Why has God SO blessed America?

Today and Tuesday, at the ball field, or at a party or fireworks celebration, a concert or pops performance, or while watching one of these on TV this evening, as we all celebrate the 241st birthday of America, we’re likely to sing a song that was written by Irving Berlin in 1918, God Bless America. Perhaps it will lead you to ask the question, “Why has God so blessed America?

One of the best answers I’ve found to this profound question was penned today by Jim Dennison in his daily cultural commentary, which I read daily and highly recommend:

A scholar from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences told a group of Westerners in 2002 that his group was “asked to look into . . . what accounted for the success, in fact, the pre-eminence of the West all over the world.” After dismissing views that our success was tied to our military, politics, or economic system, they concluded: “the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity. That is why the West has been so powerful. The Christian moral foundation of social and cultural life was what made possible the emergence of capitalism and then the successful transition to democratic politics. We don’t have any doubt about this.”

When Christopher Columbus set foot on land in the New World, these were his first words: “Blessed be the light of day, and the Holy Cross we say; and the Lord of Verity, and the Holy Trinity.”

The first set of written laws for the New World was the Mayflower Compact, ratified in 1620. Some have called it “the first American Constitution.” John Quincy Adams called it the foundation of the U.S. Constitution.

The Compact states that the Pilgrims came to the New World “for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith.” They made their covenant “in the Presence of God.” According to William Bradford, their governor, when the Pilgrims came ashore “they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of Heaven who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean.”

Next came the “Fundamental Orders” of 1639, the first written Constitution in the New World. Its preamble states the colonists’ purpose: “To maintain and preserve the liberty and purity of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus which we now profess.”

Scripture promises: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD” (Psalm 33:12). “Blessed” translates a Hebrew word meaning, “to be so blessed as to be envied by others.” Every nation makes someone or something its god. But when we make our God the one true Lord of the universe, we position ourselves to be blessed by his grace.

Our Father will bless any nation whose people seek his favor: “Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love” (Psalm 33:18). But as with the first Americans, we must choose to seek what his love intends to give.

The greatest gift we can give our nation is to help her citizens be people God can bless. So let’s choose to reverence God and place our hope in his love. Let’s pray for others to do the same.

And let’s pray what we sing: “God bless America.” Today and every day, to the glory of our Lord.

Another question, for another day, is this: Will God continue to bless America? The answer to that likely will depend upon both you and me.

One thought on “Why has God SO blessed America?

  1. Joel Spector

    Walt,
    I’m not sure how much of your assessment I agree with you. I truly do not believe that God has chosen the US anymore than God has chosen one football team over another before the game begins. What has made the US an incredible country is quite the opposite. You go to any Nation with a Fundamentalist religious system in place and you’ll find a country stuck. Our forefathers understood this and spoke passionately against a separation of church and state. And when they speak of religious freedom, they meant for every individual to follow their own private belief, but not to impose it on anyone else. Or, if you wish not to believe in any sort of deity, that’s OK as well!

    So when you ask, “Why has God so blessed America?” I think it is because we have so persistently have kept God out of it. We… The People!!… is what has made this country a beacon for Freedom, not because of this God or that God, but us, as people willing to accept anyone into this Nation and make something great here.

    I also disagree with the statement above by the Chinese Academy you mentioned. Firstly I disagree that the US was ever viewed by our founding fathers as a Capitalist system, the very opposite is true. When the Boston Tea Party occurred it was a complete revolt to Capitalism. They protested against a Corporation that insisted in creating a monopoly and to squash fair, free market and competition. So that’s not what we are.

    This is the distinction that Republicans don’t seem to understand, that free markets are not the same thing as unregulated capitalism. Unregulated capitalism often tends to stifle competition. It is usually in the interest of shareholders of a large corporation to have fewer competitors and for them to offer a fewer number of products that return high profit margins. The reason is that as a company gets larger, it gets more and more expensive to innovate so it is more cost effective to get rid of competitors and discourage competition than to innovate. It is usually in the interest of shareholders of a large corporation to get rid of products that have a low profit margin (even if they are the best or the ones that consumers like the best). Almost every time that a large company buys a small company they do it to get rid of competition not to benefit their customers. Soon afterwards, the innovative product that caused the large company to purchase the small company is shut down. The consumer almost always ends up with less choice and inferior products that cost more after a large company buys another company.

    Capitalism has a very narrow feedback mechanism, i.e. do anything to maximize shareholder value. Companies will even break the law if it is cheaper to pay the fines. The beauty is that companies are not really people and can’t go to jail. Actually corporations now own our jails and even our supreme court.

    Here are a few things that are often looked at in a negative way by a board of directors of a large corporation when trying to increase shareholder value: number of employees, employee salary, employee benefits, taking care of employees who have retired, been laid off, or who have become disabled, reducing pollution, increasing qualtiy of products without any increase in market price, new products that have lower profit margin and are competitive with high profit margin products (inside or outside the corporation) even if the new products are better for the consumer, research and development that does not lead to quick returns.

    We don’t even have the correct language to discuss the reality of “free markets” and Capitalism… it has been part of the general dumbing down of America (brought to you by the Heritage Foundation) that people now think they are the same thing.

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