With the ruckus being raised in 21st century America about the presumed conflict between church and state, it is heartening to find a community that still has respect for a Sunday church-going public. The community is ours. Out of deference to church services planned today, our city’s Fourth of July celebration was conducted yesterday.
Perhaps it is only the advantage of living in a small community that allows such. Certainly no big city we’re aware of would think twice about hosting secular holiday activities on what Christians refer to as the Lord’s Day.
But then in many ways it could be the Fourth of July is a strictly secular holiday only to our modern way of thinking. Despite revisionist history that tries to persuade us our Founding Fathers were deists at best, atheists at worst, nothing could be further from the truth. In his book, “Forged in Faith,” Rodd Gragg writes about the religiosity of those who forged a new nation.
Gragg recounts a motion by Thomas Cushing, Massachusetts delegate, the second day of the first meeting of the Continental Congress on Sept. 6, 1774. Cushing moved that Congress should open daily with prayer. A disagreement arose, but only because other delegates were concerned that with so many different Christian denominations represented, disunity may result.
They worked through the issue and the next day Jacob Duché, an Anglican pastor in Philadelphia, brought several delegates to tears with his impassioned prayer to God for wisdom in those perilous times.
To them, dependence on a Supreme Being was not a hypothetical. They were risking their lives. Each day presented new dangers and they daily sought His guidance in how to proceed.
Official respect in 2010 for Sunday is something about which we think our Founders, who would shudder at our nation’s latter day misguided interpretation of the idea of “separation of church and state,” would most heartily approve.
— Loné Beasley