Is the Declaration of Independence also a "spiritual" or “religious” document per se? I would submit that by taking a close look at the first 2 paragraphs and the last, judging by the references contained therein, the answer is YES! I have highlighted in italics the evidence:
IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
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 to abolish it, and to institute 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.
(The last paragraph)
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 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 Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
Certainly The Declaration is a legal document as well and the lawyerly, laundry list of tyrannical abuses is evidence of that. And, equally as certain, Mr. Jefferson lifted a significant part of the Declaration of Independence straight from George Mason’s “Virginia Declaration of Rights.” However, it's important to note that the spiritual argument for separation is made FIRST in the document, emphasized by allusions to God. Why?
Kings asserted for centuries that they ruled by "Divine Right" and the Church in Europe largely supported this premise. In fact, Scripture does indicate that God sets up and tears down rulers: Daniel 2:20-22, Psalms 75:7, etc. Consequently, royal rulers of the day felt that their edicts had somewhat of a divine authority behind them. In many cases, these royal elites hid behind the Bible to justify their actions no matter how selfish or unjust. Knowing this, the founders also had to make a spiritual argument themselves for rebellion against King George and the Parliament of Great Britain not just a legal one. Pushing back against Britain’s elitism they asserted an equality of all men as crafted by God! -We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." –Galatians 3:28 (KJV)
Scripture indicates that there are "natural" laws that God has established for how the universe works and how God's divine authority and judgment flows, if you will. Consider the words of John Locke (1632-1704) who was a Christian philosopher who had a great influence in America. He said:
[T]he Law of Nature stands as an eternal rule to all men, legislators as well as others. The rules that they make for other men's actions must . . . be conformable to the Law of Nature, i.e., to the will of God.
[L]aws human must be made according to the general laws of Nature, and without contradiction to any positive law of Scripture, otherwise they are ill made.
Locke, Two Treatises on Government, Bk II sec 135. (quoting Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity, 1.iii, § 9 )
In a way, the Founders were arguing that once rulers engage in persistent tyranny, they forfeit their claim of "Divine Right" by also violating the "Divine Rights" of their subjects and violating God's dominion as well. By the Founders insinuating a religious/Biblical argument for separation, this also let the other royal leaders and Churches of Europe and elsewhere know that this was not simply a rebellion of dissatisfied subjects. Rather, this was a casting off of repression by a people who had long suffered injustices at the hands of one who claimed a heaven ordained sovereignty over them. They announced to the world that their rebellion against Mother England was in fact, righteous! - …appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions…
Granted, while not all of the Founding Fathers who signed this document were orthodox Christians in the strict definition of that phrase, I believe however, the larger share were as professed by their own writings and actions. At the very least, they ALL seemed to have a firm grasp of the Judeo-Christian ethos and a functional understanding of both Biblical principles and law as reflected in the sentiments of Scripture.
Ultimately, the radical assertion here is that our rights do not descend from a king, a government or any man for that matter. Instead, they come from on high, from God Himself. -… endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights… That means that no man may at mere whim deprive any citizen of those rights. Man CAN’T take away what God has given. The Bible asserts that "Ultimate Liberty" was purchased in blood by God in the flesh, Himself. (Galatians 5:1)
I would urge all of my fellow patriots during this 4th of July holiday to reflect on the source of our rights and liberties regardless of your professed faith or lack thereof. To recognize that our precious freedoms are not granted by flawed governments of man and so called rulers or elites, but that our rights and liberties are OURS, inherent the moment we take our first, miracle, infused breath.
Happy 4th of July!