Thursday, July 2, 2015

Would You Have Signed It?

Two hundred thirty-nine years ago, 56 patriots signed the Declaration of Independence which gave us an independent nation--the United States of America. Who can recount today the high price they paid by signing that document?

Painting by John Trumbull of Signing of the
Declaration of Independence
History tells us that five of the signers were captured by the British and tortured as traitors before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons in the Revolutionary War. Another had two sons captured.

Others lost their wives, their homes, and their fortunes and died penniless. Nine of the signers fought and died from wounds or the hardships of the war. One wealthy trader saw all of his ships swept from the seas by the British navy. He had to sell his home and properties to pay his debts and died in rags.

These men were lawyers and jurists, merchants, farmers, and plantation owners. They were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education.

They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured. By signing, they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

Signatures on the Declaration of Independence
According to the Catholic Observer, 2,300 federal employees in twelve Washington agencies were shown a quotation from the Declaration of Independence without being told what it was and were asked to sign the document. Sixty-eight percent refused to sign. Some claimed the quotation was from, among other sources, the Christian Science Monitor and the Communist Manifesto.

Would you have signed it?

Freedom is not free. It costs dearly. Brave soldiers are still dying for our freedom. What are we doing to keep it?

Jesus died for our ultimate freedom--from the chains of sin and death. "Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery" (Galatians 5:1, NIV). Are we standing firm?

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