cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
By permission of the author:
by Paul A. Tambrino, Ed.D., Ph.D.
With regard to church and state and holidays like July Fourth, some religious organizations and news media organizations believe it is wrong to celebrate national holidays. Do you agree?
One issue that most perplexes and troubles our national life today, is the issue of church and state. There are those extreme secular and religious liberals who argue that there should be no relationship between church and government and they are joined by ultra religious conservatives who disassociate from any form of national allegiance.
Those in the former group have fallen prey to the propaganda that our “First Amendment” means that there should be no relationship between God or church and the government. While that amendment forbids the establishment of an official national religion or state church, it NEVER meant to sever any relationship between God or church and government. Those in the latter group need to be referred to Matthew 22:21 where we have Jesus’ teaching on this matter. Jesus says, “Render unto Caesar;” meaning that we are to give the civil magistrates all that is due to them as long as it does not interfere with the honor due to God.
The 4th of July is a special day in our country. Three American presidents died on the Fourth of July: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe. Calvin Coolidge was born on this day in 1872. West Point opened on July 4th 1802. Stephen Foster was born on July 4th. The song "America" was sung for the first time on July 4th, 1832 in Boston. Slavery was abolished in the state of New York on July the fourth 1845. Alaska and Hawaii both became states on the fourth of July, 1959. And in that great document delivered on July the 4th, 1776, we read of a belief that all people have rights given by the Creator of Mankind. That declaration was to separate us officially from the repression and authority of England.
Of the 56 men who signed it: two were twenty years of age, 16 were in their thirties, 20 in their forties, 11 in their fifties, six in their sixties, and one, Benjamin Franklin, was over 70. All but two were married; and those who were married had an average of six children. Twenty-four were lawyers, nine were merchants, 14 were farmers, four were doctors, and one was a Presbyterian minister.
History shows us that they paid the price for that bravery:
· When Carter Braxton of Virginia, signed the Declaration of Independence, he was a wealthy planter and trader; but following his signing his ships were destroyed and to pay his debts, he lost his home and all of his property and in the end he died in rags.
· Thomas McKean of Delaware was so harassed by the enemy that he was forced to move his family five times in five months. He served in Congress without pay, his family in poverty and in hiding.
· Vandals looted the properties of Ellery and Clymer and Hall and Gwinnett and Walton and Hayward and Rutledge and Middleton.
· Thomas Nelson, Jr. of Virginia raised two million dollars in his own name to help fund the war. After the War, he personally paid back the loans, wiping out his entire estate; he was never reimbursed by his government. And in the final battle for Yorktown, Nelson, urged General Washington to fire on Nelson’s own home, then occupied by the enemy. He died bankrupt.
· Francis Lewis had his home and everything he had destroyed, his wife imprisoned--she died within a few months.
· Richard Stockton was captured and mistreated, his health mortally broken; and then his estate was pillaged.
· John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside while she was dying; their thirteen children fled in all directions for their lives. His fields and gristmill were laid waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves and returned home after the War to find his wife dead, but his children were gone, as was his property. He died a few weeks later of exhaustion and a broken heart.
Of the 56 signers of the Declaration, few were long to survive. Five were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons in the Revolutionary Army, another had two sons captured. And though few of them benefited from their bravery, and most lost everything they owned, not one recanted his original declaration of independence. These men were courageous and valiant and brave and because of them and others, we have the privilege of being here today, and living in the greatest nation in the world.
It has been 235 years since our Founding Fathers gave us our national birth certificate. We continue to be the longest on-going Constitutional Republic in history and we need to understand that blessings such as these are not by chance. They are blessings of God.
John Adams said, "The general principles on which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity". Adams went on to say that in observing the 4th of July, “It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty."
Preserving American liberty depends first upon our understanding the foundations on which this great country was built and then preserving the principles on which it was founded. Perhaps Woodrow Wilson said it best when he declared, "A nation which does not remember what it was yesterday, does not know what it is today, or what it is trying to do.”
Therefore, in light of our great history, Christians and non-Christians alike should celebrate our national holiday and not forget what our forefathers did that we might enjoy the freedoms we have today, including those of church and state.