- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 23, 2016

Matthew McConaughey sounded a patriotic note as he promoted his new movie “The Free State of Jones” in an interview with the Daily Beast published Thursday.

“America turns the page and evolves quicker than most places historically. In that way I’m inspired, and it makes me happy to be, and honored, to be an American,” the Texas native said.

In the new Civil War epic, Mr. McConaughey portrays Newton Knight, a Unionist from Mississippi who led a militia against the Confederacy.

“I’m not saying everything is just as they should be,” Mr. McConaughey said. “But our ambition and our diligence to march forward for change, to test it out, to not give in to every new idea… Where do we hang onto tradition, and where do we progress with new ideas, and ones that will hopefully stand the test of time? That excites me about our country.”

Mr. McConaughey also explained that Mr. Knight’s religious conviction, rooted in biblical teaching, was central to his heroic defense of the dignity of those who were held in slavery. 

“Knight had a moral code rooted in the Bible and the Declaration of Independence: Love thy neighbor as thyself, and all men are created equal,” he said, going on to call Knight’s moral convictions as “[e]xtremely American.”

“All of this, the abolition of slavery in the Civil War at this time, they were almost all led by religious movements — Christian movements — that were trumping the ideals that everyone else had. They went further into it and said, ‘No, this is not right — because of the Bible.’ “

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