Sunday, July 15, 2012

Conversation with God.

One of the hardest things for me in life right now is being single. I keep hearing how it's supposedly a great thing, to enjoy it while it lasts, that you lose freedom by being in a relationship... you know what? Being single sucks. By nature I am an extroverted introvert. An introvert who, when at work or some other setting where the rules for social engagement is understood, will be able to express interest with others and be able to open up. In my case, to tell really bad jokes (so I am told). Out side of work, church, and IMing with family and three or four others, I have ZERO social life.

Eric, you say, there is your problem! No social life, no way to meet girls!

Firstly, I want a Lady, not a girl. Secondly, I am not a social person. Neither is my dad, but he managed to find Mom! So, what's the deal? Warning... Don't ask God this. The conversation might go like this...

Me: God, why am I still single? You know I want a relationship, what's holding me back?
God: (Silence. Of course. Sigh.)
Me: It's not like I'm not ready for a relationship. I have a good job, an apt, I am responsible at work and with my cat...
God: Oh really....
Eric: .... uh... crap. God replied.
God: So, you're ready for a relationship?
Eric: (Is this a trick question?) Yeees? I think so?
God: So, you are able to handle all the loan payments, bills, food, etc without needing any help from family?
Eric: Uh....
God: It's ok. It happens. But tell me this: are you responsible to everything that needs doing at home?
Eric: ... I'm afraid to ask, but what do you mean?
God: How is you're laundry?
Eric: Done.
God: Dishes?
Eric: Done.
God: Is the table cleaned off?
Eric: ...
God: The couch?
Eric: ...
God: The bathroom clean? The kitchen? Have you swept the floor and taken out the trash? Is your refrigerator clean?
Eric: No.
God: What about your relationship with Me?
Eric: I don't like where this is headed.
God: And I do?
Eric: ... point.
God: You know, you've even extolled on, the need for men to have a healthy relationship with Me before they can truly be the servant leaders their wives deserve.
Eric: Okay, I see where you are headed with this, but honestly, wouldn't a relationship help stabilize me to the point where *our* relationship would improve?
God: ...
Eric: ... yeah... ok... that was a bad argument.
God: Don't get me wrong, a woman in your life would do wonders for you...
Eric: ... thanks?
God: But are you so focused on not having a relationship that you aren't concerned about our relationship? You know any woman you will really want to pursue will desire a man who is pursuing Me. So... what's your holdup, tiger?
Eric: ... I'm really not happy with the direction this conversation has taken.
God: I think I worked it rather well, myself...
Eric: Well, yeah, but you're GOD... you can do anything.
God: Point.
Eric: Sigh.
God: Yep.
Eric: Why is it so hard for me to actually pursue you? Or even to do the basic things like be in Your Word?
God: Am I your God?
Eric: Well, duh, yes.
God: Am I?
Eric: ... why do I feel a Peter on the lakeshore moment coming?
God: Cause I made you Genre Savvy.
Eric: ... thanks?
God: Eric, do you even want me in your life, or am I just a call service to get you what you want?
Eric: Now that is just unfair. You know I am not like That!
God: And you know I have used hyperbole in the past to highlight certain flaws that would otherwise be "mysteriously overlooked."
Eric: ... still don't like the implication.
God: And I do?
Eric: ...  There is no easy fix to this, is there?
God: No. No there is not.
Eric: Alright. I'll... I'll try. I don't know how I'll do it... but I'll try.
God: You know....
Eric: I'm almost afraid to ask...
God: You are very process and ritual oriented...
Eric: Noticed...
God: You could, for the sake of argument, get up an hour earlier, show up to work an hour earlier, and while your boss is not there spent time in My Word while it is quiet...
Eric: ... That means getting up at 4 A.M.
God: I know.
Eric: I do not like 4 A.M.
God: I'm rather fond of it.
Eric: I'm not sure I like You right now.
God: Never said you had to like Me. Though it does help.
Eric: ... I will take it into consideration.
God: Please do.
Eric: Right. Anyway. Nice chat.
God: Ayep.
Eric: ... Did God just say "Ayep?"

God: Ayep.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The mote and the plank...

I have noticed a disturbing trend the past few years. Here, let me show you.

Do you see it?

We get aggravated with those who disagree with us, frustrated at those who cannot seem to exhibit the slightest bit of common sense, even violently angry at those who just plain refuse to listen to us, and how do we respond? We find a way to belittle them. We find a cute picture, or even just a plain background, and pour our vitriolic feelings into the guise of wisdom.  We show them to be the gibbering fools we know them to be, and smack down their arguments by not letting them speak in the first place, and instead we condescend to them with sarcasm and wit. 

