The Divided States of America? by Dr. Richard Land by Dr. Richard Land - Read Online
The Divided States of America?
0% of The Divided States of America? completed

About

Summary

A popular look at the separation of church and state: what it is, what it isn't, and why it matters for the future of religion in America.

An alarm-ringing but intelligent and fair-minded revelation of the backlash against traditional moral values, presented in an accessible and practical way using the sports analogy of fair play. Explains why religiously-informed moral values are under threat in a one-sided interpretation of church and state. Empowers readers by helping them to clarify confusing viewpoints and motivating them to act on what they believe.
Published: Thomas Nelson on
ISBN: 9781418554699
List price: $2.99
Availability for The Divided States of America? by Dr. Richard Land by Dr....
With a 30 day free trial you can read online for free
  1. This book can be read on up to 6 mobile devices.

Reviews

Book Preview

The Divided States of America? - Dr. Richard Land

You've reached the end of this preview. Sign up to read more!
Page 1 of 1

Endorsements for The Divided States of America

"Dr. Land sheds light where others—from left and right—sow confusion. One can disagree on specific policies and still laud the author’s dedication to America’s founding values and his grasp of the proper role of religion in public life. The Divided States of America is essential reading for fair-minded people."

—Madeleine Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State

Baptists in America have a vibrant tradition of defending freedom, and religious freedom in particular. This thoughtful book demonstrates how that tradition helps us to think in fresh ways about the foundations of freedom.

—Dr. Richard John Neuhaus, Editor-in-Chief, First Things

"Looking for a book to help a liberal understand and respect a conservative Christian perspective on current issues? The Divided States of America is it. Richard Land patiently counters the left’s assumption that Christians are would-be dictators. He also upends some evangelical tendencies to see America as the new Israel. With so many books and orators, left and right, screeching to their respective choirs, it’s great to see a thoughtful and faithful work."

—Marvin Olasky, Editor-in-Chief, World

Richard Land is a brilliant, conscientious, and good-hearted advocate for religious conservatives in America. This book helps re-establish Baptist political theology at the center of the church/state debate.

—Steven Waldman, Editor-in-Chief and CEO, Beliefnet

"Richard Land has always been too much of a thinker and much too committed to biblical standards to simply go along with anything and everything proposed by conservative activists. On the crucial questions, The Divided States of America is a candid and enormously helpful look at the mistakes of both the left and the right from the perspective of one of the greatest advocates of religious liberty in our country today."

—Dr. Paige Patterson, President, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Richard Land has strong views on God and America and has long been well-placed to influence the opinions of many who care for both. In this new book, he speaks a welcome and necessary word of passionate caution, content neither to preach to the choir nor yell at ideological opponents in the destructive culture wars. Both liberals and conservatives will profit from the analysis and tone of this book, an altogether constructive contribution to an important debate too frequently marred by ranting and posturing.

—Peter J. Gomes, Harvard University

This book could not be more timely. Richard Land has made a decisive contribution to the contentious debate about how religious believers ought to relate their faith to politics. In a reasonable and measured fashion, he offers constructive advice to both conservatives and liberals. My hope is that it will be read widely by those on the political Right and Left, because the necessary correctives offered here will improve everyone’s understanding on a topic that is woefully misunderstood by religious believers and nonbelievers alike.

—Michael Cromartie, Vice President, Ethics & Public Policy Center

This is a lucid statement of a reasonable position on the place of religion in public life. While the author writes from a committed Evangelical standpoint, his views on church/state relations will be plausible to many who do not7 share his religious commitment. The book will also be useful in dispelling negative stereotypes about Evangelicals due to its mellow, nonconfrontational tone.

—Peter L. Berger, Director of the Institute on Culture,

Religion and World Affairs, Boston University

"Finally—a book that sets the record straight on some of the most contentious issues of the day. Richard Land has written a brave and important book that has much to say to liberals, conservatives, and persons of all positions in between. The Divided States of America has surprises for everyone, and it shows a keen and dedicated mind at work. . . . Richard Land combines brilliant analysis with his personal charm and deep convictions. You had better read this book soon—everyone is going to be talking about it."

—Albert Mohler, Jr., President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

One of the clearest, most tightly argued, and informative accounts of religion in the public square today by an especially intelligent and well-informed evangelical leader. From a man who has been active behind-the-scenes, even when not caught sight of in public, Land’s book is an eye-opener. Anybody who claims to know American political life without having read it is missing a lot of the story.

