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  • Morning Bell: Does the Declaration of Independence Still Matter?

    The Declaration of Independence was partly intended as a list of grievances against a distant monarch. And both George III and the colonists who disagreed with his rule are long dead. But so are many of those who’ve argued that the Declaration is obsolete. In fact, this is exactly what those who called themselves “progressives” were saying a century ago.

    Woodrow Wilson, one of the most famous early progressives, argued during the 1912 presidential campaign that “all that Progressives ask or desire is permission…to interpret the Constitution according to the Darwinian principle,” meaning that it should promote an ever-expanding set of powers for an ever-expanding government. The problem, he declared, was that pesky Declaration of Independence: “Some citizens of this country have never got beyond the Declaration of Independence,” he remarked. “The Declaration of Independence did not mention the questions of our day.”

    But in fact the Declaration is more than a litany of complaints. Its greater meaning is as a statement of the conditions of legitimate political authority and the proper ends of government. It proclaimed that political rule would, from then on, reside in the sovereignty of the people. “If the American Revolution had produced nothing but the Declaration of Independence,” wrote the great historian Samuel Eliot Morrison, “it would have been worthwhile.”

    The ringing phrases of the document’s famous second paragraph are a powerful synthesis of American constitutional and republican government theories. All men have a right to liberty as they are by nature equal, which is to say none are inherently superior and deserve to rule or inferior and deserve to be ruled.

    Because all are endowed with these rights, the rights are unalienable, which means that they cannot be given up or taken away. And because individuals equally possess these rights, governments derive their just powers from the consent of those governed. Government’s purpose is to secure these fundamental rights and, although prudence tells us that governments should not be changed for trivial reasons, the people retain the right to alter or abolish government when it becomes destructive of these ends.

    The Declaration also insists we have the right to “the pursuit of happiness.” A higher component of that pursuit, of course, is being able to worship as we please. What right is more fundamental than religious liberty? Yet as Heritage’s Sarah Torre wrote recently, that right seems to be under attack.

    Obamacare’s anti-conscience mandate has a narrow religious exemption that applies only to formal houses of worship. Countless other religious employers, like Catholic schools, hospitals, and crisis pregnancy centers, are forced to provide coverage for the mandated services despite moral or religious objections—simply because they step outside the four walls of a church to serve others.

    Insinuating that faith should remain behind closed doors, not influencing or inspiring care for others, the government’s narrow view of religion has created what some have called a “religious caste system.” Only those considered “religious enough” by government bureaucrats are awarded religious freedom under the mandate.

    Churches across the country have been pushing back against the regulation since its promulgation. A national “Fortnight for Freedom” has been spotlighting the erosion of religious freedom and helping Americans learn how to defend their freedom. Torre notes that “the freedoms enshrined in our founding document will be hard to ignore on July 4. As the Fortnight for Freedom concludes, church bells across the country will ring simultaneously at noon (Eastern time), declaring loudly: Let Religious Freedom Ring.”

    On Independence Day – and every day – Americans should remember and celebrate the Declaration’s timeless expression of our God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and recall all those – past, present, and future – who pledge their lives, liberty, and sacred honor to upholding these truths.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in First Principles [slideshow_deploy]

    69 Responses to Morning Bell: Does the Declaration of Independence Still Matter?

    1. YES I SUPPORT THE MEANINGS OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE! I KNOW MY IDEAS NEED TO BE CHECKED AND REVIEWED BY MYSELF COMPARED WITH OTHERS! I DON'T AGREE WITH THE CURRENT PRESIDENT AND HIS IDEAS CONCERNING HOW TO INTERPRET THE CONSTITUTION! I DON'T AGREE WITH HIS IDEA OF CHANGING THE CONSTITUTION! THE ORIGINATORS OF THE CONSTITUTION WERE AWARE OF PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE USURPING THE RIGHTS OF OTHER PEOPLE WHO CAN BE FOOLED, IS OK! I DO NOT BELIEVE THE CURRENT ADMINISTRATION IS LEADING AMERICA IN THE TRUE FORM THE CONSTITUTION OUTLINES! WALLYWORKSWELL@YAHOO.COM

