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Pop quiz: Why do we celebrate Independence Day?

If your answer is to mark the day we adopted the Declaration of Independence… you lose. At least according to Christian pseudo-historian David Barton, who told a crowd at the Grace Christian Center in Killeen, Texas that July 4 is actually a religious holiday.

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… If you’re gonna celebrate this day, we need to celebrate it with solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. That’s the way we used to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Matter of fact, we have documents from 1837 that, in 1837, the top two religious holidays in America were Christmas and the Fourth of July.

On Christmas, we celebrated the principles Jesus Christ brought into the world through his birth. On the Fourth of July, we celebrated bringing Christian principles into America and spreading that throughout the nation.

We thought we were celebrating the same thing: The principles of Jesus Christ. One of his birth and one — how it spread in America.

This is news to… everybody. Barton himself bases this argument on a speech John Quincy Adams made to a crowd in 1837 in which he said the “birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior.” No matter how religious one president was, though, doesn’t mean we’re all supposed to celebrate the holiday that same way — or that it was ever meant to be celebrated that way. You could even argue that Adams tailored his speech for a predominantly religious audience. Just like Barton.

None of that makes it true.

(via Right Wing Watch)

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Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.