However, Fourth of July is a great time of year to talk with your children about the liberty that we enjoy as American citizens.
Fourth of July is a wonderful time to explore the freedoms that we have grown up with and take for granted. Personal liberty, freedom of speech, the right to a trial by jury of your peers, and accountability of leaders to their citizens are things that many people throughout history have not experienced.
So, where did this freedom stuff start?
Did it start with the Magna Charta? Or did it start even further back.
Law is King!
Our political rights and freedoms go all the way back to the Bible, the source of our rights and responsibilities.
Many power struggles have taken place throughout history. Who will rule this nation? Who will get the money? Who will get the power? Who will have the final say? Those in power like to keep their power intact and exercise it. Those under authority usually want more power.
In the 1100's and 1200's, the nobles resented the king's power in England. There was constant struggle over who would make financial decisions and what rights nobles could enjoy. King John, a weak ruler, was in constant conflict with his nobles. The nobles forced King John to sign an amazing document called the Magna Charta. This document greatly limited King John's power and provided for the formation of Parliament. Was this a new idea? No, not at all. It was a renewel of Angle/Saxon law.
For a great look at the Anglo-Saxon roots of our political system, I recommend a book, The 5000 Year Leap by W. Cleon Skousen. This book sets forth 28 principles of freedom and explores the writings of the Founding Fathers. It also examines the historical roots of political freedom. It is not written from a Christian perspective, but still has much helpful insight into our historical roots.
In 1620, the passengers on the Mayflower got together and signed an important historical document before they disembarked. The Mayflower Compact gave the signers the right to govern themselves in the new land.
The Declaration of Independence was written by Thomas Jefferson and signed on July 4, 1776. This document sets out the case that American colonists felt they had to resist the control of the British. It refers to attempts made to negotiate and to failure on the part of the British to keep up their end of their political agreement. This document appeals to God and His laws.
The United States Constitution is the highest law of our land, though often ignored in Washington D.C., and provides the framework for our government structure. Amendments have been added to the Constitution which guarantee certain rights to United States citizens. The first 10 amendments are called the Bill of Rights where we get those famous rights such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and the right to bear arms. Read the Constitution slowly over a period of weeks, a little bit each day. You will be shocked at what is really written and how much it is disregarded in our culture. For example, the tenth amendment states that "the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people." Immediately, many federal government programs, departments, and cabinets come to mind that are unconstitutional.
Pull out these documents. They are all available free on-line to read. Read them together and discuss them. Remember that the only way to preserve freedom is to be educated about our freedoms and exercise them.
God Bless America!
Merey (Meredith Ludwig Curtis)