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The Cross and the Flag: Reflecting on the Fourth of July
Breakpoint with Chuck Colson ^ | 7/4/2007 | Chuck Colson

Posted on 07/05/2007 7:43:32 AM PDT by Mr. Silverback

Quick, what famous event do we commemorate on the Fourth of July?

Not sure? A little rusty on your sixth-grade civics? Well, you're in good company. One Gallup poll revealed that one out of every four Americans doesn't know that July Fourth commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

It's a poor patriotism that doesn't even know our national history and traditions. This Fourth of July, let’s ask what it means, in the light of Scripture, to be an American citizen.

Patriotism used to be a simple matter. Most of America's traditions were rooted in a Christian heritage. To be a good Christian seemed to be synonymous with being a good American.

And no wonder. Through most of our history as a nation, Christianity was the dominant religion. At independence, the Founding Fathers declared a national day of prayer and thanksgiving—a holiday we still celebrate.

From that time on, many states required the Christian religion to be taught in colleges, prisons, and orphanages. Up to the 1960s, many states required Bible reading and prayers in the public schools. Almost all Americans agreed that our law was rooted, as John Adams said, in a common moral and religious tradition stretching back to Moses on Mount Sinai.

In a culture like this, it was easy for a Christian to be a patriot. Maybe too easy. Vibrant biblical faith often degenerated into mere civil religion. The well-being of the country was often equated with the expansion of God's Kingdom.

In the United States, Christians have all too often vacillated between two extremes—the God-and-country, wrap-the-flag-around-the-cross mentality or on the other hand, the simply passing-through mindset.

The former was illustrated a century ago by the president of Amherst College. He said that the nation had achieved the “true American union, that sort of union which makes every patriot a Christian and every Christian a patriot.” This form of civil religion is supported by politicians who welcome it as a prop for the state, and by Christians who see it as enshrining the fulfillment of the vision of the early pilgrims.

The passing-through mindset is represented by those who believe they are simply sojourners with loyalties only in the Kingdom beyond. They believe that faith is an entirely private matter, and that they are under no obligation to the community or country in which God has placed them.

Where along this range is true Christian patriotism?

The Christian position is beautifully balanced. On one hand, we don't deify our country. Our ultimate citizenship is in heaven, and that's where our ultimate allegiance is.

But the only place for expressing that allegiance is in the concrete loyalties God calls us to here on earth—including loyalty to country. We can't love mankind in the abstract; we can only really love people in the particular, concrete relationships God has placed us in—our family, our church, our community, our nation. I deal with this in a chapter in my new book, God and Government.

So brush up on your civics, dust off your U.S. history books, and celebrate this July Fourth by thanking God that He has not only called us into His kingdom but that He's also allowed us to live in—and yes, love—this land of liberty.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: breakpoint; charlescolson; christianity; chuckcolson; colson; cross; history; july4; oldglory; patriotism; religion; revolution
One out of four? Oy vey!

There are links to further information at the source document.

If anyone wants on or off my Chuck Colson/BreakPoint Ping List, please notify me here or by freepmail.

1 posted on 07/05/2007 7:43:34 AM PDT by Mr. Silverback
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To: Mr. Silverback
Although the 4th of July commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence, it's rather ironic that nobody signed it that day. Most of the signers signed it on July 2nd, and others signed it well after. The Fourth of July is when the Declaration was publicly proclaimed, but IIRC, no one actually signed it that day.
2 posted on 07/05/2007 7:48:04 AM PDT by RonF
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To: 05 Mustang GT Rocks; 351 Cleveland; AFPhys; agenda_express; almcbean; ambrose; Amos the Prophet; ...

BreakPoint/Chuck Colson Ping!

If anyone wants on or off my Chuck Colson/BreakPoint Ping List, please notify me here or by freepmail.

3 posted on 07/05/2007 7:53:16 AM PDT by Mr. Silverback (Capitalize on victory--push the fence now!)
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To: RonF
Most of the signers signed it on July 2nd, and others signed it well after.

All the more reason to stretch out the fireworks!

4 posted on 07/05/2007 7:54:26 AM PDT by Fester Chugabrew
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To: Fester Chugabrew

Sounds like a good idea, Fester.


