Faith, Freedom, and the Fourth of July

A little-known resolution put forth on Independence Day confirms America’s Christian roots

Every year, the nation comes together to celebrate the Fourth of July and commemorate the day our Founding Fathers adopted the Declaration of Independence, breaking from England and establishing a new nation.

“That Dr. Franklin, Mr. J. Adams and Mr. Jefferson, be a committee, to bring in a device for a seal for the United States of America.”

Looking back 240 years later, the current atmosphere in our culture ignores many of the religious contributions that surrounded the founding of our nation — and the document that was put forth.

The crux of the Declaration of Independence points out that our rights are given to us by God: “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.”

What many people don’t know or don’t remember is that another resolution was put forward in that same meeting of the Continental Congress — right after the Declaration of Independence was approved.

The resolution that was put forward was as follows: “That Dr. Franklin, Mr. J. Adams and Mr. Jefferson, be a committee, to bring in a device for a seal for the United States of America.”

These three Founding Fathers — forever etched in history for their great contributions to the forging of our country — each put forth a design for a seal on this same historic day when they claimed their freedom from the British.

Two of the three designs put forth by these titans of American history were profoundly Christian.

Benjamin Franklin’s own notes indicate the design he put forth for discussion was this: “Moses standing on the Shore, and extending his Hand over the Sea, thereby causing the same to overwhelm Pharaoh who is sitting in an open Chariot, a Crown on his Head and a Sword in his Hand. Rays from a Pillar of Fire in the Clouds reaching to Moses, to express that he acts by Command of the Deity.”

Under the image described above would be an inscription with the motto: “Rebellion to Tyrants is obedience to God.”

For Thomas Jefferson — which Adams documented in a letter — it was as follows:

“The Children of Israel in the Wilderness, led by a Cloud by day, and a Pillar of Fire by night.”

While all of the designs put forth on Independence Day were tabled by the Continental Congress at the time, the phrase E Pluribus Unum, or “Out of Many, One,” came about in those initial designs and was adopted at a later date.

But perhaps more importantly, these designs offer insight into the Founders’ plan for our nation and — whether our culture today approves or not — that our nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principles.

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