Fields of Grief and Joy

Years ago I stood in a quiet Pennsylvania field.  It was as beautiful that day as it was today, and as it was fourteen years ago.  I had my oldest son with me there.  He was just 3 years old and didn’t know why just being there was terribly difficult.  He didn’t understand the long granite path into a field that seemingly held nothing.  I didn’t tell him that day that free men and women died in that field not that long ago in the most recent shots of a clash of civilizations because he didn’t yet have the maturity to understand.  Funny thing is that the joy of taking a walk with his dad was infectious.

There was sadness and grief there, but there was also joy.  Joy in the bright sunshine and perfectly cloudless blue sky.  Joy in the quiet solitude of the field and the trees beyond.  Joy in the eyes of a child and the new place.

I have said before that I have learned so much more about God after becoming a father.  That day God used my son to teach me a lesson that I knew intellectually, but had never really thought through.

I knew the moment that I first saw the towers burning that Americans were dying at the hands of a mortal enemy.  I knew that moment that my life and everyone’s lives would change forever.  I was sad for my country and grieved the loss of life.  That grief turned to anger, as it did for many.

What I didn’t know was that God was setting me up for that day years later in that field – so that I might finally understand this:

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
    you have loosed my sackcloth
    and clothed me with gladness,
that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
    O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

Psalm 30:11-12

No More Excuses

Looting.  Rioting.  Arson.  Assault with Intent to Kill a Peace Officer.

These and many other things are occurring nightly in Ferguson, Missouri.  I understand the desire for justice and how the reluctance of police to release everything they know as they know it can feed into our imagination’s need to fill-in-the-blanks with our own prejudices.

18 year old man, 6’4″, 300 lbs, lies dead in the street of multiple gun shot wounds.  A police officer admits pulling the trigger and claims it was in self-defense.  It just happens that the dead man is black and the police officer is white.  A thorough crime scene investigation is conducted at the scene of the shooting and then the rumors begin (thanks to another 18 year old man who happened to be at the scene – more on him in a minute).

The white cop had it out for the black guy.  Racism! 

He executed him!

And that’s how the ball got rolling.  Our imaginations are powerful things.  When we don’t know the full story, we can imagine many plausible instances to fill-in-the-blanks of what we don’t know.  This is how conspiracy theories begin. 

I will admit that I understand the desire for justice. I want justice in every instance.

If the officer did in fact act wrongly – either by escalating a normal confrontation unnecessarily or by acting in malice, then he deserves to face a judge and jury.  However, if the officer acted correctly in defense of his life against a larger, aggressive man bull-rushing him after fighting him moments earlier, then his use of lethal force to end a threat to his life is fully justified under the color of law.   You see, more facts have come out since the initial few days that further complicate this situation for the deceased. 

He was walking home after roughing up a shop clerk of a local convenience store after stealing a box of Swisher Sweets (thin cigars used to conceal marijuana and allow it to be smoked in public as “blunts” with plausible deniability).  What began as shoplifting turned into robbery when he was confronted and physically assaulted the shop clerk.  He then began walking home in the middle of the street, evidence of his crime in hand, with his accomplice (the aforementioned man above).  They were acting in a manner that obstructed traffic and in a manner that could cause a traffic accident that would harm someone else or themselves by walking down the middle of the street. 

While the officer involved had not yet heard of the robbery moments before, these two individuals had no way of knowing that.  The deceased likely believed that he was about to be arrested for his crime.  As a thoughtful person, consider that the deceased may have decided in that moment to resist arrest thinking himself larger and stronger and able to do to the smaller officer what he had down to the shop clerk moments before.  That mindset could have been the primary cause of everything that then occurred culminating in the gunshots fired that ended the incident.

The situation has been used by race-baiters like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to further highlight their purported platforms and to keep themselves relevant in the eyes of the nation.  The situation has been exacerbated by the national news media through endless reporting, speculation, and glamorization of violent acts through their broadcasts of such to the world.  The situation has been used by anarchists, criminals, and looters in order to provide cover for their actions within Ferguson.  Buildings have been burned to the ground.  People have been shot.  The police have suffered repeated assaults via bottles, rocks, molotov cocktails, and many other forms of abuse. 

And the politicians, legal authorities, and law enforcement officers in charge have excused this behavior by saying that there are rifts in the community that have been exposed by this situation.

What?  Let me explain.

