Yes—I grew up in a Conservative-Christian circle.
Until my sophomore of college, my father was an Agnostic, though he called himself an Atheist—mainly because he was searching for answers and wasn’t sure where he himself stood on the issue of God.
My mother was Christian, raised by my grandparents who were raised by Christians who were raised by Christians… But, no one ever forced institutional religion on me. Jesus lived in our hearts and we thought about Him and talked about Him all the time. Church was a place we went each week—it wasn’t the only place where we met Jesus. And we loved people, even if they didn’t love Jesus.
We often sang songs like God Bless America and joined See You at the Pole—the yearly morning prayer movement where we’d pray around the flagpole of our schools. That’s how I grew up. It’s what I believed.
Most everybody goes through changes when they fly the nest. I attended college in downtown Chicago, which was a change from back-town, Michigan. Four years ago I moved to Asia, which wasn’t as shocking as my move to Chicago. After a while, change doesn’t change you that much.
Did moving out of town affect my opinions? Maybe a little. For example, it’s easy for many people to equate their country with Heaven itself, even for Atheists and Agnostics who don’t believe in Heaven—or don’t know. It’s called patriotism. Everyone loves their country… I mean, that’s your country. That’s a good thing. And, when we move out of the house, patriotism is one of the many home-grown beliefs we reevaluate.
Perhaps, with more people traveling in America, more Americans have stepped back from patriotism. It’s been popular to talk about how America is not the Kingdom of God on earth. American Christianity does tend toward Conservative ideology, even though the Constitution was written by men—Deists, more specifically—who believed God had abandoned the earth, like Dr. Manhattan at the end of Watchmen. The US Constitution was written with the idea that it had to be every bit as perfect as the Bible. We were our only hope for ourselves—so they thought—because God wasn’t here. He left. That’s what Washington and Jefferson and those guys believed.
As a result, the US Constitution was well-written. I mean, dah. Look at things. Yeah, we all know by now—at least we should—that sin exists in the world. A lot of bad things happened in America. Almost as bad as what happens everywhere else in the world. But, a lot of the bad things were done by people in America, not by the entire nation of the United States themselves. The same is true of American Christians… they are in America, they don’t speak for everyone… So, the good and bad things aren’t always done by the same people, though, often times, bad people do good things and good people do bad things. But that’s another discussion.
So, did God Bless America? Well, He certainly didn’t curse it—even though a lot of people have prayed for Him to. Just like a lot of people have prayed for Him to bless it. But, after living in Asia for almost four years, let me give you a different perspective…
When most people say that God Blessed America, they mean that America is equal to Israel, which is equal to the Kingdom of Heaven itself, and that, while we say that America and Israel are not perfect, we are never allowed to say what those imperfections are. We don’t admit that we think that, especially to ourselves, but that’s what most of us mean when we say God Blessed America. I mean something different, even though I still use the same phrase.
Perhaps America isn’t so much blessed as it is the blessing to others. Usually blessings are, themselves, blessed. Many have been cursed through America, by people in America. But, more blessing has come to the world from the good Americans than curses from the bad ones. And I admit that it’s saying a lot.
Taiwan, for example, is a free country. It’s the nation China could have been. The government of Taiwan was the original Chinese government that was chased-out by the Communists in 1949. I’ve witnessed the harm of America’s pop-entertainment industry in Taiwan, as well as the influx of processed food that isn’t exactly the healthiest. But we’re here. Even after 63 years, the Communists on Mainland China—as numerous and powerful as they are—have not breached Taiwan.
Taiwan is the only body of land that stands in the ocean between America and China, but America doesn’t know much about it. Technically, the two Chinese nations are still at war. If you ask the Chinese, Taiwan is a province of Communist China. If you ask America, they’ll confuse Taiwan with Thailand. Taiwan has been blessed by the power of America, but it’s also been a blessing right back.
But America only knows that they have blessed others. They don’t know who those others are and Americans, especially, don’t know the others who have blessed them.
I’m a Conservative Christian. I grew up that way. I moved out of the house and across the world and I’m a Conservative Christian now more than ever. I’m in favor of Life, just as I’m in favor of many inalienable rights, endowed by our Creator. I vote based on many issues, not merely because a Candidate talks about Jesus. Jesus is bigger than Conservative ideology. He’s bigger than America. He’s bigger than China, Russia, or Taiwan. And He gives me all the reason in the world to be grateful because I know that every blessing I have—and every blessing I give—came from Him. And I try my best to maintain my freedom, not because I think God left, but because I know Jesus is returning.
Has God blessed America? Yes and no. He has blessed Americans through others. And He has blessed others through Americans. But, maybe we shouldn’t pray for God to bless America. Maybe we should pray for more Americans to receive the gift of gratitude. Gratitude keeps the blessings, after all.