'We can make America great again'! How often do you hear this phrase, or at least something very like it? Among a growing portion of this nation's population, including at least one notable politician, it is becoming more & more popular to echo these words in talking about 'restoring America'. While there is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to restore this country to its foundations, or even of making it great again, for the Christian especially, we should ask ourselves a couple questions; what exactly is meant by 'making America great again' & what all does it entail?
During the previous election season, one politician's campaign was largely founded on his promise to 'Restore America'! That itself brings up a few questions, such as, 'what did he mean by 'restoring America'?' Does he mean to bring back the Christian principles this nation was founded upon, or does he simply mean to return to the constitutional principles our fore-fathers strained to establish? It is somewhat doubtful & highly questionable that he would wish to repent & return to the principles of the Christian God that make up the bedrock of the foundation of this once-great nation, but suppose he actually does intend to dwell, both on a personal & professional level, on the Constitution!
What made, or makes, America great? Delving back into our history, we might stumble upon examples of why foreign visitors to this country in it's newly-formed heyday thought about it. Alexis de Tocqueville, French author of 'Democracy in America', once wrote 'America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great' The same man, however, wrote this as well; 'It is indeed difficult to imagine how men who have entirely renounced
the habit of managing their own affairs could be successful in choosing
those who ought to lead them. It is impossible to believe that a
liberal, energetic, and wise government can ever emerge from the ballots
of a nation of servants'. Considering this statement & the obvious degradation of this nation, can or should this nation still be called 'great'?
Speaking of Foreigners, Winston Churchill reportedly once gave his thoughts on the principle of de Tocqueville's last statement ( above ); 'The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter'. The Prussian Karl Marx, revolutionary author of 'The Communist Manifesto' once said , as one who should know, 'Democracy is the road to socialism'. There are doubtless many other examples of how foreigners have noted how this so-called 'great' nation was doomed to falter & indeed had fallen from her lofty pedestal, but this may suffice for now. We are faced with the question, then; 'if, as many Americans will probably tell you, 'democracy made, or makes, this nation great', do we really want to return to those roots?' The constitutional form of government that the average American 'enjoys' is no more than tyranny in its formative stages: Plato once wrote this enlightening statement, 'Tyranny naturally arises out of democracy'. Though America was reputedly formed with a republican form of government, we have seen that even the best-laid plans quickly devolve into what we now see when destitute of the necessary constituents!
It is all well & good to urge a return to the constitutional principles upon which this nation was founded, but we must remember what one of these founders himself said; 'Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.' Another founder, James Madison, stated that 'if men were angels, no government would be necessary'. A return to Godly standards, not to constitutional principles is what will make America great again, according to our founding fathers & a host of foreigners. The Constitution of these United States was well-written, maybe & with good intent, but a document written with pen & ink can never take the place of the Finger of God! It has been said, in other words maybe, that 'you can't legislate morality'. Scripture itself shows how well this works; time & again, the Law was brought to bear, but it was not till the hearts of the People were changed that it had any effect!
So, what really DID make America great? Was it strict adherence to the Constitution? Even a foreigner noted that it was because the people of the nation ( individually ) had been endowed by their Creator with a certain goodness, a certain Righteousness! Without a repentance & national return to that Righteousness, no mortal document will offer any lasting benefit to this country! If ever this nation WAS great, it was because of an adherence to the principles we find in Scripture; but now, the question should be asked, 'should we, as Christians, seek the greatness of America?' In some sense, as established above, we should pursue the principles that made us good, not just in the eyes of other nations, but moreso the Apple of our Father's Eye, but what did Jesus say in regards to nation-building? In a rather famous passage ( Matthew 6:33 ), Jesus said 'seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you'. It is the Kingdom of Heaven we are to pursue, not making any particular politicaal party or nation!
As we ponder these questions & others engendered by them, we should pause to consider our purpose, especially as Christians. We are not hear to spread the borders of this empire, the political entity known as America, or the United States; we are here to spread the Good News of Reconciliation, that all that was lost is now found & we have inherited our Father's Kingdom. Should we be seeking to 'restore America', then, or trying to make her great, or should we be practicing the Righteousness we have been endowed with & teaching others to pursue & rest in Him?
Charles Haddon Shank