As I was riding to church Sunday morning and thinking about the patriotic songs that might be selected to celebrate the Fourth of July weekend I couldn’t help but reflect on the multiple references to God in our national songs. So many phrases ran through my mind: “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord, and His truth is marching on,” for example, or from “America, the Beautiful,” “God shed His grace on thee, God mend thine every flaw, May God thy gold refine, And every gain divine!” The fourth verse of “America” reads, “Our fathers’ 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!” Then there is “God of Our Fathers, whose almighty hand Leads forth in beauty all the starry band.” The Navy Hymn begins, “Eternal Father strong to save,” the entire song being a prayer. And our very National Anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner” concludes with, “And this be our motto: In God Is Our Trust…”
I’m one of those old-fashioned Americans who was taught in elementary school that the policeman is my friend, to do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and to always say “Please and Thank you.” I was taught we are the greatest nation on earth and possibly the greatest in the history of the world. At age 63 I still hold certain truths to be self-evident.
In the very preamble to our declaration of independence our founding fathers proclaimed that sometimes it becomes necessary for certain groups or nations to separate themselves from one another by the laws of nature and of nature’s God. The next sentence is so profound that I stagger at the thought that certain individuals among us appear quite blind or ignorant to basic American truth: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” It concludes with, “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” Those that say “God is not in our constitution” (and the like) should realize that the founding fathers assumed that such knowledge was commonly held by everyone and was again, self-evident.
We remain The United States of America. We obviously have stumbled into the fruits of a number of poor decisions, greed, laziness, personal sin and corrupt government at many levels. We can be salvaged, but this short list of social bruises must be addressed and personal responsibility must be restored. I call for the thinking people of America to rise up, clean out the closets, get busy in life and not allow an entitlement mentality to suck the life blood from our national wealth. I call for elected representatives to represent righteous values with strong fiscal responsibility. I call for voters to become informed and to vote for representatives with strong moral and preferably Christian principles. I call for those in office now to have the backbone to stand up to the foolish and ignorant dissenters who would attempt to remove God from our public life. They are a noisy, discontented lot who do not understand or appreciate the foundational values on which this country was founded. They have the right to be totally godless as they desire, but the vast majority of Americans reserve the right to call on and to depend on “The Power that has made, and preserved us a nation.” Most Americans know what is right and wrong, and we must shortly choose once again to do what is right.
Perhaps this Fourth of July can be a turning point for America. I pray, God Bless America, God Save America, one nation under God.
Dr. Tom Hammett