      • Terry says:

        The Declaration mentions religios freedom because, under George III, people were persecuted for their religios affiliations… much like we persecute people today publicly for being Mormon, or socialist or Catholic etc. Note that the Constitution deliberately excludes religion as the basis for public discourse and only overtly (in the first ammendment) ensures that no one will be persecuted for their religious, or other affiliations or for their publicly voiced opinions. We have effectively gone backwards lately by arguing about what people's "faith" is instead of having informed secular debate on the basis of tangible evidence. This is what allows people of different backgrounds and cultures to come together in a great nation. Instead we have split our nation on every front. We are conservative or liberal, christian or non-christian, black or white, and no one had done this to us. We have done it to ourselves. We have allowed ourselves to believe that liberals are traitors or conservatives are stupid etc, etc. etc. The fact that we even have these labels in public discourse is disgusting.

        • Mary A says:

          Think you need to look up the definition of "persecution" or spend some time in Egypt, Iran or other radical Muslim country to see what "persecution" actually is. Name calling, although sometimes hateful, appalling and disgusting is protected under the 1st Amendment as "Freedom of Speech and expression" Incarcerating, torturing or murdering or forcefully depriving someone from their beliefs, opinions or worshiping as they please is "persecution" I doubt that anyone believes that Mitt Romney, an extremely wealthy, Mormon, Presidential candidate is being persecuted. Bad mouthed, insulted, yes, but persecuted, don't think so.

      • Terry says:

        We the people have allowed ourselves to be divided by our on prejudices and align behind the illusion of leadership. The words "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union" defines a nation of people who do not wait for "leaders" to guide them or inspire them. We the people of the United States are free soverigns who can speak for ourselves to each other and collectively resolve our differences.
        We aren't doing that very well lately are we…

    2. Dorothy Nadeau says:

      I am praying for our country and thanking our founding fathers. God Bless our military from down the years who have given us our freedom that we enjoy today. It seems to be going down the drain with the current regime, however.
      I wish instead of, worrying about self esteem in our schools, we would concentrate more on the founding of our country, and the thoughts and reasoning behind it all.

    3. Frank says:

      I believe it was Lincoln who said that if the USA was destined to fail, it would never be from threats without, but from threats within. The violent threat from within (the Civil War) was thwarted. We now live in a time where there is a non-violent threat from within (the out-of-control welfare/warfare/Police State that is both bankrupting us & trying to take our liberties away). Our present non-violent threat from within might succeed in bringing this once great USA down finally!

    4. Brilliant! A good defense of the Declaration and religious liberty. It is worth remembering that we are the only country in history founded on an ideal–that is the nature of American exceptionalism.

      Even the long train of abuses I would argue is still relevant today. Together they define tyranny. Here's a good game for the 4th of July: how many of these abuses can you spot in today's federal government?

    5. Dr. Pete Kleff says:

      The complaints listed in the Declaration of Independence are perhaps even more valid today than when written. The enemy is within: the federal government and its leftist minions.

      • Mary A says:

        Many Republicans as well, have not been a shining example of leadership, integrity, or fiscal responsibility to their constituents and the nation. When self interest and personal gain and advancement and power takes precedence over serving "We the People" which unfortunately has been a bipartisan trait of many in elected office for many years, the result is what we see today, a morally and financially bankrupt Nation in decline.
        I do however agree that the Liberal Left has played a major role in destroying what was once an "Exceptional Nation". Hopefully good will win over evil and the good old USA will survive.

    6. Jeannine Smith Dew says:

      GOD BLESS AMERICA, AND KEEP OUR FLAG FLYING FREE! Thanks to all of our Troops– past, present and future–& their families for the sacrifices that have been and will be made to insure that we stand united, forever, honoring the glorious vision of our forefathers…..

    7. pat cocivera says:

      Our government has ignored and trashed our Declaration of Independence as it has our Constitution and I hope all Americans, even those who depend on our government for their "survival" do the right thing this year and get back on the right path. I used to be very proud of being an American but lately have been ashamed of the path our country has taken.

