Tuesday, July 04, 2006

One Nation Under God

In 1976, when our country celebrated its 200th birthday, I was living in Africa and people we’re talking about America’s “image” before the rest of the world. We were a couple of years out of the unpopular Viet Nam war, one year after Watergate and the resignation of President Richard Nixon. This morning as I woke to our nations 230th founding as a nation I again listened to those discussing America’s image in other parts of the world.

I am not one of those card-carrying conservatives that believe that the hope of the world rests in the hands of our country. Economically, if we falter the domino effect will indeed have repercussions globally. We are not a particularly moral country and we seem to be less so with each passing year. Our government policies have gaping holes in them and I, quite honestly, wish our leaders, both Democrat and Republicans, would make decisions based on what is right versus what they think is more popular in getting them elected to office or gaining favor with world opinion. But in spite of the obvious deficiencies with my country I am not apologetic of who we are as nation.

What many people in other countries do not understand about America is our values, as they don’t share those values. All nations are built on principles, some being religious such as Islam, Hindu or Buddhist. Some countries hold the ideology of “the common good,” with policies that lean toward social programs and state run assistance. Many countries are driven by nationalism, which tend to splinter the population by ethnicity or tribe. When values are in conflict, so, too, will their disagreement on how things should be.

The value of a majority of American’s is one of freedom and independence, primarily religious freedom. Our rebellion from the rule of King George of England over 200 years ago still remains the same, i.e., we want less government interference in our lives and the common good is through what we believe is best for collective individualism. Government is only good as it is seen to benefit us, individually as well as collective. If our government officials don’t reflect our wishes we vote them out of office.

If we have disagreement with our own, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that most Americans are not be driven by what others, outside of our country, think on how we should behave. While we do want to be liked and respected by others, our values are as unique as our country itself. We understand our responsibility as the only superpower; we understand that our values do affect the nations of the world. Governments, represented in the U.N., have never appreciated our values and are frustrated that we don’t conform to what they think is best for the rest of the world.

What is always interesting to me is that; while the most popular thing to do is bash America, most countries privately seek our aid, trade and even our form of government. In essence, they want the best of what we are but reserve the right to hold their own values. As best we can accommodate those conflicting issues we try. But in the end of the day, Americans will always hold onto their values in spite of those who disagree with us.

God is not a politician. His values are neither American nor that of any other nation. America’s success or failure is dependent on America’s willingness to submit to His will and His values. If America becomes more concerned by the will of others over its desire to seek His agenda for all mankind it will go down in history as other nations who have turned their back on God. I’m a follower of Christ first, an American second. Make no mistake; I am a proud to be an American. America is a country where freedom of religion is a value, and because of that value I had the opportunity to hear the Gospel. Through my own free will, without fear of oppression or persecution from family or state, America gave me the opportunity to become a follower of Christ. It is for that reason I join my country today to celebrate 230 years as a nation.