Christian Men's Breakfast

Presentation by Chuck Esposito

July 4, 2009

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"Independence Day"

Thank you I.T., and good morning gentlemen.

I would like to start today with a prayer for our troops, so if you would, please, bow your heads and join me.

Dear Lord,
Today there are about half a million , American men and women –
stationed in 150 countries around the world.

We pray You keep them safe,
we pray You keep them strong,
we pray You send them safely home ...

Bless those who await their safe return.

And Bless the friends and relatives who mourn the casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan:

The MIAs, the 34,377 (31354+ 3023) wounded, and the 5,036 (4,324 +712) Killed In Action. (as of 090703)

In Jesus name we ask ...Amen.

[Revolutionary war: 4,435 deaths]. (wounded & KIA numbers)

Moses cartoon.

Moses is standing at bottom of a mountain, a stone tablet in each hand, and as he looks up towards clouds above the mountain, he says:

Now let me get this straight: The Arabs get all of the oil, and we have to cut the ends off our what?

And now, to get more serious for a few minutes, at the beginning of this day, the 233rd birthday of our nation.

Late in the day on the 4th of July, 1776, King George III, unaware of the work of fifty-six men in Philadelphia, wrote in his diary, “Nothing of importance this day.”

Most countries do not begin with a statement of why they are beginning. Most cannot produce a document that says why the country is being built, and for what it will stand. The United States of America has such a document.

The Declaration of Independence created this nation by a purposeful act, on a specific day - the Fourth of July, 1776.

The Declaration remains the most noble, famous, and powerful statement of the basis of government ever written. It is unique. It has shaped a people and a nation, and it has helped to shape the world.

Thirteen years after the Declaration was signed, and following a difficult war to secure that independence, and a difficult process to write, ratify, and implement a constitution, the new country was up and running, taking its place on the world stage.

It was truly unique -- the first nation in all of history in which the individual was considered more important than the government, and the government was tied down by a written constitution. In the words of Thomas Jefferson, QUOTE In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution END QUOTE. And the strongest of those chains were to be found in the Bill of Rights, which was a set of restrictions on the federal government, and where the words “no,” “nor,” and “not” appear 18 times, to make it clear that the government was proscribed from infringing on what the Declaration of Independence had described as our unalienable, God given rights, such as the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The Bill of Rights described some of these rights in detail, and for about the next hundred and fifty years, our federal government understood that, in the words of the Declaration of Independence, we are endowed with these rights by our Creator (not by the government); that the government derives its just powers from the consent of the governed; and the job of the government is to secure these pre-existing rights. The Founders referred to “God” in the very first sentence of the Declaration, and to the “Creator” in the second sentence of the Declaration.

In all, the Declaration contains five references to God and is the official and unequivocal affirmation by the Founders of their belief and faith in God. It affirms God's existence as a "self-evident" truth that requires no further discussion or debate. And this was not just the opinion of the founders.

Nearly fifty years after the fact, Jefferson explained to soldier and statesman Henry “Light-Horse Harry” Lee what he intended when he wrote the Declaration. Here is, arguably, the most consequential political document in the world, which Jefferson described as just good old American common sense: According to Jefferson, QUOTE [the Declaration] was intended to be an expression of the American mind, and to give to that expression the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion. All its authority rests then on the harmonizing sentiments of the day, whether expressed in conversation, in letters, printed essays, or in the elementary books of public right…END QUOTE.

So, during the early years of the nation, the “American mind,” and the “harmonizing sentiments of the day,” included an acknowledgement (as described in the Declaration) of God as supreme Lawmaker, God as Creator of all men, God as the Source of all rights, God as the world's supreme Judge, and God as our Protector on whom we can rely.

But that was then, and this is now. Now, one faction of the “American Mind” consisting of elected and appointed officials in all three branches of our federal government, is engaged in vicious anti-Christian and anti-God efforts. Some examples:

- In the executive branch, President Obama is poised to rescind a Bush administration regulation, the “conscience rule, ” that protects health care workers who refuse to participate in or perform abortions or other medical procedures that violate their religious beliefs.

- The Pentagon, has issued warnings to military bases worldwide, to not sponsor Boy Scout troops because Scouts are required to believe in God!

- On the current legislative front, many Christians fear that the unintended consequences of enacting “Hate Crime” and “Hate Speech” legislation could result in clergy being prosecuted if someone commits a hate crime, such as an unprovoked violent act against a pedophile, because of a sermon or pastoral counseling, labeling certain sexual practices as immoral.