    8. Chan Brown says:

      Yes like Buckley vs Valejo….Santa Clara County v. Railroad….and grandpa Marbury v Madison that gave "judicial review" powers to some men in robes that can't be found anywhere in that old declaration…Ya can't have it both ways…We are a nation of lawyers who want to limit the powers of all lawyers except the ones that fit our immediate needs…both you guys and the Progessives are nuts ..you use the brand recognition of that old declaration…and try to slip a lil extra in when it fits your needs…..PS Good shot of Romney from the rooftop the other day with the Whitehouse in the backdrop…AND NO HECKLERS…

      • I take it you're unaware that "old" Declaration doesn't set up our form of government, rather that it's the Constitution that does. In that latter inconvenient racist piece of paper there's the set up of the supreme Court. How inconvenient and politically incorrect that is. Perhaps you'd prefer a socialist welfare nanny one-party state governed by executive fiat by a dear "commander-in-chief" of the country.

        Of course I suppose you're blissfully unaware of the Romeny hecklers in Michigan and Iowa. Are you also unaware that the Michigan anti-Romney people were paid hecklers sent by the Obama campaign? Are you also unaware that female protesters were paid less than half the wages of male protesters and even were paid below minimum wage? But please, deny it, say I'm prevaricating. I'd be so progressive.
        http://townhall.com/tipsheet/guybenson/2012/06/20

    9. The Declaration of Independence definitely had its relevant time and place, but its spirit continues to inspire human beings around the world who seek, and die for, their individual freedom – which is in direct opposition to a centrally controlled society, driven by statistics and bureaucrats, and "in the good for all" policies. Independence is not easy – it takes responsibility, respect and trust in others. No one wants to be truly dominated, and The Declaration of Independence exemplifies this natural desire. Watch Independence http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N32edq4iQHQ&fe

    10. Mark Johnson says:

      Though I am not catholic (am pro-life), I think they should announce that if this imposed upon them, they should declare that they will close all health care facilities on religious grounds

    11. Eileen says:

      There are some questions of the day that should always remain with us, like: OUR PURPOSE – To know, to love, and to serve the Lord!

    12. J E Houser says:

      I only hope that you shall be able to make the present and coming generations of Americans understand, appreciate, and apply those principals despite our Moslem conceived President who has no awareness of this concept. Human independence is a concept only briefly occurring in the broad spectrum of human history. If this generation could understand and appreciate the rebuilding of our nation after its collapse after the First World War with only marginal intrusion by the federal government, they might understand that growth and prosperity comes from its citizens, not its government

    13. Eileen says:

      THERE ARE SOME QUESTIONS OF THE DAY THAT SHOULD ALWAYS REMAIN WITH US, LIKE: WHAT IS OUR PURPOSE IN LIFE? TO KNOW, TO LOVE, AND TO SERVE THE LORD!

    14. victorbarney says:

      NO, IT DOES NOT! Our Super-majority, which is made up of women & blacks, both "gatherer's," women through their own biology & blacks through a combination of biology & choice, have now forefilled their FIRST first-born blood covenant of DEATH with Luicifer made 6,000 years earlier! Did I mention that it also is about the "forebidden foreigner" of Deuteronomy 17:15 put over u.s. by women & blacks? September 16 2012 should bring upon u.s. the two-witnesses described in Revelation, chapter 11. P.S. Do you even KNOW that this promised "fundamental transformation of government" into marxism(Anti-Christ by definition) of Obama is the ONLY SIN THAT NEVER CAN BE FORGIVEN? Even Islam can be forgiven, but NOT MARXISM, also as written! Just telling it LIKE IT IS!

    15. JAMES BENSON says:

      The religious rights are not being infringed by Obamacare solely on Roman Catholics. Other faiths respect the sanctity of life, also, and their business owner members should have the same protection Roman Catholics are seeking.

    16. Thomas Traue says:

      The Declaration of Independence is an important document in its own right but the Constitution and Bill of Rights is what we should live by….in my humble opinion. Happy Birthday America!!

