Happy 4th of July, brothers and sisters. I hope your plans for the day include some strolling through your neighborhood, perhaps a few front porch conversations, a visit to the local fair, or maybe just a phone call to Mom. A midweek holiday is a fun time for the constitutionally-assured “pursuit of happiness,” whatever that happens to look like for you. Enjoy your day.
During your prayer time today, you might want to ask God to bestow a few blessings of liberty on the Egyptian Coptic Christians, who have been suffering the brunt of religious intolerance as that country learns the hard lessons on the path to democracy. I’ll be praying that the ouster of their president leads to a little less “Muslim Brotherhood,” as that particular group calls itself, and a little more brotherhood of humanity.
No religion can claim perfection when it comes to tolerance. Sadly, throughout human history, each of the major religions has taken its turn as persecutor of those who believe differently. Catholics, Jews, Muslims and others have all suffered in turn. To compound the grief, too often that suffering drives the persecuted to become the persecutors in the next generation. This is not God’s plan or desire for us. I don’t know why God created different paths for His children. There are a lot of things about His creation that I don’t understand. But I do know that He has given me two very simple commandments, and that every action I take must fit into those commands: love Him and love my neighbors…all of them.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.” –Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration of Independence.