A SHINING CITY ON A HILL
I am writing this article as I am getting ready to head back to the United States after a three-week stay in my country of birth. Everywhere I went people wanted to know about the economy and the coming elections. They asked me “What does the future look like for America?” America’s future is bright as long as we remember who and what got us here.
Let me share with you three reasons why America is a shining city on a hill. First, it’s universal freedoms. The first amendment states: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble. . .” These are known as the unalienable rights – natural rights or the freedom rights. In other countries such freedoms are openly denied or partial towards some. Have these freedoms ever been abused in America? Of course but the millions of Americans who live daily in peace, honesty, and goodness is enough argument that freedom is still the best choice and worth defending. It is the only way that a society flourishes and prospers.
Second, it’s wonderful opportunities. The 1776 US Declaration of Independence famously asserts: “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. . .” I believe that any man or woman who is willing to work hard will not go hungry in this country. In America we don’t look down on the working man or woman. We refer to someone picking up our trash as “Sir” which is the same designation we use for our family doctor. Now is everything perfect and easy? Probably not. But it is a lot better than what is out there.
Third, it’s foundational values. It is undeniable that our nation is under girded by certain Biblical values like “Love your neighbor as yourself”(Mark 12:31), “Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow” (Isaiah 1:17) and “Righteousness exalts a nation” (Proverbs 14:4). It’s easy to misunderstand America without understanding her guiding values. I find it ironic when America is often criticized for her foreign policy and then condemned for not responding quickly enough to some human rights violation or a natural disaster somewhere in the world. Twice America stepped in to save the world. The first was the Nazi threat and the second time it was the Soviet communists. In both situations our nation helped to rebuild Germany, Japan
and Russia. Even in recent years we have seen nations holding free elections for the first
time in decades.
My wife’s grandmother grew up on a farm through the Depression. Although they were difficult days, it was easier for those who grew up in the country and could raise their own food. She recounts the times she would exchange her ham biscuits for banana sandwiches brought by students from town. “We thought they had it better” she still remarks with a laugh. Sometimes, many Americans don’t realize how good they have it. So this election week let’s not forget why this nation is a “shining city on a hill.”