One Nation Under…The President of the United States

Cornfield Theology
Cornfield Theology
One Nation Under…The President of the United States

The Hand Over The Heart

For 12 years, I attended a parochial school in Dubuque, Iowa. I shuffled into class every morning, put away my items, and headed toward my desk. Before the clock struck 8am the teacher would instruct everyone to stand up, and we would recite The Pledge of Allegiance. The Pledge of Allegiance has fallen out of favor in many sectors of American society, but occasionally, usually in rural parts of the country, a football game, a rodeo, or a swim meet opens with the pledge. I won’t opine why there is disdain for putting the hand over the heart and declaring nice things about the country one lives in, other than to say there is growing vitriol about America from entitled Americans who claim various victim-hood statuses because of the “oppression” from the country that gave them the ability to make silly claims. But I digress. There is another reason why The Pledge of Allegiance has fallen out of favor. When one places the hand over the heart, one declares that these 50 states are One Nation Under God. The Declaration of Independence may have inspired the phrase. We read these famous words beginning in the second paragraph.

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.

The Declaration of Independence

Nothing rankles the feathers of an atheist and a progressive more than putting God in government, and there is no denying that the founding fathers, who were swimming in the waters of the Christian faith, knew the importance of locating a deity outside of oneself. Were all the foundation fathers Christians? Nope. But the waters they swam in were steeped with the Christian faith. 

Now, before all the Christian Nationalists pull out their pom-poms to cheer the rest of this blog, you might be sorely disappointed. And before the anti-Christian Nationalists begin to say mean things to me on X (formally known as Twitter), you need to take a deep breath. For the moment, I want to make an observation and then offer a suggestion. My observation is about where we have been and where we are as a society. My suggestion is directed at those who will vote during the general elections. 

It appears my goal is to upset everyone. So here I go. 

An Observation

The American experiment has been exceptional in many respects. If the history books are honest, they will say that America, since its founding, has been a place of freedom. By no means has America been perfect. For example, the enslavement of image-bears of God in the American South is an ugly gash that goes to the bone with a main artery gushing out blood. But I agree with Frederick Douglass, a former slave, when he said this about the US Constitution and The Declaration of Independence. 

When the architects of our Great Republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.

– Frederick Douglass

In this nation, a war was fought under God to set people free. Find me another country that fought a civil war to set slaves free. I’ll wait. 

Without a doubt, Democratic Christians in the slave-holding South were wrong. What they did was wicked and evil. Slavery is the opposite of freedom, and a free America needs to continue to pursue freedom for all. Then and now. A proper and right understanding of a nation under God leads to freedom. Some of the non-slave-holding Christians in the American North were willing to lay down their life so that the words of Douglas might be fulfilled. I also might add that there were faith pastors in the South preaching the gospel and preaching against slavery. Truth and freedom prevailed precisely because their political leaders and the general populace believed they were a nation under God and God judges the wicked. I do not think that a nation that does not see itself under God fights for freedom. The present-day human and sex-trafficking rings are case and point. Where is the outrage for the child who is enslaved, sent to a distant island, and forced to have sex with an adult?

Now, here is my observation. A nation that is under God leads to freedom for all. A nation that is not under God does not take us down the path to freedom but has the potential to allow for tyranny. My first observation leads to another observation. At present, there is little reason to believe that our political class believes they live under God. If our political leaders do not believe they live under God, then what? I’ll tell you. They live unto themselves. They live for their super PAC, special interest, and lobbyist groups.

When people do not believe they live under God, there is no reverential fear of God.

Dare I say that the devolving of our political class, along with their morals, is because of the absence of godly fear? Because this is happening, decisions are made without respect for God and his standards of justice and righteousness. What do you think God says about the Banana Republic that is the United States of America? I am asking a rhetorical question because God does have something to say.

Woe to those who call evil good

and good evil, 

who put darkness for light 

and light for darkness, 

who put bitter for sweet

and sweet for bitter!

– Isaiah 5:20

Woe to those who are perverting the standard of justice set out by God. 

What we are witnessing in America is a power grab by an elite class on both sides of the aisle. Many godless people have stripped away, over the years, the reasons why this country was founded. America is no longer one nation under God. She is more like one nation under the president of the United States. Let me ask this question to Christians. Of the two options, which one gives you peace when you sleep at night? 

