John Adams predicted that our nation would long celebrate our decision to declare independence from England:
“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding Generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It out to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore."
Please note that Adams was predicting that it would be today—the SECOND of July that would be the cause for celebration. Indeed, the Continental Congress passed a brief resolution declaring our independence on July 2, 1776.
So then, what happened on the 4th of July in that year?
An analogy helps. On July 2, we moved out of our parents’ house. On July 4, we got married.
The document we call the “Declaration of Independence” is actually entitled “The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America.” This Declaration was the document that formed our nation. It is the equivalent of a corporate “articles of incorporation”.
Our Constitution is the equivalent of corporate bylaws—the day to day rules for running the entity. But, the Constitution should always be interpreted in a manner that is consistent with the Declaration.
For example, in Roe v. Wade, the question arose when is a person a “person” for the purpose of having rights. The answer is found the Declaration. All men are created equally and have inalienable rights. There is only one time that rights can attach in such a system—at the moment of creation. Babies have the right to life as soon as they are created. There is no other way to interpret inalienable rights which come from our Creator.
Moreover, reliance on the interpretive power of the Declaration should clear up any silliness that we can never make religious references or rely on religious concepts in our law without violating the fundamental charter of the country.
The Declaration forthrightly says that rights come from our Creator and viewing rights as being derived from God is the only way that rights can be considered to be truly inalienable. If men make up our rights, men can take them away. They can never be inalienable.
Thus, if God is the foundation the rights we enshrine in our laws, it is not magically unconstitutional to follow God’s rules in other areas of law—such as the definition of marriage.
People who purport to interpret the Constitution in such an anti-God fashion tend to live in a historical vacuum as if the words of the Constitution were magically discovered at an ACLU convention in the 1970s. Historical illiteracy is no friend of valid constitutional interpretation.
Yes, I am very glad for July 2. Independence from England was clearly warranted—after all they had been shooting at us for several months by this time in 1776.
But I am even more glad for July 4 and the recognition that our rights come from God. That is truly the most fundamental principle in our nation.