5 posted on 07/05/2007 8:07:43 AM PDT by wastedyears (Cloture? Nuts.)
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To: RonF
And you would be right which makes one wonder why we even bother with the 4th of July. Although I am curious as to Chuck's POV on the Declaration itself.

It was, and still is, nothing more than a declaration of secession from the British Empire. Which begs the question, how were the Framers exercising 'patriotism' by seceding from the Empire? Don't get me wrong, I'm glad they did (sometimes) but if we are to hold ourselves to this standard, shouldn't we also hold most other instances to this? The Framers were not revolting over religion or severe oppression. One of the major causes was taxation (compared to today that level of taxation would be welcome). But they were revolting from their country. These United States did not exist at the time.

So if we hold the Framers to the same standard as Chuck asks us to have, how could their actions be considered 'Christian' or 'patriotic'? Could it be the Bible (even in Romans 13) isn't meant to apply the way so many 'conservatives' want it to apply? Could it be the Bible never considered patriotism in any form to be a Christian trait?

If you're patriotic that's great. But there is more than one way to be patriotic. Standing up against what one sees as an injustice or wrong action by the State then is just as patriotic as the one out there waving the flag until their hand falls off.

The former was illustrated a century ago by the president of Amherst College. He said that the nation had achieved the “true American union, that sort of union which makes every patriot a Christian and every Christian a patriot.” This form of civil religion is supported by politicians who welcome it as a prop for the state, and by Christians who see it as enshrining the fulfillment of the vision of the early pilgrims.

Good to see Chuck somewhat refutes what too many Republicans ardently advocate.

6 posted on 07/05/2007 8:13:18 AM PDT by billbears (Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. --Santayana)
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To: Mr. Silverback
I wonder if some don't celebrate the 4th because The Declaration of Independence was an act of disobedience to British government. Sort of made bad Christians out the American Revolutionaries, at least by the definition of some.

Oh, and what's up with all that mentioning of God in the document? Were they trying to set up a theocracy?

7 posted on 07/05/2007 8:17:49 AM PDT by The Ghost of FReepers Past (Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light..... Isaiah 5:20)
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To: billbears

Absolutely correct.

And note, during the WBTS, all the South was trying to do was the same thing that the 13 colonies, several of them in the South, had done all those years before.


8 posted on 07/05/2007 8:37:34 AM PDT by AzaleaCity5691
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To: Mr. Silverback

During his radio broadcast the other day, Sean Hannity had a reporter seek out people on the street so that he could ask them what the July Fourth holiday was all about. All of the interviewees expressed considerable ignorance as to the holiday’s significance. One woman, who identified herself as a kindergarten teacher, explained that the holiday was to celebrate the declaration of our independence from France. In response to questions from Hannity, she said that that Abraham Lincoln wrote the Declaration of Independence and that the war that we fought for our independence was known as World War I.


9 posted on 07/05/2007 8:55:58 AM PDT by Fiji Hill
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To: AzaleaCity5691
And note, during the WBTS, all the South was trying to do was the same thing that the 13 colonies, several of them in the South, had done all those years before.

The South had no proplem using the Federal club over state sovereignty in the North, until after they lost control of the Federal government. The Fugitive Slave Act had no respect for state borders!

10 posted on 07/05/2007 9:01:13 AM PDT by GoLightly
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To: billbears
The signers of the Declaratikon of Independence did, indeed, have some serious and legitimate grievances aganst the king:
The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people (emphasis added).


11 posted on 07/05/2007 9:19:56 AM PDT by Fiji Hill
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To: Fiji Hill
The signers of the Declaratikon of Independence did, indeed, have some serious and legitimate grievances aganst the king:

Indeed they did and I'm not questioning their grievances. The point is the Declaration is a declaration of secession from the British Empire. If we're to accept the author's premise how were the Framers being patriotic as they were British citizens or subjects at the time? Were they not by their revolt being unpatriotic to the established government?

Or did 'patriotism' only come into play as a Christian attribute once these United States were founded?

