I spent this 4th of July on pier in Manhattan, with a great view of some great, nationally renouned fireworks. We arrived with hours to spare, and while we were waiting a sky banner flew by proclaiming “atheism is patriotic.”
I was dismayed to see it for numerous reasons, but what struck me most was the absurdity of this. Our country was founded by people seeking religious freedom – not because they rejected God, but because they worshipped Him and followed Him so strictly. The Revolutionary and Civil Wars were both fought based on faith that God would stand by the side of those who were being oppressed. Without faith in God, courage to take a stand and fight those wars would never have existed. Even our currency says ‘In God we trust.’ Faith is so tied in to our country’s history that even with the separation of church and state, atheism has almost no place in patriotism.
That aside, the banner stuck with me. It got me thinking what a shame it was to have that flown over a large family-friendly crowd. Then I realized that because we have full freedom of expression here in the United States, the atheists had every right to fly that banner. In fact, we have the right to a lot of things. We can practice our faith and spirituality without fear of persecution. We can speak and write anything that comes to mind without fear of punishment. Even with the economic recession, even with unemployment, we are a fortunate country. For each of these freedoms you should thank – profusely and sincerely – the many troops who served over the years, sacrificing everything to gain them for us.
Side note: I did say to thank the soldiers. Now think about what these freedoms actually are. They are freedoms of this world. They last you as long as your lifetime lasts. Soldiers, while great, are merely human. Humans here on earth, with no true authority. We sure do enjoy our freedom here, but it is very much a short term thing. True freedom is eternal and automatic with salvation. Only One can give it to us, and He isn’t a soldier. Jesus, too, paid the ultimate sacrifice that we would be free. While we’re busy thanking soldiers and celebrating Independence Day, have we thanked Him today? Compared to His gift to us (salvation), all other freedoms pale in comparison. As they should! We humans can’t even fathom what heaven is like and what treasures we have stored there.
We do know that eternal freedom is among those treasures, and that by His precious blood our chains have been broken. So take a minute today to give thanks and worship this great God we serve!