The Fourth is for God and Country

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I love the Fourth of July!

I love being patriotic.  I love fireworks.

Did you know that the Continental Congress led the way to encourage fireworks by authorizing a display of fireworks in Philadelphia on the first anniversary in 1777?  Who would have known that, 236 years later, we would still be shooting gunpowder into the air just to see the pretty colors?

The 4th also brings out the true colors of people.  I don’t know why it is, but conservatives seem to enjoy the Fourth of July more than liberals.  I guess all that red, white and blue, loud explosions, baseball, apple pie and being proud of our country, lends itself more to those gun-toting conservatives.

Did you also know that our 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence said in the that document: “For the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”?

Who would do that?  Can you name anyone that you know in your personal lives that would do that today?  More likely most of us would say, “No thanks,” “It is bad for business,” “That is just partisanship, we need more bi-partisanship,” “Not my war,” “Those Whigs are too extreme,” or, “Can’t we all just get along?”

It is easy to say that you would do it, but harder to live up to the deed.  There were no Occupy Wall Street types with nothing to lose in that chamber in Philadelphia in 1776.  These were men with families and wealth.  All these guys had more to lose from revolution than they could gain by it.

The signers all wanted representation with their taxation (anti-tax), they wanted equality with England, they were conservative, yet they rebelled, go figure.  The signers knew that as soon as they put their name to the Declaration, they instantly were wanted by the crown for treason.  The penalty for which was hanging.  That is why Ben Franklin wrote, “Indeed we must all hang together, otherwise we shall most assuredly hang separately.”

Well, what happened to the signers?  Rush Limbaugh Jr. (that would be Rush’s dad), in his essay “The Americans Who Risked Everything,” summarized it this way:

“Of those 56 who signed the Declaration of Independence, nine died of wounds or hardships during the war. Five were captured and imprisoned, in each case with brutal treatment. Several lost wives, sons or entire families. One lost his 13 children. Two wives were brutally treated. All were at one time or another, the victims of manhunts and driven from their homes. Twelve signers had their homes completely burned. Seventeen lost everything they owned. Yet not one defected or went back on his pledged word. Their honor, and the nation they sacrificed so much to create, is still intact.”

I would say they gave their lives, fortunes, and their sacred honor!  But what about that “firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence”?

John Hancock, in a proclamation on April 15, 1775, called for “A Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer, with a total abstinence from labor and recreation” in response to the beginning of the War for Independence.

Another famous Franklin quote was recorded in his motion for prayers during the constitutional convention June 28, 1787: “I have lived, Sir, a long time; and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this Truth, that God governs in the Affairs of Men. And if a Sparrow cannot fall to the Ground without his Notice, is it probable that an Empire can rise without his Aid?”

It is in this light that this Sunday is Call2Fall Sunday.  Call2Fall Sunday was started by T.W. Hunt on Sept. 17, 1989, and is now celebrated the Sunday before the Fourth of July every year.

Call2Fall Sunday is based on II Chronicles 7:14:

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

It is said that, while embroiled in the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln met with a group of ministers for a prayer breakfast.  At one point one of the ministers said, “Mr. President, let us pray that God is on our side.”  Lincoln’s response was, “No, gentlemen, let us pray that we are on God’s side.”

With all the political differences that we have as Americans, this sounds like advice that we can all follow.

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