Eight years ago the theme “change we can believe in” helped usher Barack Obama into the White House. Will “making American great again” help usher Donald Trump into the White House? Perhaps so. But in my opinion, neither of the two major parties nor their presumptive presidential nominees have the recipe for making America great again.
Of course, some folks think America is still great, but, according to polls about American satisfaction, I think very few feel that way, particularly when it comes to where we’re heading as a nation. Escalating violence and racial strife, overrun borders, terrorism, political correctness, a victimhood mentality, rampant drug use, sexual craziness, dictatorial federal judges, a tyrannical President, and an inept and distrusted Congress are just a few things that bother so many of us.
To be honest, Donald Trump has touched on much of this in his politically incorrect way. In fact, his political incorrectness, I think, has been part of his appeal.
But identifying problems and pointing them out in ways that give voice to the unspoken frustrations many Americans have is not going to make America great again. To get well we must collectively diagnose the underlying condition that is causing our problems.
What, then, is our underlying illness? I think it is the same as that which Jeremiah said of Judah:
Has a nation changed its gods,
Which are not gods?
But My people have changed their Glory
For what does not profit.
For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters,
And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water
(Jeremiah 2:11,13 NKJV).
Like Judah, America has changed gods. Collectively we have forsaken as our societal foundation the God of the Bible and decided we can hew out a national future for ourselves without God. And we’re finding that the cistern we’ve hewn out and into which we’ve placed our hopes for the future is broken. Hope seems to be leaking out.
I know there are those who will disagree with my interpretation of our national beginning, but let’s be politically incorrect enough to say they are just flat wrong.
The Great Awakenings clearly led to our national independence. The common law, which was rooted in customs grounded in Christian principles, was our primary source of law. If you don’t believe my characterization of the common law, then read the introduction to William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England, the lawyers “Bible” during our founding period. And while we didn’t get everything right at the beginning and often acted contrary to our great charter’s premise that nations are subject to the “law of nature and nature’s God” and that our rights came from God, the point is that such was the premise upon which we were founded.
Try bringing those thoughts into a political campaign, college classroom, or major corporate boardroom today and see how well you’re received. Not well, to put it mildly.
For America to be great again, we will have to collectively rediscover that it is God who holds everything, including nations, together, and things hold together when they operate according to the laws He has woven into His universe. But how is that rediscovery going to happen?
As indicated previously, America became a nation and began its trek to unparalleled greatness when the pulpits of the colonies became aflame. But they were aflame with preaching that tied God’s Word to the socio-political circumstances then existing. It was not the self-help, “be-your-best-person-now” psychobabble pabulum that infects so many (but, thankfully, not all) pulpits today.
If America is to become great again, what we need is a change in our pulpits, not just a change in the White House. Maybe Franklin Graham’s tour of the states is a start in the right direction.
David Fowler served in the Tennessee state Senate for 12 years before joining FACT as President in 2006. Read David’s complete bio.
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