There was a high cost in signing the declaration of independence. Very high, indeed.
At first, that probably sounds a little overblown. Maybe a lot overblown.
But the problem is that there are some things that we take for granted. Or worse yet, we might totally miss them, because of the context in which we learn them.
Seeing this event from a fresh perspective helps to see these men as brave for their time. In the historical context, signing that declaration was actually a potential death sentence.
Dr. Peter McCollough, on his blog, "Courageous Discourse," pointed this out. I actually hadn't thought about it until I read what he had written about it.
Consider what Dr. MrCollough says,
We now look back on the Declaration of Independence with the benefit of knowing that the bold enterprise actually worked out—that is, that the American colonists prevailed in the war against Britain and achieved their independence from the British Crown.
However, at the time the 56 signers actually signed the document (on August 2, 1776), it was FAR from clear that their endeavor would work. In signing their names to the document, they knew they were committing High Treason and were therefore subjecting themselves to being put to death and their property confiscated. The latter penalty was almost as terrible, because most of them (in their thirties and forties) had wives and children who were dependent on them.
Did you ever think of it that way? Or have you always seen a neat and sanitized version of what that event looked like?
I think we miss much of what that was like for them because, like church history, we hear of the polished, "end of the story" version of what happened in that moment.
I think it is difficult for us to grasp what was going on in that room at the time.
And I draw the analogy to how we (many of us, anyway) grow up hearing bible stories as kids, so that, by the time we understand what happened to Jesus on the cross, we've been preconditioned to see it through the lens of it being "temporary," because we already know he rose from the dead.
And, as such, we don't get the full impact.
When Jesus was being crucified, the disciples weren't grasping in that moment that it was temporary.
Try to grasp the mindset in the room in that moment the framers were signing the declaration.
In 1811, reflecting back on the occasion in a letter to John Adams, the Pennsylvania representative, Dr. Benjamin Rush wrote:
The pensive and awful silence which pervaded the house when we were called up, one after another, to the table of the President of Congress to subscribe what was believed by many at that time to be our own death warrants. The silence and gloom of the morning was interrupted,
I well recollect, only for a moment by Benjamin Harrison of Virginia, who said to Elbridge Gerry at the table, "I shall have a great advantage over you, Mr. Gerry, when we are all hung for what we are now doing."
"From the size and weight of my body I shall die in a few minutes, but from the lightness of your body you will dance in the air an hour or two before you are dead."
This speech procured a transient smile, but it was soon succeeded by the solemnity with which the whole business was conducted.
Brave men. Truly brave men.
Were they flawed men? Of course. We should not pretend they were not flawed.
The founding fathers had slaves.
This doesn't whitewash that. I'm not saying we should overlook the issue of slavery, or the blight it was on our history that it took so long to rid the culture of it.
It seems that many (if not most) of the founding fathers had slaves. But it also seems like they were generally kinder to them than their contemporaries.
I'm sure there are many things in today's society that will be looked back on (if we are here that long) that will be seen through the lens of history as less than ideal; perhaps even reprehensible.
But that is not what this article is about.
This is about present realities that we often overlook in history, when looking at events in the rear view mirror.
These men were signing a document that effectively put them in direct opposition to Britain - in rebellion, actually - and if history had ended up working out differently, they might have instead been painted as traitors to the government.
The article continues:
As things turned out, none of them were actually put to death for treason, though some were imprisoned and lost their property.
A particularly poignant case was Francis Lewis (1713-1802) of New York. His wife died as an indirect result of being imprisoned by the British, and he lost all of his property on Long Island during the war. When his wife died, Lewis left Congress and completely abandoned politics.
As things have worked out, in today's light, they are seen by most of us as heroes. The history is written by the winning side.
Whether they were heroes or just men with some blind spots, they were brave men, and were willing to pay a great price for what they believed.
As the article says,
Nowadays, safely ensconced on America’s college campuses, it has become fashionable for professors and students to criticize the signers—and especially the author, Thomas Jefferson—as privileged white men, many of whom owned African slaves.
(And yet, in the end, slavery was abolished, again at a great cost.)
In 1776, the country was united against a foreign enemy. Almost 100 years later, "the enemy was us." That is, the country was divided and it became a horrible price that would be paid to bring an end to slavery.
Within that 100 year window, there was a lot of bravery, a lot of injustice.
