Skip to comments.Freedom To NOT Celebrate Independence Day (NPR)
Posted on 07/03/2014 7:22:45 PM PDT by Drango
Celebrating Independence Day on July Fourth is as American as burgers and dogs on the grill, lemonade in plastic cups, apple pie on paper plates, baseball, fireworks and Sousa marches.
Except for those Americans who don't celebrate it at all.
Like William H. Lamar IV. Last year the African-American preacher from Hyattsville, Md., wrote an essay that was carried by In it he asked: "How can I celebrate liberty with bondage economic bondage, educational bondage, political bondage, health care bondage, and religious bondage all around me?"
On the Fourth of July, he continued, "I will reflect on America as it was and as it is. And I will affirm my allegiance to my ancestors whose fight lives on in me."
The pastor is one of a strain of Americans who, throughout the country's history, have chosen to express their independence on Independence Day by not celebrating Independence. Forgoing the Fourth. Here is a trio of other examples:
1) Witnesses To History. More than 11,000 Jehovah's Witnesses convened in Tacoma, Wash., on July 4 weekend 2009, according to the Tribune Business News. "The convention continues today on Independence Day," the reporter wrote, "with another full schedule of speakers and singing. But don't expect any fireworks or flag waving. Witnesses don't celebrate the Fourth of July. They consider flags objects of worship."
2) Gourd Clan Ceremonies. Beginning in the late 19th century, Dennis Zotigh of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington , the U.S. government outlawed tribal dances, feasts and other American Indian ceremonial expressions. Native Americans were encouraged to celebrate American holidays instead. In the 20th century, those indigenous festivities slowly returned. Today "the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma holds Gourd Clan ceremonies on the Fourth of July," he writes, "because the holiday coincides with their Sun Dance, which once took place during the hottest part of the year. The Lakota of South Dakota and Cheyenne of Oklahoma continue to have some of their annual Sun Dances on the weekends closest to the Fourth of July to coincide with the celebration of their New Year. Some American Indians do not celebrate the Fourth of July because of the negative consequences to Indian people throughout history, while others simply get together with family and have cookouts, like many non-Native American citizens."
3) Days Of Slavery. Born a slave, social reformer Frederick Douglass was asked to deliver an oration at an Independence Day gathering at Corinthian Hall in Rochester, N.Y., in 1852. "What, to the American slave," he asked the crowd, "is your Fourth of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour." Douglass' speech informed and influenced future Americans including William H. Lamar IV.
* I give a pass to the Jehovah Witnesses crowd. Their objection is a matter of faith.
As long as they don’t smoke a cigarette while they’re celebrating or not celebrating, its all freedom.
He was also a rabid anti-smoker.
I can’t wait until this clown is under Sharia Law.
If everyone is shivering with cold, and you only have a small fire, surely the appropriate action is not to put that small fire out!
Oh good grief
You can not celebrate 4th of July if you want. You don’t need permission to not celebrate it. That’s the whole point of freedom, you have freedom to not do something as well as do something.
But why make a federal case out of it?
Sounds like “All Things Considered,” trivial, irrelevant, and usually collectivist.
Is he referring to the millions of us who work hard for every dollar only to have the federal government extort much of it from us with threats of fines and imprisonment so they can then turn around and pass our hard earned money over to loafers, moochers, terrorists, communists, illegal aliens, pals of the president and other outright America haters?
Now that’s econ0omic bondage !!!
Frederick Douglass was right. His 1852 oration is one of the most important and powerful speeches in American history.
But he got over it when the the institution of slavery was destroyed, thanks in large part to his agitation.
“Feeling themselves harshly and unjustly treated by the home government, your fathers, like men of honesty, and men of spirit, earnestly sought redress. They petitioned and remonstrated; they did so in a decorous, respectful, and loyal manner. Their conduct was wholly unexceptionable. This, however, did not answer the purpose. They saw themselves treated with sovereign indifference, coldness and scorn. Yet they persevered. They were not the men to look back.
