Don’t take freedom for granted

Published 9:07 pm Friday, July 1, 2011

On this Independence Day weekend, we’re reminded of the words of our first president, George Washington: “Government is not reason; it is not eloquence. It is power. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearsome master.”

Yet only the most radical of us would argue that government isn’t necessary. Even the Bible suggests that Christians should pay taxes and pray for government leaders.

On Monday, we celebrate the 235th anniversary of this nation’s Declaration of Independence, the prelude to the establishment of our government.

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While all of us can find fault with certain government leaders, not many of us would trade our system for any other in the world.

Independence Day is a good time to reflect upon and rededicate ourselves to the principles upon which this nation and our government were founded.

When our forefathers severed ties with England in 1776, it was a declaration of war for which the signers could have paid dearly. They enunciated this inspiring principle, the words of which are as true today as they were then: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

As a consequence, the world’s first democratic republic came into being and thus inspired freedom-loving people the world over.

For more than two centuries, the United States has been an example of freedom, self-government and justice. Our experiment in self-government probably has succeeded far beyond the wildest expectations of our nation’s founders.

Yet, this great land of ours can remain free only so long as we Americans steadfastly uphold the principles enunciated by those patriots 235 years ago. It is far easier today, because we now have a tradition of freedom and justice. But let us not be complacent. We must remain vigilant against the forces of oppression and intolerance. Freedom must be defended by those who enjoy it.