- Sadly, the Judicial branch is probably the worst offender. Some examples:

- In 1962 The Supreme Court ended school-sponsored prayer, and in 2000 they reaffirmed that decision by saying a Texas school district was giving the impression it was sponsoring Christian prayers by letting students use loudspeakers, under the direction of a faculty member, for prayers before sports events.
- In 2005, U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Karlton declared the Pledge of Allegiance to be unconstitutional because, he says, the words "under God" violate a child's right to be "free from a coercive requirement to affirm God."
- In 2008, the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia held that The East Brunswick (NJ) school board was within its rights to tell a football coach he cannot kneel and bow his head as members of his team have a student-led pre-game prayer; and, just four months ago the Supreme Court of the USA allowed that decision to stand by refusing to hear an appeal by the football coach.
- And, I’m sure you all recall the incident a few years ago when the courageous Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was removed from office for displaying the Ten Commandments.

Finally, perhaps the most bizarre examples of this nonsense, are the public schools where teachers have had to file lawsuits because they were forbidden by their principals or school boards to use certain historical documents in class - documents such as the Declaration of Independence, Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation, etc. - because they contain some references to God and religion! How can anyone, especially a school principal, be so daffy as to embrace the idea that the Founders intended that we ban the Declaration of Independence from our nation’s classrooms? …

233 years ago, fifty-six men, following two months of hard work, as spring turned into summer in hot Philadelphia, concluded the document that resulted from their efforts with these immortal words, QUOTE And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor. END QUOTE. If any of them were alive today, I wonder what they would think of how poorly we have served as custodians of the document expressing the “American mind” and the “harmonizing sentiments of the day,” to which they pledged their Lives, Fortunes, and sacred Honor.

Today, this Fourth of July, many of our leaders and citizens, have lost that “American Mind” and those “harmonizing sentiments of the day,” which Jefferson described. Let us pray that those who have lost it, recover it, and that includes, as does the Declaration of Independence, an acknowledgement of God as supreme Lawmaker, God as Creator of all men, God as the Source of all rights, and God as the world's supreme Judge.

In closing, let me leave you with a quote from a great American patriot – Ben Rogge, Dean of the college and professor of Economics at Wabash, when I was a student there: Ben Rogge once wrote, "Given man's nature, freedom will always be in jeopardy and the only question that need concern each of us is if and how well we took our stand in its defense during the short period of time when we were potentially a part of the struggle."

If you are not already part of that struggle, I hope you will join those of us who are.

God Bless America, especially on this day. (Do I hear an “Amen”?)


This was supposed to be the end of my presentation today; but someone, who shall remain nameless, suggested that I ask your indulgence for another minute or two, as I share with you, something that I sent out to a bunch of folks, including some of you, on the 4th of July 1999, ten years ago. So here it is.

MB090704extra (originally distributed as 7/4/99 Encl)
It begins with a question: Was the document which we call the Declaration of Independence (capital D capital I), really a declaration of independence (small “d,” small “I”)?

And the answer is, well, yes and no.

First, some support for the “no” answer.
To begin with, the document which we call the Declaration of Independence, was not called by that name at the time it was signed. Thomas Jefferson, in making the first draft of the document, titled it: A Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled. This title was used on all copies of the document except for the final, engrossed parchment copy, which was styled: The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America.

The primary purpose of the document, as explained in the first paragraph, was not to declare independence, but rather, to announce to the world the reasons for declaring independence. It was intended as a formal announcement of an act already accomplished. About a month earlier [June 7], Richard Henry Lee, on behalf of the Virginia delegation, submitted a resolution to the Continental Congress that “these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.” Lee’s resolution, when finally approved by the Continental Congress on July 2, 1776 , was actually the official declaration of independence.

And now, some support for the “yes” answer.
Perhaps the strongest argument that the document which we call the Declaration of Independence, is a declaration of independence, is that Richard Henry Lee’s resolution, as approved by the Continental Congress, appears, word for word, in the last paragraph of the document. In other words, the Continental Congress declared independence by approving Lee’s resolution on July 2, 1776, and they declared independence again on July 4, 1776, when they approved the document known to all of us today as the Declaration of Independence.

And that, as Paul Harvey use to say, is the rest of the story.

Thank you for your attention, and enjoy celebrating the rest of America’s 233rd birthday.

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