Losing our religion
America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.
Is America still great? The answer depends on how one defines greatness. What are the necessary “great-making” properties for a nation to be so designated?
Apparently Donald Trump and his campaign believed four years ago that America had lost its greatness – “Make America Great Again” – and have lately regained it – “Keep America Great.” In my estimation, even though we are still the greatest country in the world, I believe we are definitely less great than we once were. And that our fall from our former greatness is traceable to the deterioration of our collective goodness which supported it.
The above quote is attributed to 19th century French statesman Alexis de Tocqueville who toured the newly-born United States of America in the 1830s and published his findings in a two-part work titled Democracy in America. Central to his conclusion that “America is great” was his observation of the crucial, great-making role of religion in American life and politics. Whereas today the conventional wisdom says that religion and politics don’t and shouldn’t mix…that was not always so. And I would argue that our slide toward mediocrity from greatness can be tracked to the degrading of our goodness, stemming from a devaluing of religion as of no more consequence than what one does on a Sunday morning.
When I look at the news I see all the ways we are not good and I fear for our country. Riots, looting and destruction, and support of them as justified; gross immorality in entertainment, and approval and celebration of it; loud and proud support of a woman’s “right” to kill her child, and deceptive promotion of it as healthcare; normalization and approval of sexual behaviors that were previously censured, or at least not paraded as wholesome; condemnation of those with opposing views, all in the name of tolerance. The list goes on.
I believe de Tocqueville’s insight was correct, as was Thomas Jefferson’s when he said, “Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.” Our founders relied on and trusted in God’s providence for the success and well-being of our country, and recognized that his continued favor was conditioned on our acknowledgment of and submission to him. If our rejection of him and his commands has not yet awakened his justice, it surely will someday.
It may sound alarmist, but I truly believe the only hope for our country is to once again bravely embrace and promote public faith and trust in God, and return religion to the prominent role it once had.
Towards that end, I will be spending the next few months reviewing America’s Christian heritage, using William J. Federer’s America’s God and Country, Encyclopedia Of Quotations. Because I think it’s safe to say that most of our nation’s young and younger people are unfamiliar with the truths of our history that I’ll be sharing, and that it is beyond foolish to hand over control of our government and society to those who don’t appreciate America’s greatness and how to maintain it.
This will be my small part in what should be a bi-partisan effort to Keep America Great.