John Farmer’s ‘Reflections’ column

by John Howard Farmer

Happy Fourth of July, Northern Neck Americans

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On July 4, 1776, the original 13 colonies: Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island and the Providence Plantations, claimed their independence from England’s King George III—actually George William Frederick (1738-1820), who came to the British throne in 1760.

During his almost 60-year reign, he pushed through a British victory in the Seven Years’ War, which involved every European great power spanning five continents, led England’s successful resistance to Revolutionary and Napoleonic France and presided over the loss of the American Revolution.

“After suffering intermittent bouts of acute mental illness, he spent his last decade in a fog of insanity and blindness,” which gained him the title of Mad King George.

Colonials John Dickinson of Pennsylvania, James Duane, Robert Livingston and John Jay of New York originally refused to sign the independence document.

They were joined at first by Carter Braxton (1736-1797), a merchant, planter and Virginia politician of King & Queen County; Robert Morris of Pennsylvania; George Reed of Delaware; and Edward Rutledge of South Carolina who opposed the document, but all later signed in order to support a unanimous Congress.

Annually from 1776 to the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with festivities ranging from fireworks, parades, picnics, a government holiday and last but not least the legal separation of the 13 colonies from Great Britain, in 1776, which actually occurred on July 2, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been proposed in June by Richard Henry Lee (1732-1794) of Montross, a statesman from the Northern Neck, declaring the U.S. independent.

The establishment of a new government needed a leader. Another citizen of the Northern Neck, whose mom was from the outskirts of Lively, George Washington, was particularly singled out from amongst the colonial notables as being qualified to be “father of our country” particularly for his role as the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War and for his 40-year military tenure and voluntary retirement. Well, soldier, planter, ole George, became the first President of the U.S. Would having actually chopped down a cherry tree kept one from office?

The major precepts drawn for our Constitution are: All people are created equal; all people have basic human rights given to them by God.

The only reason to have a government at all is to protect these basic human rights, which Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) of Shadwell, who became our third U.S. President, had listed as “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Also, that our government must be by the consent of we who are governed.

Let’s take a more careful look at equality in the Bible, shall we? Here’s an extraction from an article by Andrew Wilson, Christianity Today, October 21, 2016:

“The New Testament mentions equality once or twice, but when it comes to social relationships, it is far more interested in concepts like oneness, commonness, partnership, union and joint-inheritance. If you make all those passages about equality, you flatten their meaning. And in any case, it’s become a blunderbuss word that means everything and nothing.

“Considering the history of the years, let alone the last 2,000, it might seem unwise to dismiss ‘equality’ so casually. Thankfully, the New Testament presents a better, higher vision [than equality].

“Two New Testament texts explicitly mention isotēs, the Greek word for equality, proportionality, or fairness. In 2 Corinthians 8:13–14, Paul urges the church in Corinth to give generously to the Jerusalem church, ‘that there might be equality.’ And in Colossians 4:1, he tells masters to grant their slaves ‘what is right and fair.’

“Most of the famous ‘equality’ passages use quite different language. Galatians 3:28 doesn’t say that there is no Jew and Gentile, slave and free, male and female because we are all equal, but because we ‘are all one in Christ Jesus.’ Colossians 3:11 doesn’t talk about equality between barbarians and Scythians, but rather asserts that ‘Christ is all and is in all.’ Ephesians 3:6 doesn’t say that Gentiles are now equal with Jews, but rather that we are now ‘heirs together.’ Ephesians 6:9 doesn’t talk about equality between slaves and masters, but rather that both have the same master.”

“A few theologians, historians and humanists argue; yet tradition reports that Geo. Washington prayed: ‘Almighty God; we make our earnest prayer that thou wilt keep the United States in thy holy protection, that thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States of America at large. And finally, that thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the divine author of our blessed religion and without whose example in these things we can ever hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we beseech thee, through Jesus Christ Our Lord, Amen’.”

Say, I wonder how many political, religious, ethical, cultural and racial arguments we might resolve by exercising our “oneness,” rather than jumping behind, or in front of our equality shield?

I am praying for a oneness to overtake America.