On Tuesday, this Country celebrated the adoption of the Declaration of Independence which led to the birth of the United States. There were two things I noted about July 4th this year. First, all across America churches used the occasion to celebrate the freedom and independence of this Country. I found this a bit odd. As followers of Christ we know that we are actually called to be dependent on the Holy Spirit and God for our direction. However, this holiday is all about independence and reliance on self. I find it fascinating that so many followers of Christ across this land celebrate their own life of self-reliance.
I also noted my own response to the holiday. Of course we are celebrating freedom and liberty but the hard truth is that we celebrate a liberty that was only meant for white men. The ideals of liberty and freedom were revolutionary at the time and remain a beacon of hope for many of those who are oppressed and marginalized. But those words this year somehow ring a bit hollow to me. As I thought about this I could not help but reflect on Frederick Douglas's speech which he gave on July 5th in 1852 to a group of abolitionists in recognition of July 4th. I am including it here because it remains quite compelling in how it captures the strange dichotomy that African Americans find themselves in today.