I am not going to render judgment on the officer or the deceased actions and neither should anyone without all of the facts, yet the calls for justice have been used as an excuse for illegal, harmful behavior and that has highlighted the bigger problem that has been exposed in this instance.

What is white guilt?  White guilt is the faulty belief that white people, regardless of their economic circumstances, have more privileges due to their skin color.  This belief, paired with the equally race-based belief that black people have less privileges and are subject to greater fear, scrutiny, and suspicion in every instance when compared with someone with a paler skin tone, have led many to pardon the behavior of the protestors and rioters in Ferguson.  Those beliefs though are far more insidious than that.  These beliefs permeate the very fabric of society from race-preferential college selection, scholarships, government employment applications, and general societal attitudes toward African-Americans. 

Are we so racist to believe that blacks cannot pull themselves up on their own?  Are they inferior to whites or other skin tones because they happen to be a darker shade?  Are we doing African-Americans any favors by saying that they only have to be 75% as good as whites in order to get a job or get into college?  Are we promoting cultural evolution or are we segmenting that portion of the population and giving them an excuse to not improve by rewarding below-average behavior? 

Were Italians given an excuse for mafia behavior in the early 20th century?  They had just emigrated from Italy due to the Italian Civil War. 

Were the Irish given an excuse for their drunkenness and brawling after having fled Ireland due to a terrible famine and centuries of British occupation?

I could go on and on asking the same question of every race, creed, and color of people that has come to the shores of America.  Chinese?  Japanese?  Arabs?  Vietnamese?   Every type of person regardless of color, nationality, or religion has faced discrimination in these United States.  We are not perfect, but we always are seeking to improve in order to forge a more perfect union.  Until the press for affirmative action and the lowering of standards for blacks, the impetus to strive for better was there for that entire community, but in an effort to socially engineer full integration due to the falsehood that is white guilt our society has told the entire black community that they are not good enough or smart enough to “make it” without our help. 

I will say it again – because of a perceived advantage by whites over blacks within our society, whites have had pity on blacks and lowered the standards that are expected of everyone else in order for this class of people because it’s supposedly impossible for them to do anything with their lives without a subsidized advantage.

That is racist and it must stop right this very minute or we will never kill and bury racism within our society.

The excuses that white America makes enables the behaviors that led to the rioting in Ferguson and it generates a standard below that which the average American is expected to meet. 

Until we encourage a truly level playing field where all are equally expected to behave there will be no justice because the black community will not clean itself up.  Without an incentive to do better, why should they?

It worked pretty damn well for the Irish-Americans, German-Americans, Italian-Americans, Greek-Americans, Hungarian-Americans, Polish-Americans, Chinese-Americans, Lebanese-Americans, Syrian-Americans, Korean-Americans, and Cuban-Americans.  Every group faces prejudice and setbacks, but rose to the challenge presented by this country to contribute greatly and become part of the whole because our standards for them were not lowered.  It is time to do the same and it should start in Ferguson.

The Death of the Republic: Action

It is time to act.

It is time to reject apathy.

It is time to reject ambivalence.

It is time to reject passivity, tolerance, and fairness.

It is time to embrace liberty.

It is time to ensure justice.

It is time to take a stand – to set in stone what you believe and prepare to vigorously defend it regardless of the cost to you personally.

How do we as a country solve this problem?

How do we conquer the attitude of “it doesn’t affect me?”

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.

Ephesians 4:25

For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.

1 John 3:11

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

John 13:34

It all affects you.  Every. Single. Last. Thing.  The change that must be made comes from within.  If you are not willing to stand up next to your brother, next to your neighbor, next to your fellow citizen against all evils and in every time of need, we will fall. We must change how we behave personally.

We must be a bulwark against tyranny, not for our own sake’s, but for our fellow citizens, our neighbors, our brothers, and our families.

We must passionately take up the standard of liberty, the Constitution, and the Word of Almighty God as the foundations of liberty – unshakeable, immovable, and eternal.

We must stand on fact, highlight truth, and shout it from the mountaintops for all to hear or the beacon of freedom in the world will be extinguished.  It may very well be extinguished one day, but the truth will never be extinguished as long as one man or woman has it on their lips.

We must take seriously Christ’s command to love God and love our neighbors.  We can say we love God, but if we do not take action to prove that love, what good is it?  We can say we love our neighbors, but if we do not act on their behalf even when they do not want or do not think that they need it, then we have not fulfilled the command.

