Why I’m celebrating fidelity to God, family and country this month

Published Date: June 3, 2024 | Topics: Civil Rights and Liberties, Politics and Current Affairs, Religion

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In 1798, the vice president of our young nation — a man named John Adams — penned a letter to officers of the Massachusetts Militia in which he wrote that “(w)e have no Government armed with Power capable of contending with human Passions unbridled by morality and Religion.”

“Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people,” Adams declared. “It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Adams’s conception of constitutional republican government necessarily sustained by widespread respect for religion and universal moral norms is a principle upon which the United States was founded — and is one in which I firmly believe. But more than 225 years later, Adams’s vision for our country’s moral foundation seems to be slipping away.

A recent Pew Research Center survey found that 80% of Americans believe that religion’s role in public life is shrinking, and a widely circulated Wall Street Journal poll last year uncovered startling decreases in our fellow citizens’ beliefs in the importance of such values as patriotism, religious faith, having children, community involvement and hard work. Of the values and priorities the Journal surveyed, only one — money — was cited as “very important” by a higher percentage of respondents than when the poll was first conducted in 1998.

These precipitous declines in the core values that have united us as Americans — values we ought to cherish — threaten to further entrench the already deep divisions and polarization that have befallen our country. It is for this reason that last year, by the power vested in me by absolutely no one, I declared June to be “Fidelity Month” – a month dedicated to the importance of fidelity to God, our spouses and families, and our country and communities. Thousands of people joined me. We are now celebrating our second annual Fidelity Month, and tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, are participating.

We Americans are people of many races, ethnicities, traditions of religious faith and cultural heritages. Despite our differences — some profound, others less so — we have historically found fellowship with each other in our shared commitments not only to our nation’s constitutional principles, but also in our shared fidelity to God. After all, our official national motto is “In God We Trust.”

At Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln called for this nation “under God” to have a “new birth of freedom.” The first prayer of the Continental Congress, recited in 1777, beseeched God to “look down in mercy … on these American states, who have fled to Thee from the rod of the oppressor, and thrown themselves on Thy gracious protection.”

We Americans have also historically been united by our shared commitments to the importance of faithful marriages, family life and our dedication to our children and their futures — as well as our patriotism, our love of neighbor and our belief in the importance of serving our communities.

When we celebrate June as Fidelity Month, we recommit ourselves to the importance of all of these virtuous things. By acting in service of God, family, country and community, we honor the highest and best of values — those things that are not merely means to other ends, but are good in themselves.

This is not so when we act in service of money or material enrichment, or on behalf of other things that are, or can be, legitimate means to other ends, but are not intrinsically valuable, that is, good in themselves.

The Fidelity Month movement proposes a positive and uplifting project — one that is committed to the popular rejuvenation of the values that have historically been our society’s central sources of strength and unity. Our movement is not a reactionary one; on the contrary, we are lighting a candle rather than merely cursing the darkness. Of course, there are people who do not share our beliefs and values — there are no doubt some who might object to Fidelity Month and promote beliefs and values that run directly contrary to its mission. But instead of simply reacting to their errors, we are joyously proclaiming an alternative (and timeless) vision of the true, the good and the beautiful.

What’s more, rather than coercing or demonizing those who disagree with us, or even attack us, we are happy warriors — tirelessly seeking conversions of heart and mind through sound teachings and setting a good example.

To be sure, Fidelity Month is not intended to supersede, replace or distract from other designations of the month of June. Catholics, for instance, traditionally dedicate the month of June to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. That’s a beautiful and spiritually enriching devotion that Catholics (I myself am one) can observe while at the same time celebrating Fidelity Month alongside our friends from the Eastern Orthodox, Protestant, Latter-day Saint, Jewish and Muslim traditions, among others.

If this vision moves and inspires you, please join us in rededicating ourselves in this month of June to fidelity to God, family, country and community. And please help us spread the word. The Fidelity Month movement needs you.

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