—Michael Novak, American Enterprise Institute

"What is the proper place of religion in American public life? In The Divided States of America, Richard Land ably defends the original vision of our nation’s founders: the institution of the church and the institution of the state must be strictly separated; yet Christians and other people of faith can and should bring their religiously-informed judgments of morality and justice into public debate on the great questions of the day—whether slavery in Abraham Lincoln’s time, segregation in Martin Luther King’s, or abortion and human embryo-destructive research in our own. Dr. Land shreds the arguments of militant secularists, on one extreme, and theocrats, on the other."

—Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University

THE

DIVIDED

  STATES  

OF AMERICA

What

Liberals AND

Conservatives

Get Wrong

About Faith

and Politics

RICHARD LAND

THE DIVIDED STATES OF AMERICA

© 2007, 2011 Richard Land

All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other—except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Published in Nashville, Tennessee by Thomas Nelson. Thomas Nelson is a registered trademark of Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Thomas Nelson, Inc. titles may be purchased in bulk for educational, business, fund-raising, or sales promotional use. For information, please e-mail SpecialMarkets@ThomasNelson.com.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version (NIV). © 1973, 1978, 1984, International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan.

Other Scripture references are from the following sources:

Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB). © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 by Holman Bible Publishers.

Used by permission.

The King James Version of the Bible (KJV).

New American Standard Bible (NASB). © 1960, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation.

Used by permission.

Cover Design: Matt Lehman

Page Design: Mandi Cofer

ISBN 978-1-59555-352-2 (repack)

ISBN 978-1-59555-982-1 (trade paper)

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Land, Richard D.

     The divided states of America? : what liberals and conservatives are missing in the God-and-country shouting match / Richard Land.

        p. cm.

     Includes bibliographical references and index.

     ISBN 978-0-8499-0140-9 (hardcover)

     1. Christianity and politics—United States. 2. United States—Church history. I. Title.

   BR526.L345 2007

   322'.10973—dc22

   2006101081

Printed in the United States of America

11 12 13 14 15 RRD 5 4 3 2 1


To my ancestors who fought to defend our God-given freedom

in the Revolutionary War, the Texas War of Independence,

the Civil War (on both sides), and World Wars I and II;

and to all men and women who have honorably worn the uniforms

of our nation’s armed services in defense of that freedom.


  Contents  

Foreword

Introduction to the 2011 Edition

1. What’s God Got to Do with America?

2. What Liberals Are Missing

3. What Conservatives Are Missing

4. Where Has God Been in America?

5. All the Presidents’ Faith

6. Why We’re So Confused about Church and State

7. Is There a New Religion Penalty in America?

8. What Happens When You Mix God and Country— and What Happens When You Don’t?

9. Does America Have a Special Role in the World?

10. Soul Freedom—a Divine Mandate?

11. What Does It Mean to Say, God Bless America?

Appendices

A. A Modest Proposal for Religious Accommodation in Public Schools

B. The Barmen Declaration

C. Bibles and Scripture Passages Used by Presidents in Taking the Oath of Office

D. Presidential Addresses

E. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

F. Avoidance, Accommodation, and Acknowledgment: Comparison and Contrast

Notes

Acknowledgments

About the Author

Index

Scripture Index

  

By Senator Joseph I. Lieberman

In The Divided States of America Richard Land makes a strong case for rescuing the values debate from the extremes and moving it toward a common-sense middle where people of all faiths and no faith can calmly, candidly, and constructively talk to each other about how to make our lives better. Dr. Land’s thoughtful and hopeful effort to change our national conversation about faith and values should be read by people of all faiths.

I believe that our nation is in the early stages of a third Great Awakening of religious faith and activity as a counter to the current erosion of our values and the coarsening of our culture. The guardrails that have guided our culture toward moral and civil behavior have been removed, and the lines between right and wrong have become blurred. For example, parents know they must be constantly wary about an entertainment culture that extols permissiveness, undermines civility, and promotes violence.

Most of the American people want these trends reversed. To do so in their own lives, they turn to their faith, their family, and even sometimes their government. But in the latter they too often find partisan division and demagoguery.

When the left hears the right talk about values, they hear it as a code for intolerance and censorship. When the right hears the left talk about values, they hear it as a code for sectarianism and permissiveness.

These polarized responses do not represent the beliefs of the majority of Americans. Most people I talk to believe we can uphold our common values without trampling on anyone’s rights or faith. What we need is a political awakening of shared values and unity to accompany the current spiritual awakening.

