It is the fourth of July – commonly celebrated as “Independence Day;” the day that the Declaration of Independence was publicly proclaimed, although it had been adopted on the second of July. 237 years ago, about a million Englishmen (or so they were considered, although they were Scots and Irish and even Dutch and German and even some Manxmen and Frenchmen), one in three of the three million who had settled in thirteen small colonies along the Atlantic seaboard, decided that enough was enough and tried to take another step forward to claim the liberty that is God’s gift to EVERY man and woman.
For years, I celebrated it, with my family, my friends, my fellow soldiers and fellow lovers of liberty and fellow children of God – and not just Americans (either born or by choice) but with friends from other places not blessed directly by those distant events.
But I just can’t this year. Just cannot, for it is now just another historic event in time and place that (though it shaped our world) has no more meaning than celebrating the day that the Maccabees liberated the temple, that Octavius defeated Marc Anthony, that the Pueblo revolted against the Spanish, or any other of the thousand events that people have commemorated over the centuries and millennia.
That act of disobedience to tyrants (and therefore, obedience to God) did not fail; the War of Independence already under way did not fail; and although the Articles of Confederation DID fail it is hard to say that the Constitution, deeply flawed though it was, failed immediately. No, the successes were ultimately compromised and destroyed by actions that on their face are contrary to the spirit and words of the Declaration, and indeed, contrary to the spirit of the Lord which in part motivated the actions so long ago.
Today, people place undue emphasis on that day in 1776; it did not start or stop a war, it did not restore liberty or freedoms or sustain them, it did not make a nation where there had been none before. It was merely a convenient symbol and an arbitrary assignment in time and place of those events. To remind us, and therefore celebrate what we had.
But in this Year of Our Lord 2013, this Anno Libertalis 237, I do not have the heart to celebrate any more. The liberty for which my spiritual and physical and social ancestors gave so much, including lives, is gone: wasted by those who benefited most from it. My chosen professions are tainted and corrupted by the tyranny which has replaced it in great and small things. My friends and clients are constantly harassed and weakened and punished and made poor(er) by those who hide in the red, white, and blue and now meaningless words, cloaking their evil in them to prey upon us. My brothers and sisters in Christ are subject to growing persecution, all too often not realizing what they have lost in their liberty to worship God, and instead worship (in effect) the state, which has usurped God’s place. But we allowed it to be done: we wasted our liberty and traded it for security and safety. Or what we were convinced was security and safety.
Weep for what once was, and is no more. Don’t celebrate it, mourn its absence.
The best thing we can do in this time of evil is to pray and plan and prepare for what is necessary to once again “Proclaim Liberty throughout the Land and unto All the Inhabitants thereof.” And prepare to pledge and give our “lives and fortunes and sacred honor” for that: blood and sweat and tears to be shed. It won’t be the people of all of these formerly united States who will ever again enjoy liberty, but we can pray that as many of our families and friends and coreligionists and neighbors CAN eventually regain the liberty which is our right as humans. And when that is done, THEN we can again have something to celebrate.