Yes, the above headline is intentionally ambiguous. Does it declare that independence derives from God? Or is it advocating the removal of God from our lives?
There's little doubt what Thomas Jefferson's interpretation would be. 239 years ago he unveiled the powerful words that would reverberate around the world. Words about people having unalienable rights endowed by their Creator. Yes, independence is a gift given to us by the Deity!
Thank God, pardon the expression, there was no ACLU at the time and that the First Amendment was still a gleam in Madison's eye. Otherwise, Jefferson, a government official, might have been sued for introducing religion into the public sphere.
Hyperbole? Of course, but consider what the Supreme Court ruled earlier this week. Not the United States Supreme Court, but the State Supreme Court in Oklahoma City, OK. The very state where, according to Rogers and Hammerstein, "the wind comes sweeping down the plain."
What plainly came sweeping down from Oklahoma's high court was a ruling that a monument engraved with the Ten Commandments must be removed from the state Capitol. We're not talking about the Confederate flag here, but the Ten Commandments!
Which of the "Thou Shalts" is deemed so offensive that the monument must be banished? Surely not the edicts dealing with murder, theft, and adultery. No, Oklahoma's robed wizards decided it is not OK to mention God. It was fine for Jefferson, but that was so two centuries ago.
The Oklahoma ruling, which has set off a tornado of protests, may make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The same court that keeps discovering new ways to offend religious Americans. So the faithful will probably not be singing, "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin.'" Mourning may be more like it.
Oklahoma is just one state, but the ruling is another sign that organized religion is under attack. By the courts, the media, Hollywood, and anti-religious zealots - four groups that are not mutually exclusive.
Many on the left view religious Americans as dull-witted and naive, and they see churches, synagogues, and mosques as oppressive institutions standing in the way of a modern and libertine Garden of Eden.
When the United States Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage last week, the corridors of the left were overrun with glee. No doubt some were genuinely glad to see gays achieve the right to marry, but there was also an element of anti-religious vindictiveness.
Five liberal justices decided the time has come to scrap a tradition that has spanned almost all religions and a few millennia. The court insists there are protections, that no one will be forcing Cardinal Timothy Dolan to officiate at a gay marriage. But social change in America seems to move, ratchet-like, in just one direction. It's not hard to imagine what a few appointments by President Hillary Clinton could mean to the court and our traditions.
Now, if you believe the left-leaning culture warriors will gracefully declare victory and go home, you may be as naive as they suspect. Being a leftist means never being satisfied, always finding some new cause for complaint.
So we can now expect the ACLU and other anti-religious bigots to prepare new lawsuits and court cases. They may try to strip churches of their tax-exempt status if they fail to toe the line on gay marriage and other progressive causes.
What will make the left happy? Probably nothing, that's the nature of the beastly ideology. But Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was correct this week on The Factor when he pithily declared, "The left wants to redefine America."
That redefined America will be secular, libertine, a place where religious Americans are isolated and shunned. In other words, the left's utopia is a place Thomas Jefferson would find unrecognizable. A place where our Creator would be basically forgotten.
On this Independence Day, keep in mind that our Founders truly believed independence is a gift to be cherished. A gift from our Creator. A gift from God.