    17. TimeLord Shepherd says:

      If the schools would do the job of educating and not pushing Left Wing propaganda we would not need reports as this one. The sad part is many of us spend as much time undoing what our children are taught than we do teaching them.

    18. Kyle says:

      To me it mean everything, but unfortunately the majority in OUR inept government do not share that sentiment!

    19. Don39 says:

      This day serves to remind me what our forefathers fought for and gained ,and then we through inattention and indifference allowed to slip away over the last half century. Our forefathers slipped the grip of a tyrany by escapeing to a new land and fighting a brutal war , only for us to9 let the same tyranny envelope us over a number of years culmonating in what we have now.; oppressive government bureaucracy and the heaviest taxation in history, a regime that violates the Constitution with impunity and daily and continuously from a socialized political system of two corrupt parties which both disdain the Constitution and principle of individual liberties. So I guess that my answer is that the Declaration of independence currently only matters from a historical perspective to remind any serious American of what has been lost. To the rest of the mindnumbed masses it matters only as a day to play!

    20. Don39 says:

      My comment must be approved by the site admin! Yeah! for independence day! I guess I spoke bad of RINOs on a RINO site?

    21. Don39 says:

      No wonder there are NO COMMENTS here!

    22. Jeanne Stotler says:

      Many years ago, a group of Scottish decendents from a indentured servant, stood on Lexington Green with other patriots. "THe shot heard around the world" was fired by these Minutemen. I am proud to say I am a decendent from them and many more who fougt for our Freedom, which is being taken from us little by little. Whileon one side I have a glorious ancestry on the other side, although it's a Viking heritage, my father and his family came from Denmark and found the "American Dream". With this in mind I thank God for his Country and offer prayer for a return to our founding roots.

      • Mary A says:

        Amen Jeanne, amen

      • Thom Hicks says:

        I LOVE YOU!! I don't know you… You couldn't have stated the SACRIFICES these PATROTS (MINUTEMEN) made for us and yet the deviant, perverts that constantly take away our rights everyday have ZERO common sense as to what they are actually doing to OUR CONSTITUTION!! These MINORITY DEVIANTS have given themselves too much of a voice while the majority of us who want a voice our opinions have to keep our mouths shut to comply to their insubordinations to be POLITICALLY CORRECT!!! I WANT MY AMERICA BACK!!! When will we wake up and become the CHRISTIAN NATION we were founded as ???

    23. AlfromFl says:

      Many in the current white house still are of those who reject the notion that the Founding Fathers crafted the constitution as a response to the principles laid out in the declaration of independence – the idea of a creator, the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness etc. Those form th basis of our constitutional republican form, of government. Sadly many citizens do not understand what a unique and great gift was given to us.

    24. Carol, AZ says:

      Thank you, thank you!.
      Beautifully researched, beautifully written and it touch my heart.
      Happy Birthday America and Thank You to all Veterans past and present that, " protected and served these United States of America".
      Thank You to the thousands more, fellow Americans, that continue to protect these God-given rights mentioned above and realize the continued erosion of the heartbeat, within our Constitutional Rights.
      Let the bells ring on.

    25. alan bates md says:

      THE LAST INDEPENDENCE DAY? DESTRUCTION OF LIBERTY IN PROGRESS

      Alan Bates MD (read this commentary and past archives at http://www.gulf1.com/Columns/Bates.html )

    26. FmrUSMCRnTX says:

      Excellent article, Dr. Spalding! When we look at what the LIBERALS (who love to call themselves "progressives", duh!) have done to our nation while limiting our freedom by growing government & bribing some of the "we're entitled" class with our tax dollars, it's appalling! We have an election forthcoming soon….and it's time for America to stand up and right our "ship of state"! God Bless America, Keep Her Free and Strong! Semper Fi!

    27. abrinkley says:

      *British politican William Pitt in 1783: “Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tryants; it is the creed of slaves.” President Ronald Reagan: “perhaps you and I have lived with this miracle (the result of capitalism) too long to be properly appreciative. Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.” The second warning is from Patrick Henry who said: “Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined.”

