Independence Day

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“… Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest prop of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity.

… And let us with caution indulge in the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle…”

– President George Washington’s Farewell Address, September 17, 1796

May you have a meaningful commemoration of America’s Independence Day!Β  Blessings to you and yours!

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11 thoughts on “Independence Day

  1. Happy Independence Day, Wendy! That quote from George Washington is really interesting. However, I disagree that our forefathers would be “aghast” at the role religion plays in American society today. Speaking in 1796, at the height of the Reign of Terror in France, George Washington and his American audience would have been thinking of the violent excesses of the French Revolution, which Americans had initially identified with and supported. In 1796, French revolutionaries were persecuting clergy, seizing church lands, closing/desecrating/repurposing churches, and doing their best to destroy religion in France because of how closely Christianity (specifically Catholicism, the official State Religion) in France had been associated with the monarchy. They even outlawed the traditional calendar and replaced it with a new calendar that eliminated the Sabbath, the saint’s days and other religious holidays, etc. As George Washington left office in 1796, horrified Americans were reading in their newspapers every day that the streets of Paris were running with blood from the guillotine even as revolutionary zealots executed priests, smashed religious statues and crosses, all in the name of “Republican VIRTUE” and the “Cult of REASON” (major buzz-words of the French Revolutionaries). It was in this historical context that Washington warned that “REASON and experience both forbid us to expect that national MORALITY can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

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