Air Force Independence Day Message Skips over Creator
The US Air Force leadership issued an Independence Day message that, while a worthy effort at marking the July 4th celebration, skipped over a rather important part of the Declaration of Independence [emphasis added]:
This Fourth of July marks the 236th year since the Second Continental Congress unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence…
Thanks to the vision of our Founding Fathers and the commitment of the courageous men and women who fought to win American independence, we inherit a legacy of freedom based on the idea that all people possess certain unalienable rights–to life, to liberty, and to the pursuit of happiness.
A high school American Government refresher might be useful:
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…
While the wording is largely the same as it was last year, it is a somewhat tortured turn of a simple phrase. The “vision” of the founding fathers was not “freedom based on the idea [of] unalienable rights” – it was freedom from government interference with Divinely-granted rights. As the founding fathers clearly said: those rights come from the Creator — not any work of man. (Interestingly, President Obama has been criticized for dropping “Creator” from his quotations of the Declaration.)
If man was responsible for granting those rights, then man would have the authority to take them away. That was a large part of the argument behind the Declaration: the King was restricting that which was the authority solely of God. Because those rights are endowed by God, no man has the right to unjustly deprive another of his rights.
When we ‘thank the founding fathers’ for their vision, then, we should acknowledge their reliance on the fact such rights are above the purview of human government, and extend from the Creator.
While perhaps no longer politically correct, it was an important distinction in 1776 — and it remains important today.
Photo credit: U.S. Army photo by Spc. Eric Cabral, Afghanistan, June 6, 2010.