“Quo vadis America” was the theme of a recent rebroadcast of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen’s Life Is Worth Living.
Quo vadis is Latin asking “where are you going?”
It was the third consecutive show from the 1960s dealing with the theme for this column the Fourth of July. These broadcasts from 50 years ago show that many concerns from that era are alive today.
Sheen points out that the founding fathers were religious and their views are reflected in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution .
He notes that Thomas Jefferson, architect of those documents, had two prime beliefs when putting words to paper – the dignity of man and a belief in the Creator.
Jefferson believed liberty and freedom were natural rights granted by the creator and not government. If bestowed by government they could be taken away by government.
Much of this column will use the words of Founding Fathers and require reflection by the reader as to how they apply to the current day.
Tinder conditions are making this Fourth even quieter than it has been in recent years as fireworks are banned in many areas because of drought and concerns about wild fires. Even smoking outdoors is banned in areas of Wisconsin.
The Fourth was a day that citizens gathered for parades, picnics, games, music and fun capped by fireworks. Fireworks are virtually the last vestige of celebrating the nation’s birthday in recent years.
We have taken for granted just how special the formation of this nation was by our Founding Fathers. In their words:
“The (Fourth) will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance… It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever.” – John Adams
“My reading of history convinces me that most bad government has grown out of too much government.” – Thomas Jefferson
“We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” – James Madison
“Equal and exact justice to all men…freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of person under the protection of the habeas corpus; and trial by juries impartially selected, these principles form the bright constellation which has gone before us.” – Thomas Jefferson
“They that would give up essential liberty for a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Ben Franklin
“I think our governments will remain virtuous for many centuries; as long as they are chiefly agricultural; and this will be as long as there shall be vacant lands in any part of America. When they get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, they will become corrupt as in Europe.” – Thomas Jefferson
“Hold on to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands.. Miracles do not cluster, and what has happened once in 6000 years, may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world.” – Daniel Webster
“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.” – Thomas Jefferson