We do it relieve anger, to de-stress, to maybe make a friend laugh...

We do it to feel superior. 

Now, before some who knows me (like my Mom) pipes in here, yes, Mea Culpa.  I am guilty as charged, I have done this in the past. But lately... I just get fed up with it. Where is our respect for our fellow siblings in Christ? If you are an atheist, then where is our respect for the freedom of speech? Where is our willingness to engage in the battlefield of ideas, not as stormtroopers beating our opponents into bloody submission, but as chess players weighing the value of piece of an argument before placing it strategically to counter our fellow players pieces. Where is the ability to stand up, shake hands, and have respect for those we disagree with? When did that go away?

Our sarcasm and wit makes us feel smart, it validates us and our opinions, without us needing to face a human soul who is wounded by our words. 

When I was a teen, I surrounded myself with a group of guys who were also smart, and we knew it. Worse, we had the test scores to prove it. And because we were alienated from everyone else because we were homeschooled, we banded together and were secure in the knowledge that we would one day rule the world (or at least some portion of it) and it would be sweet, and we would finally be able to fix all the things the other idiots had broken. 

How deluded I was. 

I am happy to rule over my apartment, though it seems not my cat, and as to fixing things, well, does doing tech support count?

We must learn to still our hearts and our tongues until we have learned what we truly believe, why we believe it, how to craft an argument for it, and above all we must hold ourselves still until we have learned love and respect. All our wit and biting sarcasm will only serve to validate those who agree with us, and not one person will see it and say "What was I thinking, of course, now it all makes sense!" 

 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.   Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.  For

“Whoever desires to love life
    and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
    and his lips from speaking deceit;
 let him turn away from evil and do good;
    let him seek peace and pursue it.
 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
    and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil.
1 Peter 3:8-17

Or perhaps Peters words from chapter 1 is more appropriate.

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 
1 Peter 1:13-19

At the risk of aggrandizing myself, I ask you to look at how I have crafted this post. I aim to insult no one, I only hope present for your consideration a logical argument to support my statement: We must, without compromise, exhibit the love and reason Christ showed to both the ones who followed Him and the ones who mocked Him. 

Jesus, when challenged by the ones who knew they were smart and used words to validate themselves in the eyes of man, responded to question of law this way:

 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. 

And a second is like it: 
You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 

On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Matthew 22:37-40

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Sole Survivors, or, When Life Gives You Lemons, Climb Mountains With Them!

But Eric, you say, what do lemons have to do with climbing?



Ok, bear with me here. First off, I am stealing from a post on a forum I read on I posted the story I relate below, and Ken replied, and... well... just keep reading.

Lately my bike has been having some issues. The rear tire has been going soft over time. I have two spare tubes, but when you buy 700cc tubes, apparently Wal-Mart only sells them with a Presta valve. uh. Ok. Sure think, boss. Whatever. It's a tire.

Yeah, no. Standard valves in the good ole U.S. of A. are Schraders. Different critter. Suck.

So until I can get a Presta Pump, or an adapter, I have just been pumping up the rear tire once in a while. No biggie.

Until this morning. This morning I got on my bike, pedaled maybe five feet, and realized the Front tire was flat. Screw this. I'm walking.

I'm a paranoid person (Do NOT enter my apt without announcing yourself. It will not end well for you.), so I always leave 45 minutes early for work. I live about a mile away, so it's a nice walk. I get to see the sunrise most mornings. Pretty sweet deal, really.

So I lock up my Schwinn, toss my helmet back in the door, and head out. I notice that there are less crickets out, which is nice. Sun rise is pretty, and a good breeze. It's a good day.

Naturally, I am wearing my Fitbit. I see my steps, think "cool," and go on with my day.

I average about 9-10 thousand steps a day when I walk to work. American average is 5,000, and it should be 10,000. So, you know, I do ok when I walk to work.

I also average around 25 calls a day at work.

I got, like... 9. And it was a busy day. But most of my day was swapping two phone sets from two different floors, swapping them back when a hubbaloo was raised (for good cause), moving some monitors around for a new person, then having it decided I should move the pc part to another spot, meaning I needed to run downstairs and get longer cables than what I had, run up to check on someones software... huff huff huff.

