The Declaration of Independence was signed July 4, 1776. That makes the United States of America 241 years old.
You often see “Put God back in America” displayed on church signs around the 4th of July. And there is that currently popular slogan - “Make America Great Again.”
But my question is this:
When was God “in” America…and when were we “Great?" What time period is it we’d like to see revived?
Let’s look at our history and see if we can figure out when that was...
The first permanent English colony in the New World: Jamestown, Virginia
They defined their purpose through the governing charter, which unequivocally established a Christian basis and purpose for the colony. The charter stated their task as governed by “the providence of Almighty God…to the glory of His Diving Majesty, in propagating of the Christian religion to such people, as yet live in darkness and miserable ignorance of the true knowledge and worship of God.”
Seems like a good start...I guess. Maybe this is that great time when God was in America?
But oh…the first kidnapped black Africans, 19 of them who were seized from a captured Spanish slave ship, were brought to the New World to work as slaves. These 19 were brought in not as slaves, but as indentured servants and later freed. But this is where it all began.
(How they were transported)
The English poisoned the wine at a “peace conference” with Powhatan (Native American Indian) leaders, killing about 200. 50 more were physically attacked and killed.
In the Pequot War, English colonists commanded by John Mason, with Mohegan and Narragansett (Indian) allies, launched a night attack on a large Pequot village on the Mystic River in present-day Connecticut, where they burned the inhabitants in their homes and killed all survivors. Total fatalities between 600-700.
Massachusetts became the first colony to authorize slavery through enacted law.
The Virginia Slave Codes of 1705 defined people imported from nations that were not Christian, and Native Americans (Indians) who were sold to or captured by Europeans during raids - as slaves.
(The word Negro, btw, comes from the Spanish word for "black")
Militia volunteers and Indian allies under Colonel James Moore attacked Ft. Neoheroka, the main stronghold of the Tuscarora Indians. 200 Tuscaroras were burned to death in the village, and 900-1000 others were subsequently killed or captured.
Our Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence...in which they said this: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Maybe this is where the "God is in America" part happened? Maybe this is when we were "Great"?
Well...apparently the Founding Fathers didn't consider blacks to be included in "all men" because of the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention...the following men...49% of the Declaration's signers...owned slaves...
Richard Bassett (DE)
Jacob Broom (DE)
John Dickinson (DE)
George Read (DE)
William Houstoun (GA)
William Few (GA)
William Samuel Johnson (CT)
Daniel Carroll (MD)
Luther Martin (MD)
John Francis Mercer (MD)
Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer (MD)
William Livingston (NJ)
William Blount (NC)
William Richardson Davie (NC)
Alexander Martin (NC)
Richard Dobbs Spaight (NC)
Pierce Butler (SC)
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney (SC)
Charles Pinckney (SC)
John Rutledge (SC)
900 Tennessee troops under John Coffee, and including Davy Crockett, attacked an unsuspecting Creek town. About 186-200 Creek Indian warriors were killed, and an unknown number of women and children were killed, some burned in their houses.
Oh. God was in THIS house? When was that?
GEORGE WASHINGTON - 1st President
No Party Affiliation
Owned between 250-350 slaves
THOMAS JEFFERSON - 3rd President
Owned about 200 slaves
JAMES MADISON - 4th President
Owned more than 100 slaves
JAMES MONROE - 5th President
Owned about 75 slaves
ANDREW JACKSON - 7th President
Owned fewer than 200 slaves
MARTIN VAN BUREN - 8th President
Owned one slave
WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON - 9th President
Owned 11 slaves
JOHN TYLER - 10th President
Owned about 70 slaves
JAMES K. POLK - 11th President
Owned about 25 slaves
ZACHARY TAYLOR - 12th President
Owned fewer than 15 slaves
ANDREW JOHNSON - 17th President
(Abraham Lincoln’s VP…interesting because Lincoln was a Republican but had a Democrat VP)
Owned probably 8 slaves
ULYSSES S. GRANT - 18th President
A clause in the Constitution that gave the South added political representation for three-fifths of its slave population, so Southern slaveholding presidents governed the nation for roughly 50 of 72 years. And four of the six Northern presidents in that span catered to Southern proslavery policies.
For example, Martin Van Buren, our 8th president, who came from a New York slaveholding family, sought to undermine the nation’s judicial process and send the captives from the slave ship Amistad back to Cuba – and certain death.
Millard Fillmore, our 13th president, also from New York, signed the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, which enforced return of escaped slaves even from free states.
From the start, America‘s foreign policy favored slaveholding interests, and administrations refused to cooperate with efforts by Britain to suppress the international slave trade, even though the United States had defined the African slave trade in 1820 as piracy, a capital crime.
None of that sounds like God was in the White House to me.
(This little boy was kidnapped at age 7! But he's not being saved by the FBI or police...he's featured in an ad to SELL HIM! Is THIS when our country was great!!!???)
Miners killed 300 Wintu Indians near Old Shasta, California, and burned down their tribal council meeting house.
White settlers launched an attack on a Tolowa Indian village near Lake Earl in California, killing between 65 and 150 at dawn.
Blacks were legally defined by our Supreme Court as “non-persons.”
