Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July to all of our American friends, and to all people who love freedom. Please say a special prayer for our friends and loved ones in the military who are defending our freedom with their lives.

Here's a reminder of why we celebrate our freedom on July 4th-- the most beautiful political document ever written:

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...

I've always wondered if Jefferson understood the impact his words would have. He wrote the political charter of human freedom-- freedom derived, as he says so beautifully, from our Creator.

Speaking of the Christian origins of our nation and our freedom, Rick Marschall has a superb post on America's Other Manifest Destiny.

Marschall quotes Lincoln on God and the Declaration:

Abraham Lincoln characterized the impetus behind the Declaration: "[The] representatives in old Independence Hall said to the whole world of men: '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.' This was their majestic interpretation of the economy of the Universe. This was their lofty, and wise, and noble understanding of the justice of the Creator to His creatures. Yes, gentlemen, to all His creatures, to the whole great family of man. In their enlightened belief, nothing stamped with the Divine image and likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on, and degraded, and imbruted by its fellows. They grasped not only the whole race of man then living, but they reached forward and seized upon the farthest posterity."
If we deny God, we deny any objective basis for human rights. God-- and God alone-- is the Source of our rights and our freedom.

God Bless America.  


  1. Michael,

    I'll tell you what. When God makes himself visible, instead of doing a very good job of concealing himself so as to make it seem as though he doesn't exist ..., and announces clearly and succinctly exactly what rights humans have, then I'll accept your argument.

    All you have done is to have repeated yet again the unsupported assertion that objective means god given.

    Over almost all of human history and still in large areas of the world, humans have had little in the way of human rights. Not to mention the billions of humans living in prehistorical times.

    1. I thought you weren't coming back here any more. Oh well. I've made the same promise about all kinds of things. Never able to give some of 'em up.

      Glad to see you're still around. Hope you have a great 4th, amigo.

    2. Bach,

      How did I know you would write more blather and not manage a wish of well being?

      First off: God has made himself visible. Just because you can't google God's email address does not mean He is not there. What's next? Will you argue numbers are not real?
      He is clearly discernible and real to those who choose to see Him (ie MOST of humanity).
      He has made clear covenants on more than one occasion. You were not there....I know, I know.

      That you choose to place cherry picked avenues of modern inquiry over experiential and traditional understanding is not God's or the believer's problem - it is your own. There are plenty of modern scientist that can see the WHOLE picture. You're just not one of them. You cannot (refuse to, actually) see the forest for the trees.

      Secondly, it up to YOU to prove that God and all the evidences of his work do NOT exist. It is up to you to prove that objective truth and morality (and by extension rights) do not exist - Not the reverse.
      You will object that you cannot prove a negative. That your argument for nothingness, purposelessness, and futility is untenable.
      You would be right to do so, as there is no proof for your argument.
      All you have is nihilistic conjecture that if implemented as social policy would be greatly detrimental to all life on earth as well as fly in the face of the VAST majority of humanity past, present, and - dare I say - future.

      Finally to your comment regarding history and prehistory: You suggest there was/is 'little' in the way of human rights in ancient and in modern times. I suspect you mean they were not defined as such and did/do not meet the modern standard of 'rights'. After all you must be aware of the ancient laws and various levels of freedoms granted the peoples of the past. [BTW it is thought the world's population did not reach the US 'billions' mark until the early 19th cetury - could you mean collectively billions? I will assume so.]
      That lack of codified 'rights' in so many places and times is exactly why we (in both the US and Canada, for example) celebrate our nations enshrining of these rights in the Charters we hold so dearly. We feel that the 'evident' truths/rights of human dignity, morality, and freedom (liberty) have FINALLY been encoded into coherent forms that can be preserved politically.
      This is why we celebrate. That is WHAT we are celebrating.
      That is why civilized peoples wish each other well on these days of import, even if they differ by degree.

