Each July, like most Americans, my mind wanders to the 1776 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.”
I feel my heart well up within me reading those words. I marvel at the belief in the dignity of humanity that they proclaim. I am in awe at such intense passion that the writers declared all are equal, that we are born with Rights endowed by our Creator and knowing something of the subsequent history of our country the willingness to fight for these Rights.
I hear the words of Lee Greenwood’s song “I am proud to be an America” ringing through my mind. It is a dream we are still working toward and struggling to create. As I listen to many speak of their concerns about our country, they echo my thoughts: We want to be proud of being American, but we believe we need to finish the work begun with the Declaration of Independence. We need to create a country where basic human rights are indeed rights for everyone.
My invitation this year, is to cherish what we have right now and to find ways to work toward making this a possibility for everyone. May the God who has endowed us with the Rights of being human give us the grace to extend those Rights to each other.