In response to my question from yesterday I was surprised to discover that I got an answer and that the answer was an emphatic if ever-tenuous “yes.” We do have reason to celebrate our independence as a nation presently. More important than what the answer was was realizing what line in the sand would determine, at least for me, when the time had come that we no longer had reason to celebrate.
During the course of the festivities yesterday we stopped to pray over our afternoon meal (I’m sure people will not be surprised to learn that we were doing some grilling in the back yard for our meal) and while my brother in law was praying I realized that as long as we enjoyed religious liberty in this country, the freedom to pursue worship as we individually see fit (the only reasonable limitation being that one person cannot compel another to do something based on the first persons religious beliefs and practices), we would have reason to celebrate Independence Day. I don’t recall if there was something said in the prayer that prompted the realization or if it was simply the act of praying itself but the realization was powerful.
There are many other types of liberty in our nation that make our independence worthwhile but for myself I consider that if I had freedom of speech and association, the right to bear arms, protections against unreasonable search and seizure, respect for personal property, and all the other freedoms enshrined in our constitution but had the freedom to practice my religion taken away I would find no cause to celebrate what was left of our independence. On the other hand, if my freedom to live according to my religious belief were adequately protected but all other liberties were unprotected (insofar as they could be without infringing that one right) I would do whatever I could to promote those other natural rights but I would still consider myself blessed to live in a time and place where my religious freedom was recognized.