“God First” Means “America First”
by Yaacov Ben Moshe
As much as I have always tried to confine my reasoning, observation and writing to secular and factual areas, I often wind up with this (mostly unexpressed) thought: “Only God can help us now.”
I have known that if I were to write it or even just say it out loud, it would sound like despair and resignation- but it is not. It is really just my belief that if our fellow Americans, inheritors of the great Judeo-Christian culture, whether Jews, Christians or secularists could find a reconnection to The Divine many of our worst problems would just evaporate. I am not talking about a specific religion or even, necessarily, a belief in “God” as such. All that is required is an appreciation of the divinity behind the miracle of creation. It is only with faith in the creator as a force for good and order, that we can hope to dispel the moral relativism and post-modern sectionalism that are daily degrading our culture. In the guise of justice and equality they are dissolving our commonality of interest and sapping our energy as a civilization.
This is still an upstart of a nation- the fastest growing, richest and most diverse country on the planet. There is more opportunity here for anybody than anywhere else in the world. In this age of globalist ennui, faltering faith, Islamic conquest, rejection of tradition and conceited intellect, we are still as Lincoln said,” …the last best hope of earth”. All we really need, in my opinion is a general reconnection to the source of all life and goodness. For inspiration I look, as I often do to the founding documents of our country and the framers who were inspired to create them.
When the founders of the US sought to create a new kind of nation, one more immune to corruption and abuse than any other in history, they did a profoundly revolutionary thing. They sought a higher authority to overrule the “rights of kings”- an even higher authority than the doctrine of any particular church. They assessed human nature as flawed and prone to corruption. So they also sought to avoid the rule of “a man” or a secular “theory of man” (socialism, fraternalism, etc…). The result was a nation governed by three independent branches of government, empowered to counter-balance (read: stymie) the natural human drive to amass power and wealth. The higher authority that superseded royal prerogative, they called “natural law” not so much derived from God as it was from their understanding that every man may have his own “personal relationship” with The Creator. It is fortunate that Jefferson, Madison, Franklin and Washington were themselves men of complicated and subtle faith who were of such generous spirit that they could credit any other person of good faith with equal right to their way of worship.
Jefferson called upon “natural law” in the Declaration of Independence not only to sever the “right” of the British King to rule the American colonies, but to found the first nation in history that would set as its charter, every individual’s “right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. The founders called on the highest possible authority to construct our nation for a very important reason. They and their forebears were here on this wild continent because they had already disagreed with, fled and finally, revolted against kings and churches in “The Old World.”
They knew that without God, we are just so much meat- animated by dangerous proclivities, taking up space and making trouble. Yet they were also acutely aware that with any specific and organized God there would be unavoidable and ultimately fatal conflict over the exact description of that God and its laws. Only in the sometimes infinitesimal space between the personal God and doctrine is there a hope of finding a common ground for unity and mutual respect.
The already disparate collection of religious mavericks, lumberjacks, northern farmers, slave-holding planters, self-sufficient pioneers and merchant traders needed to find that common cause to be worth fighting for for the new nation to survive. Otherwise they would be unable to resist conquest or co-option by the powers of The Old World. Without a higher binding principal they would have been left with only fear, envy and anger and their evil results. The founders provided a meaningful and successful framework by acknowledging the blessing that God’s love for the individual and his liberty could bring forth. They created a nation that mirrored that blessing or as Abraham Lincoln put it at Gettysburg: “…conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal…”
Lincoln was our president at the moment of the nation’s greatest peril and need. He staked everything on what he knew was right. He did so with the certain knowledge that God would bless his actions. Here is a bit more of the lines that I quoted a few words of above. It is from his address to congress about his forthcoming Emancipation Proclamation:
“We — even we here — hold the power, and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free — honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just — a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless.”
The blessing of whatever divinity you acknowledge must be used to help us blend that plain, peaceful, generous, and just way into our common existence here in America. If we can recreate that unity of spirit, we will continue to be safe, happy and secure at home and maybe even inspire some of our old allies and even, competitors to a better way. But we owe it to ourselves to do it in America First.
Here is my best shot at a sales pitch for a revival of faith: Take God personally! Religious fundamentalists, agnostics and atheists are at a far higher risk of being a “glass is half empty” person. Having a belief in a loving Creator/God gives you a much better chance to be a “glass is half full kind of person”. Having a personal relationship with that loving and transcendent God is the portal to becoming a “cup runneth over” being.