July 4th, 2011
I will add a little theological diagnosis, though. I pretty much always do!
It seems to be a law that whatever we say about ourselves winds up not being true. There's no better way to be a fool than to be wise in your own estimation. Check out the really infamous, the real monsters - the Nazis, the Stalinists, the Inquisition - and you'll find how impressed they were with themselves and their holy mission.
It works the other way too. Those who are unimpressed with themselves keep surprising you with their wisdom. My wife is a good example.
John the apostle summed it up in few words: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." If you talk straight about your sins, it's not true anymore. You no longer have them. But on the other hand, "If we say we have no sin, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us." As Jesus said to the Pharisees, "Because you say, 'We see!' your sin remains." The people in Laodicea were rich and increased with goods, and in need of nothing in their own eyes, so they did not know that they were wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. It's not so bad to be these things - but not even to know it! That's really pitiful.
So it should be clear why America is in the shape it's in and getting worse. If this law holds, we should expect those who boast of being the land of the free and the home of the brave to be slaves of various addictions and empty pleasures leading to self-destruction, both as individuals and as a nation, and to be afflicted with cowardice to an insane degree. Here we are, groped and x-rayed at airports, seemingly unable to understand that anyone that wanted to blow us up would just blow up the crowd assembled for their convenience at the checkpoint.
Boasting of being the light of the world and a beacon of freedom, the nation has been degraded to a filthy and violent empire that tortures, kidnaps, and locks people away forever precisely because there is no case against them that any court would listen to. The moral leader of the world, the foremost producer and exporter of violent pornography, provisioner and trainer of the secret police for vile dictatorships around the world!
No surprise that a nation that boasts of being "under God" is anything but. No surprise that boasting of being "indivisible," its people are so easily ripped off by pathological rich people and corporations that set their victims against one another, people that have learned nothing since Frederick Douglass saw the white dockworkers hating the black slaves working with them on the Baltimore docks instead of noticing the bosses that were ripping off both of them. And a nation that boasts insanely of "liberty and justice for all" - should we be surprised that no one even expects justice, except the "justice" people can buy anyplace, if they have a good lawyer and a fat wallet? When somebody actually does get justice, who is not amazed, so that everybody talks about it?
In 60 years, 40 as a Christian, I've found an unfailing principle: if what I say invites God to look my way and say, "Oh yeah?" - don't say it! If American Christians don't lay this principle to heart, and soon, there will, in the most literal sense possible, be hell to pay.