The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Happy Independence Day...tomorrow

It's close. Independence Day, celebrated tomorrow, makes us think of 1776, and the Bennington Flag, with the 76 on it, honors that year also. The flag was flown at the Battle of Bennington (Vermont) which probably should be called the Battle for Bennington, since it was actually fought in New York. For more about our historic flag collection see Memorial Day 2007 and Independence Day 2007.
Independence Day is about The Declaration of Indepencence. Did you see the John Adams series on HBO? This clip shows Adams along with Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin discussing the document, as well as the swivel chair that Jefferson invented.

My column in The Western Tribune this week was about Independence Day. For those who do not subscribe, here it is:

The most recent Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life poll finds that 92% of Americans believe in a higher power. That is not surprising; we are a very spiritual people. What was a little surprising, however, was that 82% of mainline churchgoers, and 53% of evangelicals agreed with the statement, “There is more than one way to interpret the teachings of my religion.”
Along with that, similar numbers agreed that “Many religions can lead to eternal life.”
That is the spirit under which this country was founded, and that is why separation of church and state is so important. We are not all alike, we do not all hold the same beliefs and government should not favor one religious doctrine over another.

On Independence Day we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson, the primary author of the document, would agree with the Pew findings. He later wrote of protections for “the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination” in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom. In that document, he wrote, “but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.”

And his insertion of “the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God” in the Declaration of Independence rather than “the laws of Christianity” (as some would have us believe the document says) certainly reveals his deist nature.

Yet we have candidates and radio talk show hosts and those leaving comments on blogs who would argue otherwise. They ignore the facts and re-write history to claim our nation was founded on fundamentalist theology and to promote their mono-theistic views in an attempt to insert Christianity into our government. Fortunately, according to the Pew poll, most of us do not agree with them.

On the Fourth of July, let’s embrace our diversity as we celebrate our independence. When we thank the higher power of our choosing for our freedom, let’s embrace our diversity as we celebrate. A good place to do this is Roosevelt Park on the evening of the Fourth. Bessemer has a tradition of great fireworks, and the company (other than the ants) is always good. Happy Independence Day.

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