We must display our passion for our ideals more than ever, and our willingness to not only take up arms to defend liberty, justice, equality, and freedom, but to lay down our lives ultimately if necessary for them.

We must, through our actions, through our voices, and through our lives – how we live and how we die – express with no reservations that there are some things worth giving it all to attain and preserve.

Proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants.

Leviticus 25:10

I hope to one day tell me sons that their father did not stand by indifferent and ambivalent about the future of their country and of earthly liberty.

I will one day stand in judgment before my Creator, and I will answer for whether when the time came whether I stood or sat idly by.

I will stand.

I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God.

Martin Luther

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

The Death Of The Republic

This will be the best security for maintaining our liberties. A nation of well-informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins.

Benjamin Franklin

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

Revelation 3:15-17

The opposite of love is not hate – it’s apathy. It’s not giving a damn.

Leo Buscaglia

Love cannot endure indifference. It needs to be wanted. Like a lamp, it needs to be fed out of the oil of another’s heart, or its flame burns low.

Henry Ward Beecher

I intend to explore for the rest of the week and beyond what seems to me to be the a serious threat to our republic, and what could ultimately be it’s death.

There is no doubt in my mind that we are staring at the gaping maw of tyranny – it is here, it is now, it is ongoing with the various and rapid-fire scandals at IRS, the Department of Justice, at NSA, and the full court press that these federal authorities are putting on the Bill of Rights and the liberties and freedoms enshrined therein.

You may say that scandals happen to every administration and the warning of encroaching tyranny is sounded every few years and nothing ever seems to come of it, but I believe we have entered a new highly dangerous point in the history of the experiment of American liberty.

I believe that we are under attack.  The attack is not coming from some other country or even one person or group in particular.  We are the enemy, because the root of the problem is apathy, indifference, and a lack of love.

Tune in tomorrow for why WE are the enemy to our own liberty.

Lust and Power

If you’ve ever watched or read Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, the lust for power is well imagined in the lust for the One Ring.

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,

One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

The lust for the ring of power was great.  It was known to contain great power and endowed the bearer with magical abilities such as invisibility, unusually long life, and others, but at a great price.  It was a corrupting force.  Regardless of the intent of the person who possessed the ring, no matter how it was used, the ring only answered to the one who made it.

Let’s unpack the concept that Tolkien was trying to convey.  The first and most obvious layer is that power corrupts.

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, 1st Baron Acton

“Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it.”

William Pitt the Elder, Earl of Chatham and British Prime Minister from 1766 to 1778

The lure of the power in the ring was impossible to resist.  Men would do anything to gain possession of that power – lie, cheat, steal, kill.

Take a look around at all disconcerting tyrannies that I have written extensively about to date.  Those tyrannies are either aimed at obtaining, preserving, or strengthening power.

Yesterday, May 30th, the NSA’s Utah Data Center went live.  The center has the capability to capture, record, and analyze every form of electronic communication in the domestic United States every single day.

The Department of Homeland Security has expanded it’s mission from just protecting modes of travel to protecting and actively policing within the United States.

The warrantless wiretaps on the AP, the targeting of individual reporters such as James Rosen, the IRS’ unequal treatment of conservative, Tea Party, and Jewish groups are all methods being used to silence opposition and whistleblowers through intimidation.

More than 70 percent of federal spending goes to dependency programs.  The threat of removal of these programs ensures that dissension is unthinkable lest the life support that 128 million Americans rely on for subsistence be taken away.  These people have become serfs of the new feudal masters within the government (both elected and unelected).

Schools in Florida, under the guise of an insidious program called Common Core, scanned and retained the irises of school children for their “safety” and “security.”

These are just a few instances of huge power grabs, shows of naked force.  Each one by itself could be written off as nothing, an overreaction or overreach by overzealous bureaucrats, but together in concert they are much more.  They take on the mantle of a full blown tightening of the vise of tyranny on the citizens of the United States.

Now you might even be saying that I’m overreacting because I disagree with President Obama politically on nearly every issue, but it goes far beyond that.  I would disagree with these steps regardless of which party or President was in power at the time because I see these for the lure of power that they are and will be going forward.  That power becomes a drug for the person who wields it – they need it, and not to know that they have it, but they will need to exercise it in growing frequency in order to fulfill their craving for it.  The power will corrupt them.  Even if they began with the best of intentions, that power will destroy them.

The bureaucrats and politicians that come next will see the One Ring before them.  It will call to them, not with the clarion call of liberty, but with the sinister whisper of influence, authority, power, and strength, but those powers can only be wielded by the creator of the ring.

