Eleven scores and two years ago, our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation. As President Abraham Lincoln reminded us in the famous Gettysburg Address, America “was conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” It is the continual pursuit of this ideal that continues to make America great.
Today, despite numerous amazing cultures from diverse people groups, our constitutional republic remains standing as a beacon of light, a shining city upon a hill, for immigrants and refugees fleeing unstable governments from around the world.
Despite her racist history, rooted in conquest of indigenous people and enslavement and denigration of African Americans, America has transformed and continues to transform democratically. While we’ve seen other nations rise and fall in modern history, America remains risen, I believe largely due to her active Christian faith.
This faith does not dictate over but convict believers from within.
It does not require conversion but inspires us to look beyond ourselves for strength in a Higher Power.
It does not expect strict compliance from her citizenry, but motivates respect for one another’s belief systems (free will and God’s timing).
In short, Christian faith is not demanding or suffocating, but freeing each person to be the best that s/he was created to be.
This society, of a free and flourishing people, was made possible by our founding fathers, who by wisdom above, crafted a remarkable guiding document. The Declaration of Independence decreed that all men have inalienable rights, as endowed by our Creator (whatever you choose to call this Higher Power). It is not given to us by any flawed leaders, who would undoubtedly want to retain power and wealth in their own best interest. The checks and balances of the executive branch, the legislative branch, and the judicial branch of leadership (as written in the US Constitution) continues to serve “we the people” well.
Despite our plethora of problems, our many areas of present day inequality based on a number of factors, America still impresses people from around the world.
It was America that sacrificed her young men and women to defend the tenuous cause of freedom for the little guys in remote parts of the globe.
Yes, I have heard the accusations regarding her imperialistic tendencies, her capitalistic greed, her oppressive tactics, but they pale in comparison to the many stories of real men and women who make up the strength of America. These folks of all backgrounds and skin color work every day, scrimp and save and serve her fellow neighbors both locally and globally.
America sends the most missionaries into the world. Motivated by their deep faith, these people give up the fast paced, materialistic life to pursue a higher calling–sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. They are often supported by prayerful, giving folks back home.
And within her borders, multitudes of believers daily live out their faith through humility, sacrifice, and charitable giving. I was the beneficiary of many acts of kindness from these plain, working-middle class Americans, especially white evangelical Christians in the South. Today, I join them in giving.
I now live and work among these evangelicals. Many are social conservatives. My experience and observation of these Americans is that they are the backbone and strength of this great country. They demonstrate their faith not loudly or angrily, but through quiet acts of service.
They do not try to divide people based on past history or identity classification, but relate to each person as an image bearer of God.
Their faith, demonstrated in action, inspires me. This includes, but is not limited to, volunteering in soup kitchens, sending care packages around the world, cooking for the homeless, or doing life with inner city youths (crossing the socio-economic divide and the racial-ethnic tension) to make a difference in a child’s life.
No one is perfect, and we still struggle to do the right and godly thing in our relationships, in our spending, and in our voting choices.
But, I am grateful to know these fine folks who embody America in both faith and freedom for all. In fact, I have become one of them, acknowledging that Christ’s blood was shed for the forgiveness of my sins, and the soldier’s blood was shed for so many freedoms that I enjoy in the United States of America.
May God continue to bless America, land that I love.