Archive for June, 2005

Happy Birthday, America!

June 28, 2005

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. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, . . . The Declaration of Independence

WE believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society. Doctrine and Covenants Section 134:1

I will be gone on an anniversary vacation on Independence Day, so I thought I would write some thoughts about our country’s 229th anniversary before I leave.

The United States of America is a country that was formed from an idea, perhaps the only country so created–the idea that the people of the country have been given a stewardship by God to establish the government for the good of the people. The people are in charge–not a king or a small group of individuals. Our country was clearly founded on high ideals and with a foundation based on God-given rights. Today, the ideals presented by the Founding Fathers are questioned and the mere mention of God in the public square is being attacked daily.

When the Bill of Rights was adopted, the Founding Fathers didn’t want government involved with supporting a state religion. Somehow, over the years, that has evolved from freedom of religion into the government being required to protect us from religion. Even the Supreme Court can’t figure out what the First Amendment means. I agree with George Will’s June 28th article “Thou Shalt Split Hairs”:

Nowadays many people delight in being distressed. They cultivate exquisitely tender sensibilities and practice moral exhibitionism, waxing indignant about minor encounters with thoughts and symbols they dislike. So, just to lower the decibel level of American life, perhaps communities should refrain from religious displays other than in religious contexts. But this is a merely prudential, not a constitutional consideration. On Monday the justices churned out 140 pages of opinions and dissents about the Texas and Kentucky displays.

Here is a one-sentence opinion that should suffice in such cases: “Because the display on public grounds does not do what the establishment clause was written to prevent — does not impose a state-sponsored creed or significantly advantage or disadvantage one sect or sects — the display is constitutional.”

Ideas today are turned upside down. We were once a country of E pluribus unum–Out of many, one. Today we are a nation told to embrace multi-culturalism–Out of many, stay many. America was once a melting pot. Emigrants came to America to embrace its culture and ideals. Now, many emigrants, legal or otherwise, demand to be taught in their birth language and stay isolated in their home culture.

We need to return to the idea that we can be a country united by a common culture that is made ever richer because of our varied and diverse ethic and social backgrounds. Our American culture doesn’t need to be afraid of hearing or seeing something religious in public. We should be thrilled that the many, varied members of our society can be comfortable with a public expression of their faith.

Our nation was founded on ideas. Many men and women have fought to preserve our nation’s ability to continue to be a nation of ideas—a nation that honors life, liberty, and the pursue of happiness. Hopefully, we will soon remember why we became a nation–to allow everyone the opportunity of enjoy individual liberty without the interference of the government.

So Happy Birthday to our great nation! I consider it a privilege to live in this wonderful country. It is a blessing that we too often forget.



June 27, 2005

NPS: Nature & Science´┐Ż Air Resources Division – Denali NPP Web Camera

A great photo of Denali today. I hope it is like this when we are there. Apparently, Denali is only cloud-free about 30% of the time in July. I hope we have a good turn of luck.

Getting a Start

June 24, 2005

I started a geocaching-related blog the other day, but thought I might try a general purpose blog also. We’ll see how it goes.