Friday, July 4, 2008

"A holy day of deliverance"

The United States isn't, and never was, a "Christian nation," but it has been one whose founders and leaders acknowledged the role of Providence. It is a country that embedded religious freedom in its Constitution and relied on "the protection of Divine Providence" in that document celebrated on Independence Day. Steve Waldman, author of Founding Faith:
.... suggests that Americans treat Friday as a holy day of deliverance and reflect on the crusade for religious freedom that distinguishes our nation from so many others.

"If you really look at the sweep of American history one of the greatest achievements, one of the real points of differentiation between us and other nations and other Western nations, is our very unique approach to religious freedom," ....

"We tend to think about [the American Revolution] in terms of taxation and political liberties. But in their minds political liberty and religious liberty were very closely connected. They felt that you could not have religious liberty without political liberty and vice versa. ... It was one of the first holy wars in history that resulted in religious freedom rather than the tyranny of a particular religion."

Never thought of July 4 as a religious holiday? Perhaps that’s because the nation’s founders have long been misunderstood and misrepresented by activists on the right and left, Waldman said.

He contends that George Washington and James Madison never set out to establish a Christian nation as the Religious Right would have us believe. Nor did Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin intend to build a wall separating church and state, as some secularists on the left insist. Instead, the Revolutionary War was fought to secure religious liberty – a novel way to promote faith by simply leaving it alone, Waldman said.
The Seeker - A personal and professional quest for truth | Chicago Tribune | Blog

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