Who is the creator of the ring?

In Tolkien’s tale, Sauron, the Dark Lord, is the creator of the ring, but even he can be destroyed by it because he is ultimately dependent on it as well.  So did Sauron create the authority, power, and strength that were endowed into the ring or did he simply channel them there?  Let’s back this up to theology now… did Satan create the power that he yields?

The short answer is no.

God created Satan as Lucifer the angel.  Satan is dependent on God for his very existence.

One day the angelscame to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them.

Job 1:6

The authority, power, and strength that Satan holds were benefits of his created nature and were gifts of his position in the hierarchy of heaven.  It is Satan’s intent to disobey and rebel against God that corrupts those gifts.  Just as Satan rebels and corrupts those great and mighty gifts that God bestowed on him at his creation, the government – the politicians and bureaucrats, the authorities, the individual branches and big players have intents and purposes that run counter to the Constitutionally-directed role of the government and it’s relationship with the people altogether.  The small tyrannies summed together will corrupt even the best intended of those men and women because they will beg to be used… the temptation is too great.

THAT is why we rail against these overreaches.  THAT is why we sound the watchman’s call as the abuses and usurpations mount.

The enemy is not just at the gates.

The enemy is now within the city walls.

If we do not stand and fight and defeat these self-obtained powers, then we will lose whatever scrap of liberty that we have left on this Earth except for the hope that we have in Christ.

If power corrupts, we must rid ourselves of it.  If we do not want a corrupt government controlling every step we take in our lives, we must disrupt and dismantle it’s power to do so or we will find ourselves prisoners in our own country.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Ephesians 6:12

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:7

Divine Providence

For those of my friends that choose to believe that America was founded as a secular nation, you have to ask yourself where the concepts that emboldened those brave men and women hundreds of years ago to cast a new nation on this Earth with the utmost of conviction and belief that God Himself was guiding them.

Excerpt from Know Your History by Bradlee Dean.

The University of Houston political science professors searched to find where the Founding Fathers chose their ideas:

They assembled 15,000 writings from the era of the founders.
They researched for 10 years, isolated 3,154 direct quotes and identified the source of the quotes:

8.3 percent were quotes from Baron Charles de Montesquieu;
7.9 percent were quotes from Sir William Blackstone;
2.9 percent were from John Locke;
34 percent of their quotes came directly from the Bible – and when researching where Montesquieu, Blackstone and Locke got their ideas, they found that theirs came from the Bible as well.
Consider Isaiah 33:22 from which you can extrapolate our three branches of government.
For the Lord is our judge,
    the Lord is our lawgiver,
the Lord is our king;
    it is he who will save us.

Crisis of Faith

Have you ever suffered a crisis of faith?

Your whole perspective is under attack.  You are no longer sure of what you believe.  You doubt nearly everything you know as true or hold as certain.

I believe there are patriots around this country suffering from this malaise of spirit right now.  They look at the political direction of the country, the economic certainties facing us, the moral degradation of society and cry out in anguish.  Thoughts begin to form such as those of secession.  Labels of tyranny and despotism get added to the vitriolic mix.  They begin to draw inward and insulate themselves from those unlike themselves as a self-protective measure.  They look to their families, their neighbors, and their friends for some semblance of stability in the turbulent world we live in.

These spirited and passionate men and women are discouraged by the reelection of a President contrary to so much that they hold dear and thought that their fellow citizens held dear.  They are discouraged by the sense that the each election is just more of the same.  They are discouraged at the lack of difference between major party political candidates and the lesser-of-two-evils approach to governing this great nation.

They have every right to suffer a crisis of faith at this point.  Their view of America has been shaken at it’s core.  Why a crisis of faith?  Aren’t these principles concrete over history?

Absolutely not.  Governments and societies rise and fall.  Man lives and dies.  There is only one concrete absolute in all of the universe and that is the preeminence and authority of God Himself.  Everything else is just a ripple in time.

I recall hearing once that anyone who does not suffer a crisis of faith at some point was never truly a believer in the first place.  A person at peace with the world, who does not feel like a stranger in a strange land, has never truly separated from it.

Do you, patriot, feel like a stranger in a strange land?  Do you look out at the American landscape and ask yourself “what happened?”

To you, all I can say is to stand firm. I refuse to become cynical, nor do I cling to false hope.  These trouble times, this adversity we will soon face as we go over the “fiscal cliff” will ultimately prove to be a good thing.

