I have made 45 visits to parts of the Middle East developing many good friends who love America and desire the best for us. Among them is a highly successful friend who was reared in Bethlehem. He is a graduate of two large American universities. He has developed one of the largest tourist companies in the Middle-East with offices in five countries. His business makes it expedient for him to live in Rome, Italy.
Recently he wrote:
“For me when I went to the USA in 1967, America was one thing and it was a beacon to the rest of the world. Now I am not sure any more and that is a great pity. The world still needs a beacon!!!! My wife who is from North Carolina is very critical of her country now. What she says is that she considers herself still a very good American. She has not changed. But America has changed on her and she decries most of the things you mentioned that are going wrong. Just like you said, my wife also says that she will not change and suck it up. She will not accept those negative changes that have happened in her county.”
I love America and know most who are reading this column love it also. Love does not require naivety. Our love for the many values and virtues must not blind us to destructive negatives systemically at work in our beloved country.
Scripture refers to “another gospel” in contrast to the gospel of the Bible. There are many such gospels in America.
The gospel of tolerance has brought us to the point of standing for nothing and falling for everything. There is tolerance for every conceivable gospel, but not the one of the Bible.
The gospel of entitlement in which we begin training our children by giving them an allowance simply because they are our child. Teach them instead a work ethic by giving them rewards for projects and goals achieved.
The gospel of prosperity abounds. Extend yourself to attain material goods and all will be well in your world has a blinding influence on many.
The gospel of legislation proposes that if we pass enough laws wrong will fail and right prevail. Remember, you can’t legislate morality.
The gospel of liberation theology advocates naming every wrong in our past, dwelling on them and making demands because of them.
The gospel of health care is so stressful it is making America sick. How about a health care program that is about health care and not a political agenda?
The gospel of sexual excess is toxic to the moral character of the land and destroying the family.
Many of these are good, but they have become ends in themselves and not means to an end.
What is a person to do? Get involved in organizations that offer preservatives to our society. Give to causes that espouse sound moral and spiritual values. Support and work for public officials devoted to rebuilding the moral and spiritual infrastructure of America — and pray.
My friend made reference to writing I have done on America. It was a column that recently appeared in “The Marietta Daily Journal” that can be read, as can most of my previous columns, at www.NelsonPrice.com.
The Rev. Dr. Nelson Price is pastor emeritus of Roswell Street Baptist Church.