Editors note: This is the last of a four-part series exploring the need for America to transform from a culture of brokenness to a culture of life.
Our Founding Fathers knew that without the Creator, the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness would not be absolute.
As American society moves ever further from God, our culture is increasingly marked by the human brokenness that results from the disintegration of these sacred rights.
Without the Creator, the value of a life depends on its usefulness to those who are stronger, and liberty is curtailed in a thousand ways, including how we spend our money, time and talents severely limiting our ability to pursue what makes us happy.
As radical leftists continue their attempt to expunge God from our culture, liberty is diminishing with it, including the unalienable right to pursue happiness. Oppressive leftist policies even pervert what it means to pursue happiness, replacing the hard work required to realize personal dreams with an empty promise of happiness through instant gratification.
The pursuit of happiness involves effort. No one can hand happiness to us: It is something we must work toward.
God created us in His image, with each of us reflecting glimpses of His magnificence. Some are created to be musicians, others writers or teachers. Some have abilities to excel in business, to champion a cause, or are imbued with the gift of hospitality. It is in discovering our own talents, and then developing and using them, that brings deep personal fulfillment.
In other words, we find our greatest happiness when we spend our time pursuing what we were created to do.
Discovering our purpose and doing our best to achieve it is a God-ordained right, and entire nations thrive or vanish depending on if they infringe upon this sacred prerogative.
Any accomplished dancer, welder, chef or nurse will tell you it takes hard work and long hours to develop innate talents in order to exercise them to their fullest potential.
Tragically, that right is infringed when oppressive governments seek to foster a sense of dependency. Far too many Americans have fallen for the allure of the siren song of instant gratification. Its just so much easier to take the cash and avoid the work required to overcome adversity in order to achieve our dreams. Falling into this trance robs people of much happiness.
It also destroys liberties as the takers gradually become ensnared by the strings that are always attached to easy money.
When governments erect unnecessary barriers that inhibit innovation and creativity, they also rob people of the opportunity to pursue their dreams.
Both the fulfillment that comes with personal achievement and the deep satisfaction that comes with trying your best, but failing and having the ability and the guts to try again, are essential to human happiness. Government has a duty to stay out of the way of those who wish to relentlessly pursue their dreams.
When governments play God and restrict the pursuit of happiness through endless regulations and bureaucratic paperwork, they shatter dreams and set people up for failure.
Spirits are crushed, and society suffers from stagnation. Hearts begin to fill with hopelessness, despair and a feeling of why even bother? Such negative attitudes affect the fabric of the nation and result in malaise. There is no happiness in that.
Just as policies designed to oppress freedom and limit our potential lead to human misery, so do the policies of those who foolishly believe in liberty absent moral standards established by an omniscient God.
The result is anarchy at worst, and cultural chaos at best. True liberty is only possible when it is ordered by Gods natural law.
It was John Adams who said, Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
This is not to say that every American must be a person of faith in order for our nation to be marked by a culture of life and liberty.
It does mean that if America bans God and his guidance from our institutions, if we prohibit believers to freely practice their faith, if we fail to seek His guidance and protection, then we will suffer the natural consequences of the choices that we have made.
The cure to our cultural ills does not reside in government. America will never conquer the growing cancers of heartbreak, anger and violence with mindless feel-good legislation.
Cultural healing will only come when the people can fully enjoy their rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And that is only possible when America is one nation under God.
Rebecca Hagelin can be reached at [emailprotected]
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