Without the Authority of God and the US Constitution, Will America last?
Obama’s speech corresponds quite literally to those who are spoken of in the Bible as “traitors…having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof…” (2 Timothy 3:5) Obama replaces the power of godliness with government power, wielded without regard for God-endowed unalienable rights.
He shows no respect for the power of right action that flows through God’s provision of individual conscience and goodwill, to all individuals inclined by their goodwill to fulfill the God ordained obligations from which their rights derive.
Like the elitist faction he represents, Obama holds out, to morally vulnerable individuals, an inoperable promise of freedom. He uses this empty promise to distract them from the fact that he is discarding the God empowered notion of unalienable right which the Declaration evokes to constrain and thereby legitimize government power (i.e., keep it within the limits of God’s law).
The words written above are taken from the article I published analyzing Barack Obama’s 2nd Inaugural address in January, 2013. In that article I ponder Obama’s words in light of the defining premises of America’s national identity, set forth in the American Declaration of Independence. In the intervening years, my own reliance on the principles and logic of the Declaration has not altered.
In his Inaugural Address President Trump formally avows his intention to “Make America Great Again”. The Declaration’s logic of God-endowed unalienable right has been the critical focal point of America’s national identity since its first appearance in human history. One would therefore expect it to be the ground and guiding light of his Administration’s governance, on behalf of the American people.
At the outset, it seemed as if President Trump’s words would confirm this expectation. He proclaimed that the present transition of power as “not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another, but…transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the people.” In this respect, he seemed to eschew partisanship when he said that “What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. Jan. 20, 2017 will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.”
Many grassroots Americans are fed up with the anti-constitutional agenda abetted by both the leadership of both the Democratic and Republican Parties during Obama’s tenure as the national figurehead for the elitist faction’s usurpation of power in the United States. Their discontent was the mainspring of President Trump’s successful campaign. His words, therefore, seem full of promise to the people who voted him into office. They expect to see the elitist faction’s overthrow of America’s Constitutional self-government quickly reversed.
But people familiar with the intended character of the government established by the U.S. Constitution, must have taken notice of the fact that that Constitution was nowhere mentioned in President Trump’s address. It must have fallen strangely upon their ears when he referred to the oath he swore during the ceremony as “an oath of allegiance to all Americans.” In fact, it is an oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Later he said that the “bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America”, with no reference to the Constitution, or to the goals of union and justice which the people of the United States therein declare to be its aims.
Though the people of the United States are the ultimate arbiters of governmental power, as established by the Constitution, they are nowhere in that document declared to be its rulers. Though upholding the Constitution of the United States is the sworn duty of all high officials in the U.S. government, and the governments of the States, respectively, the Constitution’s provisions preclude the notion that they owe “total allegiance to the United States of America.” To the contrary, when people act in contravention of the provisions for right, justice, law and government made in Constitution of the United States, (including the retained rights of the people, and the powers reserved to the States, respectively and the people,) allegiance to the Constitution of the United States supersedes allegiance to leaders, however popular, who recommend or perpetrate such violations.
Many of Donald Trump’s supporters in the late election will reflexively assert that he agrees with this strict adherence to the provisions of the Constitution. But the words and rhetorical tropes used in his inaugural address give no proof of this assertion. When he tries to wax eloquent in describing the bases for our unity as a people, he alludes to our pain, but neglects the common premises of God-endowed right and justice that give rise to our common identity. He alludes to widespread resentment against the corruption of arrogant elitists, bur neglects our common reverence for the authority of God, and “the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God”, which justify, and justly constrain, our liberty as a people.
President Trump speaks of our nation’s landscapes, as if the community of physical nature can be relied on to keep human beings from dissension, conflict and war. He alludes to the physical blood in our veins, and the infusion of physical life from our Creator, as if either has kept people from bloodshed on countless battlefields; or keeps people today from making war against humanity itself, in the guise of their own helpless offspring in the womb.
President Trump professes Christianity, but in his address he neglects the logic of the Word made flesh. Christ tells us (Matthew 15:19) that the evils that divide us, and that sully and destroy our lives, come from within our hearts, not from the external perceptions and material objects that all too often preoccupy our thoughts. The American people has never simply relied, for its unity, on the material things President Trump’s rhetoric evokes. The idea of human equality, premised upon respect for right; and the call to act according to principles, derived from God’s authority—these have time and again united our people in hope, in battle, and in joyous vindication of God’s will for decency, justice and good fellowship. These shared motives of the heart, informed by God’s intention for our humanity, have reliably brought us together in unity—in peace and war; in good times and in times of the greatest difficulty and danger.
In this respect, material pride and ambition are not all that unite us as a nation. We share a commitment to the God-endowed hope and better destiny, of humankind. These are prospects offered to all people of good will, from every clime and nation, but only insofar as they are willing to uphold the provisions for right, justice and good fellowship God has inscribed upon the human heart. For we look to God as the source of our common goodwill. As we reflect upon God’s will and intention for our lives, we discover the confidence that inspires our courage, substantiates our goodness, and enkindles amongst us the motive of love by which God first engendered, and even now is willing to sustain our existence.
For we know that, —as human beings and, therefore, as Americans—our way of life does not begin or end in ourselves alone. It begins and ends in Almighty God: on whose being our being depends, but whose blessing we cannot command. We can, however, trust that He will bless and protect us, so long as we commit ourselves to remember and strive to walk in His way. This must be our first priority—the key to what we mean by “right”. Unless we restore ourselves to that priority, putting “America First” will simply assure that America does not last. For “God knows the way of the righteous. But the way of evildoers will perish” (Psalm 1:6), —however great they seem, or think themselves to be.
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