THE CHAPLAIN’S CORNER  - July 2013

By Pastor Gary Cortese


This month we celebrate Independence Day. Apart from the fact that it’s a nation-wide birthday celebration with many folks getting a day off from work for it, have you ever wondered why there’s so much fun and excitement going on during the 4th of July?


For the record (and you can obtain this from the internet), during the American Revolution, the legal separation of the American colonies from Great Britain took place on July 2, 1776. After voting for independence, Congress began to focus on a Declaration of Independence. Congress debated and revised this Declaration, with final approval on July 4.


So what about all the celebratory activities? The day before the final approval of the Declaration, John Adams (a Founding Father and 2nd President of the U.S.) wrote the following to his wife Abigail:


“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 this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”


And that’s exactly what happens in this nation each and every year. John Adams would be happy to know his words proved to be prophetic. So what happens if someone gets offended and doesn’t think it’s right to “flaunt” our liberties in the face of other nations who have just as much right to this earth’s abundant resources? (Got you questioning my sanity about now, huh?)


The idea that someone could protest our rightful national anniversary celebration every 4th of July and receive any kind of consideration for doing so seems absolutely ludicrous, doesn’t it? But I never thought I’d see the day when I would be threatened with a lawsuit for wishing someone a Merry Christmas, either.


John Adams mentioned something in that letter to his wife that I’d like to call your attention back to: “It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”


We are living in a litigation-crazed society because people want things the good old-fashioned way…at someone else’s expense! If we the people of this great land keep retreating every time someone gets offended what will we have left?


I want to encourage you to celebrate this great nation “with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations” and to take a moment to do something else John Adams thought appropriate: acknowledge God’s grace and goodness – that would be very American.


We don’t have to all be “Christians” to be American, but to push the God of Christianity out the back door while we welcome the world through the front door is like biting the hand that feeds you. Happy Birthday America!