Grateful for it; not worshiping it
So we were at the Yorktown Victory Center today for the Fourth (got to see the muskets and cannons fire - the real fireworks!), and I came across an interesting exhibit, just off on its own. It was a headless statue of the goddess Nike, along with some explanation that Europe - and the Founding Fathers along with it - was in the throes of a neo-classical movement at the time of independence. Greco-Roman mythology, architecture and literature were all the rage, as we can tell today with a look at any governement building in DC.
What I didn't expect was a print of an artwork done in the 1770s, in which George Washington stands before an altar of Liberty, with several goddesses standing around him, one with her foot stamping down the English shield, and one kneeling and sacrificing at the altar, complete with cherubs flying through the smoke. The caption said, "America Presents at the Altar of Liberty."
I couldn't believe it. As one who has been known to preach against the idolatrous tendency to worship our nation or our political freedom, there was the very idol itself, staring me in the face. The caption didn't fool me. America wasn't just "presenting," at that altar of freedom; she was worshiping liberty.
I realize many godly patriots back then would also be alarmed and distance themselves from such a thing, but this gives us a picture of the more deistic or neo-pagan populous at our nation's birthday, lo these 231 years ago.
Grateful to God for His blessings to our nation, in spite of our waywardness...