Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem and a well-known history buff, has issued the following statement about Independence Day:
‘When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.’ ¬– The Declaration of Independence
“With these famous words, Thomas Jefferson and his colleagues in the Continental Congress made clear two important principles. First, that many of our rights come from the ‘laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.’ Second, that a government has a social contract with its people. In other words, a government enters into a contract with and serves the people, and can only govern as long as it has the confidence of those people that it is not violating the natural laws and the social contract.
“In writing the Declaration of Independence of these 13 united States, our Founding Fathers stated their belief that George III and the Parliament of the United Kingdom had broken that social contract with the 13 allied Colonies. And those 13 united States banded together to pursue independence from the United Kingdom and to enter into a new contract with a new form of government.
“That new form of government was not yet formed on that fateful day in July of 1776, but the principles of forming a government that respected the natural rights of man as given by God united the representatives assembled there in Philadelphia.
“In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson and our Founding Fathers laid out the breaches of the contract with 13 Colonies/united States that had been committed by George III, declaring the causes for the separation of the American Colonies from the British Empire. Also eloquently outlined in the Declaration of Independence are the self-evident truths and freedoms that We the People continue to cherish, such as ‘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.’
“Each year on Independence Day, we reflect on the founding of these United States and celebrate the birth of our great nation. We honor the men and women – both past and present – who have served our nation and fought to protect our sovereignty and our natural rights granted by God. We pay tribute to those who bravely signed their names to the Declaration of Independence, a document which has shaken foundations of governments ever since.
“From our founding to this very day, we have faced many challenges as a nation. Our independence and preservation of our rights as recognized by the natural law and incorporated into our Bill of Rights continue to be tested. I remain vigilant and committed to ensuring that the self-evident truths and freedoms outlined by our Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence will be preserved and protected.
“For these United States, I ask for kind prayers and for the protection and blessing of the common father and creator of man (a paraphrasing of Thomas Jefferson’s closing in his letter to the Danbury Baptists, January 1, 1802).”