From Providence – We Are Favored By God
We Do Declare – 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.(1)
That He Favors Our Undertakings – The official seal of the United States reverse side contains a 13-step (original 13 colonies) pyramid with the year 1776 in Roman numerals at the base (the year independence was declared). At the top of the pyramid is the Eye of Providence with the Latin motto Annuit Coeptis meaning “It [the Eye of Providence] is favorable to our undertakings” or “He favors our undertakings.” Below the pyramid, a scroll reads Novus Ordo Seclorum, Latin for “New Order of the Ages.” which refers to 1776 as the beginning of the American new era.(2)
So, We Trust In Him – Adopted by an Act of Congress in 1782, the official seal of the United States, contains the Latin phrase E Pluribus Unum, meaning “out of many, one.” Traditionally this was understood to mean that out of many states (or colonies) there emerged a single unified nation. But it also suggests that out of many peoples, races, religions, languages, and ancestries there emerged a single people and nation. This is illustrative of the concept of the melting pot for which the country has long been known. Never codified by law, E Pluribus Unum was also considered the de facto motto of the United States until it was replaced by In God We Trust in 1956 (H. J. Resolution 396).
And In His Son – In 1892 the Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States of America, in The Church of the Holy Trinity versus the United States, unanimously decided that America was indeed a Christian Nation. They wrote, “Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of The Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise, and in this sense, and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian.” And later in the same document, they wrote, “These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.”(3)
To Preeminence – We Are The City On A Hill
Population (“Finest System”) – The United States was characterized as a country where individuals from all nations were melted into a new race of men, as described by J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur, Letters from an American Farmer: “Whence came all these people? They are a mixture of English, Scotch, Irish, French, Dutch, Germans, and Swedes. What, then, is the American, this new man? He is either a European or the descendant of a European; hence that strange mixture of blood, which you will find in no other country. I could point out to you a family whose grandfather was an Englishman, whose wife was Dutch, whose son married a French woman, and whose present four sons have now four wives of different nations. He is an American, who, leaving behind him all his ancient prejudices and manners, receives new ones from the new mode of life he has embraced, the new government he obeys, and the new rank he holds. The Americans were once scattered all over Europe; here they are incorporated into one of the finest systems of population which has ever appeared.”(4)
Prosperity – The chance for a more prosperous life drew many immigrants to the New World, leading to its being known as the land of opportunity. Until recently (and since 1872 when it overtook the United Kingdom), the United States has held the title of world’s largest economy. Not until 2015, according to the International Monetary Fund, was it knocked off the top spot by China (although these numbers are somewhat disputable).(5)
Power – The United States abandoned its isolationist policies and began to emerge as a world power following its entry into World War I. It came into its own as a one of the world’s reigning super powers after World War II. It has since emerged as the sole remaining super power with a military superiority that is unquestionable both in size, technology and spending.(6)
To Pride (Arrogance?) – We Are Indispensable
We Stand Alone – In his second inaugural address, President Bill Clinton stated his belief that “America stands alone as the world’s indispensable nation.” In his memoir of the Clinton presidency, The Clinton Wars, political journalist Sidney Blumenthal elaborated on what the phrase was intended to represent: “Only the United States had the power to guarantee global security: without our presence or support, multilateral endeavors would fail.”
We Are Who People Look To – President Barack Obama emphasized this point repeatedly, and most expansively in May 2014 while giving a commencement address to West Point cadets: “[I]it is America that the world looks to for help. So, the United States is and remains the one indispensable nation. That has been true for the century past and it will be true for the century to come.”(7)
To Passe? – Whatever Became Of That New Order?
We Are Not A Christian Nation – On April 6, 2009, the country’s then leading citizen, President Barack Obama, stated during a joint news conference with Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul: “One of the great strengths of the United States is, although as I mention we have a very large Christian population, we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation, or a Jewish nation, or a Muslim nation, we consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values.”
We Set Our Own Ideals And Values – Once upon a time, the characterization of the United States as anything other than a Christian nation would have been largely unchallenged. Yet a look at recent in recent years the American public has become more tolerant on moral issues that historically were viewed as vices and less tolerant on moral issues that historically were viewed as Christian virtues. Thus today, over 125 years later, many might call into question whether today’s Supreme Court would uphold the 1892 decision that our laws “embody” Christ’s teachings and that our civilization and institutions are “emphatically Christian.”(8)
To Perishing? – Can We Avoid The Handwriting On The Wall?
Kingdoms Are Established (Rise) By God – Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted. (Romans 13:1-2, NIV 1984)
Kingdoms Are Extinguished (Fall) By God – Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end. Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting. Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.” (Daniel 5:26-28, NIV 1984)
To Prevention? – A New Birth?
Power To The People (called By My Name) – [I]f my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14, NIV 1984)
We Here Highly Resolve – “That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”(9)
I hope so. I pray so.
- The Declaration of Independence.
- Wilson, J. L. (2009). Fresh Start Devotionals. Fresno, CA: Willow City Press.
- Gettysburg Address – Abraham Lincoln