Not too many Americans today read the Declaration of Independence. Those that do, usually don't read the whole thing. But many can recite the words: "life, liberty, and THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS," often quoting those words over and over as a justification of certain things they do that makes them happy. They believe they have a right to happiness and to do what ever makes them happy. But did you know those were not the original words penned by our founding fathers? And did you know that the term "pursuit of happiness" had a very different meaning back then from what it does today?
When first written, it appeared as "life, liberty, and PROPERTY." But those words were later changed. Why was this? The reason being that at the time the Declaration of Independence was written, "the pursuit of happiness" was a synonym for owning THINGS, specifically one's own property, whether it was land, vessels, assests, etc. It was understood that owning property made a person happy. And to be secure in owning one's own property was what made society moral. People worked hard to buy what was there's, and their hard work made them happy when they were finally able to buy what they desired. It was a MORAL ideal.
The government was not formed to PLEASE people and cater to making them HAPPY, rather it was organized to PROTECT man's rights to own whatever he pleased, and sought to make sure that those things would not be taken away from that individual by others. It was to protect the rights of individuals to own PROPERTY, not to overthrow the rights of others just to make them HAPPY, which is what we are seeing in America today.
Over the years, people forgot the meaning of words. And because of this, people's own property was eventually confiscated in America. And it still is today in the name of "security." It is a complete reversal of the original intention of the phrase "pursuit of happiness."
Today, the government thinks that "pursuit of happiness" means that it is their job to make sure people are happy, and they must do whatever it takes to make certain groups happy. But this is NOT what the founding fathers wanted!
No one is guaranteed happiness. You are either happy or you aren't. What makes you happy? Being able to do what you want, as long as it's not against the law, or doesn't hurt anyone else. This is called FREEDOM or LIBERTY. And when one is truly free, then and only then can he be happy. So, what makes a person truly free? The Declaration of Independence tells us the answer. According to that document, it is a GOD-GIVEN RIGHT to own property, and this right is to be protected by the government. God set this up, and the government is supposed to follow God in making sure this right to ownership is not infringed. It is man following God to protect man's God-given right to ownership.
However, in a Communist society, the ownership of property is forbidden, thus, no one can be free. And as we look at "property" versus "the pursuit of happiness" we find that one breeds liberty, while the other begets oppression.
Today, the meaning of "pursuit of happiness" is construed by many to mean that whatever makes one happy is what that person should have the right to do it. And, because of this we have many people desiring to have "special rights" to do or commit certain immoral acts, claiming it makes them happy.
A prime example is that of gays who now desire to be married. Why? Because it will make them happy. But they don't realize that this is something that God is very much against. For gays to claim Gay Marriage as a right under the guise of "the pursuit of happiness" is very foolish, for when we read the context of the Declaration of Independence, we find the following:
"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."
Here, God is called the CREATOR, and the GIVER OF RIGHTS. If this be the case, then why would anyone think that the words "pursuit of happiness" mean that it is God who allows a certain right to someone even though he writes against that very thing in his own Book, the Bible? In the Scriptures, God says that marriage is only between a man and a woman, period. So how could anyone who is gay claim that God gave them the right to marry because it would make them happy. What about God? Did anyone think to ask if it would make HIM happy?
And why stop there? If it makes gays happy to marry, then what about what makes others happy? What if it makes a man happy to rape many women? Shouldn't he have the right to do so? What if it makes a man happy to molest and murder children? Shouldn't he be allowed to do so, according to the same logic? What about the cannibal? Shouldn't he enjoy the taste of human flesh, especially since it makes him happy? And what about the serial killer? Doesn't it make him happy to mutilate and massacre his fellow man? And shouldn't his "rights" be granted him, as he endeavors only to work towards his own personal pursuit of happiness?
I think you know the answer to these hypothetical questions. Just because something makes someone happy doesn't mean that it's right.
To claim that "the pursuit of happiness" in the Declaration of Independence means that all people have a right to do whatever they want as long as it makes them happy is a huge fallacy. That is not what that document means! Especially when what people claim makes them happy is something that is immoral and against God!
We must therefore understand the meaning of the word from a 18th Century mindset. "The pursuit of happiness" means to do right and to prosper by so doing, and enjoying the fruit of your labours. It is not petitioning the government to give you special rights to do something that is harmful to yourself or society!
When first penned, the words were "Life, Liberty, and Property." But, they were changed. Sadly, this change has led to the downfall of America. For people mistake "happiness" with "freedom." But what makes you happy isn't always what's best for you, nor is it always moral, and sanctioned by God. True happiness, is doing what God wants, and enjoying the fruits of a moral society.