The Declaration of Independence: An American Insurrection?
By Robert W. Peck
A couple of days ago, I listened to a special Independence Day edition of the Steve Deace Show. It included a reading of the Declaration of Independence by the show’s producer, Aaron McIntire. I’ve read, and/or heard the declaration read numerous times, yet this time it seemed I was hearing it afresh.
Aaron gave an excellent delivery, but more importantly, his tone and tenor made me feel like I was hearing one of the founders declaring from their own heart the causes which impelled them “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.”
Among the many things you might do this Independence Day, I implore you to include a review of America’s founding document. You can hear Aaron’s reading of the declaration here starting at the six-minute mark.
As I heard the words of the declaration being read, I found myself considering how similar many of the charges against King George sounded to things being done by our own government today. While the specifics may differ, the nature of usurpation and the inclination of human leaders toward tyranny remain the same and are quite recognizable both then and now.
Having an understanding of the God-ordained purpose and jurisdiction of civil government, the American founders saw the offenses of King George as justifying and even necessitating, the colonies’ separation from Great Britain – an act viewed by the king as insurrection. Yet one man’s insurrectionist is another man’s freedom fighter.
But here’s a question – have the misdeeds of today’s state and federal officials in acts of usurpation, suppression of God-given rights, and violations of the constitutional rule of law reached the point of justifying another American insurrection?
According to the signers of the declaration, “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends (the securing of God-given rights), it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness.”
Based on those words, it would seem to be time to at least consider the justification for altering or abolishing a government that has become destructive of God-given rights, liberty, morality, justice, and the rule of law – things that governments are instituted among men for the purpose of securing.
However, before anyone runs out and tries to overthrow the current government, let me ask what you would intend to replace it with? Can you think of a document more wise, virtuous, and well calculated to preserve liberty than the U.S. Constitution? Every Christian, conservative, or member of the political right that I’m aware of only seeks to return America to the form of government prescribed by the U.S. Constitution, not overthrow it.
Perhaps what we want is an insurrection that would remove the current office holders and replace them with people who would follow the Constitution. However, we already have that kind of insurrection once every two years (members of the House), four years (President), and six years (Senators) when every officer of government is effectively kicked out and made to stand for election subject to the will of the people.
Perhaps what the right really wants is an insurrection in which everyone is kicked out of government and only registered Republicans are allowed to vote on who goes back in.
However, from 2017 through 2018, every branch of the federal government (Congress, President, Supreme Court) and fully half the states (five times as many as Democrats) were under the complete control of Republicans, i.e. people elected primarily by the Christian-conservative-right. What evil works of liberalism, Marxism, and moral perversion were overthrown? What ideals of traditional conservatism were restored? As with the Republican revolution of 1994, the complete Republican control during the Bush II era, and the Tea Party revolution of 2010, Republicans were found to be completely ineffective to any and all the purposes sought by the right.
I’m sorry to say that even an insurrection by the political right that thoroughly overthrew the entirety of government would not fix the problems which the Christian-conservative-right seeks to fix because we have become the problem. Our spiritual weakness, our commitment to compromising to win, and our ignorance of the philosophical ideologies of the American Founders is the problem.
The right has lapsed into what the Apostle Paul would call a carnal state. We are in need of spiritual awakening through an outpouring of, and an encounter with, the Holy Spirit and power. I see nothing left in the political realm that the right has not tried in the pursuit of political power short of getting in bed with the devil himself. The only thing left to us is an appeal to God Himself for our own correction, reproof, and spiritual restoration.
It’s time to get our focus off politics and on to the living God who is able to deliver and restore us with or without political power. If we will honor Him, we have His word that He will honor us (1 Samuel 2:30).
I’m not telling anyone to completely disengage from the political realm or to quit voting. I’m saying that politics, politicians, political parties, and the quest for political power cannot be our primary pursuit nor the objects of our devotion and trust.
If you want to do something patriotic this Independence Day, read or listen to the Declaration of Independence. Then, ponder the declaration’s meaning, the intent of its signers, and the spirit in which they declared their insurrection against tyranny as an act of obedience to God.
I agree with John Adams that the signing of the Declaration of Independence should be “celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival.”
Yet, if we forget the purpose of the document, forsake its principles, and lose the freedoms its signers sought to preserve, there will be nothing left to celebrate though July 4th may come and go each year.
More than celebration, I urge that we commemorate the day, as Mr. Adams also said, by “solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty.” He alone can rescue and restore the land of liberty.
May the repentance and restoration begin.
© Robert W. Peck
Published with Permission of robertpeck.net