Declaration of Independence

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.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Created Equal

The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is "all men are created equal." As you know, this statement was just one of the "self-evident truths" included in the Declaration of Independence. The fact that we are created equal does not mean that we were created the same. No two humans are created exactly alike. We are individuals with our own talents and abilities, our own likes and dislikes, and our own strengths and weaknesses. W. Cleon Skousen explained that all men are created in three different ways: "They can only be treated as equals in the sight of God, in the sight of the law, and in the protection of their rights. In these three ways all men are created equal. It is the task of society, as it is with God, to accept people in all their vast array of individual differences, but treat them as equals when it comes to their role as human beings" (The 5000 Year Leap, p 79). Skousen later explained that the "goal of society is to provide 'equal justice,' which means protecting the rights of the people equally" (p 80). He continued by explaining that Americans have the equal right to vote for whom we choose, to obtain education, to compete for a job, to enjoy freedom of religion, speech, press, etc., to pay our fair share of the taxes and to save, prosper and pass on our possessions to our heirs, and many other Rights. Being created equal and receiving equal justice does not insure that we remain equal. Those people who work harder and smarter usually move ahead of those who are lazy and do dumb things. Some people have a natural ability to recognize a great opportunity, and some of those people have the smarts to seize the opportunities that come their way. Some people are willing to make the necessary sacrifices to gain education, and some are not. People with education usually are further ahead than people without education. The fact that there are rich and famous people from every ethnic group shows that there is equal justice in our nation. I know that some of you will say something like, "What about the minorities?" Skousen explained, "… there is not a single ethnic group in the United States but what has been treated at one time or another as a minority, or less than first-class citizens. "The story of minorities in the United States is a fascinating tale. Beginning with the French in the 1500s and the English in the 1600s (and the Dutch, Germans, Swedes, Scots, and Irish in between), it was one grand conglomerate of tension, discrimination, malice, and sometimes outright persecution. But the miracle of it all is the fact that they fought side by side for freedom in the Revolutionary War, and all of them could boast of descendants in the White House or the Congress as the years passed by. So all of this became America - a nation of minorities" (p 82). The Founders tried to establish equality with the Constitution and established the procedures to amend the Constitution as needed. The Thirteenth Amendment established freedom for everyone by abolishing slavery. The Fourteenth Amendment established that all citizens had the rights of citizens including all former slaves. The Fifteenth Amendment established that the right to vote could not be denied from citizens because of their race, color, or previous condition of slavery. The Nineteenth Amendment established that the right to vote could not be denied anyone because of sex. There have been many times in the history of the United States when evil people in powerful positions denied constitutional rights and freedoms from various groups of people. My own great-grandparents moved from Kirtland, Ohio, to Far West, Missouri, to Nauvoo, Illinois, to the Great Salt Lake Valley in order to escape persecution and threats from residents of those areas. Some members of their church were killed; others left homes that had been set on fire; still others walked away from comfortable homes for the sake of safety. Their freedom to worship as they chose was not protected by either the state or the federal government. This persecution took place simply because they were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly called Mormons. Finally, they reached a place where they could truly enjoy their freedoms. Believe me when I say that I am very aware of persecution and troubles in our nation. It is important to remember that these injustices happened because rights and freedoms were denied by evil people and NOT because our nation is evil. Our Founders created a government for people who are moral and lawful. This means that it is our responsibility to be good and upright citizens of our nation. We must understand that the Founders knew the difference between equal rights and equality in other areas. They knew that our nation could provide equal opportunity, equal rights, equal protection, and equal freedoms. This does not mean that they expected equal results, equal possessions, equal status, or equal grades. They understood that people would be materially equal only if, when and as long as the government forced equality. God gave us agency, and He inspired the Founders who recognized that all men are created equal.. Our Founders wrote our Constitution to protect our rights and freedoms. We all have the freedom to prosper or to fail. The choice is ours!

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