      As to your comment on pre history, it is pre history. We have no records of what those people did or believed other than the archaeological. Further 'pre history' has a very different calendar date depending on the geography of the cultures involved.
      That aside consider: Did the builders of Gobekli Tepe believe in universal rights? We just don't know. We do think they believed in the divine, however (nature of the site).
      There is no basis for asserting anything but the most obvious about these cultures that existed prior to the records we now have. Therefore using 'pre history' as an example of cultures that did not believe in or institute any sort of communal or universal rights is invalid. Such an argument is sheer speculation and based on a very outdated view of the period in question.

      As to the modern lack of human rights: This is why nations such as the USA are considered 'great' by civilized peoples: They HAVE a written guarantee of their rights and hold the Divine as guarantor of them. This is exceptional and brilliant. It is an achievement worthy of praise, admiration and celebration.
      It is your loss that you cannot move yourself to at least congratulate or wish them well on the day the Americans celebrate these 'self evident' truths.

      For goodness sake, if not for God's, have the decency to wish the Yanks well on their day.

  2. A very happy, safe, and FUN fourth of July to all of Americans inside the United States and around the world. May your great nation survive and thrive for centuries to come in a form that would be recognizable to those generations of men and women that have sacrificed and worked so hard to make it what it is.
    May you ALWAYS hold those simple truths as self evident.

    From all your neighbours, friends, and allies in Canada.

    1. Crus,

      Thanks, my friend. Blessings to you and your countrymen as well. Americans are blessed to have such a great and good neighbor.

      And we formally apologize for the War of 1812- we got carried away! :)

    2. Mike,

      My pleasure, mate. Enjoy your VERY special day.

      "And we formally apologize for the War of 1812- we got carried away! :)"
      LMAO! No worries there, Mike. Water long under the bridge (or should I say over the falls? :P) Besides those early conflicts may well have served both our nations well in the end. The galvanized our populations and made clear the cost of conflict between brothers. Both nations learned invaluable lessons (at great cost) that have made us steadfast allies and good friends.
      God bless you folks, and may you and your family have a great 4th!

    3. Michael,

      You don't need to apologies for the War of 1812. Canada didn't exist then. The war was with Britain. And it was justified. Britain was impressing American citizens into the Royal Navy, infringing America's right to free trade as a sovereign nation and supporting 'enemy' native Indian tribes to prevent the expansion westwards.

    4. Bach,

      The lands of Canada came into being in 1774 with the Quebec Act. The colony of Quebec which was then divided into the 'nations' of Upper and Lower Canada (position on the River and Lakes). Ask any Ontarian or Quebecois.
      That is basic grade school history.
      We had not yet been confederated, and so were not as big or federalized, or yet fully independent - but Both Upper and Lower Canada were formed and united by decree and a constitution in 1774. We wrote our own laws, elected our own officials, and chartered our own militias.

      You may as well say the USA did not exist either because California or Utah had not joined the Union and/or the civil war had not yet been fought.

      Further it was the 'Canadian Militias' that formed the bulk of the forces that repelled the American invasion and took over large swaths of Upstate New York, Michigan, etc. The British forces, very present in a command and logistics capacity, were small and spread out. We had our own signs, flags, symbols, and heroes virtually unknown in the rest of the Empire.
      Britain's main focus was FRANCE and EUROPE.
      Not Canada nor the British North American provinces and territories.

      It was not regular British forces that called out 'Vive le Roi' as they defended Montreal and Quebec city.
      It was not regular British forces that followed Tecumseh into battle.

      Ours was a mixed bag of defenders. Canadians (of many origins), Natives, and British.
      Greatly outnumbered and out gunned we held our ground and even took some.

      Not only did this galvanize our peoples, it also served to prove to the newly formed USA that we were not only deserving of respect, but also that we wanted to chart our own course. We did not desire 'liberation' as the contemporary war propaganda machine had extolled. This latter fact became increasingly apparent to the military men sent to confront us.

