So its Empire Worship Day here in the USA. Now I really don't have an issue with the idea of a national holiday (Holy Day???) and I generally enjoy the bbqs, ice cream socials, and fireworks. But generally this day is a day of idolatry. Even in our churches pledges are said to a foreign god, hymn are sung to a temporal entity, and our citizenship to this country is promoted far above our citizenship to the Kingdom of God. (this
article is a must read each year at this time). So this year it was refreshing for the first time in recent memory not to have to engage in idolatry just because I wanted to attend church around July 4. I will not be attending the local fireworks fest where last year the Rebel flag seemed as prominent as the US flag. I will not be twisting the truth and thanking the troops for my freedom to not have to wear a burka. I will continue to be offended by the "If you can read this in English thank a Vet" and the "Does my American Flag Offend You? Call 1-800- LEAVE THE USA" bumper stickers I've seen recently. I will try to avoid the worst displays of civil religion and propaganda. Sure I'll watch the fireworks (not like my neighbors haven't been setting some off every night for the last two weeks...), maybe even cook some slab of meat out on the grill but I won't check my mind, my beliefs, and my values at the door in patriotic fervor.
But I will take the historical perspective and reflect on the Declaration of Independence
. It's interesting to read the full thing (not just the first part) where all the grievances against King George are listed. It's hard to tell which George they are being leveled against and not so hard to understand why our presence isn't welcome in Iraq (ht- Benjamin Ady
). Included in the list as to why the USA engaged in violent revolution against this tyrant are -
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Happy Fourth of July.
Labels: Culture, History, Holidays, Politics