Monday, April 13, 2009

Patrick Henry - More than Just a Few Words

On March 23, 1775, Patrick Henry gave a speech in favor of a revolution for freedom from England. We all know the words that end the speech: "...give me liberty or give me death!" But the whole speech is worth reading. A version can be found at the website Liberty Online.

What is generally not taught in school is the degree to which Henry appealed to and relied on God, and the way he encouraged his listeners to do so the same. Some selections from the speech are below:

"It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.
"Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation?
"An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!
"Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us.
"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"

The full speech can be found in the book The Handbook of Oratory, by William Vincent Byars. And some of the words themselves were so effective that they were quoted by Dale Carnegie in Public Speaking and Influencing Men in Business.



It doesn't make sense to make a claim of ownership from Christians if Christians are not wanting to impose ideology.

Muslims claim their nations are Islamic because they own it and want their ideology followed - it's not a choice

Taking away choice is controlling and manipulating others

If America is about freedom, then all claims of ownership by ANY group, large or small, is simply an attempt to take ownership by which to impose whatever the specific ideology - it isn't just exclusive to religion.

If Americans call this a liberal nation it makes the same implication.

Why do it at all.

We are a pluralistic nation which upholds personal freedom and free choice. Each decides for self irrespective of another's opinions or beliefs.

Now THAT'S freedom, baby! :)

Question: Why do you want this to be a Christian nation?

The answer reveals everything about the limiting of individual freedom.

History Matters said...

Iconic Freedom:

First, thank you for posting a disagreement in a respectful manner.

Answer to your closing question:

it's not that I personally want this to be a Christian nation. It's that in some ways we ARE a Christian nation (and in other ways we are not). It's that we have a Christian heritage/history that is being ignored or even rewritten today.

If you read some of my earliest posts I outline the purpose of this blog. For one thing, I am not trying to present a balanced argument. I AM trying to be fair and accurate, but I feel that I am trying to rebut much of the misinformation that is being spread around so much today.

I want us to take our Constitution seriously. It is (supposedly) what gives the Federal Government the power they have, although they seem perfectly willing to ignore its constraints. And I want people to know the facts about the so-called separation of church and state.

In case I could be misunderstood, I think it's a good thing that we have relied so long on Biblical values and a well-defined Constitution. Our country offers a remarkable degree of religious and personal freedom, especially considering the huge majority that Christians had in the early days. Because of those early values, we do not wish to discriminate or to force people to follow any particular faith.

As you look over the hundreds of posts in the blog, you will see that most are quotes from our history - quotes that are many times unknown or purposely ignored in the media and even in some modern textbooks. Much less frequent are posts containing only my opinion about something.

The other mini-branches of this blog are media bias (for reasons hinted at above), freedom of speech issues (the other part of the First Amendment), and ignorance of the 10th Amendment (limited the Federal Government to specific, defined powers, and leaving the rest to the people and the states).


My point to my post is that those who make the claim only do so for one reason and that is to take ownership - there is no other reason - it reveals itself.

Identification is ownership.

To say “We are” is to claim identification – not everyone identifies as the same, what of those Americans.

To claim a specific identification is to negate a pluralistic society.

Anyone who states to you “We ARE a Christian nation” negates every American who is not.

We ARE Americans is complete and inclusive.

Those that project intention from the Founders as credential, irrespective of the fact that the Constitution does not endorse ANY religion but supports the individual in seeking that answer himself, does so in order to uphold one belief over another – to create an identification.

We can’t be a little bit pregnant and we can’t limit just a little bit of freedom – we either acknowledge the inherent natural freedom of every human being or we do not.

And while someone may personally "believe" in a god, that doesn't mean everyone else does.

What does it say about an individual who claims his belief, knowing not every American believes the same?

It negates holding that all men are equal - we can't have equality if we discriminate based on "beliefs" and limit freedom as a result.

Beliefs are opinions, not facts.

Beliefs are personal experience, not facts.

Beliefs are subjective by the mere fact that someone can hold a different belief and the only fact is that two people disagree.

Unless the belief (opinion) is proven to be a fact, it’s just a personal subjective opinion.

To uphold one opinion over another is to discriminate.

To uphold freedom for all opinions and no favor to one over the other does not discriminate.

To say we are a Free Nation that upholds Freedom, Free Choice and individual freedom - notice how that doesn't negate anyone's beliefs, politics, etc. - it's all inclusive of all human beings, Americans or not.

