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David Nelson column: Let freedom ring

“Proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants.” Leviticus 25:10


By Dr. David P. Nelson

Special to the Post 

This Biblical passage was inscribed on the bell in the Philadelphia State House. This bell we know as the “Liberty Bell.” It was tolled after the Declaration of Independence signing, July 4, 1776.

The Preamble to the Declaration to which the early leaders of this Republic placed their signatures, pledged their “lives, fortunes, and sacred honor.” “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are; life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The colonies became the United States of America.

Not long after that event, 240 years ago, when the preamble to the Constitution was framed, these words were written as the Cornerstone of our American democracy: “That we may secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity.”

Following the spirit of its Founders, this Nation under God progressed as no other nation ever had—motivated by the spirit which prizes freedom above everything else.

Our country has held fast to this precious heritage.

While tyrants, dictators, and demonic movements have robbed other nations of their freedom and respect, our country is still “the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

Here in the United States the principles of a free press, free speech, freedom of religion, still stand as the foundation of our way of life.

This declaration would not have made America free if it hadn’t been for the sacrifice in battles for liberty at Bunker Hill, Valley Forge, Saratoga, Trenton, Yorktown and the like.

May we never forget that freedom is never easy to maintain. The citizens in this free country have to do their own thinking. Voters have the right to decide—no one else enters the pooling place for you. We select our own governmental leaders for our city-county; state, and national leaders. Perhaps it is a real tragedy that many citizens do not accept this responsibility.

Voting is our responsibility as well as a privilege. It is irresponsible not to exercise this right.

The founding fathers did not proclaim that we had the right to neglect God altogether. People who neglect God are fundamentally the enemies of democracy.   For a lively spirit of democracy is enriched by a reverence for God and an adherence to His guidelines for justice and interaction. 

IN GOD WE TRUST is engraved on our coins, printed on our stamps and currency. It is the CREED of our country.

As we celebrate our national Birthday—our day of proclaimed freedom—may we find cause to “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land.”   Let freedom ring.


Nelson is a retired Lutheran pastor.


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