      Mike knows this, because he LIVES next door and obviously paid attention in history. He has most likely visited the forts and heard all about Sir Isaac Brock, General Hull, the battles on the lakes, etc etc. He makes his home near those battlefields and sites, just as I do but on the other side of the Lakes.
      As for your comment regarding 'justified':

      A response WAS indeed justified from a military perspective for the pressing of Americans (not the defectors, but the actual Americans being pressed into service), but that hardly goes to say ATTACKING Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes (not yet Canadian, but allied) was the rational or correct response.
      I must also note this is a very strange stance for a person who decries the US invasion of Iraq.

      Mike's apology is well met and greeted with the intentions he clearly held: Goodwill.
      The real reason he did not 'need' to do so?
      Neither of us were there. He has not fired at my people, nor I at his. Neither side has done anything of the sort since the mid 19th century.

      America is today a great friend and ally of Canada. As I noted before, this conflict is part of that process of coming to terms with our neighbours.
      Good fences make for good neighbours.

  3. As an Australian, I don't feel the need to congratulate America on its day. It's just a day in history, no more or no less important than any other significant day in history.

    Australia's day is Australia Day (January 26) which is the day the First Fleet arrived in Sydney Cove to set up a penal colony. Sydney is on the other side of the continent, and I generally don't take much notice of it.

    Australia's next significant anniversary is April 25, 2015, marking the 100th anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli. I like to note that April 25 is a very significant date. It's the day that American and soviet troops met on the Elbe splitting Nazi Germany.

    That said, I'm booked to go to Gallipoli on April 25, 2015.

    Anyway, you can't claim that human rights have been inspired by God. Can you point to any part of the Bible in which human rights which we so cherish are actually set out? The Bible is an account of one atrocity after the other, including King David choosing a plague killing 70,000 of his subjects as punishment for his 'crime' of counting his people (this, for some reason, upset God. David could have chosen a punishment inconveniencing himself, but he didn't).

    Human rights are obviously a human invention, perhaps one of the very best.

    And there have been a 100 billion humans on Earth. Most died very young.

    There were probably more if you include all Homo species as human, which you should probably do, so that's millions of years of pre-history. Not much human rights then.

    1. Bach, the root of human rights is found in the understanding that each of us is made 'in the image of God' and therefore have inherent and eternal value.

    2. Bach,
      There is but one sentiment worth addressing in your comment:

      "As an Australian, I don't feel the need to congratulate America on its day."
      That says it all, doesn't it? There is 'no need' for any such friendly or civil expression, because you are not in danger and stand to gain nothing from being friendly or polite to an adversary on a special day for them.
      What a sad, hollow world you live in. How utterly devoid of any grace or class. How animal.
      But let's face it: This has NOTHING to do with being Australian. I have met plenty of polite friendly folks from your part of the world that would gladly extend well wishes to people of other nations (even savage cultures), regardless of how important they personally feel a celebration is. This is about your NIHILISM, not your nationality.

    3. David,

      And your proof that 'each of us is made in the image of God'? And what exactly does that mean? You don't go along with the 'sophisticated' theology that holds that God takes whatever form you want or need? And the understanding certainly didn't give any human rights to peasants in medieval Christian countries as documented in Barbara Tuchman's 'A Distant Mirror' discussing 14th century France. Peasants were slaughtered to weaken neighboring rival nobles.

      Human rights are obviously a purely human invention, and a very good one at that.

    4. CrusadeRex,

      Actually I wouldn't have commented if Michael hadn't stuck at the end 'If we deny God, we deny any objective basis for human rights. God - and God alone - is the source of our rights and our freedom'.

      It's bullshit. It's also bullshit the many times he's made this claim previously. He's the one who has cheapened the day.

      And anyway, why should I congratulate present day Americans for what Americans did in 1776? I wouldn't expect to be congratulated on Australia Day for an event that happened in 1788.