    28. polalor says:

      What is most relevant and important to the THE UNANIMOUS DECLARATION of the thirteen united STATES OF AMERICA is: "…He [the King] has refused his assent to laws most wholesome and necessary for the public good." This of course refers not only to common-law which rests in custom but also recalls the more than 700 year tradition of the duty and obligation of the King to serve the public good, res publica

    29. polalor says:

      I forgot it is for these reasons and many more that made the American Revolution not only legitimate but inevitable

    30. David Decker says:

      Calvin Coolidge said it best, in this beautifully succinct quote from his speech on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Declaration, July 5, 1926.
      "About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers…."

    31. David Decker says:

      Calvin Coolidge said it best, in this beautifully succinct quote from his speech on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Declaration, July 5, 1926.

    32. MommyPatriot says:

      When we visited Colonial Williamsburg and the entire Declaration of Independence was recited, the crucial words, "by their Creator", were omitted. So disappointing!

    33. Bobbie says:

      The honor of men sees it to matter. Some words are timeless. Wording in the founding documents of this country are timeless that only the lesser of men would see no matter and would disrespect to misinterpret a weakened version for devious misguidance leading to inferiority/resentment that better leadership doesn't reflect.

      As long as people are free with respect from their leadership to govern it so, the Declaration of Independence will always matter! This government has absolutely no right to infringe anywhere that isn't a threat to society using immoral ethics without constitute, dumping cost burdens and force compromise on government's personally resented!

    34. Martin says:

      Over one hundred years of progressive efforts to do away with the greatest document made by man. They know that once we allow it to be tampered with { outside the amendment process it allows} all the freedoms will be erased slowly by ever increasing tolerances. The assaults are coming more frequent and harder. Thought I doubt the Republicans have a stomach for fighting for the constitution at least they will slow that progress down. The people are the only ones that can preserve our nation.

    35. @DREGstudios says:

      On Independence Day we should celebrate our Constitutional Rights and Freedoms which so many men and women have fought for- including Freedom of Speech, Religion, Assembly and Press. The art of film has been one of the most powerful vessels for conveying the importance of these rights. Check out the Top 10 Movies of All Time about FREEDOM on a special 4th of July post today at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2012/07/top-10… to see some impassioned portrayals of our basic rights.

    36. David Decker says:

      Calvin Coolidge said it best, in this beautifully succinct quote from his speech, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Declaration, July 5, 1926.

      About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers….

    37. Ron W. Smith says:

      The Declaration of Independence remains a glowing document, and what Matthew Spalding says in his post will go unchallenged in any way here. The American Revolution produced the basic freedoms we cherish, the Declaration the codification of them.
      There are a couple of things that could be added to what Spalding says, though. First , the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" obviously did not, in 1776, include everyone in America. Black slaves and Native Americans were clearly excluded. The enumerated rights were directed at Great Britain as a statement of fledgling America's intent not to be ruled by Brits. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were being significantly abridged by the island that ruled a continent. Second, those three are today significantly abridged by the almost unrestricted availability of guns to those who shouldn't have them. Guns are an accident or an intention waiting to happen in their hands, and the lives, liberties, and pursuit of happiness by the rest of us are thus abridged. News reports remind us daily, the latest having among them the startling fact that more than 20 wildfires in parched parts of the West have been started by fired weapons in target practice. The cost in homes, possessions and human life is staggering with the Summer yet ahead.
      Neither of these, my add-ons to what Spalding said, changes the greatness of the Declaration. My intent is to point out that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is an ambitious objective not necessarily fully accomplished either in revolutionary times or now.

    38. KHM says:

      Good article/ commentary Matthew. I just read the Declaration of Independence out loud today. It is just as timely today as it was in 1776. Human nature doesn't change, despite the Progressives thinking that they know more than the founding fathers. Our tyrant today is not across the ocean but occupying the people's White House (not his).
      I hope that more and more people wake up and see that is essential for us to restore these founding moral principles for this country to survive.
      Bless America this 4th of July and for many more to come.

