- The Three Divine Rights in the Declaration of Independence
- Right to Life: The First Divine Right
The first divine right of the “Declaration of Independence” is the right to life.
Our Founding Fathers did not organize the three divine rights in some random sequence; they were written in a purposeful order. Life comes before liberty and the pursuit of happiness because without life, you do not exist to be free to pursue happiness. In other words, the right to life is the foundation from which all other rights flow. This is a profound recognition from our Founding Fathers, who in an indirect way brilliantly articulate the truths of the Trinity. The right to life can be linked directly to the Holy Spirit in the life of the Holy Trinity.
In the Nicene Creed, which we recite every Sunday and on other holy days of obligation, we declare that the Holy Spirit is the Lord and giver of life. The Scriptures give numerous examples of the Holy Spirit creating life and renewing it. In Genesis 2:7 God breathed the breath of life “and the man became a living being.” In the Gospel of John, Jesus breathes on the Apostles and says to them “Receive the holy Spirit.” (Jn 20:21-23). These verses are beautiful examples of how the Holy Spirit is the Lord and giver of life. The gift of life given to us at our conception, is a beautiful gift from the Blessed Trinity. The forgiveness of our sins, through the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, is another powerful gift of life, which ultimately grants us the gift of eternal life when we rise from the dead and are glorified in Jesus Christ.
Sadly, we live in a world where life is under attack on many different fronts. Abortion, euthanasia, and contraception are some examples of how human life is falling victim to the throwaway mentality of our modern world. According to St. Pope John Paul II, “the fact that legislation in many countries, perhaps even departing from basic principles of their Constitutions, has determined not to punish these practices against life, and even make them altogether legal, is both a disturbing symptom and a significant cause of grave moral decline” (The Gospel of Life, no. 4). This attack has even gone so far as to redefine what it means to be human with changing concepts of gender and redefining marriage. We have also seen pockets of people of all different skin colors within our society protest and riot against police brutality, yet they are often blind to the brutality carried out towards unborn children of all colors who are robbed of their right to life through abortion. These same protestors also seem to forget that babies belonging to minorities are most vulnerable to being victims in the womb. We must never forget that all lives matter, regardless of color, creed, gender or age. Pope Francis recently reminded us that “we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life” (General Audience, 3 June 2020).
The culture of death has become a pandemic that has spread to all aspects of our society. It is up to ManHusbandDads to take up the mantle and stand up for the right to life of every human person from conception to natural death. Our most powerful weapon in this battle can be a life of virtue. Two of the Twelve Righteous Virtues that our society desperately needs the most to confront the culture of death are courage and chastity. It is through these two virtues that we can rebuild our nation and reclaim the first divine right of our Declaration of Independence. Our nation will only flourish if we are willing to stand up in defense of human life and fight to protect all who are vulnerable. This will be a long and complicated fight but a fight that we can win inspired by the example of George Washington who was outnumbered and outgunned when fighting against the British yet he fought strong to protect the first Americans and was victorious. If we follow the example of our first president’s courage, we can be victorious too and build a culture of life.
To delve deeper into the life of the Holy Spirit as revealed through Scripture read The Holy Spirit: A Bible Study Guide for Catholics by Fr. Mitch Pacwa.