By Maria Gallagher
It was one of those Facebook Live events that I just had to attend.
A cable news outlet was featuring a live transmission of a Thomas Jefferson re-enactor reading The Declaration of Independence, Jefferson’s seminal work.
I love American history, the Fourth of July, and the founding of our nation, so I was enthralled. And I felt especially moved (as I always am) by the line, “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.”
It’s a line that packed with power and meaning. Dictionary.com defines “unalienable” as “not transferable to another or not capable of being taken away or denied.” In other words, our country’s founding document states quite clearly that the right to life should not be denied.
Moreover, Jefferson stated that the truth that the right to life should not be compromised was “self-evident.” It is true whether or not we chose to recognize it.
It is also telling that Life is the first right enumerated—an indication of its preeminent importance. Life is even more critical than liberty and the pursuit of happiness since without life you cannot experience liberty or pursue happiness.
The principles articulated by Jefferson and the other founding forefathers and foremothers, demonstrated a timeless wisdom. And they formed the basis for a nation that would become a beacon for freedom throughout the world from that day to this.
To be proud of our nation is not to ignore our failures, including most notably slavery and segregation. But the better angels of our nature overcame these faults through the abolition of slavery and the recognition of the evil of racism.
Likewise, in our time, we have the opportunity to right the incredible wrong of abortion and euthanasia. As we celebrate our Independence, we re-dedicate ourselves (to paraphrase President Lincoln) “to the proposition that all men, born and unborn, are created equal.” By working for the renewal of a culture of life, we make the dream of our founders and our 16th President come alive.
Tomorrow, I invite you to say a prayer of thanksgiving for the brilliance of that Declaration that gave birth to our beloved country.
And please say a second prayer that that “self-evident truth”– the unalienable right to life of all of us–may once again be protected across our great land.