Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving and the Declaration of Independence

The Founding Fathers were deists, not Christians, in the conventional sense of that term. They believed that God created a person but that when he was born, his life was his responsibility and should be free to make it whatever he could.

On Thanksgiving eve, driving to the grocery, I listened to Herman Cain, a local talk show host on WSB radio.

In honor of Thanksgiving, he was going through the Declaration of Independence pointing out the clauses that have sourced this country to be great. The one that piqued my interest is highlighted. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Notice the word before creator: THEIR! It is not the word THE nor OUR. ONE'S CREATOR IS WHOEVER OR WHATEVER THE INDIVIDUAL PERSON CLAIMS IT TO BE!! This is indeed great and puts the lie to the idea that we were formed as a Christian nation. We are a nation formed to honor the rights, not the circumstances, of each individual human being.

Mr. Cain, for his part, didn't rise to the occasion regarding his explanation of UNALIENABLE RIGHTS. Unalienable means inseparable. These Rights are absolutely necessary in order to be fully human to the limit of that possibility and live in a society of human beings.

The Rights which are unalienable are those necessary for a man to function as man. If he were on a desert island, he would act using them although in that situation they wouldn't be distinguished. He would be pursuing the aims of his life in full freedom for his happiness. He cannot be a human being in the full meaning of that term without them.

Ultimately this boils down to MAN MUST BE FREE TO USE HIS FORM OF CONSCIOUSNESS, his rational mind. He must be free to use his means of survival, the attribute that distinguishes him from the other animals.

I thank Herman Cain for his emphasis on the word THEIR. I had never noticed this before and it increased my respect for the Founding Fathers' consistency in grounding this country in a new vision for mankind on this side of a line drawn in the sand - inside the borders of this country there shall be a new possibility for man. And to the extent we have been consistent with that vision, our people armed with this possibility and our union have fluorished.

But don't let it go.

There are forces at work to overthrow or move us away from this vision. Positive Rights, e.g., mean enslavement to not freedom from other men. More than ever, if you choose to live as man, I urge you to espouse, speak for, argue for and stand for these principles lest this vision pass from the possibility for man.

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