As we approach the day of celebration, reflection, thanksgiving, honor, and the proclamation of liberty we should take time to remember where our liberty received its source. The pilgrims who began this journey were seeking to find a place where freedom would be the primary focus. They were oppressed both religiously and politically. Freedom of worship, speech and many other liberties were denied them. The foundation upon which our liberty was built has produced the greatest nation ever to exist. We enjoy this liberty, and sometimes taking it for granted we can fail to preserve the freedom by eroding the foundation on which it stands. Let’s look at a few statements of those who were around when this great experiment was born.
Noah Webster (1758-1843) was an American lexicographer, textbook author, spelling reformer, political writer, word enthusiast, and editor. He has been called the “Father of American Scholarship and Education.” In his public school textbook “History of the United States,” published in 1832, he stated, “Almost all the civil liberty now enjoyed in the world owes its origin to the principles of the Christian religion. It is the sincere desire of the writer that our citizens should early understand that the genuine source of correct republican principles in the Bible, particularly the New Testament or the Christian religion. The religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His apostles, which enjoins humility, piety, and benevolence; which acknowledges in every person a brother, or sister, and a citizen with equal rights. This is genuine Christianity, and to this we owe our free constitutions of government. The moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all of our civil constitutions and laws…. All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.”
On July 3, 1776, following the signing of the Declaration of Independence, John Adams wrote to his wife reflecting on what he had shared in Congress concerning the importance of that day: “The second day of July 1776 will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America, I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of the continent to the other, from this time forward forever. You will think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am not. I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost to maintain this Declaration and support and defend these States. Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is worth more than all the means; that posterity will triumph in the day’s transaction, even though we (may regret) it, which in God we shall not.”
We must as citizens of this county remind ourselves that our liberties were established upon a moral foundation. A foundation that is sure and solid. It is essential that this foundation be maintained or the structure built upon it will not stand. If moral erosion is not limited and prevented the entire edifice will eventually collapse. I am reminded of the scripture in Proverbs 22:28, “Do not remove the ancient landmark Which your fathers have set.”
This fourth of July let us celebrate our great country, heritage, foundation and the One who made us the greatest.
Pastor Leo Kruger of Valley Christian Fellowship is a member of Carson Valley Ministers’ Association.