America the Beautiful
By Hal Lindsey
Nike planned to celebrate July 4th with a shoe featuring a Betsy Ross flag. But former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick nixed the idea. No, he’s not president of Nike. He serves as one of the many athletes who pitch Nike products. And he found the Betsy Ross flag offensive.
We are told that some white supremacist groups have chosen to use that flag as a symbol. I know nothing about that. For me, Betsy’s flag symbolizes American beginnings. Was our nation born perfect? Far from it. But from the beginning, it championed a profound ideal. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
We humans are not equal in ability, stature, strength, intelligence, or character. We were born into different circumstances — financially, morally, and in a host of other ways. There is only one sense in which we can truly be equal and that is if we are created equal. And to be created, requires a Creator. Saying that all human beings are created equal is a theological statement — a creed that launched our nation.
America started with the ideal of equality before God, even though it failed to live up to that ideal. Slavery was written into the Constitution. But things changed. Again and again, the United States went through the painful process of confronting its national sins. When it continued to reach toward its founding ideal, America changed for the better.
It never achieved that ideal, but look at what America has achieved. It led a worldwide revolution in putting the rights of the people above that of artificial monarchies. It created opportunities for happiness and prosperity to more people than anyone ever thought possible. As the decades passed, it came to treat human rights with ever more care.
Are we there yet? No. In fact, I believe we have regressed over the last few decades. A big reason for that regression has been a belief that America’s greatness came from its natural resources, its diversity, or “Yankee ingenuity.” I love our military. It protects America’s greatness, but it did not cause it. I love our system of fairness and justice for all. But they are a result of America’s greatness, not the cause.
America became great because of an almost universal respect for God and His word. That is not to say that it has ever been a Christian nation, or even a nation of Christians. But there is a reason Americans placed their hands on the Bible when they swore an oath to “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.” There is a reason that an image of Moses adorns the United States Supreme Court. There is a reason that every session of Congress begins with prayer.
In all these things we are acknowledging that our rights and freedoms have their source in Almighty God. For a long time, a near consensus of Americans held to this basic idea. But today, such attitudes strike many as quaint remnants of a distant past. This national shunning of God and His ways places all Americans in grave peril.
Would you like to move the United States in the right direction on this Independence Day? One of the best things you can do is celebrate Him as you celebrate this nation, its freedoms, and ideals. Thank God openly. Let your family hear you thank Him.