Faced with July 4th celebrations that are focused on militarism, ultra-nationalism, and “bombs bursting in air,” many American families who do not share those values turn July 4th into another summer holiday focused on picnics, sports and fireworks while doing their best to avoid the dominant rhetoric and bombast.
We in the Network of Spiritual Progressives believe that this is a net loss. There is much worth celebrating in American history that deserves attention on July 4th, though it is rarely the focus of the public events.
We also acknowledge that in the 21st century there is a pressing need to develop a new kind of consciousness – a recognition of the interdependence of everyone on the planet. A new (and this time, nonviolent) revolution is necessary – one in which our actions reflect a realization that our well-being depends on the well-being of everyone else on the planet and of the planet itself.
We’ve designed the following material as a possible guide for individual families or for public celebrations that share the values we hold. We hope that families will reflect on the themes raised in these pages at their celebrations, and that churches, synagogues, unions, community organizations, and neighborhood associations will incorporate this material into their public celebrations of July 4th.
Please have people at your picnic, dining room table, outdoor outing, or wherever you are on the holiday take turns reading the paragraphs below: