Commentary: On the 4th of July, think about preserving our freedom


We are approaching our 248th anniversary as a nation. We should all bow our heads and thank God for the privilege of living in the United States of America. It is the land of the free and the home of the brave. When Christopher Columbus arrived on the shores of this new world, he lifted his heart and eyes to heaven and with great gratitude offered expressions of thanksgiving to God and his crew joined him in singing a hymn of praise to God.

When the American colonies had secured their freedom from England, the men who crafted the Declaration of Independence concluded that revered document with the words, “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.” The words “Divine Providence” are a distinct reference to the Lord of heaven and earth.

Some sources indicate that as many as 52 of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were deeply committed Christians. With words like “Divine Providence,” “God,” “Lord,” and “Creator” found in this historic document it is easy to assume that the founders of our nation were Christians.

In 1788 James Madison, who was the architect of the Federal Constitution and the fourth President of the United States, said, “We have staked the whole of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to sustain ourselves, according to the Ten Commandments of God.”

It is ironic and incongruous that in 1980 the United States Supreme Court ruled in Stone v. Graham that it was unlawful for the state of Kentucky to have a statute requiring the posting of the Ten Commandments in public schools. They reasoned that it was violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

What has the denigration and absence of the Ten Commandments done for our public schools and nation? Forty-four years after that fateful ruling, the United States has almost become an antinomian society, a society without laws. The crime problem in America has become extremely serious. Stores are being looted and the perpetrators often do not have to pay consequences. In many cases prosecuting attorneys are not holding criminals accountable, judges are not requiring bail to be posted, and the guilty are released to commit further crimes.

In addition, the Lord’s Day has been reduced to being very much like any other day in the week. The FBI has indicated that there are approximately 45 murders a day in America or about 16,425 a year. Sex trafficking has become an appalling problem. In other words, the disappearance of the Ten Commandments from our public schools and many other places had had a negative effect upon our society.

In a bold and decisive action, the Louisiana legislators passed a law requiring that the Ten Commandments be displayed in every public school classroom in the state, and Gov. Jeff Landry signed it into law on June 19.

The action of the Louisiana legislators should remind us that God has not called us to be shrinking violets or ethical bystanders, but change agents, even champions for Christ and get on the offensive and do what we can to preserve our freedom and our faith.

Mike Griffin, public affairs representative for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board under the Gold Dome in Atlanta, has been in the battle for the Ten Commandments for years. He is a champion for the sanctity of life and for the sanctity of marriage, an opponent of gambling, and a worthy advocate on the issues that should concern every Christian and every person who wants our nation to live up to its motto, “In God We Trust.” He would like to raise up an army of cultural warriors in our land who will unashamedly stand for noble and righteous principles.

Obviously, Jesus should always be the center of everything we do. Nothing is more important than Jesus Christ, spreading the Gospel and winning people to faith in the blessed Savior. However, our responsibility does not end there.

Eric Metaxas, in his book Letter to the American Church, compares the church in America to the church in Germany in 1930. He writes, “It is the church’s duty to fight the powers of darkness. Silence is not an option. God calls us to defend the unborn, to confront the lies of political Marxism, and to battle the globalist tyranny that crushes human freedom. The church must overcome fear and enter the fray armed with the spiritual weapons of prayer, self-sacrifice, and love.”

A growing number of people believe we are in a battle for the soul of our beloved nation. The primary issue is not just between progressives and conservatives, originalism versus Constitutionalism, or even Democrats and Republicans. The battle is over good and evil. The challenges that lie before us are formidable.

In recent months I have heard the American church divided into three categories: The courageous church, the complacent church, and the complicit church. When it comes to facing the challenges of our day and saving the greatness of America for future generations, we all need to decide where we will stand in the battle for truth, justice, and righteousness.


J. Gerald Harris is a retired pastor and journalist who served as editor of The Christian Index for nearly two decades. You can reach him at