Now that the 2014 elections are over and we have elected a significant number of common-sense legislators and governors into office, it’s time to organize and begin to turn this ship of state around away from the rocky shoals it was headed for.
Our first course correction must steer us toward a reaffirmation of our national motto: “In God We Trust,” and a frank discussion of its meaning, and how it should impact public policy.
It’s interesting to note that even among our most conservative politicians, no one—not a single one that I have heard—has spoken about this fundamental truth that has produced the greatest nation the world has ever known. It is the architectural framework that must prevail if the American experiment is to continue and succeed. Are they afraid to stand on what they believe? Are they listening to their political consultants advising them to refrain from using the “G” word?
It’s time for men and women of courage to state firmly—and without equivocation—the foundation of their political world view. It is as African-American Civil Rights leader, Frederick Douglass, told us,
[i]“I have one great political idea. . . . That idea is an old one. It is widely and generally assented to; nevertheless, it is very generally trampled upon and disregarded. The best expression of it, I have found in the Bible. It is in substance, “Righteousness exalteth a nation; sin is a reproach to any people” [Proverbs 14:34]. . . This constitutes my politics – the negative and positive of my politics, and the whole of my politics. . . . I feel it my duty to do all in my power to infuse this idea into the public mind, that it may speedily be recognized and practiced upon by our people."
That idea is summarized in our national motto, and reaffirmed in the phrase, “One nation Under God.” By our silence we have allowed a consistent drift away from these sure moorings that have led to peace and prosperity unknown in the world from its creation.
WHY ARE THESE IDEAS SO IMPORTANT?
Consider the fact that our founders never said, “In Government We Trust,” or “In the Constitution We Trust,” or even “In We the People We Trust.” No, our trust is in something even greater—the God of the universe!
Governments change; the Constitution changes; we the people certainly change, but God never changes, and putting our trust in Him has provided a firm and stable reference point, our North Star, so-to-speak, that has allowed us to live under one form of government for over 200 years, a fact that Americans take for granted, but is nevertheless unheard of in other parts of the world. We enjoy living under the longest ever Constitutional republic. Our War for Independence came at a time when other nations were also seeking liberty, but none have enjoyed the peace and prosperity we have known. France, who had their Revolution shortly after our War for Independence has known more than seven different forms of government since then. Italy has had over fifty! As Americans, we could never imagine what it would be like to go to bed at night wondering what our government was going to look like in the morning, but in the rest of the world that is not an uncommon experience.
Why? It’s because we have put our trust, not in the unstable minds and hands of people, parties or parchments, but we have placed our trust in the unchanging sovereignty of God.
THE KEY TO UNITY
The idea that we are “One Nation Under God” also serves to provide a source of unity necessary for continued peace and progress. We have seen the negative impact of “identity politics,” and by every measure it has proven to be counter-productive. Race relations have not improved, and studies show they have gotten worse. We must reaffirm, and incorporate into our lives and politics the truth that we are one nation—black, white, yellow, Hispanic, rich, poor, whatever, we are all Americans—one, nation, one people, under one God. This must be the common, unifying and equalizing principle that brings us together as an American family. Someone might then say, “But where does that leave people who don’t believe in God?” Let me answer as President Eisenhower did,
[ii]“Without God there could be no American form of government, nor an American way of life. Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first –the most basic- expression of Americanism.”
So then, it is clear that anyone who does not believe in God may certainly enjoy the benefits of citizenship as long as they meet the legal requirements, but they can never be an American in spirit if they cannot even subscribe to our national motto, “In God We Trust.”
Let the turn-around begin, but my word to newly elected legislators and all those who hold public office is
“Be not afraid to speak of what you believe, and boldly reset our nation- with a clear voice- on that firm foundation expressed in our national motto, “In God We Trust.”
Let that be the beginning of the turn-around and I believe He will bless it and grant us success for the benefit of coming generations.