Some patriotic reflections for the Fourth of July
The Fourth of July is upon us and nobody enjoys a party more than Yours Truly. I will offer any excuse to break into some kind of a party mode. The slightest hint of refreshments and I have my "these-boots-were-made-for-walking" footwear on and I am ready to go.
I especially like birthday parties, when it is somebody else’s birthday, that is. I have found when it is my birthday party too many people want to congratulate me on another milestone in my life that I do not get a chance to enjoy the delectable refreshments. Smiling and stuffing the face do not go together.
But a patriotic party is something altogether different. It is the birthday of our country and it is hard to imagine anybody celebrating too much on this anniversary. Over 230 years ago, give or take, this country came into being. And what a country it has been.
Do we have problems? The only people without problems are those resting quite peacefully at Boot Hill. If there is life, there are problems. Our country has been of such a nature that no problem has been too big to solve. We are a nation of problem solvers. Henceforth, we need problem makers in order to prove what great problem solvers we are.
If we had no problems in our country today nobody would know just how great we really are at solving problems. I do not get upset with all the problems floating around in our country today. I know any problem is a temporary inconvenience and that in the long run, good usually wins out.
As I was thinking about this year’s Fourth of July celebration, I began to reflect on all of the good in our country. If you want to see any good in this country, you first have to turn off the television newscasts, lay aside the daily newspaper and turn off your radio and then go take a stroll in the park where real life takes place.
I know the news media has to do their job, but do they have to do it so well?
For example, if there is some social burp somewhere in our country (especially if it is some celebrity) the news media from all over the country goes to that spot and for the next week there is 24/7 coverage of that little burp. After three days of constant news coverage, it is not hard to conclude that the entire world is going to that really hot place in a handbasket.
For every negative story in the news today, there are 99 unreported incidences of peace and goodwill toward men. Maybe it is a good thing that only bad stories catch the headlines. Maybe that is an indication that in reality bad is the exception and good is the norm. Well, one can dream can’t he?
In spite of all the dissing of America, there are plenty of things to celebrate this coming Fourth of July.
I was at the supermarket picking up an item on my way home the other day and as I was waiting to pay the bill, I happened to look at one of my dollar bills. Right in the middle of that dollar bill in plain sight were the words, "In God We Trust." I chuckled to myself. Every time someone uses a dollar bill in this country, they are giving tribute to the awesome fact that this country was built upon trust in God. And not just any God, but the Judeo-Christian God of the Holy Bible.
One of my favorite sports is baseball. Just before any game the entire stadium stands and sings, The Star-Spangled Banner. In the middle of that song there is a phrase that goes, "And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust!’"
Our founding fathers took for granted something that this generation has long ago forgotten. Everything in this country is built upon God. Not some generic god, but the God of the Bible. To disavow that is to misunderstand what the founding of this country was all about.
I often hear people crying out in defense of their ignorance, "Separation of church and state." That is about as possible as separating the hydrogen out of the air we breathe. It can be done but it leaves us with something we cannot breathe and exist.
Then, every time we look at the American flag, we are reminded of the "Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag." A little phrase in that pledge says, "One nation under God." Again, the God referred to is the God of the Bible.
For those who are trying to get away from God they have an impossible task on their hands. Every time they use an American dollar, they are acknowledging our trust in God as a nation. Every time they go to a baseball game and sing The Star-Spangled Banner, they are singing about their trust in God.
Even atheists in this country have to start with God in order to define who he or she is. If I did not believe in God, I would not spend all my time and energy and resources fighting against something that I do not believe exists.
But as I celebrate the Fourth of July, I will pause and give thanks to God for America and I probably will sing, "America! America! God shed his grace on thee."
(Rev. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship in Ocala, Fla. E-mail him at email@example.com.)