July 4 is not for celebrating independence from Great Britain.
July 4 is not merely a celebration of independence from Great Britain. After all, the official independence was declared two days prior, on July 2. July 4 is when we celebrate the adoption of a government built upon self-evident truths and God-given rights. We celebrate a governing blueprint for a free people that affirms not only the individual rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness but the right of a given civil society to be governed only by its consent – all ordained by natural law and nature’s God. As Calvin Coolidge observed in his speech commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Declaration, “It was not because it was proposed to establish a new nation, but because it was proposed to establish a nation on new principles, that July 4, 1776, has come to be regarded as one of the greatest days in history.”
Almost two and a half centuries later, the very essence of consent-based governance, rooted in popular sovereignty, jurisdictional sovereignty, and the social compact, has been completely obliterated in spectacular fashion. This obliteration has come from a source our founders never feared in their worst nightmares – the unelected courts.
It was the Declaration of Independence that inspired the creation of a “republican” form of government 11 years later at the Constitutional Convention. The self-evident truth that government must derive its powers from the governed people inspired a system of checks and balances and a dual-track government built upon federalism. The framers of the Constitution understood that in a representative republic, all important decisions must flow directly or indirectly from the people through their elected representatives and through the unit of government, ideally, that is most closely tied to the people.
The declaration of a consent-based social compact and system of governance was inspired by the colonial-era rallying cry of “no taxation without representation.” Inherent in this principle is that no forces outside a society – that is, forces not controlled by the members of that society itself – may determine the destiny of that society. Now, as we watch the July 4 fireworks dimmed by the darkness of tyranny, we are facing an autocratic usurpation that dwarfs the magnitude of what our founders faced from the British monarch. Whereas they were confronted with taxation without representation, we are under attack from the most unimaginable and extreme forces of social transformation without representation at the hands of a lawyerly elite.
Keeping God as supreme is the only way to keep self-governance alive
Yes, it all gets back to God … because it all began with God. The Declaration didn’t merely mention God. It identified God as the source of the most foundational rights. It is to protect these rights that we created a government. That government must be ordained by consent of the people. Without God, people cannot be free, because, by definition, they will be governed by the capricious whims of a man-made authority.
Thomas Jefferson, the primary author of the Declaration, warned of turning away from God and the consequences for liberty, which comes from the same source:
“God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.”
We have not only elevated the unelected judges above the power of even King George, we have elevated them above God. The courts now have the power to overturn natural law endowed on us by God. It’s time we follow our forefathers and appeal to the “supreme judge of the world” with “a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence,” as they did in the Declaration.
Outcomes are for God. Our job is to stand for our timeless principles. Our job is Micah 6:8 — to do justice, to embrace loving-kindness, and to walk humbly with our God., not to get sucked into the binary idolatry of the lesser of two evils we are confronted with daily. It does look rather hopeless at this point, but God can change that.
If we want to remain a sovereign people and a sovereign nation, indeed we must return our hearts, minds, and prayers to the ultimate sovereign of the universe and recognize the self-evident truths that come from him. On them, will we actualize the final words of John Adams, “Independence forever.” For those who adhere to God’s sovereignty, and therefore, the sovereignty of the individual and the nation, will truly remain independent.
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