After the 2012 elections I wrote a post entitled, “Who Cares?”, lamenting the fact that in California 9 and a half million voters didn’t even care enough to cast a ballot. I ended the article by quoting the lyrics to This Is My Country, written in 1940 by Don Raye and Al Jacobs. I learned this song in elementary school. It was the theme song of a television program my class was allowed to watch in someone’s home near the school. Our school didn’t have its own TV in those days.
This program was my first exposure to how American government was designed to work, the history of the founding of our nation and what rights and responsibilities American citizenship entailed. I was only in the 1st or 2nd grade at the time, but it instilled in me the sure conviction that America isn’t just any old country. It’s my country and I share in both the duties and the benefits of ownership.
Here again is the song that inspired me then, and continues to remind me of both the responsibilities and blessings of being an American:
This Is My Country
This is my country! Land of my birth!
This is my country! Grandest on earth!
I pledge thee my allegiance, America, the bold,
For this is my country to have and to hold.
What difference if I hail from North or South
Or from the East or West?
My heart is filled with love for all of these.
I only know I swell with pride and deep within my breast
I thrill to see Old Glory paint the breeze.
With hand upon my heart I thank the Lord
for this, my native land.
For all I love is here within her gates.
My soul is rooted deeply in the soil on which I stand,
For these are mine, my own United States!
This is my country! Land of my choice!
This is my country! Hear my proud voice.
I pledge thee my allegiance, America the bold,
For this is my country to have and to hold.
[I was unable to find the version from the television program. If you have never heard the song before, you can hear Tennessee Ernie Ford’s rendition at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zqoR3yWu2k or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s rendition at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ruXC9-MdN4. Please note, I am in no way endorsing the Mormon religion.]
These days this kind of patriotic song might be criticized for being too corny, too saccharine, out-of-date, or limited in appeal to the “bigoted religious right”. But when it was broadcast (I believe it was 1952) it had broad support and was generally received with enthusiasm. Our armed forces were fighting and dying in Korea and the end of World War Two was a recent memory.
America is my country, and I love my country because it is mine. It isn’t simply because I live here. It’s because our founders gave us a nation built on the premise that the people are sovereign. The government consists of the people – of, by and for the people. And I am a part of that people. My county is much more than a “homeland”.
The noble experiment that is known as the United States of America is not like any other nation on Earth. America is unfettered promise, abundant opportunity, inspiration to greatness, overflowing blessings and the liberty to dream, to hope and to try.
But many Americans do not share my feelings of ownership of our country. They have been taught to feel hatred, shame and guilt for ills perceived by secular world views that do not grasp the universal implications of freedom in Christ. Rather than thinking in terms of how the application of Biblical principles can sustain a free people by acknowledging the authority of God, they have turned to the transience of human “wisdom”.
Godless wisdom is not based on principles, but on circumstances. Therefore secular thinking sees equality different from the Christian world view that established America. The equality taught in the Bible is equality “under God”. That not only means each person has the free will to obey or rebel against God, but also it means everyone is equally bound to God’s standards and authority. Under God morals are absolute and sin does not hold equality with righteousness. Yet that is exactly the secular view, which sees moral virtue as relative and circumstantial.
I love America because the freedom given to me in the form of American heritage is the freedom to promulgate Christianity and inculcate the Christian religion in its people, however we choose. Not only were the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, as explained in the Federalist Papers, born of thinkers with a Biblical world view, but “they drew from a tradition that had been in existence for a century and a half, beginning with the Mayflower Compact and continuing with a number of even more highly developed Puritan covenants” (p. 36, One Nation Under God, Ten Things Every Christian Should Know About the Founding of America, Gibbs & Newcombe).
That tradition was carried forward not only in the founding documents of the colonies, but in education. From the New England Primer to the founding of the earliest major Universities, the purpose of education was to further the cause of Christian professions. The Professions were seen as ways to develop the profession (affirmation) of the Christian faith through the application of faith into work.
There is so much ignorance today regarding this issue. We may not be a Christian nation now, but that’s because our society and culture has been increasingly turning its back on God. But America was designed with Christian liberty in mind. Separation of church and state meant to keep the government out of the business of religion, not to keep religion out of the business of government. Most people don’t seem to understand that. The primary purpose for freedom of religion (meaning the Christian religion) was to make sure there was no official state religion supported by taxation.
Such was the practice in Europe and in some States early on. But our founders were careful to avoid letting that happen at the national level. Nevertheless, Biblical education and an understanding of the gospel was commonly accepted and encouraged because America’s government was designed by men with a well-developed Christian world view. And that design was intended for a (Biblically) moral citizenry.
Of all the dispositions and habits that lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. – George Washington
Religion and good morals are the only solid foundations of public liberty and happiness. – Samuel Adams
Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. – John Adams
Contrary to the rabid criticisms of some atheists, a government designed to afford religious liberty to Christians is not the same as a theocracy. Christians don’t demand that everyone become a Christian. On the contrary, Christian tolerance accepts the fact that faith is a product of the will. Therefore the best setting for Christianity to prosper is one in which the free will of everyone is respected. That means non-Christians are free to practice their faith however they see fit, as long as Christians also remain free to exercise their faith.
Hatred and intolerance of Christianity has become so politically correct and the rewriting of our history has so distorted the underpinnings of our government that any public mention of God is now considered offensive. That is not freedom of religion, nor is it a matter of the separation of church and state. It is godlessness, pure and simple, and is contrary to the values and vision of the founders of this nation.
This is my country. But the godless people who live here are trying to take it from me, aided and abetted by the secular world views which have even been adopted by professing Christians. Also helping in this theft of a nation are all those citizens who do not vote. When only half of registered voters actually vote, it means a minority of the population is electing our representatives.
And that’s been the case for a long time. Gradually, popular understanding of the Constitution has degraded into a twisted mutant of what it was designed to be. Our elected officials take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, but time has proven that to be meaningless lip service. They really don’t represent us at all. They do whatever they want.
They are abusing my country and what it stands for, choosing licentiousness over liberty with restraint. They don’t love my country. They are doing their best to ruin it. Nor do they love the God this nation was founded to honor. They are trying to legislate God out of politics, out of government, out of the public lives of the people. And half the population doesn’t even care enough to vote.
2 Chronicles 7:13-14 records,
When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
If the American people were God’s people, wouldn’t we pray for our country? Wouldn’t we turn from our evil ways? If we did, wouldn’t he answer our prayers? Since this is my country, I’d like to ask God’s people to pray for America. She needs our prayers. Please pray. You know who you are.
And if you’re on the fence, consider Jesus Christ. He died for your sins so that you can be forgiven and be right with him. And he rose from the grave so that you can have eternal life when you accept him as your Lord and Savior. Just pray to receive him and ask his forgiveness. Let him take the lead in your life from here on out. He will make you a new creature, a citizen of heaven.
And when we pray, remember our home in God’s heaven is even better than the blessings of freedom we have in America. Our dual citizenship not only means enjoying the blessings, but requires us to do the right thing.
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? – Micah 6:8
This is my country, but it also belongs to you. Will you vote in 2016?.