“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.” (U.S. Declaration of Independence)
Like all human governments, ours is an institution of this world, established as a matter of expediency “in the course of human events.” And yet there is much that we have to be thankful for in this nation. Our nation acknowledges fundamental human rights, granted by God, which have often been denied in the course of history. We have freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom to worship as we wish — freedoms which many Orthodox Christians have not had during the Church’s 2000-year history.
Let us be thankful for this gift, and let us show our gratitude to God by using it properly. How do we properly use our life, our liberty, our right to pursue happiness? By pursuing true life, true liberty, and true happiness. Our Lord said, Happy are the poor in spirit, the meek, those who mourn, those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, the peacemakers, the merciful, those who are persecuted for righteousness sake (Matthew 5:1-12). Let us use the freedom given us, imitate the life of our Lord, and thus attain to the fullness of life, liberty, and happiness!