    5. "And anyway, why should I congratulate present day Americans for what Americans did in 1776?"
      If you think that is all the 4th of July is about, you have missed the point entirely.
      No blurb on a blog will convince or otherwise explain to you why courtesy and good will should be expressed to allied peoples...even those of an adversarial or opposing viewpoint.
      Never mind, Bach. The point in time where that type of etiquette would have been appropriate has passed.

      "I wouldn't expect to be congratulated on Australia Day for an event that happened in 1788."
      Well, expect it or not - you'd have it from someone like myself if you professed an interest in it and were celebrating that day. I like Australia and count friends and family of friends amongst your countrymen. I would see it as the decent thing to do, when your people are celebrating and happy.
      I am not a Jew, but I would wish my friends that are a happy and peaceful Hanukkah, fully realizing NONE of them were present during the rededication of Solomon's temple.

      PS, I am not a Robot (even though some of the folks I work with and for may indeed be), but I will need bionic eyes should I need to keep PROVING I am a sentient organism to you!!!

    6. CrusadeRex,

      Well, if you try to congratulate me on Australia Day, I'd tell you to go and get farked. Celebrating First Settlement Day in a country such as Australia is problematic since we don't know when the Australian aborigines first settled Australia 50,000 years ago.

      A more sensible Australia Day would have been January 1, to commemorate the day in 1901 when Australia officially became a new (unified) country. New year. New century.

      But of course that wouldn't work. We'd lose a public holiday.

      I still don't see why I should congratulate Americans in a thread which Michael has cheapened by bringing up his bullshit delusion that human rights come from God.

      Human rights are a human invention. Humans deserve the credit, not a fictional God.

      Australians have a lot of reasons to be grateful to America. But also some, not many, to be slightly irritated. The botched Afghanistan war. The Iraqi war. All blunders of conservatives.

  4. God-- and God alone-- is the Source of our rights and our freedom.

    If you live in the U.S., this is false on its face. The U.S. Constitution states where it derives its authority from, and it isn't God.

  5. @Rex: "Secondly, it up to YOU to prove that God and all the evidences of his work do NOT exist. It is up to you to prove that objective truth and morality (and by extension rights) do not exist - Not the reverse."

    SO typical. First of all, to claim something supernatural- thats theres an invisible deity in the sky who is freighted with all the little nuances of human life, then turns to skeptics and says, 'prove i'm wrong,' is a classic con artist ploy. I think of Bertrand Russell's teapot parable.

    "Ask any Ontarian or Quebecois.
    That is basic grade school history. "

    Maybe in YOUR country. Don't insult someone because it wasnt in their 5th grade history class. I'm in NY, and grade school history consisted of U.S. history. Not Canada's.

    And i still don't see any real explanation here as to why 'god and god alone is the source of our rights and freedom.'

  6. Bach and Mulder. Put it this way. Apart from our understanding that human rights derive from the conviction that human persons are made in the image of God we think that any 'rights' you claim are purely arbitrary. Genghis Khan had the right to slaughter lots of people. According to him. We don't see any grounding in your morality apart from arbitrary personal preference.

    Have we lived up to our moral code? Hell no. How does that prove it wrong?

  7. Genghis Khan??
    Come on. Your god of the old testament resorted to a LOT of genocide. Was that moral?

    Again, your argument begins with presumptions of a deity

  8. I am always surprised at the amount of anger, angst, crude language and sheer lack of education into the bible that is put forth by non-believers. Why so much hostility? You never hear a true christian screaming to make their point. How is it that so much arrogance is spewed forth about that which you know so little about, yet you so desperately want others to believe? If Isaac Newton,(who discovered the theory of gravity, color and calculis all by the age of 21), Albert Einstein, Mendel, Kepler and Francis Collins all believe in a creator, than who are you to say that God does not exist? The top 50 scientists of all time were either theists or deists. I'm sure in their life's work they saw the intricate workings of God's hand. God can not exist if your only objective is anger. And what good did atheism ever do for mankind anyway? God is not a religion and Jesus Christ didn't come to teach hatred but to save the lost. God Bless