In a recent WND article Bill Federer cites Barack Obama’s emphatic proclamation, back in 2006: “Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation.” Mr. Federer then proceeds to detail the fact that prove incontrovertibly that, when the American people ratified the U.S. Constitution, Christianity was the formally declared basis for public service in 9 of the 13 original States; and that conformity with tenets or practices consistent with the Christian religion were declared or required in the Constitutions of the others.
Of course, people who subscribe to Obama’s murderous death cult shrug off these facts with a careless snort. “Things change,” they snap. “Get over it.”
Throughout its history, certain features of American life have been critically important, not only to people born and raised in the United States, but even more to others who heard about them. Many came to America. Many more longed to come because what they heard about America inspired them with a strong desire to live the American way.
We are all familiar with words and phrases used to describe what they sought, such as freedom, opportunity, and self-respect. Indeed, these words are so familiar that we no longer give much thought to their concrete significance. But for people who have, from their first breath, choked on the fog of fear, violence and furtive distrust that pervades the lair of tyranny, the thought of these things is like the desperate straining for air in the last gasp of a drowning man. For some, it is a longing to breathe free more powerful than any fear.
In the history of the world, was there ever a nation, before the United States of America, that was supposed, by its most fundamental creed, to be a place in which all people willing to exercise the right were entitled to hope for a way of life and self-government in which, with work and courage, they could enjoy these things; where no barrier of birth, no incidental test of learning, no obstacle of antecedent wealth or power gave others warrant to declare that they could never hope for them? Throughout most of human history it was held to be absurd: the idea of a world in which regular folks had title to such hope, and a claim as respectable as that of any princeling, come into it by birth or wealth or conquering power.
What if the Christian understanding of human life and liberty are as vital to that way of life as “air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires?” This is the real significance of the facts Bill Federer documents in his article. If, at its foundation, our way of life in liberty requires the moral and spiritual substance the Christian understanding concretely provides then, once this understanding is lost, that foundation will crumble. If “things change” so that we Americans forget or war against the Christian understanding, then the things we take for granted— like freedom, opportunity and self-respect— will fall to dust. Perhaps, even now, they are lost echoes in the winds of “change”.
A simple train of thought makes clear the vulnerability of our claim to these precious goods. Ask the tyrant conquerors, like ancient Rome, what entitles them to hope for their superior position, and they will point, as Caesar did, to victorious legions by which they continually overcome all opposition. Ask wealthy merchant rulers, like the Venetians of old, what entitles them to hope for their continued supremacy, and they will point to treasuries stuffed full with the power to buy or corrupt the legions of Rome. For all their stuff and nonsense about the “judgment of History” or the “power to the people”, the tyrant party-oligarchs of the 20th century (Communists, fascists, socialists, etc.) sustained their hope as slyly or brutally as the others. Fear, force and moral corruption were and still are, consistently, the working mottos of all their noxious breed.
Yet compared to them, what title do the people have to hope to govern their own lives and destinies; as those others by force, corrupting wealth, and fear govern the destinies of all they can subdue? We can pretend if we like that, on account of their superior numbers the people may simply overwhelm the few who oppose them. But there is power in numbers only when all act as one. And all act as one only when one of them is willing to step forward, to represent and articulate their unity. The power of the many depends, therefore, upon the courage of a few. But why should the few deploy their courage to unite all, when they can rule all by uniting only so many as they need to subdue the rest?
But what if there was one whose example of courage informed the character of a multitude of individuals? What if there was one whose spirit of courage inspired others to step forward, all alone, against the tyrant cohorts of arms and power? And what if that inspiration became a faithful praxis of courage, proof against the fear of power, the corrupting manipulation of wealth, and the tyrant smog of furtive mutual distrust?
These days (with the encouragement of those who mean to overthrow our way of life) we Christians have become so preoccupied with words that we are prone to forget the singular focus of Christianity. That focus is not some words we say, but the Word made flesh, the Word we become in consequence of the presence of Christ Jesus within us. The secret of Caesar’s legions was the reputation of courage they derived from their victories in battle. The secret of Venetian power was the cowardice they induced in others by corrupting them with wealth. In both cases, their conquering armies were a consequence of the manifestation of their material power.
The substance of Christian liberty derives from no material power. Rather, the material consequences the praxis of Christian faith produces grow from a spiritual seed. That seed is virtually invisible in the eyes of the world. But it gives individuals, whose hope is in the Lord, the courage to stand unyielding before all the legions of violence, distrust and fear tyrannical wickedness can raise against them.
So where Rome pointed to its legions, and Venice to its wealth, America points to the Lord and our Creator, God. From thence comes the spirit of a people that dares to claim more than equality with all the noble and ignoble rulers of the earth. It dares to claim the title to rule in God’s domain of liberty so long as, by the exercise of right, people follow the paths marked out by God as fit for all humanity.
With this as the meaning of the entitlement that binds us together as a people, Americans rose to become the first and greatest self-governing people in the history of the earth. Now, as we are slyly seduced to redefine our title in terms of material income and licentious power, we watch helplessly as our way of life declines. We are slipping back into the choking fog of fear, violence and distrust pervasive through all the domains of tyranny.
Perhaps “no longer a Christian nation” is just a momentary stop along the way to no longer being a nation at all, in any sense worthy of our heritage, and the special destiny it should portend for the God-intended future of humanity.