We Americans have a penchant for seeing ourselves as God’s chosen people. That’s the mentality our Puritan forefathers and mothers handed down to us. They thought that out of the wilderness they could carve a Christian utopia. So, the most secular issues were viewed as having existential implications. Later, President Andrew Jackson didn’t just make a fiscal argument for eliminating Nicholas Biddle’s monolithic national bank; he made a spiritual one. He likened the giant bank to the golden calf and warned that God would punish America like he punished Israel if the country continued to bow to it.
Spiritual imagery is part of our national consciousness because of our history and because Christianity and democracy have much in common. They both give people broad liberties and wonderful opportunities. We can direct our own lives and freely express our own faith in God. I think African Americans understand the parallels better than most. Their enslaved ancestors sang about it in their hope-filled songs.
Oh, let us all from bondage flee, Let My people go!
And let us all in Christ be free, Let My people go!
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1). Let us all in Christ be free. Let us use our liberty to expand his kingdom by all possible means so Jesus can set people free everywhere.