Dear Sacred Heart Family,
We celebrate the Fourth of July every year, with 2020 marking the 244th anniversary of the founding of the United States. Usually an occasion for parties, barbecues, and fireworks, the most significant national holiday on the American calendar will this year be marked by socially-distanced gatherings and canceled public events as the country has undergone months of coronavirus pandemic lockdowns. Weeks of national unrest, from riots and looting to the destruction of monuments, could have an unknown impact on what has traditionally been an unabashed expression of patriotic pride.
We are celebrating an independence that is not absolute. Our independence is rooted in our dependence on God. Only if we are completely dependent on God can we enjoy freedom. Our nation was founded on the belief in God. The President takes his oath of office by placing his hand on the Bible, the Word of God, and ends with, “So help me God.” In our pledge of allegiance, we say, “One Nation under God.” Engraved on our money is “In God We Trust.”
Our Founding Fathers may have opted for a separation of church and state, but not for separation of God and state. There is no brotherhood of man without the Fatherhood of God. What the Constitution guarantees is not freedom from religion but freedom of religion, freedom to practice religion. The irony is that those who are pushing for freedom from religion are actually pushing their own religion, which is secular humanism. We face challenges from liberal, agnostic, and atheistic political leaders, media bosses, and activist, liberal judges who deny religious freedom.
The philosopher-theologian, Soren Kierkegaard, wrote, “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true. The other is to refuse to believe what is true.” As we celebrate the Birthday of our nation let us not be fooled. We must believe what is true. We must firmly resist what is not true. We must not grow tired or despair of prevailing in the battle. We must pray with conviction, perseverance, and hope so that our generation and future generations will keep the Republic strong, brave, and free; free to follow God’s will and prevail justice and peace in our country.
Our Hope in Christ,
Fr. James Kaniparampil CMI
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