“And where the body of the people, or any single man, is deprived of their right, or is under the exercise of a power without right, and have no appeal on earth, then they have a liberty to appeal to heaven”
– John Locke
History is the story of who we are and resonates with us because it gives us a sense of belonging and purpose. It challenges us to be great and to be fearless as we pursue the greatness of our predecessors. In recent history, we have succumbed to a revisionist tale of our past, and as a result, we have forgotten who we are.
America has been led to believe stories of a secular past that brought us favor and prosperity. Proponents of this secular society lean on cherry-picked quotations from our Founders, who sought to bind a union of separatist states established for the free exercise of various Christian denominations. To the north, the Puritans established the colonies of New England, and the Quakers settled Pennsylvania. The Anglican Church established the Atlantic states like Virginia and Maryland, while the Baptists established Rhode Island. When the Founders spoke of a separation of Church and State, they rejected one official state church that they might find common religious freedom and not the rejection of Christianity or its tenets in government.
From the villainous portrayal of Christopher Columbus to the reimagining of our founding by the authors of the 1619 Project, America has rejected the Truth and the God of the Founders and, subsequently, His blessing. If America is to reacquire the blessings of God, it must look to its past revivals and seek the God of its founding. This is the thesis of The Light and the Glory by Peter Marshall and David Manuel.
First published in 1977, The Light and the Glory is a novel that recounts the Christian conversion of two Ivy League college students in the 1970s. It describes their pursuit to validate or debunk American college professors’ assertions that the United States’ Founders were deists or atheists pursuing a secular nation. Digging through the shelves of America’s first university libraries like those of Harvard and Yale, they uncovered something else altogether. The Christian foundations of this nation are inseparable from its existence.
The deists believe that God, if He exists, sets the wheels of the universe in motion and otherwise doesn’t mingle in the affairs of man. This stands in contrast to founding Revolutionaries who found no redress in government and, heeding the words of 2 Chronicles, appealed to the highest authority they knew: an appeal to Heaven.
One of my favorite Revolutionary War symbols is the Pine Tree Flag. It is a basic white flag with a green pine tree on it. Inscribed above the tree is the slogan “An Appeal To Heaven.” This flag was flown by ships commissioned into the navy by then-Commander of the Continental Army, George Washington. The inscription originates in a quote from John Locke’s Second Treatise on Civil Government, which suggests that when a society finds no redress with its government, it has the right to appeal to the authority of God. For Founders who allegedly did not believe in the mingling of the Almighty, they certainly raised their petitions to Him, and they did so on official state insignia.
Throughout the insanity of the past few years, I have often wondered where the Church was in anchoring the American society to its foundation. I was disappointed to find that the Church had adopted the lies of the postmodernists and was no longer on stable enough ground to be a Biblical anchor. Such lies suggested that the Church is a racist institution or that America is antithetical to the Kingdom of God. Because the modern Church received its understanding from postmodernism and not from scripture, they were ill-prepared to address the maladies of a national moral collapse from a Biblical perspective.
I believe that the Spirit of God speaks to His people, so it was no surprise that members of different Church bodies have expressed similar concerns over its direction to me. The Church has denied the direness of our national state and rejected the rallying cry of 2 Chronicles to collectively humble ourselves and seek God’s face. In 2 Chronicles, God promised to restore the land of those who turned back to Him. Do Christians believe this, or is the Bible merely a supplement to postmodern philosophy?
Since 2020 and the failure of good-faith electoral challenges to be heard, a feeling of despair crept over conservative Americans. Repeat government abuses at the hands of an unresponsive regime have left much of the electorate with little recourse in government. In their desperation, many conservatives have reserved their final appeal for the Almighty.
Recent headlines of the leftist press have taken note of this appeal, which terrifies them. They call it Christian Nationalism and liken it to any other ism they’ve adorned conservative America with. This one falls squarely outside their secular realm, and they are helpless to avert its groundswell. Is it a coincidence that as a quiet collective appeal rises to God, fifty years of policy and the termination of sixty million children in-utero is finally rebuked? Is it a coincidence that natural rights to self-defense are being reasserted, or that the ability of the unresponsive regime to wage bureaucratic war on its people is being reined in? I don’t think so.
Our Founders did not wish to establish an American theocracy, nor should we. They also recognized that no nation has existed or been governed without religion and that Christianity was the greatest of them and a gift to mankind. Will America humble itself and pray and appeal to Heaven? Perhaps this is our best recourse to restore the blessings of our posterity.
Photo by Matt Artz on Unsplash