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10 Inspiring Quotes on American Independence, Liberty and Freedom

In honor of Independence Day, West Angeles Church of God In Christ reflects upon the American ideals which have guided us thus far toward becoming the greatest nation on earth:

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.  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.”

– From The Declaration of Independence

 

“We are persuaded that good Christians will always be good citizens, and that where righteousness prevails among individuals the Nation will be great and happy. Thus while just government protects all in their religious rights, true religion affords to government it’s surest support.”

 George Washington

 

“We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts: not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”

– Abraham Lincoln

 

“Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven rescued land

Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us, a nation.

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,

And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”

– From the American National Anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” Francis Scott Key

 

“Lift ev’ry voice and sing,

‘til earth and heaven rings;

Rings with the harmonies of liberty.”

– From “The Negro National Anthem,” James Weldon Johnson and  J. Rosamond Johnson

 

“We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts: not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution”.

– Abraham Lincoln

 

“Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right”.

– Abraham Lincoln

 

“With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day”.

-From  “I Have A Dream,” the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

My country ‘tis of thee

Sweet land of liberty; of thee I sing.

Land where our fathers died; land of the Pilgrim’s pride;

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

-From “America,” Samuel Francis Smith

 

“America, America, God sheds His grace on thee.

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea.”

-From “America The Beautiful,” Katharine Lee Bates

 

“Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal…In chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn’t feel ashamed about; memories more accessible than those of ancient Egypt, memories that all people might study and cherish – and with which we could start to rebuild”.

-From “Dreams From My Father,” President Barack Obama

 

Have a Blessed Independence Day, From West Angeles Church of God In Christ!

 

 

Bishop Blake, faith leaders ask Clinton to work with black church

Originally posted on ReligionNews.com.

(RNS) Two dozen faith leaders have delivered an open letter to Hillary Clinton asking her to defend the right to oppose abortion and gay marriage and commit to work with them to address poverty and violence.

“We know that you will not make the political mistake of taking the 69,000 black churches in the US for granted,” the writers said in the letter delivered Monday (Oct. 31) to Clinton’s campaign headquarters in Brooklyn. “It is not enough to make obligatory appearances at black churches, we need you to articulate a coherent policy agenda for the black poor.”

The letter, signed by Democrats and independents, simultaneously outlined the leaders’ frustrations with some of Clinton’s statements about abortion and seemed to predict her victory at the polls by requesting a meeting with her “during your first 100 days in office.” They asked her to give them the same respect that she would give to “wealthy white donors.”

Signatories, whose affiliations were listed solely to identify them, included Bishop Charles E. Blake, presiding bishop of the Church of God in Christ, and Bishop Frank M. Reid III, chair of the African Methodist Episcopal Church’s Social Action Commission.

They asked for details on her policies to “reverse the soaring abortion rates among black women” and address violence in the black community, including “the sometimes egregious behavior of law enforcement officers.”

The letter writers opposed “the drive to normalize immoral sexual behavior” and asked how she, as president, would balance religious freedom with civil rights.

Although they emphasized domestic issues, the leaders also asked Clinton how her possible future administration would address Christian persecution in Africa and the Middle East.

(Re)birth of a Nation: 7 Things You Can Do for America

My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.

– John F. Kennedy

Summer is the season which Americans of all ages look forward to.  A time to relax and unwind, it signals the end of the school year, and the beginning of vacations, barbecues, outdoor concerts, and celebrations of American independence on the  Fourth of July.  This summer, however, I was summoned to participate in an aspect of being an American that is dreaded by many: jury duty.  

AMERICA: LAND OF THE FREE?

Until recent events in our history such as the killings of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin and unfortunately many others, I, like many Americans, may not have really understood the freedoms I enjoy, or my personal responsibility for them. Even in these troubled times, it seems that most of as Americans may not realize our power to have a say in what defines America as a nation, simply by being on a jury and using the power  each of us has on determining what the final verdict in trial is.  We, as Americans, may take much for granted.

We, as  Americans, may take much for granted.

I realized as I sat in the jury waiting room along with over 100 other potential jurors that I, here in my own local court of law, could now be faced with making the same heart-wrenching, soul-tearing verdict which other jurors across America have recently been faced with in these much-publicized cases: verdicts which seemed to go against what most of us believe we have seen, and  in our hearts, believe to be just. What’s going on in America?

A TIME TO BUILD

In reflecting upon our trials, our triumphs, and the rights we’ve been granted, what do each of us really do to be American?  Can we really say that our lives are devoted to defending the values our forefathers fought and died for?  Are we doing all we can do with the gifts we’ve been blessed with, in order to create, uphold, and manifest  ‘the land of the free’[1] for all Americans? Most importantly:

Has our nation lived up to and become all that it was created to be? If not, what can we all do?

To maintain the our freedoms, to revive the American Dream for all, and to honor the principles we stand for, it’s important that we:

  1. Revive our dreams. (2 Timothy 1:6-7) The popular song may say that “The
    An African American Boy Scout salutes the flag for the Boy Scout oath, c. 1950's.

