America Still The Beautiful

Author:
Dr. James Dobson

Dear Friends,

As most of you know, our country is embroiled in a state of conflict and chaos. The current administration, along with Leftist media, Big Tech, LGBTQ, the entertainment industry, and public education, are seeking to transform our nation from a democratic federal republic, governed by and for the people, to a socialist oligarchy with control over every dimension of national life. To accomplish this objective, they have to destroy the Constitution, weaken the Church, utterly obliterate the institution of the family, and indoctrinate an entire generation of children. Everything that is biblical, upright and decent is under fire. Many of us saw this revolution coming in the '70s and '80s, but were powerless to stop it. Now, evil has descended upon us like a tsunami.

I would like to pause during this month of July when we celebrate the Declaration of Independence, and remind us of who we are as a people. I'm speaking to those of you who are believers in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and are followers of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. You are aware that everything we cherish is being torn down. I wrote last month about the current war on children. Our sons and daughters rank at the top of the list of what matters most to us. It is they whom we must defend. We must preserve a world for them in which it is safe and legal to pray, worship, and introduce others to biblical truth. Even if it costs us our lives, we must stand for righteousness in the wider culture. This is our identity, and we can't grow weary in safeguarding it.

Let's consider again the incredible land in which we live and breathe. As I look to the west from our offices in Colorado Springs, I am filled with wonder at the majestic 14,000-foot mountain named Pikes Peak. It is a glorious reminder of God's majesty, His power, and our hope in Him alone.
 

Pikes Peak

In 1893, Katherine Lee Bates, an English professor, came to Colorado Springs to teach a course at Colorado College. She was stunned at many of the sights in the city, but it was at the pinnacle of "The Peak" that Ms. Bates began to put together thoughts for a poem about this marvelous country. Upon her return to her hotel room, she penned the words to a now much-loved song, "America the Beautiful."

Look carefully at the themes of the lyrics that follow.

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!


O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!


O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness,
And every gain divine!


O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!1


It is my prayer that God would continue to lavish His grace upon us and refine the people of this nation, even though we do not deserve His mercy. We pray also that Americans would once again acknowledge God's astounding grace and pursue lives that embrace the virtues of brotherhood, respect, and love for one another. We have faced many difficulties over this past year, and we desperately need the redemptive work of our Creator and Savior. I think of Psalm 121:1-2, which states, "I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth." He remains our only hope. It was on that historic day, July 4, 1776, that the Continental Congress declared the 13 American colonies were no longer subject to King George III, the monarch of Great Britain. They were now united, free, and independent states. The 56 individuals who boldly risked all for liberty did so with a sense of conviction and calling from God.

We are all familiar with the words of the preamble to the Declaration of Independence. The first two sentences of this document are a well-known expression of our God-given human rights. The reading of those words brings a renewed sense of hope in my heart. They read:
 

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—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.2
 

This profound truth—that all men are created equal and endowed by God with the inherent rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—is one of America's most cherished values. It's enshrined throughout our land in both law and spirit. While we, as a people, have faltered immensely at times in this fundamental pursuit, America has for generations been a beacon of liberty and hope to a watching world.

Did you know that the U.S. Declaration of Independence inspired many similar documents in other countries? The first was the 1789 Declaration of United Belgian States. It also served as the primary model for many declarations of independence in Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Oceania (New Zealand) during the first half of the 19th century.3

Or consider our other precious founding document, The Constitution of the United States. It is considered the supreme law of the land, as it memorializes our governing framework and foundational freedoms. The Constitution was ratified on June 21, 1788, and The Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments to the Constitution) was ratified on December 15, 1791. In their pursuit of liberty, numerous countries around the world have drafted their national constitutions using similarities of phrasing and even borrowed passages from the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. It is awe-inspiring to consider the significant influence of the U.S. in nations and lives of people across the globe.

Countless Americans have fought to maintain our republic—with their lives, intellect, creativity, passion, and loyalty. A nation that uplifts freedom and battles for it as her highest ideal is a fragile one. It is not the natural state of mankind, because a republic grounded in national liberties is totally reliant on a virtuous people who uphold it. Indeed, our founding fathers affirmed that without morals and nobleness, our country would not survive the test of time. And today, we have largely abandoned the teaching and modeling of virtues and the values that once united us as a people.

Samuel Adams said of virtue, "Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt. He, therefore, is the truest friend of the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue."4

Virtue ennobles individual character and lifts society as a whole. These cherished principles eschew prejudice and discrimination, confirming that "all men are created equal." This dearly held belief encompasses characteristics of goodwill, patience, kindness, respect, humility, gratitude, courage, honor, industry, honesty, chastity, and fidelity. These precepts serve as the cornerstones for both individual happiness and societal governance. Regardless of our differences, we must anchor ourselves to a value system that upholds the dignity and value of all human life. While the Constitution and Bill of Rights were crafted with a Judeo-Christian ethic, we know, as believers, that our true allegiance is to God Who reigns over all nations. Accordingly, it is imperative that Christians beseech God to guide Americans and our leaders to seek after His righteousness.

As legislation is proposed that is anathema to Scripture, we must stand together for biblical values and always be ready to share the reason for the hope within us. It is our calling to humble ourselves as a Christian community to invoke God's mercy and grace upon our country. He has always used a remnant throughout biblical revelation. In these days, we need to step up to be that remnant by proclaiming truth and grace over deception and manipulation.

I know there are many of us who continue to cling to Ms. Bate's inspired vision of America. While we will never be "America the Perfect," we are and can be "America the Beautiful." We can be that city on a hill that sheds its brilliant light of liberty to all. For us as Christians, God's Word and Jesus Christ set the standard. We are called to be salt and light to this world, and it begins within the very walls of our own homes and the communities in which we live. Our marriages and families have an opportunity to shine God's glory to a lost and needy world.

This July as we celebrate our 245th year as an independent republic, my prayer is that we will remember the words of this song and sing it with certitude and love for America. It is a glorious song of both aspiration and inspiration. We are, indeed, a blessed people in a blessed land. May we never forget this.

America, you are still beautiful! "God shed His grace on thee, and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea."

Your brother in Christ,

Sincerely,

Signature


P.S. We were blessed by generous donors to extend a matching grant during the month of July. This means that any gift we receive in July will be doubled while the matching grant lasts. This is an answer to prayer as we enter into the summer months that traditionally see our overall giving decline. If you are able to make a contribution of any amount toward the matching grant, it will help us to continue to uplift the biblical model of the family and encourage Christians to courageously stand for God's truth and grace during this pivotal time in our country. Thank you, and God's blessings to you all.

 

1. https://americanliterature.com/author/katharine-lee-bates/poem/america-the-beautiful
2. https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration-transcript
3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Declaration_of_Independence
4. https://www.revolutionary-war-and-beyond.com/samuel-adams-quotes-1.html

 


This letter may be reproduced without change and in its entirety for non-commercial and non-political purposes without prior permission from Family Talk. Copyright, 2021 Family Talk. All Rights Reserved. International Copyright Secured. Printed in the U.S. Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk is not affiliated with Focus on the Family.

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