Commentary: Are we still one Nation under God?
With the celebration of our nation’s independence once again just behind us, we surely heard our share of patriotic music that we learned as children. We can all sing from memory the first verse of the patriotic hymn, “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.” But can anyone sing or recite the fourth verse of this song? The verse says, “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.” The fourth verse is a prayer for Godly protection!
For a nation to know where it is going, it must know from where it has come. In many ways our nation has lost its sight. The United States is reminiscent of Old Testament Israel: a favored nation by God, blessed in a prosperous way, mighty in strength and number, an underdog upstart nation who defeated a great power in the 1700’s, a nation established on the knowledge, the morality and the worship of God as its foundation. Are we still one nation under God?
Let’s look at those three ideals: knowledge, morality and worship. Besides our Constitution, the Northwest Ordinance established much of how these ideals would be taught. The Ordinance states, “Religion, morality and knowledge being essential to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools shall be forever encouraged and established in the Northwest Territories.” Amazing to consider, in 2018, the constitutionality of religion being taught in the public schools, yet that was what our founding fathers established.
Where has this come undone in our society today? Religion (or worship) – removed when daily prayer was taken out of the schools. Morality – also removed when the 10 Commandments were removed from schools. And knowledge? Has even knowledge been removed? In 1962, when prayer was removed from public schools, our nation’s SAT scores experienced an 18-year consecutive drop.
Without the support of schools or a government with a continued Christian vision, the burden is greater on the family and the Church. In a land that has jettisoned its commitment to God, our children grow up without a consistent moral compass, no guilty conscience when one has done wrong, and no accountability to a higher authority to whom we fear with reverence.
One of our founding fathers, namely Patrick Henry once said, “Our nation is founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” Does anyone in Washington speak such words today?
Again, and with hope, we compare our nation to Old Testament Israel. Time after time Israel disobeyed God and turned to their own way. And each time God punished His children and let them endure the outcome of their folly. Then, Israel repented and turned back to God. And God relented and restored His people, promising a Savior from sins, as Israel would never find themselves able to commit fully and purely to righteousness before God.
Is our nation to be any different? With Satan’s help, we have shed doubt on God’s Word, doubt on our founding fathers’ principles and separated Church and State. And in His grace, God provides us a Savior, His Son Jesus, a place to repent and return to God. God protects His Church on earth, and in America. God gives us a voice, a calling, freedom and liberty, that we may preach the Gospel and proclaim Jesus Christ all across this land, across amber waves of grain, across purple mountain’s majesty, and above the fruited plain.
We need, as a nation, to return to our knees, and ask for forgiveness and follow God’s holy Word and divine guidance once again. For the cross is still the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the source of our forgiveness, the fount of all our blessings, and the focus of a God-fearing nation.
Our churches are: St Paul Lutheran Church in Fredonia, Immanuel Lutheran church in Gowanda, and Trinity Lutheran Church in Silver Creek.