liberty and justice for all…

Today is the 4th of July. Today is an important day.

It is a day of liberty.

However, somehow, the meaning of Independence Day has become lost, corrupted, and I am incredibly frustrated.

Today is not a day for any single religion. It is a day for people. People who fought hard and long to escape tyranny and to run away, to start over. Sure, they fought for religious freedom, but it’s important to remember they did not all fight for the same religion. Everyone was escaping. They were escaping being tortured, burned, beheaded, and treated like second class citizens because they believed differently than their ruler.

Catholics, Protestants, Puritans, Deists, Atheists, Quakers… all left home, went to a new land, and searched for freedom to live their lives how they wanted, to not be punished for having a difference of opinion.

They escaped the crown, they found freedom, they formed separate societies where they could practice whatever the religion they wished, and then the crown got angry and decided to once again interfere. By this time, the British ruling class were entirely disconnected from the colonies. The colonists were once again being viewed as second class citizens, and after having fought so hard to escape that fate, the colonies rebelled.

People from different backgrounds, different faiths, and different countries worked together. They took a stand, once again, for freedom. Freedom for themselves, for their children, and for each other.

Today, on this 4th of July, it is my dearest wish that our nation will once again rise up and fight for freedom. Freedom for everyone, and not just people who believe what we believe. Remember, when one person loses the right to live their life under their own set of beliefs, we all lose. Small freedoms taken from others today, will set a precedence to have larger freedoms taken from us tomorrow.

We are not an us versus them society. We are all Americans, and we need to stand up for one another once again. We need to stand next to our neighbors and fight for them like our founders fought for us.They did not fight for a single faith or creed, they fought for freedom. They fought for liberty and justice… not just for some, but for all. They knew how dangerous state religions and discrimination could be. The smell of flesh burning at the stake was still fresh in their nostrils. There was no question, they would not allow themselves to be unheard again.

I refuse to ever remove basic freedoms from my neighbors because of a difference in thought. I refuse to tell someone that they are less deserving of social, religious or personal freedom because we look, believe, or act differently.

Today I celebrate freedom– my freedom and the freedom of the rest of the country. The freedom to have my faith, or your faith, or no faith. Today I celebrate the spirit of the colonists, and the bravery of men to fight against the larger power for the right to be heard and to live in liberty.