Today is Independence Day in the United States, and it should be a day of great celebration among those of us who are restrictively secular in world view.
Um, that means, “atheists.”
Two years ago, I posted an oration made by Robert Ingersoll on July 4, 1876, that simply begins:
One hundred years ago, our fathers retired the gods from politics.
Later in the speech, Ingersoll further encapsulates the miracle of the grand Declaration of Independence and what it accomplished:
Our fathers founded the first secular government that was ever founded in this world. Recollect that. The first secular government; the first government that said every church has exactly the same rights and no more; every religion has the same rights, and no more. In other words, our fathers were the first men who had the sense, had the genius, to know that no church should be allowed to have a sword; thai it should be allowed only to exert its moral influence.
Before our great experiment, kings ruled, and kings claimed their powers over the people derived from on high. With the Declaration, with the Revolution, the Colonies declared war on that concept. Law, they said, comes from people. And they fought and died for that.
We are not, nor have we ever been, a society based on “Judeo-Christian” values, as many would have it settled in fact. We are the result of a fierce revolution against theocractic rule.
I like to reflect on that on Independence Day. And then, you know. Go light a sparkler and stuff.
Happy Independence Day, for the People, baby.