A (Voting) Suggestion

I live in Iowa. And every four years, the national headlines focus on Iowa like a laser beam. The GOP continues to allow Iowa to cast the first votes during primary season. The DNC is a different matter. Nonetheless, Iowans are well-versed when it comes to politics. While the state has turned red recently, it also voted for Obama in two consecutive election cycles. Regardless of whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, I have one piece of advice as you vote. Vote for a candidate who fears God. Vote for a candidate who believes the living God who created the universe will judge them. 

Luthern, Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, or whatever. When it comes to politics, denominations mean little to nothing to me. What matters is that a politician wakes up in the morning and prays. What matters to me is that a politician reads 2 Corinthians rather than Two Corinthians. What matters to me is a politician who can pronounce Psalms and not P-salms. Vote for someone who fears God. 

What I Am Not

At this point, I can imagine someone saying, “You are a Christian Nationalist!” For the record, I don’t know what that means. The terms have not been defined. I have read Wilson and Wolfe, but we are in the midst of an ongoing conversation taking place at the family reunion. Some people make sense, but there is always a crazy uncle who needs to chime in. I am trying to figure out who is the crazy uncle. Perhaps he is me. The pro and anti-Christian nationalists can have their way with me on X. I do not care. But are you really going to have beef with me because I want a president who fears God? If that is the accusation, then I am guilty. Send me to the clinker. But here is my question. If you are a Christian, why would you not want the same? What is the better alternative? Again, I’ll wait for your answer. 

Not a Pastor-N-Chief

To be clear, I am not looking for a “Pastor-N-Chief.” I am not looking for a president who can preach a sermon on Sunday morning. Further, I would prefer politicians not to use local churches for their lobbying. If a politician walks into Redemption Hill on Sunday morning, they can take a seat and hear straight gospel heat. If they do not fear God, I pray they will by the end of the church service. What I am advocating is that the most powerful person in the world has a moral compass that begins and ends with a deity that is outside of themselves. I want a leader who fears God and senses the fear of God when making decisions. 

Not Popular, But True

Some Christian Nationalists are a bit too zealous for my liking. They want to castigate any Christian who does not fall in line. Ironically, they love Donald Trump even though he has made every effort to demonstrate that he does not fear God. The squishy evangelicals are sympathetic to Joe Biden even though he has made every effort to replace God over this country with himself. He and his policies have become the embodiment of radical individualism. As they say, you shall know them by their fruit. 

So, now that I have alienated 90% of the people reading, listening, or watching this blog, I will repeat my encouragement to Christians. Vote for a person that you perceive fears God. I know that getting a read on a politician is like playing roulette. Because, at the end of the day, you do not know a person’s heart. Only God does. You will not know if a candidate can articulate the Chalcedonian Definition. But does the candidate demonstrate a fear of God? Their words and previous and current experience might clue you into an answer. 

The Cupboard is Bare

“But Shawn, do you see the options? Even you say that Trump and Biden do not fit into your rubric for voting for a candidate?” Some of you are certainly thinking about these questions, and I have a few responses.

First, you are voting for more than a president. You are voting for the school board, city council, mayor, state and federal representatives, etc. May I recommend you prioritize who you are going to vote for with someone who fears God?

Second, I concede the point that there are not a lot of great options at the top of the ticket. Casting your vote will require biblical wisdom. So I will end where I began. Which candidate will uphold your ability to express your freedom and allow you to worship God while you live in the fear of God? Since the founding of the United States Constitution, the debate between personal freedom and restrictions of personal freedom has taken place. Go ahead and read James Madison (pro-federalist) and Patrick Henry (anti-federalist), and you will witness a debate that took place in public. And the debate continues. This country was founded on freedom and liberty. The freedom of religion and the liberty for you to practice your religion. Who is going to uphold the foundation of our Constitution? Vote wisely.

I desire a country that is “under God” and not under a president, politician, bureaucrat, or someone in the elite class. It is either Christ or chaos. There are no other options. 

Shawn Powers is the lead pastor of Redemption Hill Church. You can follow him on Twitter at shawn_DSM