In 1970, Billy Graham spoke in a ceremony honoring America at the Lincoln Memorial. He gave a challenge to her people to continue the tradition and principles set out by our forefathers.
The Bible says in 1 Peter 2:17: Honor all men. Fear God. Honor the king.
Today … [we] have come together to honor America on her … birthday.
We are not only here to honor America but we have come as citizens to renew our dedication and allegiance to the principles and institutions that made her great.
The Bible says: Honor the nation. As a Christian, or as a Jew, or as an atheist, we have a responsibility to an America that has always stood for liberty, protection and opportunity.
The men who signed the Declaration of Independence were moved by a magnificent dream. This dream was rooted in a book called the Bible. It proclaimed freedoms which most of the world thought impossible of fulfillment.
The Bible tells us the God has a standard for men and nations and that His standard must be met. It is right and proper to honor our country, to rejoice in her liberties and to sing her praise. But this can be abused when we make it a substitute for God. We honor America but we do not worship her.
We have stood tall in America in most areas, but on this Independence Day I call upon Americans to bend low before God and go to their knees as Washington and Lincoln called us to our knees many years ago. No nation is ever taller than when on its knees. I submit that we can best honor America by rededicating ourselves to God and the American dream.
Today, I call upon Americans to raise your voices in prayer and dedication to God and in recommitment to the ideals and dreams upon which our country was founded. Let’s dedicate ourselves to a renewal of faith in God, equality, justice and peace for all. Let’s dedicate ourselves to building rather than burning.
I’m asking American’s today, especially our young people, to pursue this vision under God, to work for freedom and for peace, to labor relentlessly, to love passionately, to serve selflessly, to pray earnestly, and to die nobly if need be. It will not be easy. The journey will be hard. The day will be long. And the obstacles will be many.
The Bible teaches that God will judge any nation that turns its back on Him – especially a nation like America which has been given more privileges and opportunities than any nation in history. Jesus said, “To whom much is give, much is required.”
At President Eisenhower’s first inauguration he put his finger on a verse of Scripture that every American should remember today: If My people which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).