The Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence by Myra Kahn Adams for Town Hall

Thanks for joining us on this Independence Day weekend when vacations, barbeques, fireworks, beer-drinking, and hot-dog-eating contests take precedence over reading about God in the Declaration of Independence.

But undaunted, we forge ahead with a quote from Monticello.org(Thomas Jefferson’s home) calling the Declaration of Independence that he penned “America’s mission statement.” (A fine example of juxtaposing a modern management concept with a world-changing document.)

The “mission statement” reflected beliefs that “motivated the Founders to create the first free people in modern times,” wrote Earl Taylor Jr. from the National Center for Constitutional Studies.

However, geopolitically speaking, the Founders were embarking on “mission impossible,” considering the tremendous odds against “mission accomplished.”

Remember that 13 geographically separated, culturally and economically diverse colonies banded together to become “the united States of America.” (Note the “u” in “united” was not capitalized in the Declaration’s opening sentence.) But first, the new nation had to extricate itself from the bondage of Great Britain, the world’s reigning superpower. And that explains why the Declaration of Independence references the founder’s faith and trust in God — the Heavenly Superpower.

Ultimately, that faith and trust resulted in a miraculous outcome. But it took eight grueling years of war that started in April 1775 and ended on September 3, 1783, when the Treaty of Paris was signed.

Today we will review some passages from the Declaration of Independence that read like Scripture, acknowledging God’s power — “firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence” — to establish a free and independent nation.

But first, note that although Scripture was not quoted in the Declaration, perhaps the Founders were motivated by the words of Jesus:

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).

The writings of St. Paul:

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).

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