Encouraging the respectful dialogue among people of many faiths and beliefs that can facilitate such an awakening is the very heart of The Divided States of America.

Dr. Land writes that our Founding Fathers did not set out to create a Christian nation, though almost all of them were Christian. But he also reminds us that they did found their new nation on faith in God and intended it to be a country in which religion was honored and freedom of religion was protected.

Dr. Land is right. The United States is a faith-based institution. You see it right at the beginning in the first American document, the Declaration of Independence, where our Founders said they were forming their new government to secure the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, which were (and are) the endowment of our Creator.

I see American history as a journey to secure those rights. It is a journey in which faith-based groups have fittingly played very progressive parts. The abolitionist movement in the nineteenth century and the great fights for social welfare and civil rights in the twentieth century were each led by religious leaders and their faithful.

To this day, religion plays a larger role in the lives of Americans than almost anywhere else in the world. According to the Pew World Attitudes Project, nearly 60 percent of Americans reported that religion was very important in their lives, compared to 33 percent in Great Britain—the second highest of the eight developed nations surveyed.

It is folly to believe that in a nation where so many hold religious beliefs, that those same people won’t bring to the public square the values their faith has taught them. To try to separate America and its people from their faith in God and the values it engenders is an unnatural and unnecessary act.

What is crucial is that when we bring our faith and values to the public square, we do it with respect for all. Dr. Land writes that ". . . no one has a right to say, ‘We have to do this because the Bible says so.’" But everyone, he argues, has a responsibility to include people of all faiths—or no faith—in our national dialogue.

In this book, Richard Land uses a constructive and instructive dialectic approach, first examining the extremes on both sides and then building a middle position of reasonable accommodation.

Whatever our political differences, we all share the values that underlie our freedom and democracy. Unity based on those values is imperative now because our nation is under assault from the totalitarian movement of Islamist extremism. In fact, one of our best defenses against that extremism is the interfaith diversity and dialogue that has long been characteristically American, and which Dr. Land advocates in this book.

In 1790, George Washington wrote a letter to the Jewish congregation of the Synagogue of Touro in Newport, Rhode Island, declaring that the rights of all to worship as they choose was no longer a matter of just toleration, as it was in Europe, but a fundamental right in the new nation that could never be taken away. He closed his letter with a benediction that speaks to us and our time.

May the children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.

In the same spirit, in The Divided States of America Richard Land asks us to overcome our divisions and lower the barriers that prevent us from becoming again the United States of America. For that, he deserves our praise and attention.

  

Since The Divided States of America’s publication in 2007, major changes in the United States have brought the book’s themes into stark relief. These changes have been accelerated and exacerbated by the sudden, severe economic crisis that gripped the nation in the fall of 2008 and helped propel President Obama into the White House. For some extraordinary reason Barack Obama became a type of human Rorschach test. People saw in him what they wanted to see. He pledged to transcend red- and blue-state debates by emphasizing a new purple America. He promised to lead a post-partisan America where we would all work together with full governmental transparency to solve our problems in bipartisan ways. The governing reality has been quite different. The president’s support is in steep decline and the Obama era is now in danger of becoming the Obama moment.

The shouting match is as loud as ever. The 2010 midterm elections have shown that the country is just as divided now as it was in the months leading up to the 2008 presidential election. The raucous debates of tea party candidates vs. incumbent Democrats has replaced the yes we can antiwar Democrats vs. incumbent Republicans.

Of course it is always true that whenever the economy is in the doldrums it takes up most of the oxygen in political debate. The main reason President Obama won in 2008 was the free-fall decline in the economy. The party in power always suffers at the ballot box when the economy is weak. After nearly two years in office, and with Democratic control of both houses of Congress, the Obama administration’s failure to turn around what has become arguably the worst and longest economic recession since the Great Depression has significantly eroded people’s confidence in President Obama’s policies and leadership.

Economic explanations for the current political and societal turmoil are insufficient and incomplete.

There are growing multitudes of Americans who have come to believe their country has taken a tragically wrong turn and that it didn’t happen in the 2008 election—it happened in the late 1960s. These people believe too many Americans followed the Woodstock generation in increasingly emphasizing personal rights and privileges at the expense of personal obligations and responsibilities. Many of those who now believe this was a foolish and destructive direction to go took that wrong turn themselves and now understand the tragic damage it has inflicted on their personal lives and on their country.

WHAT THE LIBERALS ARE MISSING.

