In his famous speech in 1862 at Philadelphia’s National Hall, Frederick Douglas stated, “that nations, not less individuals, are subjects to the moral government of the universe and that. Persistent transgressions of the laws of this Devine (United States) government will certainly bring national sorrow, shame, suffering and death.” C. S. Lewis showed in THE TAO that there were historical basis for a similar claim by the apostle Paul, and that God’s Law is somehow available to all human beings. The moral government established by our Founders is based on Biblical principles found in the Old and New Testaments, which is the basis for THE NATURAL LAW”. An order in the hearts of all men in the natural and political worlds made known by using the faculties of reason and revelation”.
Biblical principles were the basis of Enlightenment ideas of Natural Law and are the basis of our legal system, but more importantly, serve as the basis of how we interact with each other individually and informally. There is a difference between “the state” and “nation”. State we understand. It is where issues of law and voting and consent and authority are debated. We are citizens of the State, but we are born into a Nation (community) where issues of linage, race, and ethnicity reside. Families and tribes make up communities. Citizens make up States. The “Stuff of Life” as Charles Murray says happens in families and communities and not THE STATE.
Unlike most modern theologians, Douglas, Lincoln, and our Founding Fathers believed not only in “The New Covenant”, but also in a National Covenant. The theological premise of The New Covenant between God and individuals being extended to a nation can for me be resolved without using theology by making the Statement that God would naturally favor a Nation who individually had citizens who followed God’s Laws and rules. In this regard we aren’t talking about salvation theory, but about the rules by which we live our lives and by which society runs both in a State and in a community.
For those who have suggested an American national covenant the opening words of our Declaration of Independence provide evidence for such an idea—”We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal and that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” I cannot recall any other national charter that regards the right to life and human flourishing as the foundation for self-determinism and the exercise of free will—liberty.
But something very profound has happened to our country since the nonviolent civil rights movement of the ’50s-’60s that had its origins in Black Churches that advocated for racial neutrality that gave no priority to race, but simply demanded moral and political equality. After Dr. King’s death, the void in pastoral and ecclesiastical leadership in the Black Church and community was filled with a new mantra that rejected nonviolence, racial distinction, racial pride, and racial separatism. Unlike the movements that preceded it, the neo-civil rights movement featured identity politics that depended on racial oppression and has evolved into “Radical Black theology”. Black Lives Matter and ANTIFA have their origins in this neo-civil rights theology. In the end, the emphasis on Black separatism and Black pride and identity and white guilt has damaged severely the Black communities, churches, and institutions and most of all families that it was supposed to help the most.
Shelby Steele has stated that “Black politics and identity since the ’60s have been based on the hidden agenda to repress individuality to highlight the profitable collective identity. The greatest threat to racial gatekeepers is a society in which individuality of Blacks supersedes their racial identity in importance.”
It is in the Black Community where church attendance is the highest. For centuries, the Black Churches kept the hearts and souls of their parishioners—and all of America inspired. Blacks are the most religious demographic in our country and more likely they read and believe in the Bible. Black millennials are far more likely to identify as being religious than any other demographic group in that category. And yet race has replaced religion for Black identity at the upper and lower ends of the economic spectrum in the black community. This along with the collapse of the Black family—which may also be traced to the replacement of race for religion as a primary identifier will be a difficult issue to overcome. This loss of faith is also probably at the root of the Black Family demise where today only 33% if children grow up in a home with a mother and a father. Prior to the Great Society Programs, that number was 66%.
The race argument has deteriorated over the past 30 years. Without the Christian culture that has shaped the morality in our country in all communities—including the Black and White Communities, and because the sides are now embracing processes that do not include shared moral values the hope for reconciliation of communities seems to be impossible.
It must be the Christian Church that leads in this “3rd rebirth”. I believe without coming together embracing common principles and values, while believing in the Providential Founding of our Country, and by using the tools that our Founding Fathers have given us—Our Founding Documents, we have no chance. For those who want to “reset” or “start over” I simply ask what has happened to those States and peoples who have embraced utopian, totalitarian principles? And think of their founding documents—Marx’s Manifesto, Hitler’s Mein Kompf, or Mao’s “October Manifesto” How did minorities do in those countries? In one century 5 times the number of people died from starvation, from genocide, or in war than live in our country today. And that is not to mention the millions living under conditions, of slavery, indenturehood, or who are political prisoners today. One other characteristic of those fascist totalitarian regimes—they are atheistic. No God—No liberty, and no liberty—no equality. We must find the solutions to our problems in this country today by looking inward to our own faith, the faith of our fathers and founding and our Christian Heritage. History tells us if we don’t, we will fail.
Like in 1776, and in 1860, and in 1960, the community must lead the State.