Today we celebrate our independence and we remember the document at the center of the fight. While one can rightly question the religiosity of some of our founding fathers, no one can question that when the signers of the declaration looked for a justification for their rebellion they looked not to themselves but to God. The famous second paragraph:
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.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,..
They shared a belief that fundamental human rights come not from a person, government, or constitution, but from God who created us. Because these rights comes from God they belong to every person on earth.
Three weeks ago today I was at Ft. Benning for the Change of Command. During those days I had the chance to talk with several Afghani who were invited. These were not politicians giving speeches, but human beings yearning and hoping for what we take for granted. They shared their gratitude, their fears, their dreams. Informal conversations that forever changed my perspective.
As Americans we can forget that while we declared this truth in 1776, it would take 90 years and a civil war, before the words Jefferson penned were realized here in America.
Each morning now I pray for the people in Afghanistan, may their democracy not take 90 years and a civil war. From them and for all men and women living in the shadow of oppression, we pray.
Thank you to God, and to all the men and women who fought and gave their lives for the freedom we enjoy today.