We have just completed our annual remembrance of America’s founding, a weekend set aside to contemplate our freedoms and what a great country we have had for so many years. Hot dogs, apple pie, baseball, military ceremony and fireworks are all a major part of our annual celebration of independence from the British Empire. But why do we do this? Is this country the exceptional experiment of freedom, justice and good will that the world has needed? Are we experiencing today the freedoms that our Founding Fathers intended? Does anyone really care about these things any longer?
After independence was secured and America emerged as a strong military force, fairness, encouragement and rebuilding have been the sought after results from the conquests America has enjoyed in war. Many these days deny that, but history tells the story. (To our shame, America’s black eye of human rights has come upon her own soil in the form of slavery and racism and the early treatment of the Native Americans.) But Americans have reason to be proud of our overall record of human rights in the world community. We are certainly not perfect, but we have had compassion on the peoples of the world and determined to provide help when needed.
Yes, I surely believe America has been the land of the free and the home of the brave. If it is not, why do people from oppressed nations risk their lives and the lives of their loved ones to do whatever it takes to get here? The human heart longs for freedom’s hope of a future, and America has provided hope and opportunity for people whatever their circumstance. America has welcomed the poor, the downtrodden and the oppressed with open arms and encouraged them to work hard, secure their citizenship and build a productive life.
But America, known the world over as the bastion of freedom, the refuge from oppression, is rapidly flitting away its reputation for fairness, goodness and justice. Most of us can say that it is our deep desire that these trends will stop and the nation will wake up to the warning signs before it’s too late. Sometimes slowly and sometimes deliberate and viciously, what we have always known as free speech, religious freedom and non-government interference are being jeopardized and destroyed.
Now, instead of hard work being rewarded, it seems we are willing to reward laziness, foolishness and unproductive, even destructive behavior. Instead of demanding that workers contribute to the welfare of the nation’s economy and production, we are willing to give handouts to the people that only want to produce babies in order to get more government handouts.
We have become a nation of takers instead of givers. We have become a nation of consumers instead of producers. We have become a nation that our forefathers would not recognize and surely never dreamed of.
The historical revisionists continue to rave on and attempt to re-write history to match their own desires, denying the principles that made America great. The powers that control increase the government welfare handouts to the unconcerned, apathetic and selfish people for the almighty vote. And all the while, the dreams of personal freedoms dim and fade in the distance as the politicians line their pockets from the special interest groups and lobbyists. (The black hole of Washington politics has its way of changing them from what they promised to us, to what is promised to them.)
We have all seen the “funny” responses that people have when asked some simple questions about our nation’s history and government. Hitler was thought to be one of our past presidents; only 43% could identify who Herbert Hoover was; 30% do not know what the Holocaust was; only one in four Americans can name at least one of the five freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment, but 22% of America can name all five members of the Homer Simpson family. A United States Congressman argued that the separation of church and state was stated in the First Amendment. Upon reading it for himself, he said, “I was told in college it was there!” (This is an educated lawyer, by the way.) We could go on…Funny? Not so to me. Sad? Yes.
Yes, it is sad to see what is happening to our great country. Those of us that are still patriots and still believe in the America we grew up in and have loved, can even get irate about where we have gone as a nation and where we are going.
But, as Christians, we should not be surprised or despondent. No sir, hope abounds on every side.
The more our freedoms are diminished and the more religious persecution that we see across the globe, the brighter the hope becomes. Diamonds are the brightest when displayed on black velvet. And the love of God shines brightest when seen against the backdrop of hatefulness and unrest.
The Bible has always said it, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord…Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.” (Psalm 33:12; Isaiah 5:20)
I would say to Christians, be the light that this world needs. The world has needed America and America has been strong because of its Judeo-Christian roots.
But with all that being torn from our culture, everyone needs your light. The children’s song says, “Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.