can, I will consider myself one of the happiest men in the world if I can help to save it. But, if this country cannot be saved without giving up that principle, I was about to say I would rather be assassinated on this spot than to surrender it.