The day before Independence Day--as I drove to spin class, I heard the annual Morning Edition reading of the Declaration of Independence. What a well-written document!
It's interesting to hear that reading just after the newscasts about Greece and bankruptcy and the future of Europe.
It's interesting to think about how 13 feisty colonies fought themselves free of the world's superpower back in 1776.
Those signers of the Declaration pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, so great was their belief in what they were doing. It's a good day to think about our commitments, our values, what we hold most true.
Of course, it's always a good day to do that--let me always be trying to live a life that's in sync with my truest values. Let me always be ready to stake my sacred honor on principles that are that important.
If you had to choose your most important truth to be self-evident, which one would it be?
You might think that the freedom to practice my spiritual faith is most important to me, and I do value that. But having access to information might be even more important to me. If I had to choose my favorite right from the Bill of Rights, it might be freedom of the Press.
I like the ability to read just about anything that comes my way. But maybe the ability to create is even more precious to me. Unlike Chinese artists, I don't have to worry about being arrested and sent to jail.
For many of us, Independence Day is a day of cook-outs and fireworks. If we don't live in a place that has preserved colonial history, or if we live further west, Independence Day may seem a distant holiday. But this holiday week-end gives us a good reason to remember the high stakes that those signers of the Declaration of Independence faced. It's good to remember how much they valued the idea of freedom, even if they didn't extend those freedoms to all.
In this time after momentous Supreme Court decisions and actions by evil-minded people, it's good to think of freedoms and what freedoms still need to be won. I will spend some time thinking about all the female clergy in South Carolina who are getting vicious threats and hate mail. I will think about people who still don't have basic protections, like the right to work at a job without harassment. I will think of people still going to bed hungry, still out on the streets.
I will say a prayer for protection and for liberty from tyrannies of all sorts.