Forever Indebted

We owe this freedom of choice and action to those men and women in uniform who have served this nation and its interests in time of need. In particular, we are forever indebted to those who have given their lives that we might be free.

Ronald Reagan, remarks on May 26, 1983

Abraham Lincoln’s Last Official Act as President

The Declaration of Independence gave liberty not alone to the people of this country, but hope to all the world, for all future time. It was that which gave promise that in due time the weights would be lifted from the shoulders of all men, and that all should have an equal chance. This is the sentiment embodied in the Declaration of Independence. . . . I would rather be assassinated on this spot than surrender it.

Abraham Lincoln, remark on his last official act as President of the United States in signing the bill placing “In God We Trust” on all American coins

America! Exult in God by James Ireland

This poem was written by one of my heroes, James Ireland, a Baptist pastor in Virginia during the years following the Revolutionary War. The persecution he experienced in a then predominantly Anglican state influenced the writing of the First Amendment (particularly freedom of religion) of the Bill of Rights.

America! exult in God
With joyful acclamation;
Who has, through scenes of war and blood,
Displayed to thee salvation.
When armed hosts,
With warlike boasts,
Did threaten thy destruction,
And crossed the main,
With martial train,
To compass thy subjection;
Thy sole resource was God alone,
Who heard thy cries before his throne,
Beheld with hate their schemes of blood
Impending o’er thee like a flood,
And made them know it was in vain
To make thee longer drag their chain;
That thou shouldst be
A nation free
From their unjust oppression.

Hail! now ye sons of liberty,
Behold thy constitution!
Despotic power and tyranny
Have seen their dissolution.
No clattering arms,
No war’s alarms,
Nor threats of royal vengeance;
Thy hostile foes
Have left off those;
Now own thy Independence.
Replete with peace, valiant we stand,
Freedom the basis of our land;
Blest with the beams of gospel light,
Our souls emerge from sable night;
Jehovah’s heralds loud proclaim
Eternal life through Jesus’ name,
Point out his blood
The way to God,
For our complete salvation.

Amid the blessings we enjoy
From God the gracious giver,
Let gratitude our hearts employ,
To praise his name forever;
Beware of pride,
Lest, like a tide,
It flows and gains possession;
‘Mongst empires all,
Both great and small,
Pride always brought oppression;
Pride finds the way to rule and reign,
And forges the despotic chain;
Denies we should enjoy or have
The right that God in nature gave.
Against this baleful evil fight
Resist its force with all your might,
And join as one,
Before the throne,
That God would keep us humble.

Most gracious God, thee we adore,
Whose mercy faileth never;
Thy guardian care we now implore,
Be thou our king forever;
May gospel rays
Divinely blaze
With an immortal lustre,
And teach us how
Our hearts to bow
To the Redeemer’s sceptre!
Oh may the silver trump of peace
Within our empire never cease,
Until the ransomed, holy race,
Are called in by sovereign grace.
Then may the conflagration come,
And sinners rise to hear their doom!
Thy chosen ones,
In endless songs,
Will shout forth hallelujahs!

Your Vote Matters in Eternity

Our vote for President of the United States . . . is important. We are held accountable . . . for the discharge of our ruling responsibilities in this life. But our vote for President is less important than our vote to receive new members for baptism into our churches. A President is term-limited and, for that matter, so is the United States (and every other nation). The reception of members into the church, however, marks out the future kings and queens of the universe. Our church membership rolls say to the people on them, and to the outside world, “These are those we believe will inherit the universe, as joint-heirs with Christ.”

Russell Moore, Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel (Nashville: B&H Publishing, 2015 ), 63.

Liberty Springs from an Abiding Faith in God

The public expression through prayer of our faith in God is a fundamental part of our American heritage and a privilege which should not be excluded by law from any American school, public or private. One hundred fifty years ago, Alexis de Tocqueville found that all Americans believed that religious faith was indispensable to the maintenance of their republican institutions. Today, I join with the people of this nation in acknowledging this basic truth, that our liberty springs from and depends upon an abiding faith in God.

Ronald Reagan, May 17, 1982, in a proposed Constitutional amendment for prayer in schools

A Godly Path Is the Essence of Liberty

While never willing to bow to a tyrant, our forefathers were always willing to get to their knees before God. When catastrophe threatened, they turned to God for deliverance. When the harvest was bountiful, the first thought was thanksgiving to God. Prayer is today as powerful a force in our nation as it has ever been. We as a nation should never forget this source of strength. And while recognizing that the freedom to choose a Godly path is the essence of liberty, as a nation we cannot but hope that more of our citizens would, through prayer, come into a closer relationship with their Maker.

Ronald Reagan, Mar. 19, 1981, National Day of Prayer proclamation