Oh, and I walked around the building twice.  Yeah. I hit 12,000 steps on the way home. And then, just as I was about to turn right to head home, and I saw 12k steps... I thought "Why not go to Wal-Mart? They might have the pump I need..." So I kept going and turned left.

Staggering into Wal-Mart, I perused the bike section and found a pretty sweet looking pump. It is a Schrader, but it has an adapter for Presta, and a patch fit, AND a pressure gauge built in! And it mounts on the bike! Sweet!

Also, I found Bell brand Camelbak thing. Awesome.

Loot in hand, I walked home. About 5:15, I hit 15,000 steps. I figure, sweet. Another Badge on Fitbit! I get home, sit down, and check my steps.

16,999. I cannot make this stuff up.

Oh, and 12 floors climbed. Some of that must of been the cross country walking to wally world.

So I make some coffee, listen to a bit of GBTV, post my success on fitbit, and get a lot of encouragement and cheers from the gang there.

As I relate the story, Ken takes an interest. Ken runs the Challenge group I am in. he wrote in a reply to me "making Lemons into steps and miles!!! Way to get it done!!!" Later, he highlighted some great feats for the day, and said I had "Climbed a mountain to get to work."

I was confused at the first post for a bit. When did I get lemons? I don't even LIKE lemons. Then I realized that he saw the flat tire as life handing me lemons. How did I respond?

Did I have a choice? I guess I could have called my boss and begged a ride. I have a open offer. But did I think about it? Not really. Why? I had planned for it. I was prepared. God had set in my heart a desire to never be late, regardless of circumstance, and so I planned to match, just in case. Walking, I get to work with 15 minutes to spare. This was not a hardship. I could have chosen to complain. I did mention it, since I have no social life and I like to share interesting things with my co-workers. But whine? Nope. Complain? Nah. It was a nice walk. 

When I was at work, I was given a number of tasks I didn't really care for, and a few I did but were more active and time consuming then I expected. I sweated most of the day. Complain? Nope. I addressed some concerns. But I was getting some good stats on my Fitbit and frankly I was enjoying getting off the phones. 

When I walked home, did I complain about the heat, the humidity, the pain in my feet? Nope. I thanked God for a good day. Then I went and got what I needed. And I walked home. 

After posting on the forums, I went and got weighed. 374.3lbs. I checked my steps. 18k. 

... something woke up in me. 

I can do this. 

I can actually hit 20k in a day. And not feel dead. (The latter being important to me.) 

I got my shoes back on, put on the water pack, a hat, and my iPod. I walked out to the College Track Field. The field was closed, but they have a flight of nice stone steps out front. 

... I can do this. 

I went up and down four times. I caught my breath. I went again. And again. And again. 

I can do this.

I am now home. 

21,149 steps. 
25 Floors.
6.02 Miles walked.

I sit here, coming off of an exercise fueled high, and one thought is in my head. 

I can do this.


What gives me the ability to do this?

Wrong question. 

"... for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In and and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.

"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."
Philippians 4:11b-13 ESV

Ken says life gave me lemons, and I climbed a mountain. I beg to differ.

God gave me opportunities to bless Him or curse Him. I blessed Him, and through my faith in His providence, I have moved mountains.

I will extol you, my God and King,
    and bless your name forever and ever.
 Every day I will bless you
     and praise your name forever and ever.
  Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
    and his greatness is unsearchable.
  One generation shall commend your works to another,
    and shall declare your mighty acts.
 On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
    and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
 They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
    and I will declare your greatness.
 They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
    and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.
 The Lord is gracious and merciful,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
 The Lord is good to all,
    and his mercy is over all that he has made.
  All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord,
    and all your saints shall bless you!
 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom
    and tell of your power,
 to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds,
    and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
  Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
    and your dominion endures throughout all generations.
[The Lord is faithful in all his words
    and kind in all his works.]
 The Lord upholds all who are falling
    and raises up all who are bowed down.
 The eyes of all look to you,
    and you give them their food in due season.
 You open your hand;
    you satisfy the desire of every living thing.
 The Lord is righteous in all his ways
    and kind in all his works.
 The Lord is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth.
 He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
    he also hears their cry and saves them.
 The Lord preserves all who love him,
    but all the wicked he will destroy.
 My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,
    and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.

Psalms 145 ESV

Monday, July 02, 2012

Resolved, That these United Colonies... The History Behind the Declaration.

