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Is the 4th of July a Religious Holiday?
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Thursday, July 05, 2018
J.L. Robb

July 4, 1776. America was at war with Britain as the 13 British colonies began a rebellion over the ever increasing taxes, like the Tea tax that resulted in the infamous Boston Tea Party.

I am proud to be American, and I do not feel that way only on Independence Day. I feel that way every day. Joining the Navy changed my life, positively, and helped put me through college.

A friend of mine, upon hearing of my pride, was quick to tell me that pride is a sin; and I should not be proud at being something I did not earn. It was a gift, because I was born here.

As a kid, everyone seemed proud to be an American, and a Christian or Jew as well. That was about it in the small town in which I was raised, High Point, NC. There were no mosques or Hindu temples. Proud is not the case anymore, as these young millennials explain. These poor, naïve children should try Guatemala or Venezuela for a while.

Though July 4th is considered to be a secular holiday, to me it is also quite religious. In a

July 3, 2014 TIME article, writer Ira Stoll  headlined a story:

July 4 is a religious holiday. For this insight, thank John F. Kennedy.

In 1946, Kennedy was 29 and a lieutenant in the Navy Reserve. He was invited to be the featured speaker at the Independence Day celebration for the City of Boston. His first comment was about his faith and the effect of religion on the United States:

“The informing spirit of the American character has always been a deep religious sense. Throughout the years, down to the present, a devotion to fundamental religious principles has characterized American thought and action.”

Then he connected the dots between religion and the USA:

“Our government was founded on the essential religious idea of integrity of the individual. It was this religious sense which inspired the authors of the Declaration of Independence: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.’”

In 1960, while JFK was running for President, he spoke at Mormon Tabernacle and brought the subject of religion front and center again, describing the Cold War as a:

“…struggle for supremacy between two conflicting ideologies; freedom under God versus ruthless, Godless tyranny.”

At Kennedy’s Inaugural Address in 1961, he again linked the role of religion to country:

“The same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe - the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.”

The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776, alludes to the Almighty several times; and George Washington, when introducing the Declaration of Independence to his troops, said:

“The General hopes and trusts, that every officer and man, will endeavour to live, and act, as becomes a Christian Soldier defending the dearest Rights and Liberties of his country… knowing that now the peace and safety of his Country depends (under God) solely on the success of our arms.”

Does anyone believe that this document would be approved today? The Separation Clause junkies would have none of it. The left-leaners of today believe they have a better handle on the clause than those who wrote it.

But it seems there has always been a left and a right, liberal and conservative. There is the philosophy of if-it-feels-good-do-it and there is the philosophy of enjoy-but-God-is-not-a myth. We will soon know which philosophy prevails, but I think I have it figured out.

In 1775, there were many asking, “What is so bad about England? We love England.”

Of course, these folk did not volunteer for the battle. They never do, it seems.  They leave the fighting to the conservatives; at least, that’s the way it used to be. Anyone who watches or reads the national news on a daily basis has seen how full of hatred and how vicious the left has become, unlike the majority of the liberal side. The favorite spin though, the one promoted by the media and most news sources, is that the vitriol is from the conservative side, referring to those of us who are conservative as Nazis.

It is sad and disappointing that the kids are coming out of the school system, hating America and hating God. It was not that way a generation ago, for the first 200 years of our history. It is not even a debate as to which country sends more aid, contributions and missionaries throughout the world. Most of us find pride in that.

The independence did not come easily, and George Washington’s ragtag army was often shoeless. While the left was schmoozing and cocktailing in Philly, the conservative army was winning against all odds. When folk speak of climate-change these days, they should check out the climate change that went on during the Revolutionary War.

Because this era was later called the Little Ice Age, some soldiers would go out at night for watch duty and be found leaning against a wall or tree the next morning, frozen solid. Today the 19 and 20-year-olds want $100,000 a year for everybody and a new Volvo, for free.

Our independence was not free, and many have lost their lives helping the United States stay free, not socialist like Venezuela or like the government in Nigeria where 200 Christian women and children were rounded up and slaughtered the past week. Have seen little on the news about that story.

I have been eating hamburgers for a week, practicing up for this day. I am enjoying all the flags and festivities. There are parades, and tonight, fireworks galore.

However, we need to teach our children and grandchildren the true history, because they do not seem to be learning it in school. We need to teach them who the Founders were and what they meant when they referenced Creator, Divine Providence and Ruler of the Universe. There is only one.

Whatever your religious views or lack of, in spite of your political leanings, be proud of our country. It is a gift from God.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance. Psalm 33:12 NIV

About J.L. Robb

Last week: Two Christianities

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