I’m enjoying a great day with my wife Ann in Philadelphia. Despite the heat we have delighted in viewing the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. I am always amazed at the number of people from around the world who come to our nation’s capital, New York and Philadelphia. Liberty seems to have a home in the United States and we remain the hope for freedom that beats in the heart of all men and women everywhere. When you enter the building to view the Liberty Bell one of the first displays you read contains a quote from Leviticus 25:10 which reads in part, “Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof”.
Those words have sent the message and meaning of freedom across the world thousands of times as people and nations have fought for the right to be free from tyranny of every form. I am proud to be a citizen of a free nation built upon the principle of scripture, reason, and democracy which is why another recent experience has left me unsettled. Just days ago we visited the Museum of American History at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. It is a short but impressive account of the birth, development and maturity of our nation from the Revolution until today. The displays and illustrations are educational and inspiring. Anyone could get a quick lesson in the Nation’s history just by spending a few hours in this museum. What is missing, however, is any reference to faith, the Bible or religion. There are no pictures of churches, no explanations of the biblical references in the documents and speeches of our national leaders. Nothing.
It is an odd omission from an institution whose very name has carried the weight of historical integrity. I suspect that those who now serve in leadership at the Smithsonian are saying much by refusing to say anything at all. It is indeed an omission which strikes at the integrity of those who are charged with the task of making our national history interesting, entertaining, and above all accurate. Sometimes revisionists would have us believe that what happened and why it happened never really happened. The truth and facts of faith will never ultimately be removed from their influence on the birth and shaping of our nation.