This is an interesting, even a bit contradictory a conjunction of dates: a national secular date, and a religious, some would argue “cosmic”, year. The US Declaration of Independence is perhaps a somewhat “moving” historical document – even beyond the emotions which are more or less consciously added to it by American patriotism, though its long list of “grievances” to the then King of England are too distant and detailed to arouse much interest or ire in Americans today. But as the “millennial year” is the foundation of the international calendar today; so “July 4th, 1776” is the date on which Americans celebrate and commemorate the inception of the founding of “these United States”.
Secular in contrast to religious senses, meanings. Jesus of Nazareth – Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. If it seems odd to bring these two names alliteratively together – the very date itself historically has no meanings without them both. Bethlehem – Philadelphia. The birth of a child – the birth of a nation.
Christ is said to be “the Second Adam” – the Redeemed Adam (as Mary was of “Eve”). The beginning of the re-ascent of “fallen man”. “America” – the United States of America – was and is thought to be – as it is written amongst the other Masonic symbolism on US one-dollar bills (the currency which is a foundation of economic and social life in a great number of the old and new nations of the world today) – a “novus ordo seclorum”, a new order of the ages. (Here the word “secular” is used in its original sense, related to an “age”. Latin, and Greek, part of the “ancient” world into which Christ was born and crucified, and said to have been resurrected, was known by educated people, even onto the American “Founding Fathers”; they are very rarely known in the USA today.)
Divine contra secular time. Cosmic vs. historical. Esoteric “theology” has become democratized, to when now some semi-literate “televangelist” can rant, rave, sweat and dance his version of “Christianity” today. (This is no exaggeration: witness the American religious television programs – broadcast now globally today.)
The fireworks of “July Forth” celebrations – contrasted with the “Star of Bethlehem” and the luminous body of the Risen Christ. The historical Declaration of Independence with the Gospels of the New Testament. (Both are to be capitalicized in our day.) Caesar with King George III.
“July 4th, 1776”: time; “2000”: eternity? The Declaration of Independence (a copy of which sold just last week for $8.14 million) had “Nature’s God” – the Deist’s God. The Bible had the “Lord and Creator of the Universe”. The important relation and contrast of Deism and Christianity is poorly known and distinguished by the citizens of the USA. Christ said his words would not pass away – whereas the USA will surely do so within another 100-200 years – if this means it will become no more than a more or less important part of some kind of world government.
Americans reenacting the words and events of “1776” are reading their national “gospel” stories – but the facts and forces of history are surpassing this national history.
First published in the magazine English, #25, July 2001, p. 1.