12 posted on 07/05/2007 9:31:15 AM PDT by billbears (Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. --Santayana)
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To: RonF
Although the 4th of July commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence, it's rather ironic that nobody signed it that day. Most of the signers signed it on July 2nd, and others signed it well after. The Fourth of July is when the Declaration was publicly proclaimed, but IIRC, no one actually signed it that day.

FALSE!! On July 2nd, 1776 the Continental Congress agreed to declare independence, the Lee Resolution. On July 4th, they finalized revisions and agreement on Jefferson's draft of the Declaration. It was signed by John Hancock and Charles Thomson (as President and Secretary of the Congress), that day. The rest of the Congress did not sign until August 2nd in most cases although some would not sign for months.

13 posted on 07/05/2007 9:33:41 AM PDT by usapatriot28
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To: billbears
Were they not by their revolt being unpatriotic to the established government?

Not exactly. The Crown was under the Parliment in the homeland, while it was acting without the same constraints in in the Colonies.

14 posted on 07/05/2007 9:46:41 AM PDT by GoLightly
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To: billbears
Were they not by their revolt being unpatriotic to the established government?

As explained in the Declaration of Independence, the "established government" had become tyrannical and was incapable of serving the needs of the American colonists.

15 posted on 07/05/2007 9:51:37 AM PDT by Fiji Hill
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To: Fiji Hill
As explained in the Declaration of Independence, the "established government" had become tyrannical and was incapable of serving the needs of the American colonists.

Doesn't matter. Tyranny of that sort, while somewhat annoying and bothersome, does not even approach oppressive. Some would say the invasion of privacy for 'safety purposes' and other reasons would be considered an infringement upon the citizens of the respective states. As for 'serving the needs' our own government doesn't even do that anymore and hasn't for many a year.

Justify it anyway that makes you feel better. But by the author's own definition, the Framers were not patriotic to their nation. Now I don't mind that they weren't, in fact even thankful that they weren't. But patriotism has to mean something more than loyalty to the current State. And I can't see how it is necessarily always a trait of a good Christian.

16 posted on 07/05/2007 10:01:06 AM PDT by billbears (Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. --Santayana)
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To: RonF

You are correct that it was not signed on that day. It was voted on and approved on July 4th, but not signed till a few days after. The first public reading of it was on July 8th (I think) and read to Washington’s army in New York on the 9th.


17 posted on 07/05/2007 11:18:13 AM PDT by nhbob1
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To: Fiji Hill
      Missed that one.  Thanks for posting it.  (I assmume she taught in a government school.)
18 posted on 07/05/2007 12:41:17 PM PDT by Celtman (It's never right to do wrong to do right.)
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To: Mr. Silverback

“One out of four?”
I had no idea that a quarter of our population was made of illegals.


19 posted on 07/05/2007 12:48:14 PM PDT by BuffaloJack
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To: billbears
Tyranny of that sort, while somewhat annoying and bothersome, does not even approach oppressive

I would think that hauling citizens before military ("Admiralty") courts, quartering soldiers in the homes of private citizens, and threatening the economy by shutting down our ports would be more than "somewhat annoying and bothersome."

20 posted on 07/05/2007 12:54:34 PM PDT by Fiji Hill
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To: Fiji Hill
You're not getting the point. Like it or not, they were still members of the British Empire. If we are to take this author's view of patriotism, then the Framers were bad patriots. Which in the world of some flag wavers makes them bad Christians (and yes I've heard that sermon before, can't be a Christian without being a 'patriot'. If you're not 'patriotic' you're not adhering to Romans 13, etc.)

It has nothing to do with the actions themselves. Is it unpatriotic then to stand up to something you feel the government should not be involved in or doing?

21 posted on 07/05/2007 1:12:34 PM PDT by billbears (Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. --Santayana)
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To: BuffaloJack

Although I will say I thought of illegal aliens as soon as I read it (and I know you’re going for a quip), the sad part is that we have somewhere between 12 and 20 million illegals and a population of around 300 million. That means that even if illegals were in this sample, there are about 55-63 million Americans who’ve come out of our school systems without basic historical knowledge. I’m betting almost every one of the folks in this survey who screwed this question up was a product of the public schools.


