The Good Idea of America
In July of 1776, the American Congress approved the Declaration of the Independence of the 13 United States of America. One of the key figures behind the Declaration was Thomas Jefferson, whose writing in “Defense of Liberty and Rights of Man” was the intellectual force behind the Revolution. Jefferson distilled many of his ideas in the Declaration itself when he wrote the following familiar lines:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…”
Of course, these are the more famous words of the Declaration but there is another part that is equally important but less well knows. Jefferson goes on to say:
“…that whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their safety and happiness.”
On this July 4th celebration, as a Christian and an American, I would like to make a few comments about Jefferson’s ideas that echo as true today as they did over 200 years ago when he penned them.
1. Good ideas are powerful
Jefferson played a key role in the American Revolution because he was able to crystallize and express an idea that burned in the hearts of the people who had built this young nation. At the time, America was outgunned and outnumbered by the British, but it had a better idea for social progress than its old-world cousins, and that is what made the difference in the end.
The “idea” of America, where every person could pursue individual happiness in freedom with the actual support of its government was so superior to the stifling grip of feudal Europe that when the spirit of the Declaration was set loose, no political or social or military force could stop it.
The old maxim is true, “There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” In 1776 the idea of “freedom” and safety from one’s enemies and one’s own government permitting the pursuit of individual happiness, all enshrined in law, was an idea whose moment had come and over 200 years later we are still celebrating its arrival.
2. Good ideas produce good results
There have been a lot of powerful ideas that have affected the world in the last 200 years, but not all of them have had good results:
- Friedrich Nietzsche produced the powerful idea that man should control his own destiny and the more powerful the man, the better the destiny. This idea was hijacked by the Nazis in Germany as they tried to build a super race and create a better destiny; WWII was the result.
- Karl Marx had the great idea of a social utopia where there would be no rich or poor, where all could be equally shared and managed by a central government. This led to 75 years of Communist aggression and misery for untold millions.
So as you can see, not all-powerful ideas produce a good result. But the idea of a government elected by the people, and charged with protecting the safety and freedom of the people; the idea that individual life is sacred; the idea to develop laws to maintain and promote the social and moral fabric of a nation; the idea that the people have a legal right and duty to change a government so that it will preserve these basic freedoms and rights; these were good ideas and the proof is that despite the imperfect ways these ideas have been carried out, this nation still has the greatest wealth potential; has made the greatest progress; is the most desired location for immigration from other nations.
That America is the nation most envied for its wealth and success is due to the fact that it is based on a powerful and good idea.
3. Good ideas have a good source
Jefferson as well as most of the founding fathers of this nation were men who believed in God and knew their Bibles. Most of the key ideas in the Constitution that deal with the way man treats other men are based on Biblical concepts.
Recently the Human Genome Project that mapped out the 3.1 billion chemical letters that makeup human DNA discovered that the entire human race of 6 Billion people can be traced back to a founding population of some 60,000 people. In other words, there is very little genetic variation in the entire history of man. In still other words, this means that genetically speaking, all human beings throughout history have been and are pretty much the same.
How wonderful that 200 years later science has proven Jefferson’s words to be true: that all men are created equal. Not just theoretically but now scientifically so.
But what is truly wonderful is that Jefferson and the others had the wisdom to base their good ideas on God’s perfect ideas contained in the Bible.
In II Timothy 3:16, Paul the Apostle says:
Every Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.
On this glorious day as we celebrate the ideological foundations of this country, we can also say that “Every Scripture is inspired by God and also profitable for building a great nation.”
I hope and I pray that as we go forward we will remember the good ideas that made the USA the country that it has become. I also hope and pray that in charting our future we will go to the source for great ideas, God’s Word, whenever we want to inspire us as a people; build us up as a country; protect our borders; renew us as a nation; point us in the direction that we need to go.
We love to say, “God bless America” but let us always remember that the Bible says
How blessed are the people whose God is the Lord. (Psalms 144:15)
America began with the great source idea that God was her Lord and she seeded her laws with His Word; America will remain great if she maintains those great ideas and renews her efforts to be the nation whose God is the Lord.
VDOT: Warren County Traffic alert for July 4 – 8, 2022
The following is a list of highway work that may affect traffic in Warren County during the coming weeks. Scheduled work is subject to change due to inclement weather and material supplies. Motorists are advised to watch for slow-moving tractors during mowing operations. When traveling through a work zone, be alert to periodic changes in traffic patterns and lane closures.
*NEW* or *UPDATE* indicates a new or revised entry since last week’s report.
Mile marker 0 to 15, eastbound and westbound – Right shoulder closures for utility work from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm through July 30.
*NEW* Mile marker 7 to 15, eastbound and westbound – Overnight single lane closures for pavement marking, Tuesday and Wednesday nights from 9:00 pm to 5:00 am.
Mile marker 8 to 7, westbound – Right lane closures for utility work, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm through July 30.
Mile marker 300 to 299, northbound and southbound – Right shoulder closures for utility work, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm through July 30.
Route 55 (Strasburg Road) – Flagger traffic control for safety improvements between Shenandoah County line and Front Royal town limits, 7:00 am to 7:00 pm through July 29.
Route 55 (Strasburg Road) – Shoulder closures for utility work in the area of Route 664 (Whipporwill Road), 8:30 am to 3:30 pm through July 15.
Various roads – Flagger traffic control when needed for debris cleanup. Weekdays during daylight hours. Estimated completion July 22.
Vegetation management may take place district-wide on various routes. Motorists are reminded to use extreme caution when traveling through work zones.
