BY STEVE DUNN
It’s the evening of the Fourth of July. My wife and I have just finished watching A Capital Fourth a semi-tradition for us. Now we are watching a live fireworks show via another channel–a magnificent display over New York Harbor. I have just heard the words sung of what is my favorite “patriotic” hymn by Samuel Frederick Smith.
My country tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died!
Land of the Pilgrim’s pride!
From every mountain side,
Let freedom ring!
My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love.
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture fills
Like that above.
Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees
Sweet freedom’s song.
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.
Our father’s God to, Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright
With freedom’s holy light;
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God, our King!
I am glad to be an American . Besides it’s sheer beauty, no nation on this earth has done more to proclaim the cause in the world nor sacrificed more to obtain or preserve the freedom of other peoples. It has afforded me a place to live that allows me to worship and serve God in magnificent ways. It has been a beacon of hope to the persecuted, oppressed, and disadvantaged of the world.
But I am concerned for my nation as well. We have become a nation without a moral compass–and we are adrift in the seas of the dangerous times in which we live.
I am tolerant person but I have always understood tolerance as meaning respecting the right of another to be the person they believe their conscience requires them to be. Now tolerance means acceptance of who that is as being right, i.e. agreeing that there is nothing wrong with what they do or what they believe.
Our common social contract has come to be defined not by an objective standard of right and wrong to which we are all accountable. It is now defined by what political correctness declares to be the right thing today. And that standard of political correctness does not respect anyone’s right to respectfully disagree.
There is much debate over whether or not we are a Christian nation or if we have ever been one. If you define Christian by the peculiar wedding of biblical morality with cultural convenience, then I would say we have had more of a civil religion than a biblical one. The Bible clearly stands against the materialistic greed that has been characterized as success, the enslavement of people of other races, the use of power that clearly contradicts the teachings of Jesus Christ, racial prejudice that spawned Jim Crow and the Klan. That list goes on.
Not all of our founding Fathers were Christians, but not all of them were the cynical secularists that the modern day secular liberal likes to claim. And it is clear from history that wherever they stood on the religious spectrum, they believed that those “inalienable rights” were to be grounded in the basic moral teachings of our Judeao-Christian roots,
William Penn wrote these words in the formative years of our nation: “Those who will not be governed by God, will be ruled by tyrants. ”
But his are not the only words from our beginnings as a nation. From George Washington:
“While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.”
—The Writings of Washington, pp. 342-343.
From John Adams, who signed the Declaration of Independence and served 2nd President of the US:
2nd U.S. President and Signer of the Declaration of Independence
“Suppose a nation in some distant Region should take the Bible for their only law Book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love, and reverence toward Almighty God … What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be.”
—Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, Vol. III, p. 9.
John Hancock, the first of sign the Declaration of Independence:
“Resistance to tyranny becomes the Christian and social duty of each individual. … Continue steadfast and, with a proper sense of your dependence on God, nobly defend those rights which heaven gave, and no man ought to take from us.”
—History of the United States of America, Vol. II, p. 229.
FOR MORE GO TO MARY FAIRCHILD
I pray that my nation, our nation, would once again claim its moral foundations so that we could truly insure the common good.
© 2015 by Stephen L Dunn
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