Until the Congress decided America should celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King as a national holiday America celebrated the birthdays of both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
To add King’s birthday as a national holiday Congress had to eliminate one existing holiday. They accomplished this by combining Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays into one “President’s Day” holiday.
Since Thomas Jefferson was the third president of these United States, this column will be on what Jefferson is best remembered for.
Washington is remembered as the Father of America, Lincoln for signing the Emancipation Proclamation and freeing the slaves while Jefferson is remembered for drafting America’s foundational document of freedom, the Declaration of Independence. Each of these three presidents played powerful roles in the history of our United States. But neither Washington nor Lincoln would have come on the stage of American history without Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence.
It was Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence that established the foundation for the Constitution of the United States, and more importantly for the addition of America’s first 10 amendments, known today as America’s Bill of Rights.
It was this document that inspired George Mason, Gov. Randolph and Elbridge Gerry to stand up on Sept. 17, 1787, in Independence Hall in Philadelphia, at a critical time in America’s history, and declare “no we will not sign this newly drafted Constitution until it more surely guarantees the freedoms we fought for in the Revolutionary War” — those “endowed” unalienable rights Jefferson had declared to be as “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
With the Constitution still needing to be ratified, Washington and Madison were realistic enough to know that, to be ratified, these freedoms needed to be spelled out in the Constitution as amendments. And they were, on Dec. 17, 1791.
But Jefferson’s document also contained two other phrases that all Americans should be more fully aware of in today’s ever charged political climate. Those two phrases are: “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” and “the Supreme Judge of the World.”
These two phrases, usually ignored or unknown, should become household words in our 2014 society where the subject of spying on Americans is a hot political subject. It’s not just the National Security Agency that is collecting data on Americans, it is also those website marketers you buy from online that know all about you — your age bracket, your reading likes and habits, your clothing sizes, etc.
And if you use Google, Facebook or Twitter, there are few personal secrets they don’t know about you. This is fact, not fiction. Amazon tracks my purchases online and then suggests that I might like “these other products of similar taste.”
As I have stated in previous columns, I firmly believe no human being could have written the Declaration of Independence without divine help. I believe the Spirit of Jefferson’s “Creator’ and “Supreme Judge of the World” were present when Jefferson drafted this world-changing document—the document I refer to as America’s “Tree of Liberty.” Jefferson understood, via his study of his Bible, that the cornerstones of America’s freedom were indeed “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” words likely inspired by the apostle James when he referenced the laws given to Moses on Mt. Sinai as “the perfect law of liberty.” (James 1:25)
Later, in closing his document, he again referenced the source of America’s freedoms in paragraph four as “the Supreme Judge of the world,” words I believe he used purposely, likely given him by revelation, to remind us today in 2014 that not only is the NSA and our Web marketers watching us but so is God, Jefferson’s “Supreme Judge of the World.” And if he is watching us he is also watching America. And I’m not sure he likes what he is seeing; a nation he helped establish that is now rejected him and his “perfect law of liberty.”
If my premise is correct, and I believe it is, I would suggest all Americans should read carefully 2 Kings 19-25, with emphasis on chapter 23, verses 26-27, and ponder carefully the judgments God pronounced on Judah by his prophets of that day. Then, as you read why Judah was destroyed, ponder carefully what has happened in America since Johnson’s Great Society was implemented — God’s laws have been totally ignored.
Has America’s “Supreme Judge”prepared judgments for a rebellious America? We can count on it.
Donald Conkey is a retired agricultural economist in Woodstock.