Today is July 4, our national celebration of Independence Day, a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain on July 4, 1776. Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, and political speeches and ceremonies, in addition to various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States.

In recent years, it’s been less encouraging to wave the red, white, and blue or to decorate the railings in patriotic bunting. And singing “God Bless America” seems a little hollow when we have done so much to offend Him.

Yet, He still blesses us by being patient and withholding the punishment of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Last month’s Supreme Court decision, in which five lawyers decided what marriage is and what it isn’t, shook the foundations of traditional, Christian-Judaic belief. For those of faith who believe in the infallibility of God’s word, the ruling conflicts with deeply held convictions.

Even the Qur’an of Islam contains many verses denouncing same-sex relationships and advocating death for those who believe otherwise.

I certainly don’t want anyone put to death for their beliefs, no matter how profoundly I disagree with those beliefs. The only response I can offer is love, kindness, and friendship, but not approbation. Judgment is not mine. It belongs to the highest Judge of all, and He is not a member of SCOTUS.

I love my country with all my heart, but it’s a love for an America rapidly descending into the pit of folly.

We live now in a strange and confusing land. A land where a Walmart bakery refuses to bake a cake bearing the image of a Confederate flag with the inscription “Heritage, not Hate.” Yet another Walmart, the next day, baked a cake with the image of the ISIS flag. (If that story turns out to be a hoax, I’ll recant). At the same time, an independent baker may not discriminate by refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding.

Hmmmm. I wonder if a food business can lawfully refuse to cater a satanic get–together?

 Now, mind you, I’m not waving a Confederate flag either, but where’s the logic in tip-toeing around certain groups in order not to offend, while forcing others to comply with mandates that are egregiously offensive to their faith. A few months ago, there was a movement led by college professors and student leaders to remove the American flag from campuses and public buildings because it offended non-Americans. Thank goodness, that insane campaign ended in quick defeat, at least for now.

 The businesses cowering in fear to the politically correct mentality by removing products culturally related to the American South are the same businesses selling Che Guevara shirts, Nazi and communist memorabilia. They’re also selling rap music with lyrics glorifying violence, race hatred, the “N” word, drugs, and degrading women.

Either remove ALL historic products from the shelves or leave it ALL alone. Pull down ALL statues and monuments of battlefield generals or leave them ALL in place. With indiscriminate and inconsistent “picking and choosing” for emotionally charged reasons, it won’t be long before Mount Rushmore is chopped up to remove Washington and Jefferson because they were both slave owners.

Some may believe that removing all traces of our history, both good and bad, will bring us peace (I doubt it). Instead, it will render us a nation of bland and colorless souls trying desperately not to offend anyone ever and finding that’s quite impossible because someone is always going to be outraged about something.

Ok, diatribe over.

Here’s the positive : I love my country in spite of what’s happening socially and politically. I respect its executive, judicial, and legislative branches, even when I, as an American with that right, disapprove of what our leaders are doing. I love Old Glory and would never desecrate it as some have done. I obey the laws of the land, but exercise my civil right to disagree. I have no hatred for those whose lifestyles vastly differ from my convictions. I value my freedom to worship without fear. I’m glad I’m an American, and I will celebrate July 4th with much patriotic zeal.

I will sing, “God Bless America.”

Please address all hate mail to my editor.

Mary Ready of Destin is a twice-retired English teacher and long-time area resident. Her columns are published on Saturdays.