Washington among the gods
As an American, a veteran of nearly 30 years of service and a disciple steeped in the “truths” of America’s faith; I find American politics, especially presidential politics, a religious experience.
Each election has its particular theme and this election appears to be the “little people”, that would be you and me, against the “entrenched powers”, big government and/or big business. The political rhetoric is intensely religious with each candidate promising to protect you against the “big guys”, and the terrorists (whomever they may be. Yet, have you noticed that each candidate comes from either big government or big business. Laying aside that each candidate uses terms that they do not define, but we supposedly know what they mean, the rhetoric pounds the same basic theme. This underlying theme of all the candidates is the promise to protect you, the defenseless little guy from big government, big business and the terrorists. The unsaid theme is that these candidates promise to take the place of God for you, the voter; and, you should look to one of them as your political savior. Is this a modern trend, a deliberate conspiracy or simply the true fact that all governments appeal to faith to gain the allegiance of their populace?
Nearly from its very inception the settlers to this land invoked God’s name in order to legitimize their vision and mission statements. According to Dr. Scott, “John Winthrop, Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, gave the clearest and most far-reaching statement of the idea that God had charged the English settlers in New England with a special and unique Providential mission. “On Boarde the Arrabella, on the Attlantick Ocean, Anno 1630,” Winthrop delivered the blueprint for what Perry Miller has dubbed an “errand into the wilderness” which set the framework for most of the later versions of the idea that “America had been providentially chosen for a special destiny.” Winthrop delivered his lay sermon just before he and his fellow passengers disembarked on the shore of Boston harbor, the place, Winthrop proposed, to which God had called them to build up a model Bible commonwealth for Protestants in England and elsewhere to emulate.” This idea resonated with succeeding generations. It is no accident that what became known as the “First Great Awakening” gave the colonists a religious vision of an independent America. Without this influence there may not have been enough support for a war of independence. Thus, the Revolutionary War took on a religious component as embodied in the Declaration of Independence, viewed with religious awe by most Americans. Dr. Scoot goes on to show that the “Second Great Awakening” came along just in time to give the American people the religious justification to engage in the Civil War, or “Lincoln’s War” if you are from the South(east). Today, most Americans claim to be above such things. The “separation of church and state” forbids America to have a state religion yet, the Washington Apotheosis in the Capitol Rotunda transmits a very different message (See Above Graphic). America has a unique national religion, as does every nation. This American faith has its roots in Neo-Platonism, Aristotelianism and ancient mythology. Thus, our politicians, especially those who rule during a crisis, real or otherwise, take on the mantle of an American savior, Washington, Lincoln, and FDR. Those who show “feet of clay” like us are forever denigrated those they may have great accomplishments, Adams, Coolidge, or Nixon for example.
I would point you to Wikipedia to study the meaning of the Apotheosis, one becoming a god, which shows George Washington seated in the clouds surrounded by Roman gods and between the goddesses of Liberty and Victory. Liberty, goddess of Reason of the French Revolution and Victory, Nike of Greek origin, are the two pillars of American society. Reason, according to the empirical philosophers such as John Locke, excludes faith in God. This certainly has been the direction of American politics from its very inception. Victory is certainly the goal as was is America’s greatest and most constant achievement. We glory in wars. Wars are our opportunity to spread our religious mission of world-wide democracy based on reason which gives liberty to all peoples. As the only superpower America is unrestrained in bringing her brand of religious democracy and liberty to unbelievers via drones, missiles and the occasional soldier. As a nation we have more holidays to war than to any other single subject. This is sold to the “little people” as the tools needed to keep them safe.
Nation of Laws
Not a Nation of Faith
Modern America claims to be a nation of laws based on the “will of the people” which is expressly an antibiblical position. This is especially true in the 20th and 21st centuries. I agree that America has never been a Christian nation, by its own admission (Treaty of Tripoli), though there has always been a Christian remnant. A large fervent religious component has often been present and confused with being “Christian”. During our history many attempts have been made to “paint” the “Founding Fathers” as Christian but the writings of these men reveal their lack of Christian salvational understanding of the Bible.
Christ has said that you will know a tree by its fruit. Indeed, America has given rise to several of the most popular religious sects that lay a claim to be Christian such as the Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons), Christian Science and the modern “health and prosperity” heresies. These religions found fertile ground because of our strong religiosity. Even the atheistic movement that dominates much of American society carries deep religious fervor as exemplified by the LGBT movement. These faiths testify that Americans are a very religious people! The issue is not about being religious or not religious! The issue is about which religion will win you over to their side. The religion that preaches the evil of big government or the religion that preaches the evil of big business.
I would propose a radical change, at least for Christians. I propose that Christians follow the Bible and look to God for their security. This requires going through the tough times like Paul in order to spread the true Gospel message to others. This requires enduring the dislike and retribution of those who disagree with the Gospel, like Christ endured. In other words, stop looking for heaven on earth, it’s not here! Stop expecting to usher in the Millennial Kingdom, it’s not happening because of your works or wishes! Start praying like Paul in Philippians (2:1-8; 4:11-13). The leaders of the world, to include America, are ushering in Satan’s kingdom and have been since the murder of Abel. You, like Abel, need the mindset that you will be faithful to the teachings of the Bible regardless of the cost trusting in Christ, the author and finisher of your faith. Then you will have peace. Then you will be beyond the rhetoric of the political saviors wherever they may reside. Or else you will find yourself worshiping the idol of Reason (Liberty) which is found in New York City harbor, the Statue of Liberty. That goddess who is a throwback to the ancient pagan world. Remember the terror of the French Revolution based on Reason, they found that they were the terrorists both internally and externally. America must avoid following this path for if we continue on our current path we will find the terrorists — and they will be us. Some of the world who lives under the falling of missiles and drones already see us as the true terrorists.