Every Fourth of July we celebrate that day 233 years ago when 56 men voted for American independence, but many do not know that it was not until Aug. 2 of 1776 that the Declaration of Independence was formally signed by most of the delegates to the Second Continental Congress. In a speech given at Independence Hall on the evening of Aug. 1, 1776, Samuel Adams – often called the Father of the American Revolution – spoke to an assembled crowd about the spiritual and religious significance of what he and others had done on July 4th:
We have explored the temple of royalty, and found that the idol we have bowed down to, has eyes which see not, ears that hear not our prayers, and a heart like the nether millstone. We have this day restored the Sovereign, to whom alone men ought to be obedient. He reigns in Heaven, and with a propitious eye beholds his subjects assuming that freedom of thought, and dignity of self-direction which He bestowed on them. From the rising to the setting sun, may His kingdom come.
Sixty-one years later, on July 4, 1837, at an Independence Day celebration at Newburyport, Mass., President John Quincy Adams, a cousin of Samuel Adams and son of President John Adams (who helped draft the Declaration of Independence), spoke of the link between the birth of Jesus Christ and that of our country:
Why is it that, next to the birth day of the Savior of the World, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day? … Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth? That it laid the corner stone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity …?
Throughout our history both houses of Congress recognized our Christian heritage by opening with prayer by Christian ministers. When that practice was challenged in 1853 the House boldly responded that Christianity was “the religion of the founders of the republic, and they expected it to remain the religion of their descendants.” The U.S. Senate was even more to the point stating:
We are Christians … and in a land thus universally Christian, what is to be expected, what desired, but that we shall pay a due regard to Christianity, and have a reasonable respect for its ministers and religious solemnities?
Yet today our Christian heritage is under attack as never before. In April 2009, the president of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama, while admitting that America has “a very large Christian population,” told the Turkish press that “we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation. …” Two months later in an interview with a French reporter, Obama had the audacity to state that “if you actually took the number of Muslim Americans, we’d be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world.” Finally, on June 4, in a speech in Cairo, Egypt, Obama said that he felt it his duty and “part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.”
Not only has the president of the United States denied our Christian heritage and identity, but he went so far as to claim that America was one of the largest Muslim countries in the world. In fact, in 2008 Christians made up 76 percent of the population (173 million), religious Jews 1.2 percent (2.6 million), and Muslims only 0.6 percent (1.3 million).
Obama’s brash remarks not only contradict fact, they contradict the United States Supreme Court, which declared in 1892 in the case of Church of the Holy Trinity v. U.S. that many examples of the Christian religion in our society “add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian Nation.” Later, in 1931, in U.S. v. Macintosh the Court reaffirmed that:
We are a Christian people … according to one another the equal right of religious freedom, and acknowledging with reverence the duty of obedience to the will of God.
Obama’s responsibility as president is not to “fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear,” but rather to defend our Christian faith and the Christian religion upon which rests the future happiness and prosperity of our country.
This duty is especially important as our nation prepares to celebrate the anniversary of that day when America shook off the chains of tyranny, appealed to the “Supreme Judge of the World,” and relied on the protection and support of “Divine Providence.” While Americans celebrate our independence as a country, we must continue to recognize our spiritual dependence upon the Judeo-Christian God in Whom we still trust.