Celebrating–Not Boycotting–the Fourth of July

Celebrating–Not Boycotting–the Fourth of July July 4, 2022

A California school board member has called for boycotting the 4th of July in light of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

She says “there is no reason to celebrate”:

‘I am especially not interested in celebrating a holiday centered around freedom from oppressive government when that freedom is not a reality for so many people in this country. Lastly, last Friday women’s reproductive rights were taken away. We are not in a place of progress or celebration when human rights are being taken away,’

One response to her Face Book pose, said, “Why? The holiday celebrates declaring independence from Britain’s tyrant King George III. You wish we were still subjects of Britain?”

We might say that the ruling does affirm the Declaration of Independence, the anniversary of which we celebrate on that day, in a very specific way:

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.

But I suppose these truths are not self-evident anymore, or at least, even if they are still self-evident, disbelief in the Creator prevents a large proportion of our population from wanting to act upon them.  Or, rather, to play them off against each other, to emphasize their “liberty” and their “pursuit of happiness” against the unalienable right to “life.”  They do not see that “life” is the precondition for those other rights.

I admit, though, that some conservatives agree with the school board member that “I am not feeling particularly patriotic.”  Some, in particular the “Integralists,”  dismiss the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution as expressions of Enlightenment thought that has opened the door to the sexual revolution, the loss of tradition, and all of our other woes.  Others don’t go that far, but had difficulty celebrating a nation whose laws denied that right to life.  Some Christians are leery of “Christian nationalism,” the notion among some on the right–particularly many Donald Trump supporters–that the U.S.A. is a Christian nation that Christians should revere with religious fervor.

But “patriotism” means simply love of country.  It’s appropriate to love our country.  That’s a natural human feeling, along with the stronger impulse of loving our family.  And love doesn’t depend on the perfection of the beloved.  As, I believe, Chesterton said, we love our family even though some members of that family may be unlikable.  Loving one’s country is the same way.  As is God’s love for us.

We should love our country even though we despise our politicians, distrust our government, and lament the state of American culture.  That love should motivate us to do what we can to help the one we love to get better.  But our reformist zeal should not blind us to the gratitude and affection we owe to our country.



Image by Alexey Hulsov from Pixabay


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