Endowed... By Whom?

President Obama recently slipped up while quoting the Declaration of Independence. Not once, mind you, but twice. Both times he committed the same error, stating that "all men are created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights..." Notice what's missing? Three simple words: "by their Creator."

Is it merely coincidence that a president who is known for his intelligence and public speaking acumen would commit the same simple error on two separate occasions, merely a month apart? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

Either way, this all got me thinking about something that's far more important than Barack Obama, or any other president for that matter. It got me thinking about the importance of those words, "by their Creator." Why were they put in the Declaration of Independence in the first place? And what happens if you take them away? All sorts of bad things happen, unfortunately.

The Declaration of Independence gave moral justification to America's separation from England by basing it in "nature and nature's God." At the time it was written, one didn't have to be a dedicated Christian in order to embrace that document. "Nature's God" could be understood in a number of ways, Christian, Deist, or otherwise. The same is true today: One doesn't have to be an evangelical Christian like I am in order to support the Declaration.

But one does have to acknowledge the same "self-evident truth": that the fundamental equality of all men, which is what ensures our liberty, derives from the Creator. The consequences of failing to acknowledge this, as many people (including our president) seem wont to do these days, are potentially disastrous. I flesh this out a bit in a recent article at the Colson Center, in which I ask Do We Still Hold These Truths?


Crown of Beauty said...

I have just finished reading your article Do We Still Hold These Truths?

You have expressed your thoughts on this matter very clearly.

Once again I am thankful to be reading what you have written.

What you wrote about has caused me to think about the declaration of independence and how important it is to your founding fathers. It is the basis of your hustory as a nation!

To change history would be disastrous!

We don't usually get news like these on our news networks here, so I am grateful to find out what's happening, and to hear your perspective about it.

It does look scary to me, the path that your country is on. It may not look that way to others, who are blinded and therefore unable to see clearly. It reminds me of a similar incident, a conversation that took place in the garden between Eve and the serpent... "Did God really say that" the serpent begins his famous line planting doubt in the unsuspecting woman's mind and heart. And the rest is history. This play on words, this seemingly accidental omission or addition, twisting the real intent of our Creator, sowing doubt. Satan's paraphrase was not an accidental misquote, it was a deliberate premeditated act of sedition against the Creator, the King and Sovereign Ruler of the Universe.

And because of that, mankind fell.

The enemy still does it today, obviously...luring his unsuspecting victims by dangling before their eyes a fruit called the "pride of life" which is desirable to make one wise...

But gravity is gravity whether it is acknowledged and believed in or not.

And God is God, whether he is believed in or not. He does not cease to be simply because his Name has been omitted in a speech or deleted in a written document.

The sad thing is that the deluded head of any organization - be it a family, a tribe, a church, a state, or an entire nation acts as THE gatekeeper, the strongman, against invading forces. If the gatekeeper is deluded, or blinded, or rendered powerless in any way...then the enemy gains access...

God is God whether He is acknowledged or not.


Matt Guerino said...

Thanks Lidj, your other-culture perspective is most interesting. The Declaration is really quite important to this country, as it captures much of the essence of what America means, and this essence is rare (unique?) among history's nations. That's why it is eminently appropriate for the president to be quoting it and reminding us who we are.

And that's also why I'm bothered by his mis-quotes. But this isn't really about the president: I'm bothered much more by an increasing national tolerance for for vagueness on these points. In other words, while I suspect the president's omission reflects his personal position, I think even more it reflects the position of the nation. We're forgetting who we are. And if we do we will lose the rarity (uniqueness?) that has set this place apart for over 200 years.

But I think that's still an "if." One thing the economic downturn has done is make Americans more scared, but also more awake. I think now is the time for Christians to testify to the truthfulness of the Gospel by demonstrating that it WORKS - for instance in this very nation!

Blessings friend,

Taylor Samuel Lyen said...

Fascinating. You refer to the President's misquotes, but do not give examples? For the sake of discussion, quote one of his misquotes. I'm interested to see exactly what you are bothered about.




Matt Guerino said...

Hi Taylor,

Check out my first paragraph, in which I directly quote the President, who mis-quoted the Declaration of Independence. For the full text of President Obama's speech, see http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/10/19/remarks-president-a-dscc-dinner-rockville-maryland

And remember that, as I state in the original post, this has little to do with Barack Obama and a lot to do with the consequences of secularization. See the linked artlie I wrote at the Colson Center for more on my concern here.



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