The Statue of Liberty is just that – an icon of American liberty. The Lady in the Harbor arrived in America 130 years ago today. She stands for all that we as a nation represent and all that we as American citizens believe in. Religiously, politically, socially, economically – America is a nation that is overflowing with a rich heritage of Christianity.
Emma Lazarus wrote the following sonnet that is now placed on Lady Liberty’s pedestal.
“’Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!’ cries she
With silent lips. ‘Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
If ever there was a mission minded message it would be the famous words of this poem. These are words that thrill the heart strings of all who love liberty and freedom. I am extremely proud to be a citizen of a nation that has such a strong foundation based on biblical principles of morality, freedom, and justice for all. As American citizens we do have a responsibility to extend the freedoms that we enjoy to others, and we also have a responsibility to protect our own freedoms.
James Truslow Adams, in his book The Epic of America, which was written in 1931, stated that the American dream is "that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position." (p.214-215)
It is because of America’s rich Christian heritage that we have been a nation that traditionally is known as a place of safe-haven and refuge from persecution, prosecution, harassment, and torture because of our religious beliefs. A place where citizens are free to worship God according to conscience. In America we have liberty to worship God without facing more than mild opposition. Sadly, because not all nations have a Christian background like America, their citizens do not enjoy this privilege that we as Americans to often take for granted. A perfect example is these two pastors from Sudan who have been arrested and are facing the death penalty because of their faith in Christ. And we think it’s rough when we have to take a stand that’s “not cool.”
Liberty is a thing to be cherished. If we want to preserve liberty, freedoms, and the “American dream” we need to take lessons from history, previous governments, past heroes, and our recent problems. The Marquis de Lafayette referred to himself as “a missionary of liberty.” By passing along our rich Christian heritage we can extend the liberties and freedoms that we currently enjoy to future generations and others.