The liberals, including President Obama, proclaim that they want to remake America. The conservatives are countering that they want to restore their country, not reshape it. One side emphasizes rights and privileges; the other side emphasizes obligations and responsibilities. The liberals think the battle is political and economic. The conservatives know the battle is first and foremost a moral and societal one, but one with profound economic and political consequences.

As this country confronts radical change, conservatives want to restore an America of traditional values. They fiercely desire an America that focuses on equality of opportunity, not guaranteed equality of outcome. They want a country where initiative, hard work, and personal responsibility are rewarded and where irresponsibility and lack of effort have negative consequences.

They deeply desire the restoration of a moral symmetry where exemplary behavior is rewarded and less exemplary behavior is not. These conservative Americans are rebelling against what they perceive to be a confiscatory redistribution of wealth and a consequent loss of economic opportunity and the lowering of social horizons for their children and grandchildren. And they also want a country where patriotism is advocated and respected, not ridiculed and mocked.

The side that emphasizes rights and privileges will foster a culture of entitlement. People are led to believe a job is a right, a promotion is a right, living well is a right, and a certain standard of living is a right, regardless of effort or productivity.

Those focusing on obligations and responsibilities say, no, a certain standard of living is something you earn and your word should be more than your right to an opinion. Your word should be your obligation to keep your commitment, whether it is to your spouse, your children, your parents, your employer, your customer, or your neighbor.

A society that emphasizes its obligations and responsibilities will have fewer old folks’ homes because families will be taking care of their own. There will be less crime and fewer prisons because fathers will be present in the same homes as their children. Research has highlighted that the absence of fathers in their children’s lives is the foremost factor in young men becoming engaged with the criminal justice system. Charles Colson, of Prison Fellowship, and other prison ministries have pointed out that rare is the incarcerated inmate who had a good relationship with his father.

My son and I were watching a particularly compelling episode of the TV miniseries Band of Brothers in which there was a brutal battle scene of hand-to-hand combat between American and German paratroopers. When the battle was over, one American soldier said to another, The people back home will never understand what it cost us to win this war. My son asked me, Dad, what made the Greatest Generation so great? Well, I replied, as a ‘baby boomer’ that may be above my pay grade, but my father, your grandfather, was part of the generation that served in naval combat in the Pacific theater throughout World War II. I went on to explain that virtually all of that generation had dads in the home who taught them by word and deed what it was to be men. And they worked; most of them lived on farms with daily chores. There was also discipline, sometimes physical, both at home and at school.

Also, most of them went to church, and they were taught at home, school, and church that America was a great country and they were blessed and fortunate to be Americans.

They certainly did not live in a country where the federal government was sending a human rights abuse report to the United Nations on human rights abuses inside the United States, as the Obama administration did in 2010. The rest of the world can only aspire to the human rights record of the United States.

I also pointed out that generation didn’t get trophies or medals simply for participating. They received trophies and medals for winning. They were taught that there is a difference between winning and losing, and that each result has consequences. These were probably the things that kept those guys coming ashore at Omaha Beach and Iwo Jima. I’m not so sure we’ve got all that many of those kinds of men now, and if we do, they come disproportionately from red-state America. If you look at the volunteer military service, it is disproportionately red-state. And if there is one thing that you cannot come away from a Restoring Honor rally or a Tea Party rally without understanding, it is that the one most honored, revered, and admired institution in American life is the American military.

Willingness to serve your country in the military goes hand in hand with the implicit covenant in America that if you work hard, play by the rules, and save your money, then your children will have an opportunity to be better off than you are. There are increasing numbers of Americans who think that the government is reneging on that contract. Forty percent of the money that we currently are spending in Washington is money borrowed from future generations. We are spending our children’s and our grandchildren’s money. Soon we will be spending our great-grandchildren’s money. Liberals don’t realize how many people are extremely unhappy about this, but the 2010 midterm elections have helped demonstrate it.

WHAT THE CONSERVATIVES ARE MISSING.

There are some in our churches who say, I want to appeal to everyone; these are very divisive times and so in my congregation we avoid politics. We just concentrate on the gospel.

I hear that, but I am also old enough to remember when those very words were used by pastors and other church leaders who wanted to avoid division over confronting racism and segregation. This is a very narrow definition of the gospel. The gospel is first and foremost about a personal relationship between an individual and Jesus. It is through a relationship with Jesus that we are given eternal life and can have a relationship with our heavenly Father. But that is the beginning, not the end, of the gospel. The gospel is a whole gospel for a whole man and a whole woman. It does entail acceptance of eternal truths that inform a worldview. That worldview means that we have an obligation and a responsibility to live out our faith in human society—which means we cannot avoid calling unrighteousness unrighteous, calling sin sin, calling injustice injustice, and cannot avoid seeking to protect those who are being abused and exploited by sin and injustice.

Jesus gave the Great Commission to go into all the world and witness and make disciples, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you (Matt. 28:18–20).

Evangelicals must always give witness to the gospel and evangelize, thus the name evangelical, but they must also nurture, educate, and disciple converts toward spiritual maturity. We are not just commanded to make new Christians, but to grow those Christians into mature believers. Both are part of the Great Commission. Those new converts, now discipled and matured, will in turn obey the Great Commission and will evangelize and disciple others.

Yes, Christians are commanded to evangelize. We are also commanded to be salt and light (Matt. 5:13–16). What does that mean? Well, at the very least, it is societal. We are called upon to be salt. Salt is a preservative. Jesus is calling Christians to go out into a world of moral decay and be a moral preservative. For example, we should be speaking out against the sexual exploitation of women and children through pornography and sex trafficking.

We have an obligation to be the light of the world. What does that mean? In a world of darkness it means we are to penetrate that darkness with the gospel light of hope and life, telling our fellow human beings that God never created a nobody, that everybody is a somebody in God’s eyes. God has a plan and a purpose for every life, including theirs. Yet, every year since 1973, in the United States we have killed more unborn babies than the total number of Americans killed in all the wars we have ever fought.

Some argue that we have got to have a wider moral agenda than just abortion and same-sex marriage. That is certainly true. Such arguments, however, often make the mistake of trivializing abortion and the marriage issue in regards to the moral discourse of the nation. A year or so ago I had a pro-choice rabbi ask me, Why is it that you social conservatives are so fixated on pelvic politics?—as if abortion and the same-sex marriage debate were primarily about sex. The strong suggestion being that pro-life Christians want to interfere in the personal sexual relationships of their fellow Americans.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Abortion and same-sex marriage are only initially and incidentally about sex. It is true that you have to engage in sexual intercourse or resort to artificial insemination in order to produce a baby. In reality, however, the abortion issue is about as big a moral issue as any society can grapple with.

What is a human being? When does a human being become a human being? And what are society’s obligations and responsibilities to protect that human being from those who would do that human being harm? At what point in gestation should those protections come into play and is there a point in time when a human being loses those protections at the other end of life? How could you have more basic moral questions in any society?

The question of same-sex marriage is similarly foundational. Marriage is the basic building block of every society in human history. That is why every society known to man, however advanced or primitive, has severely regulated marriage as an institution. Again, marriage is not primarily about a personal sexual relationship. Marriage is about the environment in which the next generation of a society’s citizens is raised.

There are many people in our society who want to expand the definition of marriage to include a permutation of two men and/or two women. There are even those who want to expand the definition even further, to include other permutations of some other combination of men and women.

Will that shatter the definition of marriage beyond all recognition? What impact will that have on the next generation? We have conducted a forty-year experiment in this country on whether or not fathers are optional accessories in the rearing of healthy adults, and the resounding answer is they are not optional. The evidence is now overwhelming that children do far better when they have both a father and a mother in the home.

Until recently, however, no one has been foolish enough to argue that mothers are optional accessories. Isn’t that what is being said when you are advocating same-sex marriage and you have President Obama declaring during Fatherhood Week in 2010 that two fathers can do as good a job of raising a child as the more traditional combination of parents (mother and father) can do? Isn’t that what we are saying when we allow homosexual adoptions and mothers, as well as fathers, are optional accessories in the rearing of healthy children?

I do not see how we are going to be faithful followers of Jesus and of his Great Commission and shy away from the life and marriage debates, both of which are so basic to human society.

In the fall of 2009, a significant number of Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical Christians gathered in New York City to formulate the Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience. I was privileged to be among those gathered there to finalize and issue the Manhattan Declaration, which has now been affirmed by a half million Christian leaders and clergy (www.manhattandeclaration.org).

