un·al·ien·a·ble: adj. Not to be separated, given away, or taken away; inalienable
On July 4, 1776 our founding Fathers signed a Declaration of Independence from England. In the second paragraph of this historical document it lists two basic, self-evident truths. The first, that all men are created equal. The second, that there are certain unalienable rights granted to us by our Creator, with the three primary ones being the right to live, the right to be free, and the right to pursue that which makes one happy. It also states that governments are instituted among men so as to secure these truths and protect these rights, getting its powers only at the behest and consent of the governed. These words triggered a Revolution, where the battle between the truth according to man and the truth according to God was waged: were we created to live under what another human being deemed to be our purpose, or were we created to live under what God deemed to be our purpose, and to live free?
The idea of liberty has always been a radical concept, even back then. For generations and across continents the nature of man was either to enslave or be enslaved. History tells us of battles being fought for power and dominion, rarely have they been fought for liberty and the right of self-determination. The founders knew that they were stepping across a unknown precipice in faith, doing something that had never been done before. They knew the price that would be paid, in blood and tears, but they stepped out anyway. Through their sacrifice, and the sacrifices of all those that fought alongside them in the name of this radical idea called freedom, we have the nation that we live in today. It was not the first time blood was spilt in the name of liberty, and as we all know, it would not be the last.
Our Founders understood that they were not only fighting a battle against the most powerful military in the world, but that they were also fighting the nature of man. Centuries of precedent had shown them that humans have a tendency to want to rule and control each other. We so desire to be like god that we forget that we were created by God. Our Founders recognized our default nature; it is within this written Declaration of Independence where they remind us that liberty is not granted by government to man, which tends to be unequal, but by God to man, granted equally. Government was merely intended to be a tool to allow us to fulfill our purpose, not the means by which we are told what that purpose is. The power to determine our own destiny lies with us, not with the King, nor with the politicians, nor with the President. Our Founders were seeking to create a nation that the world had not yet known, birthed from the radical idea that people have value and worth because they were created in God’s image, not because a certain group of imperfect men ever deemed it to be so.
As we prepare to celebrate our nation’s birthday, let us not forget the rights outlined in the Declaration of Independence, that little piece of parchment that fired the “shot heard around the world”. Let us not be so consumed with the “pursuit of happiness” that we forget the other important truths listed in this document. Our government has tried for too long to define what the correct pursuit of happiness to be, that they have hampered our ability to pursue it ourselves. By allowing the preferential treatment of certain groups, our government has denied what it means to be truly created equal. By focusing so much on our health and safety, they have neglected the protection of our liberty. And if liberty continues to be strangled, how can we truly live a life as we see fit? A great price was paid over two centuries ago in defense of these basic truths. The Fourth of July not only celebrates our independence, but calls on us to remember that the pursuance of liberty has never been, nor ever will be, an easy burden. Let us not become so complacent that we remember the holiday but forget the sacrifice it represents.
While we do not have the power to grant to each other that which was already given to us by our Creator – our unalienable rights – we do still have the power to allow it to be stolen or surrendered away. We were created to breathe free, and a government that tells you any different is nothing but a liar and a thief. May the Fourth of July instill within you the boldness of our forefathers, in that we continue to remind our government of its proper place: the protection of our people’s liberty.
“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” ~from the Declaration of Independence, signed July 4, 1776