During the early part of CollegePlus! I am having to complete a series of studies and exams which make up the CollegePlus! Core. They deem these few subjects to be of utmost importance to a Christian trying to influence the world. As part of the requirements to complete these Core courses, I must write an essay showing my understanding of the biblical content in the subject area, as well as a personal application. This was my essay for U.S. History I (Columbus-Reconstruction: roughly 1500s through 1877).
An Essay on Unalienable Rights
By: Melanie Heather
In 1776 Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman and Robert Livingstone began working on one of the most important documents in American History: The Declaration of Independence. This document laid out the “doctrine of America” in that it declared certain “unalienable rights” which were honored by the Constitution and are still a vital aspect of American society today. Though the men writing this document were guided by Biblical principles, they were not all saved Christians. So can a Christian endorse and defend the “doctrines” contained in the Declaration? The three rights, the right to life, the right to liberty and the right to the pursuit of happiness must be examined.
Because God is the Creator of all life and He is the source of all life, Christians in society must assure that people have the right to life. To ensure life is to ensure an ability to enjoy and use His gift. This right is one of the “unalienable,” and to alienate it from the people is to cause the people to cease to exist. If a society does not defend the right to life, not only will there be no life to defend the society, but neither will that society be able to ensure that its citizens enjoy the right to Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
The second unalienable right is Liberty, which is defined as the freedom from slavery or captivity. In the colonial days, this would have specifically meant freedom from the tyranny of Britain. However, is true liberty possible without Christ? Galatians 5:1 states “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” You cannot have true liberty unless you have the Spirit of God, which only saved Christians have living within them. While unregenerate people of the world cannot experience true liberty, Christians should permit the kind of liberty in society which promotes freedom, especially the freedom of worship. If people within a society do not have the freedom to worship as they choose, they more often than not will not find the liberty which Christ brings.
Tied very closely with liberty is the pursuit of happiness. Man often pursues happiness through many means including material things, fame and success, so does God condone this pursuit? Because true happiness, like true liberty, is only found through a relationship with Him, a pursuit of happiness is really a pursuit of God. Those people who pursue happiness through money, fame or success do not succeed in their pursuit until they realize the inability of those temporal things to provide lasting happiness.
Based on the analysis of the “unalienable rights” established in the Declaration of Independence, one can conclude that Christians have a duty not only to defend these rights, but also to strive to bring people to a relationship of Christ that these people may experience the true liberty and happiness that comes from a relationship with Christ.