How can I believe this?  Because adversity causes us to realize that real value is not of this Earth.  There is nothing here for us because the Kingdom of God is infinitely more valuable than anything in this world.  All of the things that we cherish, even our very freedoms, can become idols to us to distract us from this fact.  We are tempted to put more value in life here on Earth than on life with God.  This adversity to come will be good for us as a people, like a forest fire – destructive at the onset, but clearing the dead wood and old growth for new fresh growth to occur.  Adversity leads us to search our souls, and renews our faith, because when you’re at the very bottom, you have nowhere to look but up.

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.

Anne Bradstreet

When I stand before thee at the day’s end, thou shalt see my scars and know that I had my wounds and also my healing.

“Stray Birds,” Rabindranath Tagore

Let us pray not to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless when facing them.

Rabindranath Tagore

 

 

 

Instances

It has been seventy-one years since our country woke up on another December morning.  War raged in Europe and the Pacific, but America was at peace.  We thought we were safe with two massive oceans on our east and west coasts that would isolate us from the inferno of these two wars.  We thought we were strong enough to deter any attack.

The Attack 1941 On Pearl Harbor

The Japanese were the same way.  They believed that they were due their empire.  They were extremely proud and had met nothing, but success so far.  While the attack on Pearl Harbor was a terrific success for them, it ultimately led to their downfall as their own pride guided their actions.  In their own eyes, they were destined and undefeatable.

ph2

The funny thing is that everything we thought was an illusion.  History has a funny way of giving us such a crystal clear perspective that we can say now that we should have seen our perceptions as hollow and false, but humanity has a funny way of sugarcoating it’s own state and making it oftentimes better than it actually is.  Call it vanity, false confidence, or bravado.  Whatever you want to label it, the symptom is of a deeper disease, pride.  Pride can be as damaging to us as bombs, bullets, rockets, and torpedoes.  In my own life, I can point to tripping points and if I am honest with myself, where I went wrong each time was that I held on to my pride rather than thrown it down.

WAR & CONFLICT BOOK
ERA:  WORLD WAR II/WAR IN THE EAST/JAPAN ATTACKS

Pride earns you nothing.  It is self-bestowed and hollow always, because our worth is not based on who we are or what we do, but on Whom we place our trust and faith, on Whom created us, on Whom gave us the whole Earth as our dominion.

ph4

So today, on this anniversary, don’t look back and think of how our great nation rose from the ashes of that fateful December day and punished our enemies at the time.  Look back and see how pride has disastrous side-effects.  Pride will hide the truth from each and every one of us, because the truth is black and white and the truth is not comforting… unless the truth you seek is the one found in Christ alone.

Yes, December 7th is forever a day that will live in infamy, not for the bombs that fell, the bullets that were fired, the torpedoes that were dropped, and the soldiers, sailors and airmen who died, but for the body blow we took as a nation because of our pride.

Love the Lord, all his faithful people!
    The Lord preserves those who are true to him,
    but the proud he pays back in full.

Psalm 31:23

 

Declare

If you read this blog, you are familiar, at least on a passing level, of the text of the Declaration of Independence.  You are also likely familiar with history as it progressed from that point until now.  I have written about the God-given rights espoused in that inspired document (Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness), but I elected at that time not to dive into the “injuries and usurpations” part of the Declaration for a variety of reasons.  I have been forced to rethink my own rationale for not tackling that subject in the past.  I find myself compelled to write about the need to live a Christlike life, and yet I shrink from this confrontation because of how murky it can get as we muddle away from unconditional truth into areas made much more murky by politics and the less-than-unbiased lens of personal opinion.

I have been pushed over the edge though.  There comes a time when you have to call a spade a spade, point at the hypocrites and call them out on the mat, or label and define the usurpations and injuries.  For example, modern-day examples of just such violations abound:

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. (Refusal to enforce Congressionally-passed federal law).

He (and His administration) has obstructed the Administration of Justice (New Black Panther Party Voter Intimidation Case).

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance. (Unconfirmed “Czars” under the Obama Administration: 33 of 38 appointed)

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent. (Illegal taxes being levied by Presidential directive)

Will enough eyes and minds be opened and realize these affronts to our founding?  I do not know.

