It's Independence Day here in the U.S., celebrating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776. Today America is brimming with cookouts, fireworks, and heartfelt displays of patriotism. Some Religious Right voices are also marking July 4th with online commentary.
- In a recent Washington Update commentary, the Family Research Council spoke warmly of Samuel Adams' legacy as a patriot. However, the commentary also dismissed claims that Christians are trying to impose their beliefs on others. Rather, the commentary claimed that anti-abortion and pro-marriage (read: anti-LGBT) advocacy are merely efforts at upholding the self-evident truths of the Declaration of Independence. The right to life spoken of by anti-abortion advocates is endowed by the Creator, and heterosexual marriage is under the aegis of "nature's God," the piece argues. (See www[dot]frc[dot]org/get.cfm?i=WU11G01&f=PG07J01)
- In an excerpt from a Focus on the Family interview with Wallbuilders founder David Barton, Barton argued that the U.S. had a strong Christian heritage. The transcript excerpt is available at CitizenLink at www[dot]citizenlink[dot]com/2011/07/01/friday-five-david-barton-on-america%e2%80%99s-true-spiritual-heritage/)
- In a July 3rd talk posted at the Coral Ridge Ministries website, Dr. D. James Kennedy described religious liberty as the most important liberty enjoyed by Americans. Such religious liberty, he claimed, is under attack, as atheists and humanists allegedly see Christianity as a huge obstacle to their takeover of the world (!). (See www[dot]coralridge[dot]org/medialibrary/default.aspx?mediaID=CRH1127_S)
When Religious Right voices try to associate America's quintessential identity with Christianity, it leaves little room for inclusion or pluralism. In a country with such rich religious diversity, to reduce American identity to right-wing Christianity is to deny that identity to millions of non-Christians. As Infidel753 eloquently observes, America does not just belong to those with a certain set of beliefs, but to all Americans, regardless of religion.
This Independence Day, let's express gratitude for the many freedoms we enjoy, including freedom of religion. Let's celebrate the diversity that makes us a rich and vibrant country.
For additional commentary, visit the following links.
Huffington Post: A Religious Reflection for Independence Day, 2011
CNN: Why the U.S. is not a Christian nation
Infidel753: Independence Day Post: This Land Is Our Land
Killing the Buddha: An American Eden, Dead on the Fourth of July