NORTH OGDEN -- Patriotism is one concept that all faiths have in common.
That was the idea behind the Second Annual Faith of Our Fathers event Sept. 21 at the North Ogden LDS Coldwater Stake.
While the event was hosted in a building of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a few hundred members of three faith communities came together to celebrate the birthday of the United States Constitution, Sept. 17, 1787.
Also represented was Valley View Baptist Church and St. James the Just Catholic Church, both in Ogden.
The festivities included honoring all veterans in attendance, a 21-gun salute, a flag raising, a patriotic program, a breakfast and a 5K race.
"Any religion that is worthy of the name is taken out into the streets," the Rev. Erik J. Richtsteig, of St. James the Just, said during the program following the 5K race.
"Our Lord and Savior was very harsh on those who kept their religion to themselves," he said, as he encouraged all those present to live the religion they were being taught.
In his speech, Richtsteig said unity among the different churches is needed now because religious freedom and religious rights are under attack.
He said there were even problems expressing religion in the military.
"There is not a place where we need religion more than in the Armed Forces," he said.
And Richtsteig said such struggles go against the freedoms expressed in the Bill of Rights and that are intended by God for people to enjoy.
"Our Founding Fathers recognized that the law of God is written in our very hearts," he said, pointing to the Bill of Rights as an expression of what America's first leaders knew that people already understood as necessary in a free nation.
He said the Bill of Rights was written "so government would not say, 'This is the official church.'"
But today, he said, people are critical when religious views find their way into laws of the land.
"How often have you heard people say 'You are imposing your religion on us in your laws?' Get used to that," he said.
Richtsteig said everything good about the United States was rooted in religious faith.
"We have to recognize our faith, not to the point of imposing it on other people, but to say 'You are free to believe.'"
Valley View Baptist Church Pastor Dave Duncan reviewed some American achievements, such as the automobile and changes that led to college educations for so many Americans.
"We brought peace to the world," he said, pointing to American involvement in two world wars.
"We allowed God in the classroom, God in our laws."
He discussed the ways in which religion continued to be expressed as the country grew.
"They built a red schoolhouse and a little white church on 1,000 hills," he said.
"This is our history. We can be proud of it. We must not only defend it. We must take it back."
North Ogden Coldwater LDS Stake President Paul Mackley told a story of Alexis de Tocqueville, who was from France, coming to the United States to discover what made it a great country.
"America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great," he quoted de Tocqueville as saying.
In an interview, Mackley said the event last year resulted in some deep friendships.
Mackley said he gained a friend in Duncan last year that has endured and become stronger throughout the year.
Valley View Baptist Church member Doug Clark said he believes getting together with different faiths to celebrate the Constitution is important.
"A church is a church, and the focus of the church should be one thing -- the true creator of the universe, God," he said. "In order to keep unity in our nation, it's important for every person of every faith to get together as one nation, under God indivisible, to keep the enemy out."
Dorothy Sjoblom, a member of the Coldwater North Ogden LDS Stake, said the program was just one part of a communitywide effort to share a spirit of patriotism throughout the area.
Sjoblom said posters and messages were put up in area businesses and flags were displayed on Washington Boulevard.
She and others visited area elementary schools and shared displays with messages of patriotism.
An iPod Touch was donated to allow for a prize drawing. Students who found answers on the display to questions they were given were entered into the drawing.
Contact reporter JaNae Francis at 801-625-4228 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on twitter at @jfrancis.