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Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

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Published by Jay Badry

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Categories:Topics, Art & Design
Published by: Jay Badry on Jul 05, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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04/13/2011

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 Title: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness!By: Jay W. BadryWord Count: 1224In the summer of 1776, the world was changed forever with the firstreading of the words:
We hold these truths to be self-evident that all menare created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights; that amongthese are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
 These words, so eloquently written by Thomas Jefferson in the Declarationof Independence, set in motion a series of events known as the AmericanRevolution, which forever altered the geo-political landscape. Oh, it took afew decades for liberty to take hold and a hundred and fifty years for the United States to assertitself onto the world stage, but those 35 simple words sowed the seeds of freedom that havebeen bearing fruit for more than a hundred and thirty years. The sad reality is that our nation, so proud and strong after assisting the Allied Forces in riddingthe world of the evil Axis in World War 2, has, over the last sixty years, drifted far from Mr. Jefferson’s ideal and set in motion a very different series of events that are sure to once againchange the landscape of the world. Unfortunately, this time, the change is for worse rather thanbetter.Read again those powerful words, “We hold these truths to be
self-evident 
…” meaning, they arebeyond debate. Our culture no longer believes in absolute Truth, but has succumbed to theseductive voice of moral relativism. No standards of morality; no plumb line for human decency,we have slipped our moorings and are adrift on the wild and treacherous seas of moral decay. Truth is seen through the lens of personal preference and independent ideology. We celebratewhat once was viewed as evil and decry what was good.But read on. The undeniable truth is that “all men are
created 
equal, that they are endowed bytheir
Creator 
with certain unalienable Rights.The concept of a divine Creator has become thepunch-line at cocktail parties. For those in the halls of power, be they legislators or educators,creation has been marginalized, fit for the unsophisticated or uneducated mind. Jefferson isarguing that the divine design of the human race is the very cornerstone of our liberty; that Godhas ordained these human rights. Imagine his masterful words relegated to insignificance by thepseudo-intellectual.One of my favorite stories took place at the first White House dinner honoring Nobel Prizewinners in the early 60s. President John F. Kennedy stood before the austere gathering of geniusand declared, “This is perhaps the greatest collection of minds ever to dine at the White House…with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.” Such was the respect forthis man who, without doubt, was one of the greatest intellects of his or
any 
generation. Whostands worthy to trivialize Jefferson’s argument?
 
 The question no one poses in this post-modern era is: What are the long-term effects of removing this cornerstone from the structure of liberty? Is it possible to undermine thefoundation of freedom and not see the structure crumble? If there is no Creator then there is nostandard for human decency; no equality of person or value of the individual. The rights of thelowly are trampled by the power of the mighty and the greatness that was America is crushedunder the weight. Jefferson concludes his statement by explaining these Rights bestowed on the human race bythe Creator:
that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
I rememberstanding in the midst of the Jefferson Memorial staring at these very words etched around therotunda. A close friend of mine stood next to me and said, “Jay, you know that when Jeffersonwrote those words, ‘Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,’ he wrote them in descendingorder.”It had never occurred to me that these words were penned in a particular order beyond a poeticflow. As I contemplated the implications of this “descending order,” I realized the true genius of the man. Equal weight is not assigned to these three rights. The highest and greatest of allrights is for life. Neither liberty nor the pursuit of happiness can ever infringe on the basic rightof life. By extension, the pursuit of happiness cannot exist at the expense of anyone’s liberty. Thus, Jefferson establishes a hierarchy of human rights: Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…in that order. The Abortion debate becomes simple once this logic is assigned. The freedom of a woman andher right to her view of happiness cannot supersede the right of the unborn to life. Oh yes, Iknow that central to this issue is the question of when life actually begins. I remember hearing aspokes-person for the Pro-choice lobby on
Good Morning America
a number of years ago. Hegot red-faced when his opponent used the term
baby 
when referring to the unborn. “It’s
not 
ababy,” he cried. “It’s a fetus…it’s a fetus!” I sat dumbfounded at his words. You see, the term
fetus
is Latin for…baby. So, I suppose the unborn should be referred to as Latin babies.Seriously, I understand that science cannot say with a certainty when life begins. But I havefound that those so outspoken on the subject of a woman’s right to her own body no longer careto solve this mystery. They are content to give unfettered access to abortion clinics up to andincluding the time a baby can survive outside the womb. Long after the time when physicalviability is certain, the Choice advocates refuse to set any parameters on abortion. They haveinverted Mr. Jefferson’s hierarchy of human rights: a woman’s right to her happiness supersedesher unborn child’s right to life and liberty.Although science is incapable of answering the question of when life begins, the Bible has nolimitation. The Psalmist David wrote, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together inmy mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works arewonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in thesecret place” (Ps. 139:13-16a, NIV). The inference is clear; life is a gift from God and not subjectto the choice of others.It’s time for a new kind of Revolution; one that reaffirms our nation’s foundation. It’s time tostand as one and proclaim our independence from those who would rob us of our birthright. Godhas granted us life and we should live to honor Him. God has offered us liberty and it’s found,not in the security of a nation, but truly through faith in Him. And God has given us this world as

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