As the sheet anchor takes a firmer hold, when the ship is tossed by the storm, so did the cause of your fathers grow stronger, as it breasted the chilling blasts of kingly displeasure. The greatest and best of British statesmen admitted its justice, and the loftiest eloquence of the British Senate came to its support. But, with that blindness which seems to be the unvarying characteristic of tyrants, since Pharaoh and his hosts were drowned in the Red Sea, the British Government persisted in the exactions complained of.
The madness of this course, we believe, is admitted now, even by England; but we fear the lesson is wholly lost on our present ruler.
Oppression makes a wise man mad. Your fathers were wise men, and if they did not go mad, they became restive under this treatment. They felt themselves the victims of grievous wrongs, wholly incurable in their colonial capacity. With brave men there is always a remedy for oppression. Just here, the idea of a total separation of the colonies from the crown was born! It was a startling idea, much more so, than we, at this distance of time, regard it. The timid and the prudent (as has been intimated) of that day, were, of course, shocked and alarmed by it.
Such people lived then, had lived before, and will, probably, ever have a place on this planet; and their course, in respect to any great change, (no matter how great the good to be attained, or the wrong to be redressed by it), may be calculated with as much precision as can be the course of the stars. They hate all changes, but silver, gold and copper change! Of this sort of change they are always strongly in favor.
These people were called Tories in the days of your fathers; and the appellation, probably, conveyed the same idea that is meant by a more modern, though a somewhat less euphonious term, which we often find in our papers, applied to some of our old politicians.
Their opposition to the then dangerous thought was earnest and powerful; but, amid all their terror and affrighted vociferations against it, the alarming and revolutionary idea moved on, and the country with it.
On the 2d of July, 1776, the old Continental Congress, to the dismay of the lovers of ease, and the worshipers of property, clothed that dreadful idea with all the authority of national sanction. They did so in the form of a resolution; and as we seldom hit upon resolutions, drawn up in our day whose transparency is at all equal to this, it may refresh your minds and help my story if I read it. Resolved, That these united colonies are, and of right, ought to be free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown; and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, dissolved.
Citizens, your fathers made good that resolution. They succeeded; and to-day you reap the fruits of their success. The freedom gained is yours; and you, therefore, may properly celebrate this anniversary. The 4th of July is the first great fact in your nations history the very ring-bolt in the chain of your yet undeveloped destiny.
Pride and patriotism, not less than gratitude, prompt you to celebrate and to hold it in perpetual remembrance. I have said that the Declaration of Independence is the ring-bolt to the chain of your nations destiny; so, indeed, I regard it. The principles contained in that instrument are saving principles. Stand by those principles, be true to them on all occasions, in all places, against all foes, and at whatever cost.
From the round top of your ship of state, dark and threatening clouds may be seen. Heavy billows, like mountains in the distance, disclose to the leeward huge forms of flinty rocks! That bolt drawn, that chain broken, and all is lost. Cling to this day cling to it, and to its principles, with the grasp of a storm-tossed mariner to a spar at midnight.”
— Frederick Douglass, ‘What to the Slave is the Fourth of July’ speech, July 5, 1852
Read the entire speech here:
Yo, Linton Weeks, bite me.
Are airplanes and ships still plying the airspace and waters between the United States and the continent of Africa? If so, why don’t they leave?
Mourning is most appropriate, it seems to me.
And anti-Tea Party.
Anyone still doubt it ?
Idiots like this ‘wet on the graves of the dead heroes defending this country’.
If this (cluck) wants to not celebrate the birthday of this nation, he can do so in the privacy of his own home, and leave those of us who DO wish to celebrate the day, (even if that is in ashes and sackcloth - due to the queer-in-charge), to do so openly and with the sloemnity that John Adams advocated!
How does an NPR blog wind up in Breaking News?
Stupid f-ing articles this this one makes me look forward to the Second Civil War (i.e., the War to Liberate America from Modern Liberalism).
Hey Mr Lamar, pick a better country.
Fredrick Douglas was a Republican.
It takes a lot of energy to break through a popular delusion.
Celebrating OUR Independence day with a die-hard lefty from England was a true pleasure for me.
Great friend and always fun to be around, seeming intelligent but superficially liberal and anti-American.
