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Life, Liberty, and Happiness

Finding real freedom in a free-for-all world.

Introduction

A few years ago, I participated in a ceremony held at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Following a mic-check before the event, I found myself alone (save for a security guard), beneath the massive vault of the Archive’s Great Room. A light glowed from a display case near me and I walked over to look at its contents. There beneath the glass was the Declaration of Independence. I slowly read the words: 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.[1]

Where did anyone ever get this radical idea—that there exist certain human rights that cannot be taken away? What did this idea really mean at the start? How does it relate to some of the topics we battle over today—the right to life and the liberty to end an unwanted pregnancy, the right to live through your school days, or the liberty to have whatever guns we choose? How do we hold the value of life alongside the value of liberty? And how is the way we have been holding these things affecting our pursuit of happiness?

We Were Given Original Liberty

There is great evidence that the Founders of our nation drew their vision for life largely from the pages of the Bible. To an extent unknown or denied by many today, even the most irreligious of those who founded this nation were soaked in and permeated by a biblical worldview. It was from the pages of Scripture that they became convinced—despite all of the tyranny and restriction of rights that had been the world’s norm for century upon century—that the Creator of this universe had something very different ...

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Dan Meyer is pastor of Christ Church.us, a nondenominational, multisite church with locations in Oak Brook and Lombard, Illinois.

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