America: One Nation Under God or Under Government?
What makes a nation great? What secures liberty, unity, and justice for a people?
“Morality has perished through poverty (lack) of great men, a poverty for which we must not only assign a reason, but for the guilt of which we must answer as criminals charged with a capital crime. For it is through our vices, and not by any mishap, that we retain only the name of a republic and have long since lost the reality.” — Cicero from De Republica, as quoted by St. Augustine in City of God
According to both Plato and St. Augustine, the highest virtue of a human community is justice. Without justice, a ruler is only a tyrant and a people merely a mob. Without justice, man-made laws are simply opinions imposed by force and fear with no basis in natural or divine law. The form of government–monarchy, aristocracy, democracy.–does not matter if justice is lacking.
Justice means giving each man what is due to him.
Augustine goes on to insist that pagan societies can never claim to be founded upon justice, since they are predicated on a failure to give the most important person, the one true God, the due worship and recognition of his sovereignty which is owed to Him.
This is also true of a secular government which exiles prayer and all other expressions of faith in its courts, schools, and all other centers of civic life. Does not a governmental ban on acknowledging God in all of that government’s laws, education, and activities achieve the same effect as a governmental endorsement of false gods? Are not the pagan and the atheist united in denying that there is a singular and supreme God?
While a pagan state raises up statues of false gods, does not a militantly secular state erect its own self as an idol? Any power that claims to exist completely separate from God is essentially declaring its own divinity. Once a government purges itself of religion, government becomes a religion. This often leads to a cult of personality around leaders painfully unworthy of worship.
A nation must be more than a group of people occupying the same land and ruled by the same government. The word “nation” comes from the Latin “natus”, meaning “birth”. This implies more than common ethnic ancestry or having been born in the same fatherland. Because matters of biology and geography are insufficient to bind together the longings of the souls of men. Members of a “nation” share some basic “nature”—they are united by common needs and goals. And they acknowledge each other as brothers because they acknowledge the same Heavenly Father. A common language, dress, and overall way of life are the fruits rather than the causes of sharing a common “culture”, the root word of which is “cult”—religious faith.
One might insist that the common value binding all Americans is liberty, which is the exercise of free will.
When we declare human will to be free, we mean that it is free to do something or free from restraint. But what is a man’s will free “for” if not virtue and goodness? How can he be free if he is enslaved to vice? And how can virtue and vice exist without some absolute and unchanging standard of good and evil, a standard which inevitably depends upon God?
Free will is a means rather than an end in itself. It is like firewood, it is only valuable when consumed in order to attain light. Loving freedom above all else is ultimately false, as freedom only finds purpose when sacrificed in the fire of love. Without the goal of loving, freedom is meaningless and devoid of purpose, and that which has no meaning or purpose has no value. Freedom is not a thing to be loved, but a thing to be used for the sake of love. Nor can a man be called “free” if he is enslaved to self-destructive desires, delusions, and the lowest compulsions of his own fallen nature. And if the godless man is not truly free, then a nation made up of such men cannot claim freedom as its fundamental and unifying value.
The first people to settle what would become our nation were Puritans, Quakers, French and Spanish Catholics. In other words, they were Christians. In the Declaration of Independence, which laid the intellectual justification for the later Constitution and its amendments, the Founding Fathers acknowledged Our Creator as the source of human rights. Therefore there is nothing unconstitutional about the federal government respecting the rights of soldiers, schools, states, and local communities to freely express the Christian religion without the censorship of non-elected Leftist federal judges and SCOTUS justices.
Let’s make America TRULY great again by placing faith and hope where it belongs.
We must no longer allow our national courts to violate our liberty by banning prayer and basic Christian images. Our so-called leaders must stop deliberately importing people whose religion has a history of anti-Christian violence. There is no place for anti-Christian bias in our school books and lessons. And when given the choice among conservative candidates, we vote for the one whose words and deeds best correspond to our faith.
Without solid roots in the faith of our fathers, America will continue its Balkan-style disintegration plagued with increasing tribal warfare, a violent fragmentation in which each man finds identity only in superficial characteristics such as race, class, or party. Our nation needs a unifying set of values rooted in our historical faith in order to persevere in unity, liberty, and justice. Otherwise, our nation is merely a mob, our rulers either tyrants or appeasers, and all our achievements mere fodder for the museums of the future.