Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Independence Day (United States)

Today is Independence Day in the United States of America. I thank God for this nation, for the freedom we have here to worship God. May that freedom and peace extend to all peoples everywhere.

Borrowing from Scot McKnight's blog Jesus Creed today, I post a prayer and the Declaration of Independence.

A Prayer for our Country from the Book of Common Prayer:

Almighty God, who has given us this good land for our heritage: We humbly beseech you that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of your favor and glad to do your will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion us into one united people. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in your Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to your law, we may show forth your praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in you to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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 abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation upon such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are long accustomed. But [our grievances are neither light nor transient, and a list of them follows….]

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.


joe said...

reading that bit of the declaration, it seems to me abe lincoln usurped the power of the states when he started the civil war.
do independant states have those rights? not that i would support it, but what if ohio wanted to wage war on uzbekistan? according to the declaration, we can.

very interesting. its the power of power.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Joe, If I understand this correctly, but I read this as saying that the independent states together can do this. Maybe I'm wrong and any independent state can do that. I'm no expert on this.

Your questions here are quite interesting. How Abraham Lincoln's declaration of war fits into that, I don't know.

I'm guessing after looking briefly at some wikipedia articles on the Declaration as well as on Lincoln and the war, that his proclamation was done at least arguably in the spirit of the Declaration as well as in the spirit of what America stood for, that all people are created equal.

I used to be an American history buff when I was young, but have long since lost out on that. But it is quite interesting.

joe said...

i have a buddy who actually graduated with a degree in history of war. he said it wasnt so much for slavery that abe declared war, but because the south wanted to be independant states.

lee was originally asked to lead the north but he said he wouldnt lead a foreign army on to his native land of virginia.

this is what i am told...

Ted M. Gossard said...

Joe, Interesting. I understand too that the main reason Lincoln went to war was to stop the secession of the Confederate states from the Union, to preserve the Union. I think the slavery issue became bigger to him later, and the Gettysburgh Address might reflect that in Lincoln.

It's hard yet important to try to see everyone's perspective as at that time.

That is why we Christians need to maintain an altogether different perspective as strangers here, and of one holy nation of the kingdom of God in Jesus.

joe said...