22 March 1765 - Parliament of Great Britain passes "Duties in American Colonies Act 1765; 5 George III, c. 12." Commonly called the "Stamp Act." Law requires all printing presses in the British America print only on Stamp Imprinted Paper, purchased from London, paid for only with legal British Coin. Colonial Scrip is not acceptable. Law to be carried from 1 November 1765 to perpetuity.
Purpose - To alleviate the Royal Expenditure during the Seven Years War, of which the Colonies are seen as the primary Beneficiaries, and so must also pay into the debt.

Colonists respond with outrage. A Stamp Act Congress, arguably the first true meeting of some of the Colonies aimed at mutual gain and cooperation, was held between October 7 and 25, 1765. Representatives from 9 of the 18 colonies were in attendance. By the end of there congress, they published the Declaration of  Rights and Grievances.

Among the many issues raised was that, having logical argued their status as full British Citizens, owed the same treatment as any other British Citizen in any other British holding, was being treated unfairly. They were being directly taxed with out a Representative in Parliament to speak on their behalf. That The Admiralty Courts had their power extended far beyond their "... ancient limits," and tended to rule against Colonial interests regardless of evidence.

The entire act is a polite redress of grievances, assuring the Crown of their desire for devotion and warmest affection, and of their loyalty while requesting a repeal of the act.

They were not alone, and many merchant houses in England also objected to the act.

Tax collectors in the Colonies were be harassed constantly, and violence was not uncommon. It became difficult for the Governors to keep and collectors in their employ, and so as November came around, the Stamp Act was largely ignored.

After the pressures put on it, Parliament repealed the Stamp act on 17 March 1766.

18 March 1766 - Parliament passes the Declaratory Act. It states that it has the power to pass any laws to bind the colonies... in any case whatsoever. In other words, it gave itself the legal justification to pass any act, and law, and tariff it so desired at any time, for any cause. A nearly identical act was used to bind Ireland into virtual bondage to the Crown.

5 March 1770 - A riotous crowd gathers outside the Customs House of Boston, Province of Massachusetts Bay. As they passes, the Guards are assaulted with rocks and snowballs. A Colonist is stuck by a British rifle butt. Cooler Colonial heads try to disperse the crowd, 19 year old Henry Knox chiding the Guards that "If you fire, you must die for it!"  The captain of the Guard is summoned, and he arrives with more soldiers. As the engagement grows, with many Colonial agitators crying "Fire!"

Events become blurry at best, but it is believed that Private Montgomery was hit with a club, causing him to stumble and drop with weapon. On collecting it from the ground, he raised it, cried, "Damn you, fire!" and discharged his weapon. His fellow soldiers followed suit in staggered fashion.

Captain Preston did his best to bring order to his men. As the crowd dispersed, three dead, two yet to die, and six more wounded, he called out the 29th regiment and fortified his position. He then sought a fair inquiry into the shooting, known now as the Boston Massacre.

Fall 1770 - With John Adams serving as Defense Council, Cpt. John Preston, British Royal Army, is acquitted. Six of the remaining eight soldiers are also acquitted, with the other two convicted on Manslaughter due to the overwhelming evidence of them firing point blank into the crowd.

This impartial ruling, given to men hated by the populace, laid the foundation of the belief in the Rule of Law, not of men.

10 May 1773 - The Tea Act is passed. It allows the East India Company to directly import tea from Britain to the Colonies without duty. Plainly speaking, the Company had a vast surplus of tea in England, and the cost of paying Duties was enough to prohibit them from shipping the goods to the Colonies, who were buying black market tea to get around the Townshend Act's tax on tea. (1767)

With no duties, it was not only feasible to ship to the Colonies, it was greatly desired. It was assumed that with Tea cheaper than black market prices (With no duties, the Company could cut prices) they Colonists would see reason and buy legally.

They were wrong. The Townshend Acts were still in place, and thus were still a tax with out representation. As a matter of principle, Colonial buyers refuse to buy Company tea.

16 December 1773 - Every Colony but Massachusetts has managed to revoke the Company shipments of tea. Royal Governor Thomas Hutchinson refuses to allow the three ships to leave harbor, believing the protesters will cave.

After a long meeting regarding these events, between 30 and 130 men, some dressed as Indians, boarded the three ships and in the course of three hours dumped all the tea into the harbor. The message was clear: We will have nothing to do with a tax without our own representation. It is follow to think otherwise.

These events prompted London to remove the Colonial local government and place it under the rule of General Thomas Gage.

19 April, 1775 - Middlesex County, Province of Massachusetts Bay. Gage has learned of Colonial arms stockpiles in Concord. Royal troops are sent to confiscate them.

