Altar Call – 0pelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

July 3, 2011


Hoist the flag and celebrate the freedom we enjoy!


          The weekend of July 4th is a time for all Americans to celebrate. The older I get the less I like buying fireworks. I am content to watch the colorful displays on television. That is a lot safer.

As long as I can remember our family had enjoyed a cookout on the 4th of July. Monday we will do it again, complete with hot dogs, ribs, watermelon, ice cream, and plenty of ice tea. The diet will be put on hold for a day!

The drought, the heat and the flies are fleas that come with the July dog. If it rains I will enjoy getting wet and thanking God for a brief respite from the midsummer heat.

But along with family fun and good food, this national holiday gives us all a chance to celebrate our nation’s heritage and offer thanks to God that the great American experiment is still working.

          Though secularists continue to rewrite our history, it remains true that our ancestors came to America not only to find religious freedom but also to establish a Christian nation. They sought the help of almighty God to build a nation founded on biblical principles.

          There continues to be much public debate recently about the Ten Commandments. Some people, admittedly, have parted company with common sense in their defense of the commandments. However, even a cursory study of history reveals that our founding fathers considered the Ten Commandments the essential foundation stones of American government.

          President James Madison, the “Father of Our Constitution,” once said, “We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” The more we surrender our reverence for the Ten Commandments, the greater will be the moral decline of our country.

          Ignorance poses a great danger for America. Some people suppose that “separation of church and state” is part of our constitution, but they are mistaken. The phrase does not appear anywhere in our constitution. The brave men who signed the Declaration of Independence never for one minute wanted America separated from God. Quite the contrary, they recognized that America could not survive without the aid of almighty God. Historic records affirm that they believed this and said so. It is true of course that our founding fathers wisely insisted that “the state” should not be under the rule of “the church.”

          Despite our continuing moral slide toward immorality, there remains much about America for which we can be profoundly thankful. Every time we handle money, we are confronted with our motto, “In God We Trust.” How many other nations in the world subscribe to such a godly motto? This motto is an admission that the American people trust not in the power of the state, but in the power of almighty God.

          Religious holidays continue to be recognized nationally. Good Friday and Christmas are actually Christian holy days. Though they are grossly commercialized, they are still woven into our culture, reminding us of the birth of our Savior and his crucifixion for our sins. When we are willing to do so, we can remind others of the deep meaning of these holidays.

          Thanksgiving remains a national holiday. From the beginning, our presidents have called upon our people to give thanks to God for our blessings. President Abraham Lincoln made the day an enduring celebration and every president since has urged our reverent recognition of God’s blessings. Thanksgiving draws all our people to a spirit of gratitude.

          Chaplains continue to be appointed to serve in Congress and in the Armed Forces. A few years ago the chaplain of the Senate was the distinguished Christian preacher and author, Lloyd Ogilvie. Currently the Senate Chaplain is Rear Admiral Barry C. Black. Black served as a US Navy Chaplain for 27 years, ending his career as the Chief of Navy Chaplains.

I am proud to be an American, a citizen of a nation in which godly men like Ogilvie and Black have the honor of offering spiritual guidance to our senators. Like others, I am concerned about the recent appointment of Muslim chaplains in the Armed Forces and their possible link to terrorists. Still, I realize that some of the finest men I have known have served as military chaplains. I thank God that our nation recognizes the need of our military forces for spiritual guidance.

          The phrase, “Under God,” remains in our Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag. Some, like the folks at NBC, want this reference to God removed from all aspects of public life, as well as the flag, but they have not succeeded. When we salute the flag, we can with pride thank God that, in many ways, we remain “one nation under God.”

Some may abuse freedom by burning the flag, but I feel a surge of pride every time I salute our flag. Far too many people have died defending the flag for me to gaze upon it with anything but reverence. Those who burn the flag disgrace themselves and deserve to be punished for such sacrilege.  

          The crusade continues to secularize America and separate it from God. The secularists may succeed. I pray they will not. If they win, they will know they have been in a fight because most Americans are not willing to renounce their godly heritage and accept a state that is separated from almighty God. Most of us still want to live in a nation that is under God.

          We can, therefore, celebrate on this Fourth of July that what William Penn called “An Holy Experiment in Government” continues in America. It remains a noble enterprise that deserves our best efforts, and our prayers, to keep it alive for centuries to come. God bless America! + + +