Desta Garrett, a dear friend and American scholar and patriot sent me the following e-mail –
From decades ago, I’ve never forgotten this passage. I wanted to read it again and found it still marked with highlighter in my copy of the book. It is one of the best statements of "Christian self-government" I know of! So I thought to share this reminder of "liberty":
Passage from Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Ch.8 Fourth of July
(At their picnic celebration, The Declaration of Independence was read aloud, ending….)
"…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."
No one cheered. It was more like a moment to say, "Amen." ….
Then Pa began to sing. All at once everyone was singing, "My country, ’tis of thee…."
The crowd was scattering away then, but Laura stood stock still. Suddenly she had a completely new thought. The Declaration and the song came together in her mind.
She thought: Americans won’t obey any king on earth. Americans are free. That means they have to obey their own consciences. No king bosses Pa; he has to boss himself. Why (she thought), when I am a little older, Pa and Ma will stop telling me what to do, and there isn’t anyone else who has a right to give me orders. I will have to make myself be good.
Her whole mind seemed to be lighted up by that thought. This is what it means to be free. It means, you have to be good. "Our father’s God, author of liberty–" The laws of Nature and of Nature’s God endow you with a right to life and liberty. Then you have to keep the laws of God, for God’s law is the only thing that gives you a right to be free. …
What can anyone add to that!