    An African American Boy Scout salutes the flag for the Boy Scout oath, c. 1950’s.

    children are the future”[2], but the Baby Boomers are the wealthiest and best educated generation, and are still the largest demographic of Americans who describe themselves as Christians.[3]. It’s also been shown that they have the strongest work ethic. The Boomers suffered a major blow with the recent recession, but by dusting off those old dreams and, by faith, getting back up again, this generation has the greatest potential to show that it’s also the mightiest (Job 42:10), and that it can set America back on track for its strongest era yet.

  1. Know our history (Matthew 5:14). Did you know that the original British colonists left Europe for America because of religious persecution? The North American colonies that eventually formed the United States of America were settled by men and women who refused to compromise their Christian beliefs. Their plan was to create God’s holy “city on a hill”[4], whose success would prove that God’s plan for his church could be successfully realized in the American wilderness. This was also the underlying framework of our constitution[5]. So, in order to uphold that for which America was founded and to fully understand the inspiration of our founding fathers and promise and potential of America, know your bible. It’s part of our American history, too.
  1. Know our rights. (Deuteronomy 16:18-20). The Bill of Rights became part of the Constitution of the United States on December 15, 1791. In 1941, on the 150th anniversary of the event, President Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed December 15 as Bill of Rights Day. He also articulated The Four Freedoms as an accessible version of the bill, to make Americans aware of their rights and to remind them of their duties as citizens of the United States. See the Four Freedoms here, and the Bill of Rights here.

    What do each of us really do to be American?

  1. Hold our leaders accountable. (Psalm 94:20-23). Disturbed by the decisions of the courts, 
    Students from Bedford Academy High School in Brooklyn lead the Pledge of Allegiance at the installation ceremony of Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch. June 17, 2015.

    Students from Bedford Academy High School in Brooklyn lead the Pledge of Allegiance at the installation ceremony of Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch. June 17, 2015.

    or the behavior of Congress, lawmakers or big business? Yes, it is important to vote, but our ability to make change isn’t limited to Election Day. We must remember that we are not powerless, and the First Amendment explicitly provides for the right of the people to peaceably petition the Government for a “redress of grievances.” America is a nation created not by politicians, but ”By the people, for the people,” as Abraham Lincoln reminds us.  

  1. Repent (2 Chronicles 7:14). The U.S. Constitution and the United Nation’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights guarantees freedom from oppression and repression for all human beings. Until America eliminates racism, and rights the wrongs suffered by Native and African Americans, it can never grow to be the  land of freedom for all that it was created to be.
  1.  Serve on a jury (Matthew 18:19, Acts 2:1). A judge recently told a story of an immigrant juror who shared with him that there was no jury duty in her country of origin. Where she came from, verdicts are handed down by whatever the country’s leaders decide, and the citizens, unfortunately, have no say at all. One person’s discernment in the jury room can indeed make a difference, and can change the course of someone’s life, if not history.
  1. Pray (Proverbs 21:1, Acts 4:31). Although there may be skeptics who attempt to cast doubt upon our spiritual origins, there’s no doubt that the strong Christian convictions of our founding fathers shaped the moral foundations of our nation and our constitution. As George Washington once said: “We are persuaded that good Christians will always be good citizens, and that where righteousness prevails among individuals the Nation will be great and happy. Thus while just government protects all in their religious rights, true religion affords to government its surest support”[6]. The Lord’s Prayer asks that God’s Kingdom be manifest “on earth as it is in heaven.” Pray that our leaders follow God through Jesus Christ, and that we all remember to do His will.

It’s clear that, according to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the beliefs of our forefathers and leaders, America was created to manifest freedom, asone nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”[7]. These are the Biblical principles which set America apart from all other nations, and allow all races, religions, and cultures to coexist in equality and freedom (Luke 4:18).

As my name was called for a courtroom assignment, I prayed that this time, in this court, a change would come, and that it would start with me. It’s our turn as a generation to take the baton handed to us, continue the race of our forefathers, and, by faith, take America steadfastly into God’s vision and promise for its future.

 

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES – 2 Timothy 1:6-7, Job 42:10,  Matthew 5:14, 18:19; Deuteronomy 16:18-20, Psalm 94:20-23, 2 Chronicles 7:14, Proverbs 21:1, Acts 2:2, 4:31; Luke 4:18, Galatians 5:1, Isaiah 1:17, Psalm 89:14, Job 28:28, 42:10; Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.


[1] – “Star Spangled Banner”, by Francis Scott Key.

[2] – From “Greatest Love of All”, written by Michael Masser and Linda Creed.  

[3] – Pew Research Center, “The Shifting Religious Identity of Demographic Groups” http://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/chapter-4-the-shifting-religious-identity-of-demographic-groups/.  Accessed July 12, 2016.

[4] -Matthew 5:14.

[5] – Library of Congress, “Religion and the Founding of the American Republic”.http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/religion/rel01.html. Accessed July 12, 2016.

