‘Still a blessed nation’: For the Fourth of July, faith leaders weigh in on America

‘Still a blessed nation’: For the Fourth of July, faith leaders weigh in on America

FIRST ON FOX: Even with the problems we have in this country right now, “we are still a blessed nation,” Ed Vitagliano, executive vice president of the American Family Association, told Fox News Digital this week as Americans take time to celebrate the Fourth of July on Thursday and throughout the holiday weekend. 

Based in Tupelo, Mississippi, Vitagliano, also an ordained minister who pastors a church in northeast Mississippi, noted, “Countless millions are suffering around the world in a myriad of ways, not the least of which are in lives lived under dictatorship and oppression.”

So “as we remember the blessings of liberty” during the holiday, he said, “let us also remember our responsibilities to maintain our own freedoms.”

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“In a firm reliance on Almighty God, let us obey the Lord, love one another and work to free our neighbors that all might prosper.”

Several other faith leaders, pastors and authors who work in the faith and culture space shared thoughts for July 4th this year as the nation celebrates its 248th birthday. 

“This July 4, I am in Alaska with wounded veterans and their spouses as a part of Samaritan’s Purse Operation Heal Our Patriots,” Rev. Franklin Graham told Fox News Digital in an emailed message just ahead of the Fourth. 

“It is always a privilege to commemorate our Independence Day with these tried and tested warriors who, along with their families, have sacrificed so much for our freedoms,” he said.

“I thank God for them and for those who serve today to protect this nation.”

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He also noted, “As we celebrate Independence Day, we must also remember where our freedom comes from: It comes from God.”

“I thank Him for this great nation and our freedom from tyranny — and for His hand of mercy and blessing on it through the years,” said the North Carolina-based faith leader. 

“My prayer this July 4 is that we would turn to Him rather than turn farther away from Him.”

Alex McFarland, a religion and culture expert and director of Christian Worldview and Apologetics at North Greenville University in North Carolina, told Fox News Digital, “The beautiful thing about the Framers of our country is they were so well-read, literate — and yes, godly principled people.”

He added, “They knew what true justice was — not social justice as [today’s] woke, online influences would define it — but justice as the laws that conduct the nature of God.” 

He added, “Let’s thank God for our nation this week and celebrate the fact that we live in this beautiful United States of America.”

Katy Talento, based in Washington, D.C., is executive director of the Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries. She served as top health adviser at the White House Domestic Policy Council.

For July 4th this year, she expressed concern about the state of Americans’ health, both physical and mental. 

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“America has never been sicker, fatter, more anxious and depressed in our history,” she said in emailed comments. “Half of all children have at least one chronic condition,” she added.

“Not coincidentally, a relationship to a higher power and religious affiliation is at record lows,” she said.

“As we celebrate July 4th this year, it’s time to foment a new revolution against the corporate overlords who are destroying our bodies and souls. 

“Most important, we must pray for a season of revival of our nation’s spiritual dependence on God — the true root of American greatness.”

Tim Clinton, president of the American Association of Christian Counselors based in Lynchburg, Virginia, told Fox News Digital, “As we reflect on Independence Day, Christians must never forget the biblical foundations that America was built upon and ‘focus on the future’ in order to ensure these foundations never become lost.”

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Clinton said, “This is a moment we cannot overlook. The country’s decline in religion has far-reaching effects, not only on the future of the church, but also on the makeup of the American family and the future of America as it relates to politics, way of life, biblical morals, etc. 

“America is at a crossroads, and the fight for faith, family and future is not optional,” he said. “We cannot miss the opportunity to step into the fight for our family, faith and freedoms. We can — and, I believe, will — win this fight, one family, one mom, one dad, one day at a time.”

The Fourth of July, said Pastor Jesse Bradley of Auburn, Washington, “is a time of celebration and reflection for our nation. Sincerely and wholeheartedly, we thank God for His protection and provision.”

He also said, “We are grateful for everyone who serves our country, sacrifices and risks their own safety for the sake of others.” 

God, said the author and pastor of Grace Community Church, “has showered His blessings, grace and patience on America. As fireworks fill the sky, we don’t take the kindness and mercy of God for granted.”

At the same time, “we reflect on our past, assess our present condition and look forward to the future with fresh hope and vision.”

On this latter point, he said, “we need to make some changes in America. We need to come home and return to God.”

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Said Bradley, “God is faithful with all of His promises. The word of God stands forever. Can you hear His gentle voice, beckoning to us? Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear. The Good Shepherd cares about the soul of our nation and each of us individually (Revelation 3:20).” 

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He also shared thoughts about the notion of liberty on this holiday.

“Independence was a major step forward for our country that we will always remember. The birth of our nation included an escape and rescue from injustice.”

Today, he said, “we have the incredible freedom to worship God and live the abundant life that Jesus offers.”

But “real liberty includes breaking free of patterns of sin and negative thinking,” he said.

“Real liberty includes caring for orphans and providing a forever family.”

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And “real liberty includes ending human trafficking. Real liberty includes repentance and shifting from darkness to light.”

He added, “Jesus has the power to deliver us from the depths of despair, the deceitfulness of false teaching and destructive selfishness.”

“There is joy in God‘s presence and in the freedom that Jesus accomplished through His death and resurrection (Eph. 4:2-6).” 

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