22 posted on 07/05/2007 2:09:53 PM PDT by Mr. Silverback (Capitalize on victory--push the fence now!)
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To: billbears
Standing up against what one sees as an injustice or wrong action by the State then is just as patriotic as the one out there waving the flag until their (sic) hand falls off.

By doing something about the injustices perpetrated on America by London, the signers of the Declaration of Independence were certainly good patriots by your definition.

23 posted on 07/05/2007 2:12:39 PM PDT by Fiji Hill
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To: AzaleaCity5691
And note, during the WBTS, all the South was trying to do was the same thing that the 13 colonies, several of them in the South, had done all those years before.

Have you ever considered who made the first act of aggression in both those wars? Have you ever considered how the list of British abuses against the colonists compares to the list of grievances listed by the South?

24 posted on 07/05/2007 2:14:34 PM PDT by Mr. Silverback (Capitalize on victory--push the fence now!)
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To: Mr. Silverback

I’d say the first act of aggression was caused in the Revolution by the British, and in the WBTS by the U.S. Case in point, Fort Sumter was sovereign Confederate territory, and once we had declared it as such, there was a responsibility on the part of the central government, to evacuate that fort.

The federal attempt to resupply the fort constituted an affront to the sovereignty of the C.S.A. and that should honestly be counted as the first “shot” of the war.


25 posted on 07/05/2007 2:37:39 PM PDT by AzaleaCity5691
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To: billbears
"The Framers were not revolting over religion or severe oppression."

"In 1762, the king vetoed the charter for America's first missionary society; he also suppressed other religious freedoms and even prevented Americans from printing an English language Bible. How did Americans respond? They took action; and almost unknown today is the fact that Declaration signers such as Samuel Adams and Charles Carroll cited religious freedom as the reason they became involved in the American Revolution. And significantly, even though Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin (two of the least religious signers) are typically the only signers studied today, almost half of the signers of the Declaration (24 of 56) held what today would be considered seminary or Bible school degrees. Clearly, for many Founders, religious issues were an important motivation behind their separation from Great Britain; but that motivation is largely ignored today."

"One of the major causes was taxation"

True. But it wasn't the main reason, even though we were taught that in school (was in my school days anyway).

"An obvious example of the secularization of history occurs each year around the Fourth of July. Americans are taught that “taxation without representation” was the reason America separated from Great Britain; yet “taxation without representation” was only reason number seventeen out of the twenty-seven reasons given in the Declaration of Independence - it was not even in the top half, yet it's all that most ever hear. Never mentioned today are the numerous grievances condemning judicial activism - or those addressing moral or religious or other issues."

God: Missing in Action from American History
26 posted on 07/05/2007 6:22:27 PM PDT by loboinok (Gun control is hitting what you aim at!)
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To: AzaleaCity5691

You are confusing the Revolutionary war and the Civil War.


27 posted on 07/05/2007 6:24:50 PM PDT by loboinok (Gun control is hitting what you aim at!)
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To: AzaleaCity5691

Pardon me...I read it wrong.

My bad.


28 posted on 07/05/2007 6:26:31 PM PDT by loboinok (Gun control is hitting what you aim at!)
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To: loboinok
Well no offense to the good Framers (of who M.E. Bradford said I believe 53 of the 55 Framers were regular church goers and I have no reason to doubt) but I imagine the Stamp Act of 1765 had something to do with prevention of a Bible. Not to mention any Bible printed in the colonies would most likely be translated not showing due respect towards monarchs as the KJV was. Less to do with religious freedom in the true sense and more to do with preservation of the monarchy's control in these United States

As for Carroll, he was a Catholic wasn't he? Of course the anger from him has to be tempered somewhat by the longstanding feud between Catholicism and Protestantism, going on at least since Good Queen Bess

Adams on the other hand was quite clear as early as 1768 his reasoning for joining the cause.

Americans are taught that “taxation without representation” was the reason America separated from Great Britain; yet “taxation without representation” was only reason number seventeen out of the twenty-seven reasons given in the Declaration of Independence - it was not even in the top half, yet it's all that most ever hear

And yet 5 of the top 7 deal in some fashion with representation before the King.

29 posted on 07/05/2007 6:51:42 PM PDT by billbears (Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. --Santayana)
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