Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


An Act of Faith?

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
230 years ago today, 56 men signed the Declaration of Independence. In time, many would pay for their declaration—9 died as a result of the war or its hardships; 12 had their homes ransacked or ruined. Had the colonies lost, the toll on the signers would have been much greater.

Some of those who signed—including Thomas Jefferson—were Deists whose faith in God was more in that of a detached creator who made the world to work according to certain laws we could come to know by reason. The document itself is open-ended enough that both orthodox Christians and Deists could read of the God they worshipped coming through the lines with words like those in bold below:
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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.
Not exactly an evangelistic epistle, the Decalaration nonetheless sought to appeal to a higher authority than the King of England through grounding its statements in Natural and Divine law. Whether it was a statement of faith in the Christian God, a Deist God or the armies of General Washington, the Declaration of Independence was an act of faith for in that in the summer of 1776, no victory was assured.

One slightly humorous aside is that this is a curious holiday for Episcopalians (even if more than half the signers were Episcopalian). Had victory not come, ours would be the predominant denomination here in South Georgia as the Church of England, and Anglicanism would have continued as the official religion of state. In cutting off themselves from England on this day, they also cut themselves off from having a religion of state, a form of faith that comes with the governmental seal of approval.

The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church


Post a Comment

<< Home