Freedom, more than any other concept, defines what it means to be an American.
Self-rule is closely associated with freedom, but also has the notion of the power residing in the hands of the people. Colonists, forced to turn to community government in the face of British absenteeism, established a legacy that persists today. Our free elections are the vehicle that we use to continue to celebrate this legacy. No public official is any more powerful than the public they serve.
The legacies of freedom and self rule have demanded a responsibility that we find in the Puritan inspired legacy of hard work, honesty, and family. The commitment to these ideals has lasted for centuries. Americans continue to believe in these basic values taught by the Puritans and embraced by such American icons as Ben Franklin. Even in the face of technology and MTV, our legacy is the conservative value of deliberate effort to exact an honest output.
While these legacies bring us great pride, there are some darker sides to America's legacy for the present. Slavery that began in the colonies continued well into the 19th century. The remnants and impact continues to show in institutional prejudice and individual bias. This is a legacy that we have struggled with through the civil rights movement and personal introspection.
Most Americans meet our challenging legacies by reaching for another of our nation's indelible character traits. The legacy of exploration and conquering adds personal strength to anyone who has knowledge of our nation's past. Though we may not explore the open and unsettled territories as in the past, America has a unique perspective that allows it to take action on social and international issues that confront us. America can face the unknown and the untraveled road of the future.
Justice, fairness, and the rule of law are where these legacies are held fast and allowed to endure. America may seem to move at a slow and almost plodding pace. That is the speed of contemplation and examination. It is our courts and our legislatures that have exemplified a legacy brought from many European countries that says America has a legacy to live up to, and it can not be hurried.
America's greatest strengths are drawn from the legacies of history. The wisdom and morality of men and women of the past continue to pull us into the future. They give us the courage to face our darker legacies without defense and without fear. Our legacies are the role model for people around the world to look to for hope and inspiration. They define us and make our citizens uniquely America.
D James Kennedy: A Christian and Protestant Nation
In his sermon "God and Country" preacher D. James Kennedy asserted that, "The proposition that the U.S. are a Christian and Protestant nation, is not so much the assertion of a principle as the statement of fact.". Kennedy has struck the chord that has united this nation since colonial days. The country was founded not only on freedom of religion, but also with a strong diversity and tolerance of faith.
In August 1748, John Kurtz was examined and ordained as a minister at the founding of the Lutheran presence in America. Kurtz practiced his ministry under the discipline of "Pietism" founded by Pastor Philip Jacob Spener. When he founded the movement some 80