Will people recall that the underpinnings of our founding were not intrusions and oppressions foisted on the American people by a foreign power, but by those that they called their own countrymen?  Our history is replete with people recalling the greater of those past abuses and examples of tyranny, but few recall that while the British people and ourselves are different now, back then, we were all British (or Englishmen as it we would have been labeled at the time).

What I do know is that the spirit of independence will not go out quietly… not everywhere.  Darkness can drop on all of the world and yet the light of Truth will shine like a beacon in the darkness.  The American spirit that binds us as countrymen, the one shared by patriots from Maine to California, from Minnesota to Texas, will not be extinguished by one man, ten men, or ten million men.  Liberty will endure because it is from God, not men.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

It’s not that liberty is the easiest thing in the world to master.  In fact, I would even assert that liberty itself directly opposes any attempt to impose a master, whether one man or a body of legislators and therein lies the deepest foundation of many of the political divisions that split our country.

Declaration – Part Three (Pursuit of Happiness)

What did the Founders intend when they included the pursuit of happiness as one of the three named rights endowed by God on mankind?

The phrase itself has been perverted over time to mean something akin to the American Dream, which has been perverted itself to mean everything from achievements in life, family, wealth, home-ownership, and anything else a politician can dream up that sounds good in a sound byte or a newspaper byline.  It has been used to justify social programs that alleviate personal responsibility from the individual.  It has been used to justify progressive taxation where wealthier individuals are taxed more intensely than less wealthy ones.  I imagine the Founders would be incensed were they still alive to find out how this phrase had been bent, twisted, and misused over time.

What is happiness?

the quality or state of being happy.
good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy.
Happiness and joy differ from person to person.  I might find great happiness in watching my sons grow up and watching my wife catching up with an old friend, while someone else might find great happiness in reading a new book, or taking a hike through the wilderness, but is that joy?  Joy is the source of happiness.  What is your joy?
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
Why did the Founders specify the pursuit though?  Were they acknowledging that they sought to establish an earthly government, not a heavenly one? Were they acknowledging that true joy on earth is only found in Christ?
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Joy transcends happiness.  Happiness is temporary and can be blotted out when times get tough.  Time and time again, Americans have proven to have extremely thick skin.  We suffered through a terrible civil war that decimated the country, we fought two world wars were millions perished, suffered economic recessions and depressions that had the potential to be just as deadly, and we persevered against totalitarian socialism when we stared down the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
Were any of those happy times?  No.
Can we look back and find moments of joy sprinkled throughout? Yes.
Happiness is externally dependent.  It relies on pleasure from the fulfillment of desires and wants.  Joy is internally dependent.  It is found in the love in your heart.  It is found through the Spirit of God and the hope we have in Christ alone.
The Founders may have even intended for these rights to be recognizable as follows:  life (in Christ), liberty (from sin through Christ), and the pursuit of happiness (or joy, which is found in Christ).
Tell me again that we are not a Christian nation, all I have to do is point to the Declaration and show you that it is divinely inspired.  Thomas Jefferson may have been a deist and believed that it was impossible to know God, but it seems to me that God greatly influenced Jefferson’s text and blessed this country through and because of it.
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Culture, Politics, Firearms, Education, Literature, Philosophy, Music, And Other Musings

High Heels and Handguns

This princess is armed- The prince can't always be there to rescue you

Sheeple: People unable to think for themselves

Here to help educate the Sheeple before the slaughter

Fellowship of the Minds

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."

Reality Check

American Patriot's Reality Check

The Firewall

Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it

Freedom Is Just Another Word...

Rules?? What Are rules? I don't need no stinking rules!!!

Evil of indifference

"Now, we must all fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men. " from Boondock Saints

The Radio Patriot

Because I have so many words...

Eatgrueldog

Where misinformation stops and you are force fed the truth III

Reality Of Christ

Christian, End Time, and Conspiracy News!

DAYLIGHT DISINFECTANT

DAN SANDINI'S NEWS OUTSIDE THE MAINSTREAM

WR2A: The Line In The Sand

We Are the Second Amendment, and you cannot stop that.

The Longwood Institute

A site dedicated to the appreciation of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness along with the responsibilities these God-given unalienable rights invoke.

Ten Smiths Blog

What does the Declaration of Independence really say?

Short Little Rebel

Because loving Christ is the most rebellious thing you can do

Deaconmatson's Blog

observations from America

America: Going Full Retard...

Word: They are acting. They are creating. They are framing their reality around you. And we … we bark at the end of our leashes. Our ambition for freedumb is at the end of our leash.