Saturday, July 1, 2023

Why Christians should celebrate on the 4th

From "Christians Err if They Give Up on America":
.... The settlement hammered out in the 1780s somehow made room for all religious groups—including, eventually, skeptics and atheists. The full measure of religious freedom took a while to include Catholics, Mormons and Jews. But in time religious disestablishment freed all religious groups from governmental restrictions. The downside, for churches that had been established, was the loss of the government’s financial support. But the benefits more than compensated for the loss. Religious groups were free, and remain so, to practice their convictions without seeking the state’s approval.

In the Founders’ version of American greatness, if Christians wanted to complain about the nation’s religious decline, they had only themselves to blame. The American founding assigned government a limited role and turned over many social functions—including religion—to institutions outside the state. The U.S. was conceived as a nation that relied on civic associations, private organizations and virtuous citizens who learned morality at church, in the home and in school.

Christian believers have good reason to celebrate the Fourth—not because the country is carrying out a divine mission but rather because it makes room for people like them to practice their faith as they like. Instead of American “greatness” stemming from conformity to Christian norms, America is “great” because churches can thrive in it. American patriotism distinguishes the functions of government from the substance of faith, which is why it can unite believers of all kinds in celebrations of the founding. ....
D.G. Hart, "Christians Err if They Give Up on America," The Wasll Street Journal, June 29, 2023.

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