[6] – “From George Washington to the Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church in North America, 19 November 1789″; National Archives.gov.  http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/05-04-02-0187. Accessed July 20,2016.

[7] – Francis Bellamy, “Pledge of Allegiance”.

 


DID YOU KNOW?

  • Almost half of our founding fathers held seminary or bible college degrees.
  • Over 80% of our Founding Fathers were practicing Christians.
  • The rights to life, liberty and freedom as stated in our constitution are Christian principles.  See John 10:10, John 8:31-32, Luke 4:18-19,  Galatians 5:1, Romans 8:1-2.

 

HELPFUL LINKS

Preamble of the US Constitution http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html

Bill of Rights  http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript.html

FDR’s Four Freedoms. http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/fdrs-four-freedoms-speech-freedom-fireside

United Nations International Convenant on Civil and Political Rights. http://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/ccpr.aspx.

The Library of Congress is the home of the Congressional Research Service, the public policy arm of the US Congress.  https://www.senate.gov/CRSReports/crs-publish.cfm?pid=%270E%2C*PL%5B%3A%230%20%20%0A

The White House – The all events at White House are fully viewable live and online for the first time in US history. See all events here:   http://www.whitehouse.gov/
Photos: Top, Pete Souza; Boyscout, courtesy “In Our Own Image: Treasured African American Traditions, Journeys and Icons”; students, c/o Justice.gov, “AG Loretta Lynch’s Investiture Ceremony”, accessed July 20,2016.

We Remember 9/11

It’s a hard measure to grasp–that our great nation was shaken, almost 14 years ago. I remember exactly where I was on September 11, 2001.  I sat on the edge of my seat as the rest of my fellow students clustered around a television in the middle of my 9th grade English class.  Horror gripped my body as I saw ominous smoke bellow from buildings and police officers frantic over the airways. I remember asking my teacher, “Is this a movie or is this real?” With tears in her eyes, my teacher—Mrs. Bridges said, “Antoinette…this is very real.”

September 11 will always be remembered as surreal day of pain and disbelief for the American people.

How could a series of four coordinated suicide attacks fall upon a country that seemed so impenetrable? On that dark morning, 19 terrorists from the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda hijacked four passenger jets and intentionally crashed two into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and a fourth jet—Flight 93—crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania before it could reach its intended target in Washington, DC.

It would be wise for us to pause and reflect on the courageous men and women on that day.  Let us reflect on El Shaddai’s grace and mercy on how He opened the gates of heaven and welcomed loved ones.  Let us reflect on Jehovah Shammah—a God who is there, comforting wife’s who had lost their husbands and children who had lost their mothers .  Jehovah Rapha—healing God who is yet and still bringing back the minds of city officials in FDNY AND NYPD suffering from post-traumatic stress. Jehovah Jireh—a provider to families who have still been unable to identify remains of a family member.

As the years have passed on, the pain may have passed some, but many brothers and sisters are mourning on this day and searching for a need to smile. Tomorrow is truly not promised and as we are considering the feelings of our fellow man, it would be wise for us to also consider ourselves. If we should perish today would we be satisfied with the lives we have lead, would our family be pleased at the example we have left for future generations to emulate? And most importantly…would we hear our merciful father whisper onto us, “Well done.”

May our nation be one undivided.  May we continue to have love and understanding in our heart. Treat every verb that comes from your mouth onto someone’s ears as golden.  

Change starts within. Shalom.

10 Inspiring Quotes on American Independence, Liberty, and Freedom

In honor of Independence Day, let’s reflect upon the American ideals which have guided us thus far toward becoming the greatest nation on earth:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.  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.

-From The Declaration of Independence

 

“We are persuaded that good Christians will always be good citizens, and that where righteousness prevails among individuals the Nation will be great and happy. Thus while just government protects all in their religious rights, true religion affords to government it’s surest support”.

–  George Washington

 

Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven rescued land

Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us, a nation.

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,

And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”

– From the American National Anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” Francis Scott Key

 

Lift ev’ry voice and sing,

‘til earth and heaven rings;

Rings with the harmonies of liberty.

– From “The Negro National Anthem,” James Weldon Johnson and  J. Rosamond Johnson

 

“We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts: not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution”.

– Abraham Lincoln

 

“Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right”.

-Abraham Lincoln

 

“With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day”.

-From  “I Have A Dream,” the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

My country ‘tis of thee

Sweet land of liberty; of thee I sing.

Land where our fathers died; land of the Pilgrim’s pride;

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

-From “America,” Samuel Francis Smith

 

America, America, God sheds His grace on thee.

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea.

-From “America The Beautiful,” Katharine Lee Bates

 

“Our  trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal…In chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn’t feel ashamed about; memories more accessible than those of ancient Egypt, memories that all people might study and cherish – and with which we could start to rebuild”.

-From “Dreams From My Father,”  President Barack Obama
Have a Blessed Independence Day, From West Angeles Church of God In Christ!