July 3, 2021 Column Father De Celles

Happy Fourth of July. Contrary to what some say nowadays, our nation was born on July 4th 1776 when our Founding Fathers in a “unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America” proclaimed themselves independent from the government of England.

Nothing and no one on earth is perfect, but by the grace of God our Declaration of Independence brought to life a nation formed on principles that would allow us to become the greatest nation on earth. Those principles have not always been adhered to during the last 245 years, but we have striven to adhere to them: they have been our goal and our examination of conscience. In particular these words of the Declaration form the key to understanding who we are as a nation, and who we must always strive to be:

            “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. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Consider the principle of self-evident truths. Many today deny there is objective truth, yet that is the starting point for all our American principles. And if something is not self-evident, it’s pretty difficult to say it can be forced on others.

Then consider that all men are created equal. Equality is something we have always struggled with, but it still guides every decision and is the corrective for every error. We’ve made great strides, and we will continue to make great strides because of this principle. So it is wrong to judge ourselves today by the errors we have made and corrected in the past. This is particularly true when it comes to racial discrimination. We cannot judge America today, and certainly not “white Americans” today, by the injustices of 1619, or 1861, or 1968. Yes, we’ve failed in the past, and we even fail today, but equality has proven to be the great remedial principle that has led us to great strides in achieving greater justice for all.

Then consider that we believe these rights are unalienable. And that is because they are not given by men or by law, but by God—our “Creator.” So, contrary to what some say today, those rights cannot be taken away by human laws—not even by a majority of the voters.

And then consider, we are founded on the principle of belief in God! And it is that belief in God that allows us to recognize that beliefs in God and religion can never be held as a threat to our republic, and that laws must serve the people, not dictate to them.

And then consider that the most basic rights are “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Life? What about the right to life? This has been assaulted in so many ways, especially for the unborn. But we do not give up striving to protect and assert this right.

The same is true for liberty. The very first liberty guaranteed in our Constitution’s Bill of Rights, is Religious Liberty. This is constantly under assault today, especially by Marxists and their friends. We see this especially in our government-run “public” schools, where non-self-evident “new-truths” (actually, many self-evident lies) are being forced on students in a direct assault on their Religious principles. And remember, children are forced to go to these schools unless they can afford the hefty expense of either homeschooling or private schooling. And taxpayers are forced to pay for this indoctrination—contrary to their religious freedom. But with liberty as our guiding principle, we can fix this systemic-oppression of our Religious beliefs. We can elect new school board members, state legislators and governor, and we can promote school vouchers.

Also consider the right to “the pursuit of happiness.” Today, many think  this is a right to do whatever makes you happy right now—immediate gratification. Or the right to do whatever you want, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone, no matter if it’s immoral or harmful to society as a whole. But these meanings have very little to do with its actual meaning in the Declaration, because in 1776 this was a “turn of phrase” or “term of art” that essentially meant striving for a life of overall wellbeing of the person and society. This would include the right to property and work, but it would also include morality, religion and family—most contemporary references include morality, religion and family as essential to human happiness. We can readily see how this right conflicts not only with modern hedonism but also with the modern “progressive” agenda.

            And finally consider the phrase: “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” As I mentioned in my homily last Sunday, a few weeks ago our President told the world, “We don’t derive our rights from the government. We…yield them to a government.” That second part is absolutely wrong. We never “yield” any of our God-given rights to any government. We command the government officials who work for us to “secure”—protect—OUR rights, that we hold fast to. That’s all they are supposed to do. We don’t yield our rights; we WIELD our rights.

As we celebrate the birth of our nation we have many reasons to be concerned about her. But we also have many things to celebrate and thank God for—especially our founding principles and the greatness these have led our nation to. And that if we keep our eyes on those founding principles—which include keeping God at the center of things—we can continue to strive and grow into a more perfect union. God bless America.

Shut Up Parents! Did you hear what’s happening at TJ? Here’s an excerpt from an article in “The Daily Wire”, June 25:

“The drama at Thomas Jefferson School for Science and Technology (TJ) in northern Virginia highlights the way in which the Parent Teacher Association appears to funnel parents into roles as servants for teachers and administrators, rather than the reverse.

The Fairfax County school board voted to do away with an exam that tested whether students seeking admission to the rigorous math and science school excelled at math and science, making them candidates who would benefit from fast-paced instruction. The change was made after repeated complaints that the racial makeup of the students was not diverse enough, apparently referring to the fact that its student body was 73% Asian.

“The school’s PTA chapter had conducted two polls of parents, which found that 80% of TJ parents thought the school’s admissions should continue to be based on an objective test. It held an officers election, which resulted in a majority who wanted to speak out against policies that they said reduced the role of merit and math ability in admissions.

“But before they could convene and take action, the Virginia PTA… intervened… writing to all parents that the state organization would take steps to shut down the group…”

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles