America's birth of freedom

On Saturday, Americans will observe Independence Day, an annual rite celebrating the ideals of liberty upon which our country was founded.

Two-hundred and thirty-nine years ago, our founders pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor to create a new nation unlike anything that had preceded it. Their new nation was built on the belief that God endowed every person with rights that no government can deny whilst claiming to rule with any color of legitimacy.

Unlike the solemn occasion of Memorial Day, which commemorates loss, Independence Day is defined by the joy and optimism about America that motivated the Founding Fathers to take the risks they did in order to declare independence. This is why it is celebrated with so many cheerful customs — picnics, baseball games, back yard barbecues, parades, fireworks and patriotic displays of the American flag.

Even so, many of Americans' freedoms are under threat today. According to the Fraser Institute, the United States ranks 12th among countries in terms of its economic freedom, a decrease from past years that's due in part to a decline in property rights and a rise in the costs imposed by government on businesses.