Some of the people who gained their freedom from the tyranny of England were the ones who kept others in tyrannies of their own by owning slaves.
But somehow, I don't think the signers of the declaration would have been the ones opposing freedom for the slaves.
It's just that you can only fight so many wars at a time, or deal with so many blind spots all at once.
And I bring this up today because today is the day this article came across my news feed - coinciding with the 4th of July holiday where Americans celebrate their independence from what was a tyrannical government.
But we have blind spots too.
This weekend is also the weekend that marks the date of the release of a movie about a very different and very horrible kind of slavery: that of the slavery of children in the crime of human trafficking.
It might not be a surprise to my readers that there is this huge, ugly blight on humanity that persists these days.
But for the majority of Americans, they celebrate the Independence Day weekend without much thought to what it cost the founders to establish the United States as a country.
Many also fail to recognize the horrible tyranny that is going on all around them - tyrants who live in the same country, enjoying the same freedom, and yet abusing, enslaving and torturing children.
"Sound Of Freedom" is a movie that was created to draw attention to this horrible, pervasive and almost unspeakable evil going on all around us in this world.
But no matter how horrible, it needs to be spoken about, even at a potential cost.
"Sound of Freedom" is a movie about child trafficking, child sex slavery and the sale of human body parts for profit.
Hopefully (and for many, prayerfully) history will come out quickly on the right side of the children who are being treated as cattle and sex toys and little factories for body parts and adrenochrome suppliers.
Right now, all the big money is on the side of pretending this isn't really a problem. But in the end, history will be written by those who will have won this battle.
Does our culture have its blind spots? Of course, it does. History repeats itself from time to time.
Ironically, it's hard to identify blind spots because, well..... they're blind spots.
But this is one that some of us can see.
We need to see it, to look it square in the face, to be brave enough to speak out and draw attention to the stunningly large and cancerously horrible problem.
If you don't believe this is a problem, think about this: the movie has been sitting, completely finished and ready to go for three years.
But it has taken this long for the producers of it to be able to bring it to the theaters.
Hollywood and its dark money and power have been fighting the release of this film with everything they've got.
Jim Caviezel and Mel Gibson have been pushing this issue into the media, always as an uphill battle. There are some really evil, rich people who don't want this stuff ever to be known.
Mel Gibson and Jim Caviezel both talk about their reputations, even their lives - being threatened for daring to speak out against this multi-BILLION-dollar child sex trafficking industry.
Do these men have blind spots? Perhaps.
Mel Gibson does, anyway. He's made some disparaging remarks about Jewish people, gotten arrested for drunk driving.
And we can choose to look at his failures, or we can look past that, seeing that in spite of the fact that he is, like many, a flawed man, he is a brave man.
And what about Donald Trump?
Talk about a flawed man. Proud? Brash? Coarse? Yes.
But whether you realize it or not, Donald Trump, since he was running for office, spoke about the swamp and the need to drain it.
Many people (particularly many of the ones who voted for him and pushed so hard to want him re-elected) are well aware that he is well aware of these issues. They are also well aware of what he was doing to try to save these children.
So are they flawed men? Some of them sure are. But they are brave men.
These are all brave men for pushing so very hard against a very rich and powerful entrenchment of evil and abuse of the little ones among us.
Hopefully, now that it's hit the theatres, this movie will be the beginning of a turning point: a point in time where history will be able to look back and say, "that was a horrible, ugly thing that made us all less than fully human."
If you can take the time, please watch this video clip of Jim Caviezel discussing the depth of the problem of this issue that most of us would probably find quite easy to assume "just cannot be."
This video may load slowly. Please give it some time. The servers are often overloaded as people are waking up to this reality, almost all at once, because it has hit a movie screen, and suddenly is becoming "real." Be patient, and please watch this.
What is your life worth? What is the life of those children worth?
Perhaps you're one of many who didn't know this was going on. Now you do. Now, if you say nothing, you are without excuse.
Maybe worse yet, you're among those who have been aware but have been afraid to speak out for fear of backlash, or worse yet, you fear for your safety if you are among the first to speak out.
But if you don't, who will?
Hopefully, someday soon, we will see a world, in unison, saying, "how could that have POSSIBLY gone on for so long? Thank God that is all now behind us."
And maybe someday, Caviezel, Gibson and Trump will be remembered, not merely for their failures, but for the fact that in this, they are true heroes.