When in the course of human events…

Will you take a moment this 4th of July to discuss with the young people in your household the events which led up to the signing by representatives of 13 colonies of their declaration of independence?

You might ask them to interpret the praise: “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.”

I’d ask them specifically if they see any difference in one’s ability to pursue happiness today than 236 years ago in light of the Supreme Court decision that the government can impose a tax on a person who does not voluntarily purchase health insurance?

Please feel free to share the responses you get.

You might


One Response to When in the course of human events…

  1. Peter, we were visiting my wife’s family in California when the call to observe Independence Day/Fourth of July came in. My wife and I were sitting talking with one of our relatives, her sibling, while we awaited the arrival of the other family members. Asked a question about the Fourth, I chose to answer by reading the Declaration of Independence for us — something that my wife and I do from year to year as items in the news give us pause. ¶ While almost anyone today will recognize the general sounds of the opening statement of the Declaration, few have ever read, much fewer have reread the document in full. The impact of the full document on my sister-in-law became astonishing when she said, “I’ve never understood ‘it’ before — never knew there was more to it!” ¶ That, it would appear, is the main problem of our modern political context, but there is another aspect that comes through more powerfully, I think: that the liberty United States citizens are afforded is misconceived at large as “my benefits,” rather than for what it is, that being the freedoms that flow from our liberty have a consequence for the mature: personal responsibility. ¶ The power of this asserted truth gains greater clarity with each subsequent reading of the document, and I know from experience that the children, and clearly other adults, are able to address and benefit from such readings and the discussions that follow.

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