While Liberals, perhaps, disagree, many Christians entertain the strong belief that the United States of America is ‘God’s Own Country’.
Stated belief is true in the sense that, consistent with prophecy in Revelation 12:15–17, it was departure from, or deportation of Christians from Western Europe to the United States that was succor for persecution of Protestants by the Papal Church, in course of the Reformation that commenced in the 16th Century.
Importantly, if the Papal Church had listened to the admonition of one of its foremost theologians, Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274), who had written that matters of faith had to be treated as matters of reasoning and conscience, with outcome practice and beliefs of faith are personal, not institutional, the Papal Church would have eschewed the course of persecution of fellow Christians.
Sometimes religious institutions refuse to listen to their own moral conscience, moral conscience that they claim to celebrate.
In the opportunity to depart for the USA, or in their deportation to the USA, many Protestants found opportunity, not only for worship of God as they best deemed fit, but for building of new economic lives.
Life in that version of the United States was not easy, but unless corporations were mistreating migrants by cheating them out of their land for building of railways, it was life that was free.
Four hundred years subsequent to arrival of migrants, corporations continue to remain the most potent threats to realization of true freedoms in the United States.
Much has changed, yet things remain the same.
But, does the fact that a Country has served God’s purposes in the past, imply that it remains in good graces of God? Well then, let us hear from God Himself in words spoken in Jeremiah 18:5–10.
Then the word of the Lord came to me. “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? says the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will repent of the evil that I intended to do to it (Jeremiah 18:5–8, RSV).
And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, and it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will repent of the good, which I intended to do it (Jeremiah 18:9–10, RSV).
It is actions, not some inerrant predestination that keep a country or kingdom in good graces of God.
The evidence from God is unequivocal. If a country delights in evil, it receives evil from God as fruit of the seed that is sown.
What then are things that God characterizes as evil? Well, with God, evil consists majorly in three things: first, delight in mistreatment of others; second, civil laws that empower mistreatment of others; and third, regardless of the evidence, refusal to acknowledge, in the mind, evidence that the brain recognizes as supportive of existence of God.
When Einstein declared that it is impossible that the universe — which has been unequivocally shown to function on mathematical laws — could have materialized by probabilistic chance, he demonstrated an attribute of credible science, acknowledged that the scientific evidence pointed to intelligent design, not probabilistic chance.
Mathematical laws that operate the same, day-in, day-out, century-in, century-out, that never miss a beat are impossible to generate by probabilistic chance.
There is not any well conceived formal mathematical model published in a journal anywhere that ever has materialized by probabilistic chance; always such a model has an intentioned discoverer — a person that set out to produce exactly such a model.
The evidence is clear cut; if Christians truly desire, in a spiritual, as opposed to some persecution sense, that the USA have character of ‘God’s Own Country’, it is actions of Christians, and adoption of similar actions by non-Christians — absent acknowledging of Jesus as Lord and Savior, this is possible ( I am not aware of any religious tenet that promotes mistreatment of the other, or civil codes that empower mistreatment of others, but then many a times, the spirit and the letter of religion can be at odds with one another) — that will characterize the USA as ‘God’s Own Country’.
It is important to note that neither of persecution of fellow Christians, nor persecution of non-Christians will produce greatness of ‘God’s Own Country’ in the United States.
For this, we have plethora of precedents in archives of history.
First, the three countries that fiercely persecuted Protestants — Spain, France, and Italy — lag behind the United Kingdom, which while it also initially persecuted Protestants, would change course in course of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.
Second, the Nordic Countries, most of whom aided by the British Navy, helped protect Protestants from persecution, all fare better today than either of the United Kingdom, or any of Spain, France, or Italy. The United Kingdom fares worse, because while it did come to the aid of the Nordic Countries against the Spanish Armada, simultaneously Protestants experienced persecution in England (William Tyndale (1492–1536), an Englishman was burned at the stake for translating the Bible). On the contrary, contemporaneous men, such as Erasmus, born 1516, who also translated the Bible, and Zwingli (1484–1531) who exposited the Bible extensively, thrived in context of residence in the Nordic Countries.
While Martin Luther (1483–1546) is the more famous reformer, it was his contemporary, Huldreich Zwingli who rightly exposited that bowing to statues is contrary to faith in Jesus Christ, as such, ought not be incorporated into sacraments of the Christian faith.
