July 1, 2012
13th Sunday in Ordinary Time
“Do not be afraid, just have faith.”
—————————————————————————————Reflections on The Declaration of Independence
“When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another…”
Thus begins The Declaration of Independence. The opening shows respect to history, and the fact that the thirteen original colonies came mainly from Great Britain who first helped them, but then began to abuse them. Thomas Jefferson, the main author of The Declaration of Independence, respects history and the reasons for historic change. The colonies first tried to resolve the problems, but King George III would not respect their reasonable requests.
“…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,…”
Natural law is recognized as more than physics, it is also the God given dignity which each human being has and thus the natural right to receive the goods that God has established for the preservation of each human life.
“a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to separation.”
The Founders of our American Republic give “the causes” for such a break from being politically bound to Great Britain, but they first acknowledge the essence of God given human dignity and natural rights by writing this:
“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.”
Truth is not always self-evident, but some truths are so basic they speak for themselves. Every man, woman and child, i.e. “all men”, have an equal dignity because they are human beings created and sustained by God. Some men may run faster, or work harder, and so they are not equal in every way, but they are equal with respect to their dignity as human beings, which means they have the same natural rights and basic responsibilities before God.
These unalienable rights and responsibilities cannot be infringed by anyone unless they are forfeited by criminal acts that are contrary to these natural laws. This is the standard of our life as Americans. True freedom comes from the “Creator,” and we are responsible for the promotion and defense of these unalienable rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” in that order. A responsible Catholic makes a good citizen.
Father Thomas McCabe