the Religious Significance of Fourth of July

July 4 is the most important of secular American holidays. But for the inclusion of pyrotechnic displays, contemporary observation of our nation’s birth typically looks like any other summertime gatherings.  But what is the religious significance of Independence Day?

Consider this except from the Independence Day Oration by John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Candidate for Congress from the 11th Congressional District, July 4, 1946:

“Our deep religious sense is the first element of the American character…Throughout the years, down to the present, a devotion to fundamental religious principles has characterized American thought and action .Our government was founded on the essential religious idea of integrity of the individual. And it was this religious sense which inspired the authors of the Declaration of Independence…that all men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.”- Read the full speech at the JFK Presidential Library by clicking here

Kennedy closed his speech with a quote from DeTocqueville … “You may talk of the people and their majesty, but where there is no respect for God can there be much for man? You may talk of the supremacy of the ballot, respect for order, denounce riot, secession–unless religion is the first link, all is vain.”

However you choose to celebrate our nation’s birth please take a moment to give thanks for the men and women who over the course of our brief national history have and continue to sacrifice themselves so that we can enjoy the fruits of liberty.