On same note, while the United Kingdom and the Nordic Countries still are regarded as bastions of innovative industrial activity, none of Spain, France, or Italy, countries that, at different times dominated the then known world, retain character of bastions of innovative industrial activity. Call it chance, or call it outcome of God’s response to actions that are evil, that is, mistreatment of others merely because they believe differently, the evidence raises cause for exercise of caution. Plus, Jesus and His Father expressly command that Christians love their enemies (Matthew 5:43–44), meaning a Christian never is able to justify persecution of others, merely because they choose to believe differently.
In aggregate, the evidence is consistent with punishments from God for mistreatment of fellow men (the 30-years war, First and Second World Wars etc. and plagues, such as the ‘bubonic’ plague, all of which commenced in succession in Western Europe about 1563 AD, timing at which, persecution of Protestants became official policy of the Papacy and the three kingdoms, France, Italy, and Spain), and God’s command that Christians only love their neighbors. If you have a different interpretation, it must be internally consistent and explain retrogression experienced by three previously great kingdoms — France, Spain, and Italy. Remember, wars (Revelation 6:3–4) and plagues (Deuteronomy 28:58-63) are part of God’s chosen punishments for those who do evil to neighbors.
Kingdoms that, in the past, have persecuted their own people merely because they choose to worship God with a certain set of beliefs have fared relatively poorly in relation to kingdoms that, to one degree or the other, have protected people’s right to choose how to believe in God.
Subsequent to defeat and execution of his co-emperor who was persecuting Christians about 321 AD, Constantine the Great passed a law stipulating no one was to experience persecution, because now that he, the Emperor had become Christian, a person refuses to become a Christian. People were to be judged on basis of their actions, not on basis of their beliefs.
By the way, do you know that the edict passed by Emperor Diocletian in 303 AD that led to persecution of Christians for 10 years, from 303 to 312 AD, with Constantine the Great assuming protectorship of Christians in 312 AD, as such putting an end to the persecution, is prophesied by our Lord Jesus Christ in Revelation 2:10 (in Christian prophecy, a day symbolizes a year)?
Given Roman Senators would not abandon their pantheon of gods for acknowledging of Jesus and His Father alone as God, Constantine the Great practiced faith in Jesus by avoiding conflict with the senators, by choosing to raise an entirely new kingdom — the Eastern Roman Empire, also to be known as the Christian Byzantine Empire — in the Eastern regions of the Roman Empire, capital headquartered in Constantinople. Though Emperor, Constantine chose peace, reasoning, and efforts for taking care of his people, not demonstration of power in relation to Roman Senators as evidence for his new found faith in Jesus Christ.
By 475 AD, Roman Senators had lost their power, there was not any longer any Western Roman Empire, and the Emperor of the Western Roman Empire had been deposed by Barbarian Visigoths. The Christian Byzantine Empire would remain strong and be the only beacon for civilization in the then known world up until it was militarily undermined by fellow Christians about 1201 AD.
The chink in the armor that led to demise of the Christian Byzantine Empire? While peasants were protected in the sense that, conditional on provision of soldiers to the king (typically, one male of fighting age per family), they owned their lands and kept all of their produce, commencing about 1059 AD, the empire began to adopt the feudal system that operated in Western Europe, a system in context of which peasants served Lords or Barons who kept most of the produce that came out of labors of the peasants.
Turns out God rather would have peasants free, than tied to apron strings of feudal lords. By 1071 AD, a kingdom that never had lost a war since 325 AD would suffer its first stinging military defeat. After about 800 years of civil laws that protected against mistreatment, the kingdom lost its way and protections afforded by God.
Could it be coincidence? Well, Once (Western Roman Empire’s demise) is coincidence; Twice (Prosperity from taking care of the people) questions assumption of coincidence; Thrice (demise in response to departure from taking care of the people) provides evidence for an algorithm; Fourth, replication of the same sequence with France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the Nordic Countries produces strong evidence for an algorithm.
Seeds produce harvest. Whenever Christians have focused on reasoning, peaceful coexistence, and focus on prosperity for all, always the combination produces true essence of civilization.
If Christians desire that the United States of America be, in a spiritual sense, ‘God’s Own Country’, it all boils down to the example that we set in respect of treatment of others; the sorts of civil laws that we celebrate, promote, and institute for guidance of actions of all in society; and willingness to ascribe, on basis of the evidence, what God does, to God.