Without God, truth and justice and goodness mean nothing, compared to finding power and enjoying a few bright diversions and satiating my appetites and squashing anyone who interrupts or impedes the quenching of my desires.
Without God, the president’s entire assertion is wrong: being American is absolutely and entirely a matter of blood and birth … and the faith and fidelity of our forefathers was not to “shared values” but to common interests: mutual economic benefit and physical security. How can we share “values,” in any enduring, moral sense, if we remove the God whose words and character alone persuade us that there is value in generosity, humility, service, and self-sacrifice?
No, despite what the president said, it’s not the “rights” that “make us strong.” It’s the Creator on whose character those rights are founded who makes life worth living, makes liberty a reality for the soul as well as the body, makes happiness something deeper and more lasting than a moment’s gratification. The rights were endowed so that we might better know the One who endowed them; the gifts must inevitably point us to the Giver.
No man gives the woman he loves an engagement ring so that she will forget him. Indeed, the ring’s ultimate value is not the size of the diamond but wonder at the love that gave it … and the depth of the mutual commitment that gift symbolizes.
The Fourth of July, like a wedding, is and should be a celebration – not just of life and freedom shared and so many happinesses found and cherished, but of the mutual commitment that makes all these possible. To leave God out of the equation, out of the history, out of the celebration, is like celebrating a marriage with only half of a couple.
Without Him, the “glorious Fourth” is considerably less glorious – just a hollow, tinny ruckus about … nothing. And a recognition not of our “common humanity,” but of our increasing inability to fathom what life and freedom and happiness are really all about.
Alan Sears, a former federal prosecutor in the Reagan Administration, is president and CEO of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal alliance employing a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.