I had intended to write on the Fourth of July in last month’s issue, but was involved in a lengthy trial and never got to it. Fortunately, my good friend Walter Albritton, one of the pastors at Saint James United Methodist Church, sent in the following article which deals with this holiday and the freedoms we as Americans all enjoy. I am setting Walter’s article out below because of its timing and significance. We are indeed fortunate to live in this country and to be able to speak out on matters of importance when we deem it necessary, and we can even differ politically on occasion. It’s great to be an American!
GIVE THANKS FOR THE FREEDOM WE ENJOY IN AMERICA
America is not a perfect nation but we who are its citizens enjoy a freedom that is unprecedented in the history of nations. It is right that our hearts should swell with pride when we sing together, “Sweet Land of Liberty.” Our country is indeed a land of sweet liberty where, within the boundaries of our laws, all of us enjoy many precious freedoms.
We are blessed with a godly heritage. Though secularists continue their efforts to rewrite the history of our nation, trying to eradicate all references to God, it remains true that we have a godly heritage. The spiritual roots of America are very deep.
The goal of our Founding Fathers was to build a nation that recognized its dependence upon almighty God. Our ancestors built upon these foundational stones: 1) Faith in God; 2) The dignity and sacred worth of man; 3) Respect for the rights and property of others; and 4) The need to worship God.
Today quietly reflect on some of the treasures for which we Americans can thank God:
• Our motto is still “In God We Trust.” It is printed on our money and engraved on the walls of Congress. As we handle money daily we are reminded that we do not trust in the power of the state, but in the power of God.
• Religious holidays are legally established in our nation. Two of these, Good Friday and Christmas, are Christian holidays – or holy days. Thanksgiving is a holiday that completely rejects the claim that ours is a secular state. We owe this day of national Thanksgiving to President Abraham Lincoln. Every President since him has called our nation to a reverent recognition of the blessings of almighty God. Thanksgiving belongs to everyone. By being on a Thursday, it is wonderfully trans-denominational.
• Our Pledge of Allegiance still contains the phrase, “one nation under God.” The salute to the flag rejects secularism. The words, “under God,” were used by President Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address in November 1863. Where did Lincoln get it? No doubt he got it from his Bible; it appears in the address to King James in the version of the Bible Lincoln read as a boy. So, when we salute the flag, we are declaring the sovereignty of God.
• Our Congress still opens its sessions with prayers asking for the divine guidance of almighty God. This is a tradition that distinguishes our country from countries that have completely secular governments.
• The Holy Bible is still used in the inaugurations of our Presidents. This important tradition has not been changed by those who would “remove God” from the realm of government.
• We still appoint Chaplains to serve in the Armed Forces and in Congress. Thus do we as a nation acknowledge the need of all people for spiritual guidance.
• Our nation continues to provide freedom from taxation to church bodies, including seminaries. This relieves religious societies of an enormous tax burden, giving churches greater freedom to propagate scriptural truth.
“God Bless America” is a very popular song that unites us as Americans. Whenever we sing it, we should remember to thank God that he has indeed blessed our nation. Let us give him thanks for all he has done and resolve to do all we can to preserve the precious freedoms we enjoy as American citizens.
July 5, 2009
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