The First Unitarian Universalist Church of Clayton is taking a new approach to celebrating the fourth of July this year...they are not. The church decided over the course of the last year that, because of the number of people in the world that hate the United States, that they would forgo celebrating her independence for fear of offending anyone.
"We know that so many people in the world hate this country" said the Rev. Linda Thorton-Mitchell. "We don't want to offend people who hate America by celebrating Independence Day. When you think of all that this country has historically stood for, freedom, Christian principals, liberty, etc. it is obvious to see how many people could be offended if we took the time to rejoice in what we have here as a nation."
The first Unitarian Universalist Church is joined also by the first United Church of Christ in Clayton, under pastor Clark LaGrange.
"If we celebrate freedom, we will undoubtedly offend those around the world who hate freedom" said LaGrange. "If we celebrate liberty, then dictatorships will be offended. And let's not forget the British! Think of how many British died because of the Revolutionary War. If we celebrate American independence then we are basically saying to our British friends 'I'm glad you're dead.' We just can't bring ourselves to do that."
The two churches have traditionally had church cookouts and fireworks displays to celebrate Independence Day, but this year the congregations will combine for a new cause they call "Freedom From Intolerance Day."
"There's a new revolution out there today that must be fought" said Thorton-Mitchell. "We must gain our freedom from close minds and intolerance. We must overcome the oppression of unenlightened thinking. Give me homosexual marriage rights or give me death!"
The celebration will include a vegetarian cookout, complete with all organic foods, a dunk Al Mohler booth, and a pin the mouth gag on the fundamentalist game. Instead of a fireworks display to end the evening's festivities revelers will be invited to walk through a meditative labyrinth.