Monday, July 7, 2014

Billy's bad history leason

Sure, the holiday was Friday, but I didn't see this letter until now. Better late than never...
DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I’m from another country and am visiting some of my relatives here who are in graduate school. I asked them what your festival on July 4 means, but they were not sure. Does it have something to do with your Christian religion? — V.N.
This is a joke right? Okay, let me share one too... Do they have the fourth of July in Great Britain? Yes, because the holiday is Independence Day. July 4th is just a date. Funny right? No... Well neither is the prospect that there are Americans that don't know what Independence Day is a celebration of.
DEAR V.N.: July Fourth commemorates the day in 1776 that our nation declared itself to be independent, no longer a colony of England. On that date, a number of our leading citizens signed what is known as the Declaration of Independence, stating our determination to become a free country.
Sigh... And Billy also doesn't know what happened on that date. Our nation did not declare independence on July 4th, 1776. That actually occurred at the Continental Congress held two days prior on July 2nd, 1776.

Most of the delegates that signed the Declaration of Independence didn't sign it on July 4th either. There was no meeting of all the delegates where they signed it together in one big meeting. Most actually signed on August 2nd, and some waited longer. It wasn't until 1777 (January) that all the signatures were revealed.

The United States was not officially recognized as an independent country until the signing of the Treaty of Paris on September 3rd, 1783. So what actually happened on July 4th, 1776? After the Declaration of Independence was introduced on the 2nd (alongside actually declaring independence), it was edited on the 3rd, adopted on the 4th and then it was off to the printer... To further confuse things, the Deceleration was first publicly read on July 8th... So oddly, we celebrate the date of the adoption of the document rather than the actual date independence was declared.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised Billy got this wrong though. Most Americans don't know this, and when was the last time Billy actually fact-checked anything anyway?
Our independence did not come easily; only after several difficult years of war would it finally be won. Nor were our first years as a nation free from problems and controversies (as is still true). But our forefathers were determined to establish a free and democratic system of government, and the Declaration of Independence (together with our Constitution and the Bill of Rights) became the foundation for this. They have stood the test of time, and on July Fourth we give thanks for the wisdom and faith and courage of those leaders.

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Who celebrates their faith? I don't, and why would Billy? Many of them where Deists after-all. Also, if they were determined to establish a democracy, why did they set up America as a republic instead?
Although it is not a religious holiday like Christmas or Easter, for many Americans July Fourth 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” (Leviticus 25:10). Our legal system reflects our Judeo-Christian roots.
What does the Liberty Bell have to do with anything? It was commissioned in 1752  and made in England by the London based firm Lester and Pack. It's also funny that if the founders wanted to set the United States up on Judeo-Christian roots, that they went to great lengths to include the separation of church and state and freedom of religion in our Constitution, rather than just setting
up another theocracy.
While we look with gratitude to the past on this July Fourth, may we also look in faith to the future, and commit it and our lives to God and his will. The ancient words of the Psalmist are still true: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12).
Okay, so blessed are:
  • Alscae-Moselle
  • Andorra
  • Argentina 
  • Arminia
  • Costa Rica
  • Denmark
  • Dominican Republic
  • El Salvador
  • England
  • Georgia
  • Greece
  • Finland
  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Malta
  • Monaco
  • Norway
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Poland
  • Scotland
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Tuvalu
  • Vatican City
 In all those countries (but not the USA) some form of Christianity is the official religion of the state. And, ironically, some of the most atheistic countries are on that list!

So it seems that VN's family is very poorly informed on history, but to a (somewhat) lesser degree, so is Billy.

-Brain Hulk

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