In 1856, Dred Scott, a black slave, had been taken north of the Mason-Dixon Line into Illinois and Wisconsin where slavery was prohibited by the Missouri Compromise. He sued the court for his freedom - and lost. The Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional - and that Congress had no authority to limit slavery that way. The choice to own slaves was an individual decision, a private matter for each citizen to struggle with, apart from interference from the government. If a person, in an act of conscience, chose not to keep slaves, that was his own decision, but he could not force that choice on others. Slaves were declared chattel - human property - “non-persons”. A slave was the possession of his owner, and the owner had the right to do whatever he wanted with his assets.
The White House was staffed by black slaves.
So far…I'm really looking...but I just don't seem to see any particular period when we were great,or where God was really "in" America...
Let’s keep looking…
In revenge for the killing of 3 cows and 1 stallion belonging to a white man, California militiamen massacred 240 Indians on the Eel River.
In three nearly simultaneous assaults on the Wiyot Indians, at Indian Island, Wureka, Rio Dell, and Hydesville, California, white settlers killed between 200-250. Victims were mostly women, children, and elders.
(There is actually a big chart of all the massacres perpetrated on and by the Native people…I just picked out a few of the big ones…https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Indian_massacres)
January 1, 1863
Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation
President Abraham Lincoln, by executive order, changed the federal legal status of more than 3 million slaves by ordering the freedom of all slaves. But in a pre-iPhone, pre-social media world, Texas didn’t get the memo until June 19, 1865.
The Civil War went on from 1861-1865
The North won, in case you don’t remember. The issue of slavery wasn’t the only thing they were fighting about, but there were people willing to kill and to die to keep the right to own slaves.
(One bit of shocking info I stumbled across when looking for all this info is that there were 69 blacks in North Carolina…who were slave owners! The biggest was William Ellison in 1860!)
Members of the Colorado Militia attacked the Indian village of Cheyenne, killing at least 160 men, women, and children.
August 6, 1865
Blacks were given the right to vote.
The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) was founded as a vehicle for white southern resistance to the Republican Party’s Reconstruction-era policies aimed at establishing political and economic equality for blacks. It’s members waged an underground campaign of intimidation and violence directed at white and black Republican leaders.
Colonel G.A. Custer’s 7th US Calvary attacked a sleeping village of Cheyenne Indians. 140 men, women, and children dead.
The US 7th Calvary attacked and killed between 130-250 Sioux Indian men, women, and children at Wounded Knee, South Dakota.
KKK membership exceeds 4 million.
Dallas. A party of Klansmen kidnapped a black man, whipped him at gunpoint, and used acid to burn "KKK" on his forehead. The sheriff said he deserved it.
1865 until 1964
The US Supreme Court established and upheld “separate but equal” laws, requiring the segregation of blacks. States had individual laws like an 1847 Virginia Criminal Code: “Any white person who shall assemble with slaves, [or] free negroes . . . for the purpose of instructing them to read or write, . . . shall be punished by confinement in the jail . . . and by fine . . .”
3,446 lynchings of blacks occurred in the United States.
The US Supreme Court declares another group of humans to be non-persons, as it did with blacks back in 1856, and legalizes the live dismemberment of society's most vulnerable and defenseless. And so between 1973 and 2008 The Guttmacher Institute estimates 49.3 million babies were delivered in abortion clinics.
So as we search for the time in America when "God was in our country" or when "America was great" what have we found?
Our 1st 100 years
1776 - 1876 we had a country full of slaves, and routinely perpetrated mass killings on Native American Indians.
Our 2nd 100 years
1876 - 1976 we still had slaves and were still killing the Native American Indians. By our 200th birthday we were only 12 years past the ending of segregation, only starting to work toward treating blacks as equals. AND...already 3 years into the mass slaughter of our unborn.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in princes.
Do not trust in princes, in mortal man,
in whom there is no salvation.
Truth is..."America" as a "country" has never been like Christ. Maybe our original lawmakers had thought of themselves as Christians, but they were just people. So they put praises of God and of the Bible into their writings, their laws, and State Constitutions. They did those things while slaves staffed the White House and mass killings were part of our culture.
Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world.
If My kingdom were of this world,
then My servants would be fighting
so that I would not be handed over to the Jews;
but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”
The United States is not the kingdom of God - it is the kingdom of this world. The only thing that can be "Christian" or "Christlike" are those who were made in His image. Humans. Individuals who reside within any nation can be Christian, but even then, we are to be aliens to this world, and members of God's kingdom, aren't we?
What was Judas' big mistake? Didn't he think that Jesus was going to take over Israel by military force? Didn't he think Jesus was going to behave the way the kingdoms of the world do?
Is that what you're thinking?
If you want the world you live in to have God in it...and to be "great"...you have to have God in you, and be great. You have to go therefore and serve your neighbors. You have to care for orphans and widows in their distress. You have to think more highly of others than you think of yourself. You have to not judge. You have to love your neighbor as yourself. You have to do unto others as you'd have them do unto you. You have to be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect, and then...if God is in you...then the world around you will be made great.
Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Remember...the greatest among us will be the servants. Luke 22:26
The greatest quality a person can have is LOVE. 1 Cor. 13:13
For this reason also, God highly exalted Him,
and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name
Greatness looks like Jesus...
And God can only be in you...not in a country...