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. – The Declaration of Independence
When the founders of our nation landed on the shores of Cape Cod, it was with the pursuit of religious freedom. All the other truths we’ve fought for since that time, stemmed from this same quest. The thought that no one has the right to define God or how we worship, opened the door for an all-inclusive loving God to walk through. With no religious dogma, no one is excluded. We are free to be who we are. In 1955, Rosa Parks knew that when she refused to move to the back of the bus and began the Civil Rights movement. Last week Edith Windsor knew it when the Supreme Court ruled in her favor, giving gay and lesbian marriages the same federal rights as heterosexual couples. No matter what race, sex, size or disabilities we have, we are all welcomed into the fold. It doesn’t matter how we worship or who we love, the Creator delights in us exactly as we are. And why wouldn’t he? We are his handiwork.
I am deeply grateful to be born in the land of liberty. Our freedom is sacred and worth defending. July 4th is a day to celebrate this gift and remember all who have fought and died for it. As we watch fireworks light up the sky, with hands over our hearts, to our servicemen and women we stand in awe.
“America did not invent human rights. Human rights invented America.” – Jimmy Carter
Text and images © Sue Shanahan. All rights reserved.