The declaration explains:

Because the sanctity of human life, the dignity of marriage as a union of husband and wife, and the freedom of conscience and religion are foundational principles of justice and the common good, we are compelled by our Christian faith to speak and act in their defense. In this declaration we affirm: 1) the profound, inherent, and equal dignity of every human being as a creature fashioned in the very image of God, possessing inherent rights of equal dignity and life; 2) marriage as a conjugal union of man and woman, ordained by God from the creation, and historically understood by believers and non-believers alike, to be the most basic institution in society and; 3) religious liberty, which is grounded in the character of God, the example of Christ, and the inherent freedom and dignity of human beings created in the divine image.

We then identify ourselves as

Christians who have joined together across historic lines of ecclesial differences to affirm our right—and, more importantly, to embrace our obligation—to speak and act in defense of these truths. We pledge to each other, and to our fellow believers, that no power on earth, be it cultural or political, will intimidate us into silence or acquiescence. It is our duty to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in its fullness, both in season and out of season. May God help us not to fail in that duty.

I must confess that when I hear people say that they want to shy away from these issues because it is going to be to divisive and it will turn some people away, I cannot help but hear the echoes of pastors from my youth who would not talk about racial reconciliation or confront the evil of racial segregation because it was too divisive and it might split their church. I wonder if some of these current Christian leaders advocating avoidance of the pro-life and traditional marriage issues will be remembered in just as poor regard as the segregationists are? Not a noble legacy.

WHAT BOTH SIDES NEED TO GRAPPLE WITH.

In America today there is a titanic struggle for the high ground in this culture and for the dominant narrative of this culture’s past, present, and future. Is America exceptional? Does God deal with our country in a particularly favorable way, and if so, what obligations and responsibilities are incurred in the process? And if we are not exceptional, what are we? The French, the British, the Chinese, the Japanese have their common ethnicity to hold them together when they have societal disagreements. We do not. If we are not an exceptional people made up of many different ethnicities who came here in many different ways at many different times to pledge allegiance to a set of ideals embodied in the Declaration of Independence, then what and who are we as Americans? I believe that if we answer those questions by saying we are not exceptional, then we are opening the door to division, decline, and eventual anarchy.

This would be a frightening prospect for America. It would be an even more frightening prospect for the world because those, like President Obama, who want to remake America, do not see America as all that special in the world. In fact, Obama sees America as having caused a lot of grief in the world—that is why he has gone around the globe apologizing for our nation’s errors. Those who want to restore America do not see America as a negative force in the world, but rather a positive one. They would say, You know, America hasn’t been perfect, but God help the world if it had not been for the United States in the twentieth century; and God help the weak and disenfranchised in the twenty-first century if you somehow could remove the influence of the United States of America!

Liberals who want to remake America really don’t see anything all that special about America. They think everything that has happened to us has been fortuitous—just the luck of the draw. Therefore, the thinking goes, we need to acknowledge that and quit thinking and behaving as if we are special.

Conservatives who want to restore America need to be careful that they understand we are seeking to restore the good things, not the blind spots—the racism, the sexism, the my country right or wrong attitude, which is idolatrous. The idea that America is always right and that God is always on our side is wrong. We must always do our best to make certain we place America on God’s side, believing that God does have a side and is not neutral on moral issues.

Current polling shows that the thirtysomethings and younger Americans are not nearly as patriotic as are those older than forty. Why? Most of them have not been taught that much about American history, or they have been taught the censored, secularized history classes most often offered in our public schools in the past few decades.

When we look at American history, we must come to the conclusion that either we are the luckiest people to ever draw breath or we are divinely blessed. If we choose to believe the latter, we are not mixing church and state. We are merely acknowledging the religious nature of a people who created an experiment in self-government unique on the face of earth. One central role parents can play in our current crisis is to teach their children and their grandchildren the history of this unique, blessed nation called America and how blessed each of them is to be the recipient of such a heritage.

Much of the political and societal struggle in the coming years is going to be between the ins and the outs, not between the Rs and the Ds—the Republicans and the Democrats. The ins are the establishment, the people in Washington who have a deeply vested interest in big government and big business. Even under this very liberal president, the government bailed out Wall Street, not Main Street. I think there is going to be an enormous struggle between Main Street and Wall Street. And this is not just an economic struggle. There are values and conviction differences between the two. Main Street tends to be more traditional, more vested in the concept of absolutes, is more religious, has a more traditional view on things like illegitimacy, divorce, abortion, traditional marriage, and so forth, than the establishment, who tend to be liberal or libertarian.

It is critically important that Christians not allow themselves to be co-opted in this fight by either party or allow their agenda to co-opt ours. We should not be endorsing parties; we should be looking for parties that endorse us, endorse our convictions and our