Traffic alerts and traveler information can be obtained by dialing 511. Traffic alerts and traveler information also are available at www.511Virginia.org.
The VDOT Customer Service Center can assist with reporting road hazards, asking transportation questions, or getting information related to Virginia’s roads. Call 800-FOR- ROAD (800-367-7623) or use its mobile-friendly website at my.vdot.virginia.gov. Agents are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The Cracked Acorn: Years Pass
Doing car repair, I began to take naps in the garage, while under the car. Dad replied that he had been doing this for years; it could be under a tractor or the combine. (He once told me that when he was old; I would also be old. I just hadn’t realized that it had happened this quickly.)
The Bible tells us that people lived into the 900s before the Flood, Methuselah, at 969. This declined till about 1000 B.C. and then maybe 70 or 80 (Psalm 90:10).
Starting in 1900 U.S. life expectancy has risen from 47 to an average age of 83, today. In this added time, we should “number” our days (Psalm 90:12). We should discern the future. (Deut. 32:28-29). We should consider how life will turn out. (Psalm 39:4-5) We will live even longer if we consider our speech/behavior. (Psalm 34:11-14; I Peter 3:10-11) We should love the Lord. (Psalm 91:14-16) Obey the Lord. (Proverbs:3:1-2,4:10) We should fear and grow in the knowledge of the Lord. (Proverbs 9:10-11; 10:27)
Humorous remarks from people of the past:
All would live long, but none would be old. Age is something that doesn’t matter unless you are cheese. The first half of our lives is ruined by our parents and the second half by our children. No matter how old a mother is, she watches her middle-aged children for signs of improvement. The older I grow the more I distrust the family doctrine that age brings wisdom. None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm. Age doesn’t protect you from love, but love to some extent protects you from age. Old age isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative. Perhaps one has to be very old before one learns to be amused rather than shocked. You can judge your age by the amount of pain you feel when you come into contact with new ideas. (My favorite!) How pleasant is the day when we give up striving to be young?
Recently there have been several specials on TV about the NEW AGE and evangelistic movements supposedly sweeping our nation. I am not sure if we are looking at this from close-up or from afar. I do not see within these vast audiences a sea of grey hair. Has the present generation forgotten that ‘An aged person loved is winter with flowers’ (an old German proverb)? The older generation is the “splendor” of today. (Proverbs 20:39) Psalm 92:13 and 14 says, “These who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in an old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing.” Older people are the bearers of fundamental human values. When this is lacking, people become rootless. People lose hope in the future and live within the limits of the present. (from the Dignity of Older People)
To the heart that’s aching under a load of care, Lend a hand of comfort. In the name of Jesus gather the sheaves of today, Read the precious promises, wages, He will pay; Go with rejoicing gleaning from the fields of sin, Thrust thy glowing sickle, bring in the harvest. (BEAUTIFUL GLEANINGS-from Sacred Selections)
Three tests for liberty
In the age of social media, it seems as though everyone sees a tyrant seated at the head of the other table.
But is there any test for tyranny?
On July 4, consider the test of Thomas Jefferson:
“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 this famous sentence from the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson gives us three words that can test any philosophy:
- Self-evident: Jefferson said some ideas are obvious, so obvious that Americans don’t need a lawyer to explain or debate them. The first obvious truth he sets down is this: All men are created equal.
- Endowment: Jefferson says that God gives rights to man as a gift, an endowment. No human owns the rights of another and no human decides which people get to exercise those rights.
- Unalienable: These obvious rights, given as a permanent gift from God, cannot be taken away by any human, and neither can a person surrender the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Plan now for next year’s family reunions
July is one of the most popular months for family reunions. Virtually everyone takes a few days off, so even if relatives have to come some distance, they can make it.
Independence Day may not be appropriate for odd-number family reunions, but for a well-publicized 10th, 20th, or 25th, you can add fireworks for a “popping” good time.
For a good crowd at a 2023 reunion on the Fourth, now is the time to start sending letters to your scattered family members, or use form letters with personal notes. People will be hesitant to plan something else for that time and could use the reunion as the centerpiece for next year’s vacation. If you hold the reunion at a resort, out-of-towners will have more entertainment and a place to stay.
Discuss it with key people in your family.
Ask for a reply by midyear. A few people will commit early. When you send a follow-up letter, you could mention people of interest who will be present.
Town man charged with 20 felony counts of child pornography possession after lengthy investigation
Following an eight-month investigation, Front Royal Police officers have arrested a town man for possession of child pornography.
Richard E. Jones, 41, of Front Royal, was arrested on Thursday, June 30, and transported to the Rappahannock Shenandoah Warren (RSW) Regional Jail, where he was charged with 20 felony counts of Possession of Child Pornography.
A Friday media release from Police Chief Kahle Magalis states that detectives, on Oct. 12, 2021, executed a search warrant on an Accomac Drive home, where “several electronic devices were located and seized for evidentiary purposes.” The release says, “Over 400 images of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) were extracted from the seized electronics.”
Jones went before the magistrate and was ordered to be held without bond. He has an initial court date for the listed offenses on July 28, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. in Warren County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.
FRPD Detective T. A. Smith is the lead investigator in the case. Anyone with further information regarding this case is asked to contact Detective Smith at (540) 636-2208 or by email at email@example.com.
The Front Royal Police Department is an active member of the Northern Virginia/DC Metro (NOVA/DC) Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, which is coordinated by the Virginia State Police. Anyone with information regarding the solicitation or exploitation of a minor is encouraged to contact the Front Royal Police Department.