Today should be a day of great pride for Americans. We are still the envy of the world when it comes to our rights, freedoms, and economic opportunities. I believe our Founders were men and women of God, contrary to many who claim they were not. They tried to incorporate an ideal of religious freedom into an emerging nation. So we celebrate this day because on September 5, 1774, in response to the British Parliament’s enactment of the Coercive Acts in the American colonies, the first session of the Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia. Fifty-six delegates from the colonies drafted a declaration of rights and grievances and elected Virginian Peyton Randolph as the first president of Congress.
Opposition to British rule began to gain traction in 1765 after the Stamp Act, a tax designed to raise money for the British army in America. The opposition’s slogan was, “No taxation without representation.” After months of protest in America, Parliament voted to repeal the Stamp Act in 1766.
Our birth of freedom is something that many around the world envy. Russian artists and writers, children in the Sudan and Syria, and the people of Tibet who are tightly controlled by the Chinese government. We are a beacon of freedom that grew out of religious liberty. Yet, today the growing religion in America is secularism. Will discarding that religious freedom also mark the decline of America?
John Adams wrote, “Suppose a nation in some distant Region should take the Bible for their only law Book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love, and reverence toward Almighty God.”
Perhaps today, if your zeal and practice of faith has wained a bit, would be a good day to make the commitment that was birthed out of this movement embodied in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights – yes and the Bible.