What the Founding Fathers knew about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness

foundingfathers

From the Declaration of Independence:

“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

The right to life and liberty are universal human rights granted by God … not man … and certainly not by ANY earthly government.

The right to the pursuit of happiness is also God bestowed … not for the purpose of fostering  immoral and lascivious conduct … but so that … over the course of his life … with the help of the Church … man might come to know, love, and serve  God … so that he might one day finally be admitted to Heaven … to dwell forever with God … finally achieving the end for which the first two rights were divinely granted. 

The “happiness” we are to pursue is fellowship with God in Heaven. Nothing less.