We celebrate July 4th, 1776, as the date on which fifty-six men approved and signed the Declaration of Independence. This document outlined the grievances compelling them, as representatives of their respective colonies, to dissolve the “political bands” with Great Britain. They did this knowing that if America lost the Revolutionary War, they would likely be captured, convicted of treason, and hanged. Despite the risks, they recognized and staunchly supported this concept:
“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…”
These men acknowledged their dependence on and belief in God. They knew that the purpose of any system of government was to assure that the God-given rights of the people shall and must be preserved and protected. Do we as citizens appreciate the power and principles outlined within these words? Fifty-six men signed the Declaration of Independence, in which they vowed: ”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.” Would you be willing to make such a commitment this Independence Day?
In 1986 at the Provo Freedom Festival, Ezra Taft Benson delivered a speech entitled “Righteousness Exalteth a Nation.” He reviewed the history of the founding of the United States, and reaffirmed that our nation’s foundation was based on the belief in God. As the early patriots fought against a tyrannical government with God’s help, today we must also be willing to stand in defense of our liberty in order to retain and protect our God-given rights and way of life.
In his speech, Benson suggested four actions we must take in order to merit God’s help in preserving and protecting our American way of life. First he stated, “as individuals and as a nation, look to God as our Maker and as the source of our freedoms and blessings.” In scripture we read: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” (Psalms 33:12)
The second action in Benson’s speech was, “we must make the creation of quality family life a high priority in our lives.” Families are truly the foundation of society. We must teach basic spiritual principles and part of that is the true history of our nation. Ronald Reagan said,
“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.”
The third action was, “we must become informed and knowledgeable citizens.” The Bible prophet Hosea declared, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6) Our Founding Fathers had great knowledge and understanding of Biblical principles, and they incorporated those principles into the Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution.
The fourth action was, “we must become actively involved in supporting good, wise and honest people for public office and assume an active part in improving our communities.” We all had an opportunity in the recent primary election to be engaged in electing and supporting good, wise, and honest candidates, those who will promote and protect our God-given rights. We still have opportunities to be engaged in our communities by attending school board meetings and local city or county meetings. It has often been quoted that, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
We can each do something to preserve the principles of this great nation, the United States of America. May we each in our own way begin this upcoming Independence Day celebration mutually “pledg[ing] to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”
This Op-Ed was submitted by Karey Hanks. Note: Op-Eds do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of those at the Idaho Dispatch.
Tags: Independence Day, Karey Hanks, Revolutionary War