Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Star-Spangled Banner

Since today is the Sunday preceeding Independance Day, we sang patriotic songs in sacrament meeting. The closing hymn was "The Star-Spangled Banner", our national anthem. I watched in amusement and gratitude as our entire congregation rose to sing - including our contingent of West Africans half of which aren't citiczens of this country yet. We finished the first verse and as we moved on to the second I was wondering how many people in the congregation, old and new members alike, actually knew there was more than one verse to the national anthem. Then as the third verse began, the words really hit me. I made eye contact with a friend and could tell that she was struck as I was by the spirit of the lyrics.

Oh, Thus be it ever, when free men shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with vic'try and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust!"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

The founding fathers really knew what they were doing. They were divinely inspired when they fled to this land for religious freedom and when they continually thanked God for upholding that freedom. Now, "In God we Trust" is almost a joke. We have driven him so far out of our lives and out of our schools and our hearts that we have made a mockery of the very principles upon which our nation was built. We began with a sure foundation, built upon faith in Christ and now we are digging furiously in the sand, clawing through the rubble to dispose of any trace of God in our lives. The result: our children are raised without faith, our work has succeeded and we have become a godless society! Heck, the pledge of allegience has even been taken out of schools! Has this improved our lives? Has this made our country even stronger? I answer with a resounding NO! Perhaps you do not believe in God, but the principles that are taught through faith in the name of God: obedience, respect, reverence, love, service, kindness, are seriously lacking in society these days and sad to say we only have ourselves to blame. We are a nation now lacking in so many things, if we looked back to a point when things went seriously wrong, it would be when this crusade against God existing in our daily lives began. I think to be united, to fight for any war or cause and to be on the side of truth, we need His spirit with us. That is clearly not what we have with us now.
I am constantly reminded of the warning in the Book of Mormon; as long as the people were faithful and kept the commandments and took care of their fellowmen, they would prosper in the land. As soon as they began to set their hearts upon wealth and to be lifted up in pride and to cast out their poor, they would be chastised by the Lord. I truly believe our founding fathers knew this and built their belief into the wording of all of their documents and songs as a reminder for us. It is a shame we have become to proud to listen.

2 comments:

Tyler said...

I both agree and disagree. :-)

Yes, we live in an increasingly secular country. Yes, the government has been doing a lot of stupid thing that affect the public practice of religion. Yes, the capitalist nature of society is one of our biggest problems today. However, we are still one of the most 'Christian' countries in the world in a variety of ways.

Unfortunately, even religion has become a political tool. The small minority that is the 'Religious Right' is really just a party of bible carrying republicans.

True Christians, of which there are a great many in this country, have a much more balanced view, and have somehow managed to keep the country relatively close to where we need to be.

Heather said...

I admit, I didn't read everything, but I love the last verse of The Star Spangled Banner and I ALWAYS cry through it. I love it when we get to sing it in church...it's the only place you hear the whole song :)