    39. THE VOTE TO BE TAKEN IN NOVEMBER WILL, IN EFFECT, SET FORTH, WITHOUT ASHOT BEING FIRED, WHAT STATES WOULD VOTE FOR CESSETION FROM THE UNION.WERE A VOTE TAKEN.
      Just as the Euro is under facing collapse, so is this Nation facing economic collapse caused by the burden of unecessary, abusive and economically destructive regulation and interference.

    40. Doc Hilliard says:

      Freedom means everything to each American Patriot; that concept escapes Mr Obama as it has escaped Tyrants throughout history.

    41. People need to understand ( Students should actually be taught this) that the constitution was based on Natural Law and on the Bibles Christian Judea Values. This is a timeless combination which should only be interpreted as the Founding Fathers intended.

    42. dougindeap says:

      Arguments that the health care law infringes religious liberty are predicated on a big lie–repeated in the post above. Notwithstanding all the arm waving about religious liberty, the law does not force employers to act contrary to their consciences.

      Confronted by questions about the government requiring or prohibiting something that conflicts with someone’s faith, the courts have generally ruled that under the Constitution the government cannot enact laws specifically aimed at a particular religion (which would be regarded a constraint on religious liberty contrary to the First Amendment), but can enact laws generally applicable to everyone or at least broad classes of people (e.g., laws concerning pollution, contracts, torts, crimes, discrimination, employment, etc.) and can require everyone, including those who may object on religious grounds, to abide by them. (E.g., http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/494/87

      When the legislature anticipates that application of such laws may put some individuals in moral binds, the legislature may, as a matter of grace (not constitutional compulsion), provide exemptions for conscientious objectors. In doing so, the legislature need not offer the objector a free pass. For instance, in years past, we have not allowed conscientious objectors simply to skip military service for “free”; rather, we have required them to provide alternative service in noncombatant roles or useful civilian work.

      The real question here then is not so much whether the First Amendment precludes the government from enacting and enforcing the generally applicable laws regarding availability of health insurance (it does not), but rather whether there is any need to exempt some employers in order to avoid forcing them to act contrary to their consciences.

      Many initially worked themselves into a lather with the false idea that the law forces employers to provide their employees with health care plans offering services the employers consider immoral. The fact is that employers have the option of not providing any such plans and instead simply paying assessments to the government (which, by the way, would generally amount to far less than the cost of health plans). Unless one supposes that the employers’ religion forbids payments of money to the government (all of us should enjoy such a religion), then the law’s requirement to pay assessments does not compel those employers to act contrary to their beliefs. Problem solved. Solved–unless an employer really aims not just to avoid a moral bind, but rather to control his employees' health plan choices so they conform to the employer's religious beliefs rather than the law, and avoid paying the assessments that otherwise would be owed. For that, an employer would need an exemption from the law.

      Indeed, some have continued clamoring for such an exemption, complaining that by paying assessments to the government they would indirectly be paying for the very things they opposed. They seemingly missed that that is not a moral dilemma justifying an exemption to avoid being forced to act contrary to one’s beliefs, but rather is a gripe common to many taxpayers–who don’t much like paying taxes and who object to this or that action the government may take with the benefit of “their” tax dollars. Should each of us be exempted from paying our taxes so we aren’t thereby “forced” to pay for making war, providing health care, teaching evolution, or whatever else each of us may consider wrong or even immoral? If each of us could opt out of this or that law or tax with the excuse that our religion requires or allows it, the government and the rule of law could hardly operate.

      In any event, those complaining made enough of a stink that the government relented and announced that religious employers would be free to provide health plans with provisions to their liking (yay!) and not be required to pay the assessments otherwise required (yay!). Problem solved–again, even more.

      Nonetheless, some continue to complain, fretting that somehow the services they dislike will get paid for and somehow they will be complicit in that. They argue that if insurers (or, by the same logic, anyone, e.g., employees) pay for such services, those costs will somehow, someday be passed on to the employers in the form of demands for higher insurance premiums or higher wages. They evidently believe that when they spend a dollar and it thus becomes the property of others, they nonetheless should have some say in how others later spend that dollar. One can only wonder how it would work if all of us could tag “our” dollars this way and control their subsequent use.

