We must revive the conviction in our nation that was held by our Founding Fathers and expressed in the Declaration of Independence: everyone has a God-given right to life and liberty, and to pursue happiness

          There are only two possible sources of authority in human relationships: One of them constitutes the essence of anarchy or tyranny (no matter how constructed) because it is grounded in the premise that might makes right. The other is on a higher plane (in bygone eras it was referred to as based on the laws of nature and of nature's God) because it is grounded in the premise that the Creator has authority over creation.  The former is a terror to those who are weak or in the minority, whereas the latter provides safeguards for the weak and minorities.

         Our nation was constructed by men who had a world view in common regarding authority in human relationships. It can easily be demonstrated by examining the founding documents that they believed in a Creator and that they believed the Creator had given them both rights and responsibilities. One of those responsibilities -- according to their view -- was to fashion human government according to certain standards. If government failed to perform, it was the citizen's duty to alter or abolish it and institute new government to effect their safety and happiness.

         The Declaration of Independence states, "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 Forms, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. ...when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariable 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 Oregon Constitution reinforces that point in Article 1, Section 1, "We declare that all men, when they form a compact are equal in right: that all power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety, and happiness; and they have at all times a right to alter reform, or abolish the government in such manner as they may think proper."

         If we are happy with the results that were produced by that world view, we should return to the fountain from which they flowed. I believe that we must take the same pledge of our lives, fortunes, and sacred honor that the framers of the Declaration of Independence took (with the same firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence,) to ordain and establish government that forms a more perfect union, establishes justice, insures domestic tranquility, provides for the common defense, promotes the general well being, and secures the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.