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We Hold These Truths to be Self-Evident


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Peggy Gunness

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We Hold These Truths to be Self-Evident
Peggy Gunness

As we approach this national holiday celebrating our nation's birth, I think it is wise to read again those great words from the Declaration of Independence of July 4, 1776:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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.

When I was in school we had to memorize these words, and I find that I return to them often. Sometimes I wonder if we, as a nation and as citizens of the world, still honor and conduct ourselves according to the truths these words profess.

Do we understand human society as a living unity created by "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God"?

Do we live day to day as a people who believe and trust that all people are indeed created equal? That by the very nature of the One who created them, they are endowed with unalienable Rights, rights that cannot be made alien to them?

Reflecting on these declarations which commit this nation to the purposes of peace has made me grasp even more deeply the oft-stated truth, that God needs us to be partners with Him in bringing this world and the peoples of this world to the fullness of life for which we were all created.

God needs us to bless, to heal, to comfort. God needs us to teach, to speak, to lead.

We are the instruments God is using to build a holy kingdom here on the earth for all the peoples of the earth. O God, make us strong and supple in your hands.

The Declaration concludes with these words. Perhaps they can be our pledge as well during this celebration of the nation's founding.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Written for the July 2, 2000, issue of THE CHRONICLE, the newsletter of Calvary Episcopal Church, Memphis, Tennessee.


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