Hello my few and lovely followers,
Recently I had the privilege of writing a blog post for someone else's blog on the Pursuit of Happiness--what it is, why it's a God-given right, and how to defend it. Following I have copied the post in its entirety, but do go and check out the blog itself. It's a great resource for learning more on the Declaration of Independence, American Government, the Constitution, etc.
Here's the post.
Any discussion on the pursuit of happiness is fruitless without the foundation of God, His Laws, and our duty as created beings to follow. Whether or not we actually do follow Him and His laws is a moot point, since “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). So before I even attempt to organize this post, let it be clear that all pursuits of happiness ought to adhere to the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God.”
Defining the Pursuit of Happiness. To gain a better understanding of the pursuit of happiness, we must look through our Founding Father’s eyes. The Declaration of Independence lists all sorts of infractions the King committed against his people’s liberty, which prompted the American Revolution. Therefore, in a word, the pursuit of happiness may be simply equated to “freedom.” In a sentence fragment, the pursuit of happiness is the ability to act as a free agent under the laws of God to secure one’s success or failure in any area of life. This shall be our working definition.
Justifying the Pursuit of Happiness. Up to this point, it has been often mentioned and implied that the pursuit of happiness must be regulated under the rules of God. One could make an argument that the act of rebelling against the English government did not comply to these laws, since in Romans 13, Paul tells us to submit to the authorities God has ordained.
However, let each be reminded that Romans 13 refers to “rulers” as the “ministers of God.” These ministers of God are not to be a “terror to good works, but to the evil.” (v. 3). This is why the pursuit of happiness must be subject to the laws of God, but this is also why, “that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it.” (Side note: A few sentences after this clause, the Founders make it clear that all this altering and abolishing ought to be effected only after numerous infractions, and after it looks pretty clear that the government is headed for nowhere but despotism.)
A responsibility is given to these God-ordained governments, and they must use their power only for the intended responsibility, of punishing evil and protecting good. Human governments are, after all, human. Ordainment by God doesn’t make them any more immune to the temptations and failures we under their rule succumb to. They are ordained by God to sanction and enforce His perfect laws, as well as defend the rights of the law-abiding citizens from the acts of the evil-doers. They are not put here to create their own “whim”sical laws. Therefore, the pursuit of happiness still stands as a legitimate right worth fighting for under our definition.
Defending the Pursuit of Happiness. Although they can’t be written off, the pursuit of happiness’ greatest threat is not despotic rulers enacting laws on a whim. The true threat comes from within. John Adams has already said what I want to, so I shall conclude with two excerpts from some of his letters:
“...it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People in a greater Measure than they have it now, They may change their Rulers and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty. They will only exchange Tyrants and Tyrannies.” (emphasis mine)
“While our country remains untainted with the principles and manners which are now producing desolation in so many parts of the world; while she continues sincere, and incapable of insidious and impious policy, we shall have the strongest reason to rejoice in the local destination assigned us by Providence. But should the people of America once become capable of that deep simulation towards one another, and towards foreign nations, which assumes the language of justice and moderation, while it is practising iniquity and extravagance, and displays in the most captivating manner the charming pictures of candour, frankness, and sincerity, while it is rioting in rapine and insolence, this country will be the most miserable habitation in the world. Because we have no government, armed with power, capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. Oaths in this country are as yet universally considered as sacred obligations. That which you have taken, and so solemnly repeated on that venerable ground, is an ample pledge of your sincerity and devotion to your country and its government.”
The Declaration of Independence
Quotes from John Adams
Any comments, criticisms, etc. are welcome. :)