During his trip to the US, he drove up and down the east coast from Virginia to Massachusetts. As we headed down to the Mall in DC for the “4th of July”, I asked him about is road trip, he said “You Americans have no creativity”, “Most of the towns and cities I drove through are named after places in England”. I shot back in an instant “We weren’t Americans then”.
As Cassius Clay once famously said, sort of...
Our grandfathers may have come over in different boats, but we are all in the same boat now.
LOL, good one!
When the Potato Famine hit Ireland, the Irish left.
When Hitler came to power in Germany, the Jews left.
When hard economic times hit Italy and Poland, the Italians and the Poles left.
When religious freedom was denied in Britain, the British left.
If the country you live in is the worst place on earth, it wouldn’t be too difficult to find a better place to live.
I recently expressed my suspicion the Left is attacking the 4th of July.
Yes, he was.
Go live in Somalia, see if you like that better.
So what is this drama queen gonna do instead?
Cal a press conference?
On the dime of taxpayers
I am observing We Sold Ourselves for Benefits day.
And try carrying a flintlock on Lexington Green and see how long it is before you are arrested (or shot).
The totalitarians among us don't wish to be free, but to be free FROM freedom. Yes they do. I know it is illogical, but it is true. It's a frightening world to them. In their myopic treatment of freedom they will usher (have undered) in a tyrannical and deadly state. Look at every disarmed hell whole the left has destroey since the start of Johnson's Great Society.
Of course, in this day, there’s really nowhere else left to go.
So, we’ll just have to stand and fight.
This gentleman was refusing to celebrate the 4th of July because of the (then) current “situation” in America as he perceived it.
The 4th of July is Independence Day. It is a celebration of our Declaration of Independence and the principles on which our great country was founded.
So many people confuse the government with our nation itself. Our government has failed on many counts, mostly due to the lack of understanding or the intentional undermining of the basic principles of our Constitution.
Those principles are about personal freedom and the elevation of the citizen above the government. The fact that a majority of our citizens do not understand or appreciate those principles does not, in any way, negate their fundamental truth.
We must protect and live up to those beautiful principles. If we do, we will continue to be the great nation envisioned by our brave and insightful founding fathers.
I will proudly celebrate the 4th in the spirit of the foundation of our nation.
Perfect description of life under the thumb of Obama.
“How can I celebrate liberty with bondage economic bondage, educational bondage, political bondage, health care bondage, and religious bondage all around me?””
Maybe he should spend the weekend contemplating the source of those miseries and why they still persist in 2014?
I’ll give the reverend a hint to get him started: it’s not the Tea Party.
Hey Linton Weeks, I hear there’s a new caliphate forming up, perhaps you should move there. And don’t let the door hit you in your sorry ass on the way out.
My flag remains furled.
Things have gotten even worse than I thought under Obama, from what I read here.
Sounds like we all agree on that.
Your friend reminds me of the character “English Bob” from Clint Eastwood’s “Unforgiven”.
This is an honest question FRiend (not meant to be provocative):
What do you think the American flag represents?
What a stinging indictment of a corrupt and evil political and social structure. He had cause to be resentful and angry, this current complainer just need to suck it up and take advantage of the freedom which our ancestors fight and died for. He has the guarantee of the opportunity to get our there and fight for it like the rest of us, not the promise of a free lunch.
Flown upside down, it signifies great distress.
Maybe I’ll fly my Gadsden or skull & crossbones flag.
I just can’t see putting Old Glory out upside down.
You go ahead and enjoy yourself.
And you can be sure that, outside of using them as an example for this story, NPR considers the Witnesses to be as stupid as anyone else who takes their religion seriously.
AFAIK, it’s never been illegal to choose not to celebrate the Fourth of July, Christmas or any other holiday. It’s also not been illegal to try to make an issue out of a non-issue such as NPR is attempting to do here.
NPR just can’t accept their irrelevancy; they have to try and gin up hate and discontent. Reminds one of the One.
And the beauty of this American experience is that those folks are free to not join in the festivities. No one is forcing them to be a part of the celebrations.