An American High Holy Day

The Jews observe the high holy days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The former is the Jewish new year and the latter is the Day of Atonement.

Christian Americans likewise observe high holy days, but not every year.

Memorial Day, otherwise known as Military Appreciation Day No. 1, is a holy day for most American conservative Christians. Independence Day, otherwise known as Military Appreciation Day No. 2, is another. Veterans Day, otherwise known as Military Appreciation Day No. 3, is another.

These are generally celebrated on the Sunday before the holiday. Sometimes unsuspecting Christians experience a double whammy. This happens when their church celebrates one of these holidays on both the Sunday before and the Sunday after.

Occasionally, however, in the case of Independence Day and Veterans Day—but not Memorial Day since it is always observed on a Monday—these holidays will sometimes actually fall on a Sunday. That is the case this year since the Fourth of July is this coming Sunday. This has not happened since 2018 when Veterans Day was on a Sunday. And it will not happen again until 2027 when Independence Day again falls on a Sunday.

This Sunday, July 4th, is an American high holy day.

It is bad enough to have the misfortune of attending church on the Sunday before one of these military appreciation days, but to have one of these days actually fall on a Sunday means that extra blasphemy and idolatry will take place.

I know from experience, and from the hundreds of reports I have received from Christians over the years, exactly what will happen this Sunday in churches of every denomination—but especially conservative, evangelical, and fundamentalist churches—all over the country:

  • Churches will have patriotic services.
  • Veterans and active-duty military personnel will wear their uniforms to church.
  • Veterans and active-duty military personnel will be recognized and applauded.
  • Videos will be shown about the D-Day landing.
  • Video tributes to the troops will be shown.
  • Military chaplains will deliver sermons.
  • Pastors will lead their churches in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
  • Churches will be decorated with American flags, inside and out.
  • The names of veterans and active-duty military personnel will be printed in church bulletins.
  • Men will wear American flag ties.
  • Church bulletins will have an American flag on the front cover.
  • Ushers will wear cross and American flag lapel pins.
  • Hymns of worship and praise will be sung to America instead of to God.
  • The blasphemous Battle Hymn of the Republic will be sung.
  • Pastors will read the Declaration of Independence.
  • The church will sing Lee Greenwood’s patriotic anthem “God Bless the USA.”
  • God will be asked to bless the troops serving in harm’s way.
  • Pianists will play the song of each branch of the military during the offering.
  • A military color guard will parade down the main aisle of the church to open the service.
  • Churches will post on their signs statements about U.S. troops dying for our freedoms like Christ died for our sins.
  • Christians will be implored to thank veterans and active-duty military personnel for their service.
  • Pastors will say that without the sacrifices of the troops we would not have the freedom to worship on Sunday.
  • Soldiers returning from overseas will be called heroes.
  • Patriotism will be equated with admiration for the military.

As I have said in previous articles on the subject: “My brethren, these things ought not so to be” (James 3:10).

So, what’s a Christian to do on a high holy day and every Sunday before one of these holidays? I have never in my life ever recommended that anyone stay home from church on Sunday, but I must make an exception here and recommend a church boycott.

Stay home and do nothing, go to the beach, walk the dog, sleep in, go jogging, take a long shower, go to the gym, go shopping, go for a walk, read a book, read the Bible—any of these activities are more holy and more spiritual than participating in the blasphemy and idolatry that will be taking place at church. And don’t watch the service on livestream either. Do make sure, though, that you tell the pastor and church leaders why you were not there. There is little chance that you will be asked to leave, and a good chance that they simply may have never heard of any objections to these things.