      The bishops are coming across more and more as just another special interest group with a big lobbying operation and a big budget—one, moreover, that is not above stretching the truth. Their invocation of "religious liberty" is but a ploy to rile up their followers so they can achieve the political aim of gaining an exemption that allows employers to limit their employees' choices to those conforming to the employers' religious beliefs. Their aim is not religious liberty for themselves (they already have that), but rather power over their employees.

    43. America is in serious peril of loosing everything contatined in the Declaration of Independance. What is next? The so called "Obama Care" is now the law of the land. Do not think that there is a Silverlining in the distractive discussions as to whether or not the only part that was changed was whether the mandate is a tax or a penalty. It doesn't make a whit of a difference. The law IS the law. Keep that in mind come November.

    44. DOSE OBMACARE FURTHER Bloat the government of America —I believe it must!

    45. Tom Rotondi says:

      To the people who say the Declaration of Independence is Obsolete, to the people who think the U.S Constitution is old, out date and need to be revised. You have been lied to and deceived by the educational system, progressives and people that want you to submit to their ideology.
      The God Given Rights of Life, Liberty, and The Pursuit of Happiness will never be obsolete, old or out dated. These are your rights. These are the rights the Founding Father wanted to protect with the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. They didn’t want to protect freedom of speech for the sake of freedom of speech, it was so you could speak out when someone or something was wronged. It is the same for Freedom of the Press, Freedom of Religion or the Right to Bear Arms. They did give the right to bear arms just to have guns for the sake of having guns. The Right to Bear Arms isn’t for hunting or sport. The Founding Father knew all governments eventually take away the freedom form the people. The Right to Bear Arms is to protect us from the Government, that is it.
      Please know that the US Constitution was designed around and to protect your Life, Liberty and Your Pursuits of Happiness(Property rights and the fruits of your labor). Once they have convinced you otherwise you are no longer free and you are a slave to there thinking.

    46. Taking in more people from outside a country in political turmoil is risky business because they are easily bought by all the wrong people already inside

    47. Tom Rotondi says:

      To the people who say the Declaration of Independence is obsolete, to the people who think the U.S Constitution is old, out date and need to be revised. You have been lied to and deceived by the educational system, progressives and people that want you to submit to their ideology.
      The God Given Rights of Life, Liberty, and The Pursuit of Happiness will never be obsolete, old or out dated. These are your rights. These are the rights the Founding Fathers wanted to protect with the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. They didn’t want to protect Freedom of Speech for the sake of freedom of speech, it was so you could speak out safely when someone or something was wronged. It is the same for Freedom of the Press, Freedom of Religion or the Right to Bear Arms. They did give the Right to Bear Arms just to have guns for the sake of having guns. The right to Bear Arms isn’t for hunting or sport. The Founding Fathers knew all governments eventually take away the freedoms of their people. The Right to Bear Arms is to protect us from the Government, that is it.
      Please know that the US Constitution was designed around and to protect your Life, Liberty and Your Pursuits of Happiness(Property rights and the fruits of your labor). Once they have convinced you otherwise you are no longer free and are a slave to there thinking.

    48. Is Obama a threat to American security?—I believe he was and is from day one and still is!

    49. @DINOright says:

      Now more than ever. Rep. Allen West read aloud the full Declaration of Independence the other day (video at right scoop) and it was amazing! I took the challenge and read it, but hearing it read by him made the parallels to the tyrant King George III and today (the leftist mentality overall…..the regime in particular) were screaming out. West even side-noted, "…the czars…" sotto voce while reading one part! Thank you for this article, for all you and Heritage do for liberty and justice for all.

    50. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Yes, it does.

