On the fourth of July, I always like to ponder the founding of our great nation, read the Declaration of Independence, and sing some of the great songs about our freedom, liberty, and the sacrifices that so many men and women made to make our nation the place of freedom and refuge it has been.
The fourth verse of the patriotic song, My Country ‘tis of Thee, says:
Our fathers’ God, to thee,
author of liberty, to thee we sing;
long may our land be bright
with freedom’s holy light;
protect us by thy might, great God, our King.
This was written in contrast to England’s national anthem, “God Save the King”. Instead of asking God to save the king, Samuel F.Smith, the author of this poem declares God to be the author of our liberty and then declares God to be our king and our protector.
In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “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.” “Our Creator” is God. Jefferson and all of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, like Smith, declare God to be the author of our liberty.
The first of amendment of our Constitution, written by James Madison, states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
Samuel Adams, another of our founding fathers declared, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
Clearly, the men who fought for liberty and established our great Nation believed God to be the giver and protector of liberty. These men did not want a state religion to limit the worship of the people. They understood that freedom of Religion isn’t about taking God away from the people. It is about allowing the people to worship God according to their consciences.
In our day, many are trying to remove religion completely from the public square. The word “God” has in many instances become offensive. Many people are being denied the right to act on their conscience. This clearly is against the founding principles and ideologies of our nation. This July Fourth, as we think back to and remember the beginning of our great nation, let us remember what these men fought to establish, and like them, protect it for the future liberty of our children.