Friday, July 3, 2020
Celebrating Independence Day
Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays -- celebrating patriotism, our history and the tremendous courage, faith and sacrifices of our Founding Fathers. As the 244th birthday of America dawns tomorrow, by all means, enjoy the day! Celebrate America and our freedoms!
But please take a moment to remind your children and grandchildren about America's exceptionalism and the significance of Independence Day.
Remind them about the sacrifices at Bunker Hill and Concord Bridge that were necessary to create this nation and secure our freedoms. Tell them about the courage of George Washington crossing the Delaware River on Christmas night.
Most importantly, tell them about America's "mission statement." It can be found in the second paragraph 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 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. . ."
Those were radical ideas in 1776, and they are still radical concepts in many parts of the world today. Yes, we have struggled at times to live up to that standard, but there is a reason millions of people from all over the world want to come to America. There is a reason that courageous Chinese dissidents wave the American flag.
Sadly, in 21st century America it seems we are struggling with the concept of "truth" and the notion that our rights come from God, not government. As Ronald Reagan famously warned, freedom is not guaranteed. Reagan said:
"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."
That warning has never seemed more dire than today as radical anarchists and Marxists are marching in our streets, attacking our history and demanding a "fundamental transformation of America." Into what exactly?
They are not seeking to create "a more perfect union." They are seeking to divide us in order to impose their will on us. The future of our liberty depends on whether folks like you and me can muster the courage to overcome this radical "resistance."
We must preserve the nation our Founding Fathers created, a nation committed to ordered liberty under God, a nation that defeated Nazism and Soviet communism, a nation that put a man on the moon, a nation that created more wealth and prosperity for more people in the history of the world, a nation our first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, described as the "last best hope of Earth."
In closing, I would like to offer a brief note of encouragement to our pastors, who are on the front lines of the culture war. There has been much grief and strife across our nation lately. While we must have compassion for those who are hurting, we must not hesitate to defend what we know is right.
John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg is a lesser-known hero of the War for Independence. He was a pastor and a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses. In 1775, he preached a sermon on Ecclesiastes 3:1 -- "For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven." Pastor Muhlenberg closed his sermon with these words:
"In the language of Holy Writ, there is a time for all things. There is a time to preach and a time to fight. And now is the time to fight."
He then removed his clerical robes and revealed to the congregation that he was dressed in the uniform of a Continental Army officer.
Pastor Muhlenberg's example of a man of God fighting for our God-given rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness should give increased fervor and devotion to those who lead us in the fight for faith, family and freedom.
Like few times in our nation's history, this is a time to fight for the values we cherish.
God bless you, my friends, and may God bless the United States of America!