Monday, July 2, 2018

Avalon Chronicles #91: "1776"

Avalon Chronicles #91: "1776"

by Allen B. Clark

1976 was the Bicentennial year and communities all across America held celebrations and events to commemorate the adoption of our Declaration of Independence. It was my privilege to serve on the city of Dallas, Texas committee. One of the most significant memories of the several months of planning the commemoration was hearing the words spoken by Temple Emmanuel Rabbi Levi Olan; "The Fourth of July is a celebration of freedom rooted in a religious sense of thanksgiving to God."

The founding of our colonies was embodied in the Mayflower Compact, which could be considered the Genesis of the American republic in Biblical terms. In my possession and well-marked up is a book titled Unto the Generations written in 1968, fifty years ago this year. The author was Daniel L. Marsh, the distinguished  Life Chancellor of Boston University. I am grateful to him for some of the following profound writings of the significance and symbolism of the history of the United States of America.

Henry VIII of England broke with the Roman Catholic Church and established the Church of England in the mid-1500s. Over time adherents and worshippers in that tradition believed that  the Church of England needed "democratizing" and "purifying" in its worship. They became the Puritans of our early history and and eventually began a movement to what became Massachusetts in the early 1600s. By 1606 they were required to worship secretly due to persecution by the King. Some moved to Holland and a small group from there became our Pilgrims, who sailed to Massachusetts in 1620. On the ship the Mayflower Compact was signed, a document described in 1802 by John Quincy Adams, our future sixth president. He said; "This is perhaps the only instance in human history of that positive original social compact which speculative philosophers have imagined as the only legitimate source of government." Here was a document that bound together that tiny group of Pilgrims and it became the Genesis of our nation.

The Declaration of Independence became our "Exodus from human bondage" of the British Empire, which upheld the European tradition of their royalty that colonies were only "to enrich the mother country." King George III viewed our thirteen colonies as a cash register to take money through onerous taxes to pay off England's war debts.

On June 30, 2018 Linda and I were invited to a private viewing of the 1972 movie 1776, adapted from a Broadway play production. (The video is available for purchase and is available for viewing on Amazon Prime). The highlights of the film were innumerable, but three stood out especially for me. 1. The extent of the original regional conflicts that had to be ironed out to come to a consensus for unanimous consent for an agreement to declare independence signed by all the colonies. 2. The magnificent verbiage incorporated in the document by the consummate wordsmith Thomas Jefferson. 3. There was a special segment when a soldier dispatched from George Washington's Continental Army with a message to the Congress, related a battle in which he fought, where in its aftermath two mothers came to the battlefield to retrieve the bodies of their sons killed in action. (The latter touched me tearfully as a wounded soldier from the Vietnam War).

Much has been written and depicted as to the significance of the document, but, its essence is that within every human heart there is a desire for freedom and a breaking of the chains of enslavement by tyrants, oppressive regimes, and various "isms." In the spiritual world there is an opportunity, as in my faith tradition of Christianity, to break the chains of enslavement to addictions, wrong thinking and sin. I sincerely believe that God recognized that the bonds of enslavement in the royal systems of "divine right rule" could only be broken through a totally new system and that became possible only through the founding of our nation. The men and women of our original colonies shed blood, tears, and comfort to bring forth our republic. Very few true republics have endured through history and some so-called republics today are not really republics.

Americans, as we enjoy our holiday, attend parades, watch fireworks, and barbecue in our yards, let us never forget the legacy we enjoy of those colonists and their courage, sacrifices, and spirit. Let us never lose our freedoms and become another political entity someday discarded in the trash heap of history. We are a nation forged in fires of faith as a gift on our shores from our Creator God. Let us maintain our Republic safe from those, who believe one of the "isms" is preferable.