    51. garnet777 says:

      Tomorrow is Independence Day. And after 236 years of American's sacrifice of blood, sweat, and tears to preserve and protect our freedom and liberty – there are those among us who spend every moment of every day trying to fundamentally transform our nation, our way of life, and our people. They continually strive to change America into a place, a society, and a people with no resemblance to the "Land of the Free & the Home of the Brave." Will we continue to be, as Ronald Reagan said, "the shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere"? The land of opportunity where people of other countries risk everything to find their own "American Dream?"
      We are Americans. We love our freedom and our liberty. We love our form of government – a republic, a more perfect union of the people, by the people, and for the people – one nation under God. As we find ourselves in a modern civil war these words ring loudly today – though first uttered by President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War in his 1863 Gettysburg Address. 
      "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
      Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
      But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

    52. Oscar Manful says:

      The Proclamation rings true!

    53. Our God-given rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness covers everyone that is a citizen of this country. It doesn’t matter what race or culture you represent, it doesn’t matter whether you are poor or wealthy, it doesn’t matter what your religious beliefs or non-religious beliefs are, it doesn’t matter what your political preferences are or anything else. As long as you follow the laws of the land you are free to take advantage of all these things. Your one vote carries the same power as everybody else under our Constitution. Who would want to give that up?

    54. PAUL K TAN says:

      Obama is a very excellent actor, sworn in using our 16th President's Bible, for the whole world to see, but in reality he use the famous book "Das Kapital" written by Karl Marx aus Deutschland! No wonder all his actions thus far are against the American Constitution and the American People's wishes.
      Ambassador Alan Keyes sharp vision showed simply his long form birth certificate is FAKE, the serial number of his birth certificate is bigger than the serial number of the birth certificate of someone born three days after him in the same hospitan in Hawaii. His Presidency is FAKE too!
      In accord with the Declaration of Independence. we the American People have the POWER, the RIGHT, and even the DUTY to "Annulled Obama's Presidency immediately, includes all the jobs in his Administration!
      Dismantle the IRS and replace with a FAIR TAX or NATIONAL SALES TAX.
      The UN Headquaters is on US soil almost 68 years, five countries have the Veto Power, America, Britain, China, French and Russia. Starting 2014 the UN H should be moved to Russia for 17 years, to Britain for 17 years, to China 17 years, to French 17 years, back to America 5 years, Russia 5 years etc.

    55. Rita says:

      I believe that the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution are, and have been, under attack by liberals, progressives, socialists, marxists and all those who desire a government to be all powerful and all knowing. Since I place those high ideals only in the hands and heart of God, government bureaucrats need constant watching and grading. Pass/Fail!! Yesterday, the 4th of July, America's 236th birthday, I purchased the liberal Boston Globe to read the Declaration of Independence. And lo and behold the word inalienable was misspelled as "unalienable". Poor editing? Misspelling? Deliberate attempt to alter the meaning? Ever vigilant.

    56. RennyG says:

      Nothing matters while we are under "seige" by someone who is going to do what he wants!! He has disabled the congress, has control in the judicial system and all his czars!!
      I feel that in this upcomming election, if Romney wins by a margin within 10% the big "O" will take the loss to court to prolong it for two years. By that time we will not be the America we once knew!!!
      I am on my knees praying to the One who is in control, OUR LORD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    57. RennyG says:

      How could none of our elected officials, including the democrats, not have seen this happening and did nothing????????

    58. Don says:

      the constitution only applies when it fits the lefts agenda….like undocumented voters,ilegal aliens voting for the left,when they can tell you what vehicle to drive,what light bulb to use,recently what you can and cant eat,whether or not you faith based views come into conflict with the lefts views…thats when the constitution doesnt matter…but for bearing arms,defending and closing our borders,create groups like Tea Party,speak out against the socilaist govt thats being created in front of our eyes and so on….then the constitution matters…..the Constitution is not like Obamacare….YOU HAVE TO READ IT TO KNOW WHATS IN IT!!!

    59. Bill Irvine says:

      We need to guard ourselves against the "anti-america" left. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are the reasons we have been a successful nation. Now the current administration and other leftists are trying to destroy our country. We must stop them…….we must have a smaller government and more state's rights. Everything the federal governement tries to manage — FAILS!!!! We don't need to be hit on the head to see that. God Bless the USA!!!

    60. GINNY says:

      THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD—— GOD BLESS AMERICA — WE'RE GOING TO KEEP IT THAT WAY

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