Again - that's freedom.

It's nice to have someone on a blog be open to discussion - so rare these days! LOL! :)


History Matters said...

According to the United States Code, the Declaration of Independence is one of the four principle documents on which our nation was founded (Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, Constitution, and Northwest Ordinance). Its premise is that we have rights given us by our Creator, not by a government, not by the power of logic, not because of our experiences. If that is the premise in one of our founding documents, then ridding the discussion of a higher power also rids us of "inalienable" rights. I guess in that case our rights would be "alienable" (meaning "transferable to another owner").

No one is compelled to personally believe in a Creator. Just be glad that our Founders believed in a Creator who grants you rights, which obviously a government should not take away from you. And in Christianity's books of the Gospels, Christ did not compel anyone to believe in him. In the Jewish books of law, God did not compel anyone to believe. God warns of consequences for those who don't believe, but if you don't believe in God then you would not worry that the consequences are a problem. And our government does not enforce belief either.

So if one does not believe, they have a pretty good deal. They have rights given to them by believers, but they are not required to adhere to those beliefs. Not so bad.

I used to live in Connecticut, where some of the tribes of Native Americans built some very profitable casinos. As a result, anyone with a bloodline to those tribes has impressive benefits, such as a guaranteed college education. Suppose for the sake of discussion I had no such bloodline (which I don't), but for some reason the tribes granted me those rights (which they didn't). That would be a good deal for me, wouldn't it? If I did not believe the tribes deserved the money and it troubled my conscience, I wouldn't have to take it. If I had no such moral discomfort, I could take the money and have no college loads when I graduated. Either way my own freedom is intact.


Thanks for your response.

Consider this: the word "Creator" is a non-directive and personally subjective term by which our Founders chose that each must decide for self, based on whatever personal criterion to decide, who his "Creator" is for self.

If you decide your "Creator" is a God you allocate to the Christian God, then the statement upholds your freedom.

As such, every person who decides subjectively who the "Creator" is for self then has the same freedom.

It's not about religion it's about freedom. No one idea is favored over another.

Again, either we extend freedom to all or there is freedom for none.

Again - if we were to eliminate all governments and constraints in the world and were born in this moment, what do we know?

An individual is born naked, free and ignorant. Freedom is inherent. Freedom is natural. All attributions to God are subjective, which no one would disallow, but no one ought to impose his subjective perspective, as well.

I would argue it is a greater responsibility to be accountable to self than to anyone or anything outside of self. Why?

It places all choices in your hands. It requires ownership of every choice; ability to respond to every choice and if freedom is assimilated, each choice at no cost to others without their consent (contract, essentially)

Notice how this idea upholds EVERYONE'S freedom.

An attitude of "superiority" becomes apparent in those who think they "hold a truth" about life and everyone else is negated who doesn't hold the same truth.

Even your statement about the non-believer having a "good deal" elevates you in your mind.

The statement of freedom for everyone, elevates nobody, creates equality and makes free choice for every human being to decide for self.

Religion believes that it knows how to live life - that's inherent in the doctrine. As such, it's impossible to hold that doctrine and not think, just like liberals do, that the religious KNOW how EVERYONE should live, those that don’t, “well, they just don’t get it, poor them”.

Not the case. : )


History Matters said...

Hmmm. I think your description of the Founders' idea of "Creator" is based on semantic logic, which is interesting and makes for a fine discussion. However, it would be difficult to support that viewpoint based on the collective words of the Founders (although one could easily find isolated quotes to support a variety of viewpoints). Jefferson, who drafted the "Creator" wording in the Declaration of Independence, proposed that all University of Virginia students be required to study as a matter of ethics "the proofs of the being of a God, the creator, preserver, and supreme ruler of the universe, the author of all relations within morality, and of the laws and obligations these infer."

(Of further interest, or as a matter of trivia, is looking at his statement in light of the fact that the U of VA is state funded.)

In the official transcript of the Declaration, it says:
"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."

In these words Jefferson specifies the rights our Creator gives us. If we are all left to determine such things based on our own intellect, how could we know that our rights include those 3 enumerated items? They might be different for every person unless there is a universal source. Jefferson used "Creator" rather than "creator," which may or may not be significant (he used upper case for many significant words in the document).

If I sounded in my responses like I am assuming a superior position, that is not my intention or feeling (as far as I can read myself!). I respect atheists' views even though I believe they are incorrect. And I hope most atheists would respect my views even though they believe I am incorrect.