Celebrating Independence Day

Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays — celebrating patriotism, our history and the tremendous courage, faith and sacrifices of our Founding Fathers. As the 242nd birthday of America dawns tomorrow, millions will get together with friends and family for backyard barbeques, games and fireworks.

By all means, enjoy the day!  Celebrate America and our freedoms!

But please take a moment to remind your children and grandchildren about America’s exceptionalism and the significance of Independence Day.

Remind them about the sacrifices at Bunker Hill and Concord Bridge that were necessary to create this nation and secure our freedoms. Tell them about the courage of George Washington crossing the Delaware River on Christmas night.

Most importantly, tell them about America’s “mission statement.” It can be found in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. . .”

Those were radical ideas in 1776 and they are still radical concepts in many parts of the world today.  Even here in 21st century America it seems we are struggling with the concept of “truth” and the notion that our rights come from God, not government.

This July 4th we have much to celebrate.  We have stopped (for now) the left’s fundamental transformation of America.  Our economy is growing again.  Businesses are hiring again.  We have confidence again.

We are winning the war against radical Islamic terrorism.  And America is once again leading on the world stage.

But the future of our liberty depends on whether folks like you and me can, in the weeks and months ahead, muster the courage to overcome the left’s “resistance.”  We must preserve the nation our Founding Fathers created, a nation our first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, described as the “last best hope of Earth.”

In closing, I would like to offer a brief note of encouragement to our pastors, who are on the front lines of the culture war.

John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg is a lesser-known hero of the War for Independence. He was a pastor and a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses.

In 1775, he preached a sermon on Ecclesiastes 3:1 — “For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven.” Pastor Muhlenberg closed his sermon with these words:

“In the language of Holy Writ, there is a time for all things. There is a time to preach and a time to fight. And now is the time to fight.”

He then removed his clerical robes and revealed to the congregation that he was dressed in the uniform of a Continental Army officer.

Pastor Muhlenberg’s example of a man of God fighting for our God-given rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness should give increased fervor and devotion to those who lead us in the fight for faith, family and freedom.

Men and women of faith won important victories at the Supreme Court recently, but the battle for our First Amendment freedoms, especially religious freedom, is far from over.

Like few times in our nation’s history, this is a time to fight for the values we cherish.

God bless you, my friends, and may God bless the United States of America!

—Gary Bauer
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