For some reason, known best to himself, Darryl Hart last week told the readers of The Wall Street Journal that I didn’t much care for the Fourth of July. He included Stephen Wolfe in this drive-by analysis as well.
His larger point concerned the disagreement he and we would have over secularism and Christian nationalism, but why he wanted to bring the Fourth into it remains a mystery. After all, what had the Fourth of July ever done to him?
American Reformer has already published a wonderful response by Glenn Moots and Joe Rigney here, and I took it upon myself to write a letter to the WSJ, that august publication, but in case you deplorables don’t travel in such circles, I have included that letter below.
Last week this sentiment appeared in your pages: “On the Protestant side, self-described Christian nationalists such as Stephen Wolfe and Doug Wilson are also, by a similar logic, implicitly critical of July Fourth festivities” [Darryl Hart, Christians Err if They Give Up on America]. He writes this despite several decades worth of articles from me, in which I celebrate and honor the meaning of the Fourth of July. Not only so, but I would be quite unable to calculate the amount of money I have spent on fireworks for my kids and grandkids, while also instructing them to chant, “Down with the House of Hanover!” I am quite at a loss as to what I must do to get my patriot card renewed.
If I had to guess, it would probably be necessary for me to sign off on Hart’s peculiar vision for secularism, in which Americanism and secularism are simply equated. But seeing how secularism has lost its way, and does not understand the differences between boys and girls anymore, I am not sure this is a wise equation.
This little dust-up, a controversyette let us call it, being the case, I thought it might be edifying if I simply published a representative handful of things I have said over the years about the good old Fourth of July, things that Darryl could have discovered in fifteen minutes of what John Fogerty would have called “googling on down to New Orleans.”
“All that said, I love this country — not as proposition, but as a people, a nation, a big tribe. I love our language, and how colorful it is. This is a language that can really hand someone the berries. I love our food, especially when it emphasizes the basics, with potatoes and gravy. I love our highway system, and the glorious time you can have on a good road trip with a good car. I love the big sky. I love the fact that there must be 100 million lawns, and that many lawn mowers. I love the American work ethic. I love apple pie. Our gun rights. Country music, blues, jazz, and rock. I love our engineering. I love the idea of perfect football weather in the fall. I love how easily our love of country and suspicion of our government go together. I love the smell of a well-oiled baseball glove. For such a young country, I love that our history has contained some moments of high heroism and greatness. I love the unique personalities of our great cities. I love peanut butter.
And tonight, up on our hill, when I sit out on my deck, I will have a perfect view of all the illegal fireworks being set off to the discomfiture of the minions of the current King George. I love that too.”
Deep Affection for America, July 4, 2008
“And, of course, notwithstanding the meme, my central point is going to be that far from being treasonous, the events celebrated by the Fourth of July were precisely the opposite of treason. In this respect, the Robin Hood background is helpful, as it is actually in the same category. As the story goes, Robin Hood was loyal to the rightful king Richard, and Prince John was not. The treason was sitting—as often it does—in the seats of power.”
An Apologetic for the Fourth of July, June 30, 2021
“What is celebrated on the Fourth of July?” Two things. The formal reason for our celebration is the establishment of our nation in the Declaration of Independence, coupled with the successful completion of the war, coupled in turn with the adoption of our Constitution, which secured that independence. The second reason has to do with the foundational principle underneath all such celebrations, which is the concept of limited government.”
A Primer on the Fourth of July, July 4, 2018
“The doctrine of religious liberty is itself a religious doctrine. There is no neutrality, and this reality is especially pronounced when it comes to this subject. The doctrines of religious liberty can be derived from the realization that Jesus is Lord. They cannot be derived from the realization that we are all the mindless end product of so many aeons of a blind and groping evolutionary process. They can be derived from the Christian faith, and cannot be derived from secularism.”
The Fourth of July in Vanity Fair, July 4, 2016
“The Fourth of July is next week, and a number of us are going to set off fireworks — and, if the past is to be trusted, we will set off some really good ones. But what are we celebrating? One of the things my grandchildren have been put up to during the fireworks are cries like, “Down with the House of Hanover!” But what was wrong with George III and his house? Was our War for Independence just an arbitrary rebellion? Or was it principled and scriptural?”
King David on the Fourth of July, July 4, 2006
“Several centuries ago, a people were oppressed by a wicked tyrant, and when they called upon the triune God, He heard their cry, and He delivered them. The tyranny they fought was the greatest military power on the face of the earth at that time, and yet they prevailed. The tales of that war were told for many generations, and for most of that time, the glory was given to God.”
Fourth of July, July 4, 2004
“Happy Fourth of July, and sorry this book-of-the-month selection is a few days late. May all your fireworks go off vertically, and not horizontally. May you and your household come to grasp how bad the House of Hanover was to the cause of liberty, and how good they were compared to our present regime.”
Book of the Month/July 2020, July 4, 2020
If you want some additional hours of innocent and yet edifying diversion, I would invite you to just type the words Fourth and July in the search bar of my blog.