Reflections on Independence Day and the Freedom of Belief
The 4th of July is a time to barbecue, relax, and enjoy sun and family.
It’s also the anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, which is why we do any of that other stuff in the first place.
As a Scientologist, a STAND member and a United States citizen who spent the bulk of her college career studying the American founding and what this country was designed to be all about, this day definitely means something to me. It is for the remembering of a time when all that we take for granted today was but a visionary, cross-your-fingers experiment, an idea, a vow, and a leap of faith. It is also for the casting forth of an extension of that vision of freedom—a recognition that, look left, look right, look all around us, we are the only ones that can keep it real.
If, within you, there lies a belief or conviction in something beyond your skin and bones, well your right to put that into practice has everything to do with what it means to be an American.
Religion and tolerance are inextricably interwoven with the original dream that became this nation. I don’t have to tell you about how the Pilgrims fled persecution, or how Roger Williams espoused freedom of conscience, or how the Declaration of Independence avowed that all men are created equal, with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
But what I and every one of us does need to keep telling others is that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness have everything to do with thought and belief. Your life, your freedom, and the joy to be found in all of it come from within you. And if, within you, there lies a belief or conviction in something beyond your skin and bones, well your right to put that into practice has everything to do with what it means to be an American.
So let’s celebrate that today. And let’s keep celebrating it every hour of every day, 365 days of every year. We are proud to believe, we are proud others believe—even if, or especially if, differently—and we are proud to be Americans.