<p>I’m an extremely patriotic person. I love the United States of America. I am forever deeply grateful for the countless blessings that I’ve enjoyed because of the freedom that is part of the foundation of this great country. Had I been asked to do so, I would have fought in any war to defend our country. And yes, I celebrated the 4th of July with fireworks and hotdogs and a profound expression of thanksgiving to God for all that he has enabled this country to do for its citizens as well as people from around the world.</p> <p>But I’m deeply concerned about those who would turn patriotism into nationalism, as if to suggest that Jesus is himself an American, or that America is itself in some sort of covenant with God. Let’s never forget that the only “nation” with which God has established a covenant is the Church of Jesus Christ. This is one of the glorious truths of the New Covenant under whose blessings we live.</p> <p> <span style="font-size: 10px;">Photo Courtesy: Unsplash/Relentless Church</span></p>
The Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, and announced the separation of the thirteen American colonies from Great Britain. With this, a new nation was formed—the United States of America. History verifies Thomas Jefferson as the composer of the original draft. Once completed, Jefferson submitted his draft to Benjamin Franklin and John Adams for their changes. Eventually, it made its final destination to Congress where it was amended for the last time. Today, we see in its detailed wording why Congress was declaring independence from Great Britain.<p><p>The most quoted line from the Declaration is "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.” Our forefathers were declaring they not only deserved freedom, but were willing to continue fighting for it.<p>Freedom is a great definition of independence, as it is the result of the choices we make in our life. The power of choice is one of the greatest freedoms we have in our country, and knowing where to find it is important, as we see in Proverbs 2:6: “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding.” Let's review eight freedoms we should all celebrate this July 4th.<p><span style="font-size:10px;"><em>Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/scyther5</em></span></p>
As Americans pause on July 4 to celebrate the anniversary of their independence, the world’s oldest democracy should take stock of its ongoing debates over religious freedom. A cornerstone of the Bill of Rights, the First Amendment’s guarantee against coercion in matters of belief and conscience is an American birthright and a gift to everyone.
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