Having considered this eventuality, having been trained to ready to respond to an attack in a minute or less, and having been forewarned of the troop movement the night before by Paul Revere and William Dawes,

Shortly after four in the morning, Captain Parker stood with 80 Colonial soldiers, his training cadre, in Lexington. Many of them were relations of his. From experience, he felt that the British troops would find nothing and leave. A scout informed him of the approaching Royal forces size: 700 men.

Aware of his vast numerical inferiority, Captain Parker choose to make a political statement. He arrayed his men in parade formation on the city greens. They would not impede the oncoming force. They would merely state by their presence that such a visiting was not wanted. It was later recalled that Parker said to his men "Stand your ground; don't fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here."

The British forces surrounded Parker and his men, shouting and causing a general ruckus. The officers intended to take Parker's surrender and weapons.

As Parker ordered his men to comply and disperse some one fired into the commons. A general engagement preceded quickly, with the Colonials getting at best one scattered volley out before either fleeing or being killed. Many were run through by British bayonets. The extreme close quarters of the fight meant it lasted mere moments. One British soldier and eight Americans lie dead.

After gathering the men together again, the British continue to Concord. There a battle is engaged, ending with the British army besieged in the confines of Boston.

The War had begun.

7 June 1776 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Richard Henry Lee of Virginia proposes a resolution to the Second Continental Congress..

"Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved. That it is expedient forthwith to take the most effectual measures for forming foreign Alliances. That a plan of confederation be prepared and transmitted to the respective Colonies for their consideration and approbation."

28 June 1776 - A declaration of independence is presented for consideration with the Lee Resolution.

2 July 1776 - The first clause of the Lee Resolution is approved by 12 of the 13 Colonies. New York, lacking guidance from home, abstains until July 9th, when they too throw in their lot with the rest.

The Pennsylvania Evening Post reads:
"This day the Continental Congress declared the United Colonies Free and Independent States."

3 July 1776 - John Adams writes to his wife Abigail:

"The second day of July, 1776, 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, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. 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 more."

4 July 1776 - The Second Continental Congress publishes the Declaration of Independence.

In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

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 abolish it, and to institute a 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. Such has been the patient Sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the Necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The History of the Present King of Great-Britain is a History of repeated Injuries and Usurpations, all having in direct Object the Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid World.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public Good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing Importance, unless suspended in their Operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the Accommodation of large Districts of People; unless those People would relinquish the Right of Representation in the Legislature, a Right inestimable to them, and formidable to Tyrants only.
He has called together Legislative Bodies at Places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the Depository of their public Records, for the sole Purpose of fatiguing them into Compliance with his Measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly Firmness his Invasions on the Rights of the People.
He has refused for a long Time, after such Dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the Dangers of Invasion from without, and Convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the Population of these States; for that Purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their Migrations hither, and raising the Conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the Tenure of their Offices, and Amount and Payment of their Salaries.
He has erected a Multitude of new Offices, and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harass our People, and eat out their Substance.
He has kept among us, in Times of Peace, Standing Armies, without the consent of our Legislature.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a Jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution, and unacknowledged by our Laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large Bodies of Armed Troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from Punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all Parts of the World:
For imposing taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us, in many Cases, of the Benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended Offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an arbitrary Government, and enlarging its Boundaries, so as to render it at once an Example and fit Instrument for introducing the same absolute Rule in these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with Powers to legislate for us in all Cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our Seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our Towns, and destroyed the Lives of our People.
He is, at this Time, transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the Works of Death, Desolation, and Tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and Perfidy, scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous Ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized Nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the Executioners of their Friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic Insurrections among us, and has endeavoured to bring on the Inhabitants of our Frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known Rule of Warfare, is an undistinguished Destruction, of all Ages, Sexes and Conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions we have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble Terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated Injury. A Prince, whose Character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the Ruler of a free People.
Nor have we been wanting in Attentions to our British Brethren. We have warned them from Time to Time of Attempts by their Legislature to extend an unwarrantable Jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the Circumstances of our Emigration and Settlement here. We have appealed to their native Justice and Magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the Ties of our common Kindred to disavow these Usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our Connections and Correspondence. They too have been deaf to the Voice of Justice and of Consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the Necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of Mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace, Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly Publish and Declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be,Free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political Connection between them and the State of Great-Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of the divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Signed by Order and in Behalf of the Congress,

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