Re-examining Independence Day

Rather than spending this weekend dazed by fireworks and hot dogs, let’s begin to ask better questions about what we’re really celebrating. For instance,  does true freedom come from something other than guns and bombs? Should we take pride in touting our independence or interdependence? What does “freedom” mean to the poor, marginalized, imprisoned, and oppressed in our country and around the world? For those of us who are Christians, where is our ultimate citizenship and allegiance? In the kingdom of man or the kingdom of God?

If you’re looking for some good reading for this Fourth of July weekend, we’ve got just the thing for you. One of our favorites is a July 4th speech from former slave Frederick Douglass entitled, “What to a Slave is the Fourth of July.” Then, there’s a great Huffington Post article by Shane Claiborne,  “This July 4th, Let’s Celebrate Interdependence Day!” You may also want to check out Christian Peacemaker Teams who pose the question, “What would happen if Christians devoted the same discipline and self-sacrifice to nonviolent peacemaking that armies devote to war?” And don’t forget to check out this article + video from Democracy Now that features the writings of Howard Zinn and looks back into American history to examine the nature of our freedom.

And finally, a word from MLK:

“As long as there is poverty in the world I can never be rich, even if I have a billion dollars. As long as diseases are rampant and millions of people in this world cannot expect to live more than twenty-eight or thirty years, I can never be totally healthy even if I just got a good checkup at Mayo Clinic. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the way our world is made. No individual or nation can stand out boasting of being independent. We are interdependent.

(Posted by Lindsey)


  1. This is really great. It makes me think more about my freedoms (and in some cases, lack thereof) and what it means to be an American today. Thank you for this – well written, made me reflect.


  2. I was watching the news after the big Sat 3rd tent city move. A man sitting with his wife listening to the music said that this was what freedom was all about being able to do what he wanted. I thought how ironic that he was able to sit there and make this statement; but I doubt that a homeless person could have be able to.

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