Friday, July 4, 2008

One Nation Under God

"We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

Let me start by saying Happy Independence Day. Please note, I did not say "Happy 4th of July." To me, naming a holiday by the date takes away the importance of the celebration. On Christmas, no one says, "Happy December 25th." We say, "Merry Christmas." Not calling the holiday what it really is adds to the cavalier attitude that surrounds said holiday. Many people don't even know what we celebrate, they just know that there is a day off work to party. (As an American History teacher I shudder at this thought.) Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness equate freedom.  So, today, I would like to talk about meaning of freedom.

When I think of freedom I think of it in two different settings.  First, the obvious, freedom to the life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I am so grateful that the founding fathers did indeed sign this great document.  They risked more than a war, but their very lives for the cause in which they believed so strongly.  Were the Revolution to turn out differently than it did they would be hanged for treason to the Mother Country.

Secondly, I think of freedom in Christ.  In Paul's Epistle to the Galatians he tells us that it is for freedom that Christ set us free.  This is something that I have been learning recently in a whole new way.  From the world's perspective, it doesn't make sense at all. Freedom by following rules? It's so much more than that.  I've been learning to let His grace flow over me in order to give up the sins that hold me in bondage. That is true freedom. To no longer be bound by the emotions and things that hold me back. 

Generally these two aspects of freedom are not spoken of together thanks to the notion of separation of church and state.  Our nation was formed on Christian principles.  Ben Franklin wanted our national symbol to be Moses parting the Red Sea.  Although most believed in an agnostic god, the Christian ideas remain central.  

If then there is true freedom in Christ, at a time when we are arguing over wars in Iraq and the right way to fix the social security problem, it seems that these things might be better solved if church and state were once again reunited. Regardless of whether you fall to the left, right, or down the middle, Christ has a place in government.  (Please note, I am not suggesting to get rid of the notion of freedom of religion or that Christianity should be the only religion, but merely that we should revisit the original themes of government.) 

So on this Independence Day, I celebrate the freedoms I have as an American and as a follower of Christ. Have a wonderful holiday.  Be safe and God bless.  

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