Monday, July 3, 2017

The Declaration of Independence: The Supreme Judge of the World 1, Jesus 0

On July 2nd, 1776 a bunch of white guys representing 13 separate British colonies located in North America had a decision to make. It had taken a while to reach that moment. In fact debate about the issue at hand had been so contentious at times the entire Maryland delegation had walked out in protest a month earlier.

Totals were tabulated a tad differently in that Philadelphia hall than they are in the current American congress. Each colony, or state had a single vote, no matter how many people lived within its borders. Internal polls were taken within the delegations which ranged in number from three to seven. If a majority of say, New Jersey delegates were in favor of a proposal, New Jersey voted yea. If not, the state voted no.

The vote that day was on a resolution to sever all political ties between the thirteen colonies and Great Britain. It passed 12-0 in favor, with one abstention. The result thrilled John Adams so much he wrote his wife a letter telling her, July 2nd was destined to become a great American holiday. You know, there would be parades, NASCAR races, baseball games, kegs of beer, brats on the grill, and fireworks booming overhead at night.


On the 4th of July, after a day of heavy editing, during which, according to Wikipedia, about 25% of the text was deleted, a final draft of sorts was approved by congress and sent to the printers. On the 19th another minor change was made to reflect New York's belated yes vote, which made the passage of the Declaration of Independence truly unanimous.

For reasons that remain unclear, America quickly settled on the middle of the three dates as its Independence Day.

Since then the declaration, much like the constitution, and the bible, has been used to justify almost every political and moral argument shouted from the rooftops within these United States.

As late as a couple of months ago Donald John Trump assured the graduating class of the right wing, evangelical, Liberty University, America is a "Christian nation." He used as proof the Declaration of Independence, which he noted, referenced, "our Creator," four different times.

Yeah, well, kind of.

Actually the word Creator appears once. That would be in the preamble whose primary author was John Adams, a Unitarian who didn't believe in the Trinity. It was a piece of work so radical and inflammatory its first reading had caused the Marylanders to take their temporary walk.

In the introduction there is a mention of, "...the laws of nature and nature's God." In the conclusion, Thomas Jefferson appealed to, "the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions," and pledged the new nation would pursue its course, "with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence..."

The document doesn't contain a single mention of Jesus, or Christ, or, even the term, our Savior--all of which differentiates Christianity from various other religions who worship a Deity, or Deities. In other words, while the majority American citizens at the time might have been Christian, the founding fathers, despite what Don Trump and others say, didn't specifically embrace Christianity, or any other faith. In fact they went out of their way to avoid doing just that.

But hey, a little truth has never stopped a rousing speech delivered to a mob ready to hear how righteous their history and therefore their cause is. If you want proof, just ask the Germans.

Given these circumstances one can only imagine how fast Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, and the rest are spinning in their graves right now. They may have been a flawed lot, but unlike the current resident in the White House and his minions, they relied on reason and brains, not lies, grotesque bluster, and revisionist theological propaganda to make their point and, ultimately, history.

Thank the Supreme Judge of the world they didn't.

sic vita est


1 comment:

  1. Its about time for optimism to reassert itself. I firmly believe that the United States has a much better chance at weathering a political storm such as we've seen over the last year than most anyone else. God Bless America!