In less than a week many Americans will join family and friends to grill hamburgers, slice open watermelons and watch fireworks explode. This is the norm every year on the July 4th holiday, the day that we celebrate our independence. More than any other year, I’m wondering what exactly it is that we are independent from.
I know the historical answer. The holiday is meant for us to look back on our country’s battle for independence from the British throne. Flowing from that, this is a great day for us to show our gratitude to the countless men and women who gave their lives to protect that freedom. But I’m afraid that this holiday is becoming more like Columbus Day – a day devoted to something in the past that has very little practical meaning in our lives today.
Can you honestly say that you are independent from a centralized federal government that forces you to do things against your will? If you think you are, see what happens when you decide not to send your tax dollars to organizations like Planned Parenthood this April 15.
Maybe it’s your religious independence that you’re celebrating. After all, you can go to whatever church you want to, there isn’t a state sponsored church and you are free to worship how you choose. Unless of course the God you worship is opposed to the killing of unborn babies. In that case, maybe you’re not as free as you thought you were.
But at least you still have your privacy. That is, just so long as you’ve managed to take yourself off the grid and move into an underground bunker. Just a year ago, talk of our own government putting thousands of spy drones into the skies to keep an eye on American citizens seemed like crazy talk. It is crazy, but sadly, it’s also true.
By now you’ve heard all about the Supreme Court’s historic decision to uphold President Obama’s healthcare law. Some are calling this the largest tax increase in world history. With this law, our own government has taken away something as basic as our freedom to decide how, when and where we will take care of our own health. The erosion of our freedoms didn’t begin this week. But maybe the events of this week, along with others like the ones I’ve cited above, will stir some of us to consider just how dependent we have become.
Before we begin to put our hope in the Republican nominee for president, let us not forget who it was that nominated the Chief Justice that sided with the majority in yesterday’s ruling. When the masses pledge their devotion to a party, establishment or lesser of two evils without first considering the liberties that may be sacrificed with that devotion, those liberties almost always slip away.
We should all still gather with our family and friends for hamburgers, watermelons and fireworks this Independence Day. We must celebrate and give thanks to God for the men who initially fought for our independence as well as for those who have fought to maintain it. But if we wish to celebrate any independence that we think we currently have, for the most part, we’ll only be kidding ourselves.
Thank God that Jesus Christ is still sovereign, whether or not we like the decisions made by our government.
Thank God that one day real independence will finally and forever come, not from any political ruler but from the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Come quickly, Lord Jesus!