JULY 4TH—CELEBRATION OF FREEDOM
June 28, 2019 | Pastor's Corner
This weekend, millions of Americans gather with family, friends, and neighbors to celebrate Independence Day. The July 4th weekend has long been about more than just barbeques and fireworks. It is also a chance for Americans to reflect on the nation’s fundamental values and celebrate fundamental American freedoms, including what many call the first freedom: religious liberty.
Although it is not a religious holiday, for many Americans July 4th is a time to reflect on God’s goodness to us as a nation. Molded into the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia (which proclaimed our independence) are these words from the Bible: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”
This weekend as we celebrate the Fourth of July, we are hearing a great deal about the freedoms that we have received because of the great sacrifices of men and women who have laid down their lives for us in protecting our freedom and securing our Independence as a nation. We are a nation built on freedom.
As Catholics and as Americans, we are called to guard and defend religious liberty as well as our other freedoms. If we are to do the good works to which our faith calls us, we must have freedom to follow our consciences and practice our religion. Religious liberty is about whether we can make our contribution to the common good of all Americans. Without religious liberty, all Americans suffer, deprived of the essential contributions in education, health care, feeding the hungry, civil rights, and social services that religious Americans make every day.
The right to religious freedom is based on the very dignity of the human person as the Second Vatican Council document Declaration on Religious Liberty reminds us all. As we celebrate this Independence weekend, let us also pray in thanksgiving for our gift of freedom and continue to safe guard our religious liberty.