The American Faith

posted at 12:00 pm on July 4, 2010 by Doctor Zero

During his immigration speech last week, President Obama said: “Being an American is not a matter of blood or birth.  It’s a matter of faith.”

He’s obviously correct in observing the American character is not inherited through genetics.  There is no “American race.”  It’s also not determined by the location of our birth.  Many who were born in other countries become Americans of outstanding patriotism.  It’s an honor to recite the Pledge of Allegiance alongside someone who crossed long miles, and perhaps endured great hardship, to join us beneath the red, white, and blue.  They mean every word of that pledge.

Some families have worked, studied, and waited patiently to obtain their citizenship… only to have their sons and daughters die on foreign soil in our service.  We welcome their bodies back to their adopted home, comforted by the knowledge their souls never left.  Those who recite the Pledge of Allegiance dwell in America forever, no matter the provenance of the ground upon which they take their final rest.

Is the American identity a matter of faith?  If so, faith in what?

The President obviously doesn’t see it as faith in our laws, since he was speaking on behalf of people who broke them to enter the United States.  “It’s a matter of fidelity to the shared values that we all hold so dear,” the President clarified.  Does that include the shared value of disregarding the laws of other nations when they inconvenience us?  If he was referring to the value of political freedom, did he mean to imply that illegal aliens are fleeing from tyrannical dictatorships?  Is that an accurate description of Mexico – a country whose leader received a thunderous standing ovation from the Democrat Party for denouncing an American state?

Of course, the kind of value the President had in mind was the desire for a better life, and the pursuit of opportunity.  These are not questions of faith,however.  To use a term the President loves, they are matters of hope. They are not distinctly American values, for they are shared almost universally, in all but the darkest corners of the Earth.  There are places where parents sell their children into slavery, or cover them with explosives and use them as murder weapons.  Everywhere else, people yearn to do better for themselves, and pray for their children to surpass them.

Is America defined by faith in her government?  That would seem contrary to the spirit of our Revolution, and the wisdom of our first magnificent President.  George Washington preferred the company of fellow citizens at a round table over a throng of supplicants kneeling before a throne.  No temporal authority has the right to demand the unquestioning belief of our Republic.  Faith between free men must flow both ways to be valid.

Understand this, and the nature of the American faith is revealed.

You can search for its fiery glimmer between generations seated at picnic tables on this Fourth of July weekend.  Its tracks are pressed into airport carpet by every soldier boarding an outbound plane to foreign shores.  It echoes through the words of every man and woman with the courage to denounce evil, both within and beyond our borders.  It is a symphony pouring through our national anthem.  It is a cascade of bells dancing through every act of charity we show our neighbors.  When we join together in battle against murderous enemies or callous Nature, it is the roar of a lion.  When we take risks in support of bold innovation, it is the cry of an eagle, looking far ahead through a crisp morning sky.  It swims happily through the air in every shop, gallery, and office.

On some rare days, it reveals itself with terrible beauty and glory, as in the sight of firemen raising the American flag over the ashes of fallen towers and the innocent dead.

It is a faith incomprehensible to tyrants, invisible to racists, intolerable to criminals.  It dissolves in the quicksand of dependency, but flourishes among the windswept grain of liberty.  It charges every word of the Constitution with lightning, and its afterglow pulses warmly through the Bill of Rights.  It is a faith which suffers constant transgressions, for we are still struggling to understand it.  It will survive every blasphemy, as it endured the agony of our Civil War, for its eternal truth is not tarnished by our incomprehension.  When we do accept this faith at last, it will ease much of the torment we inflict upon ourselves.  Its reflection is captured in coins, ballots, websites, and firearms.

Reflect upon these clues, and you can guess its name.

The American faith is our faith in each other. Nowhere else in the world is such a noble belief written so clearly, or shared with such pride and joy.  We express that faith through respect for each others’ rights, choosing liberty above even the most benevolent domination.  We honor it by respecting our laws, including the just laws governing our generous policy of immigration.  Its grace is denied to those who lack such respect… from thieves to lawless bureaucrats, corporate criminals to greedy politicians.

This Sunday, I will happily toast every American, from coast to coast and around the world.  I will never stop believing in all of you.

Happy Independence Day!

Cross-posted at www.doczero.org.

Doctor Zero: Year One now available from Amazon.com!

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I have no faith in a people that could elect this government.

JohnJ on July 4, 2010 at 12:02 PM

A large portion of our population no longer sees things this way, they don’t have faith in America or their own neighbors, all they do is whine and beg for handouts.

If the free citizens of the U.S. have any steel left in them, they better start showing it in November or the jig is up.

Bishop on July 4, 2010 at 12:04 PM

Another great read.

wheelgun on July 4, 2010 at 12:09 PM

You can say since most of the people in the USA are here because they either have sought freedom or their ancestors have, we have freedom in our DNA. We citizens of the USA have self selected ourselfs to breed the trait of freedomloving true.

the statists and marxist are the throwbacks the recessive recessive genes.

unseen on July 4, 2010 at 12:11 PM

I have no faith in a people that could elect this government.

JohnJ on July 4, 2010 at 12:02 PM

Yes, but it’s not the result of any dislike of the American ideal. It’s the result of poor education, not knowing history well enough. Ignorance is something that can be fixed. There’s still time.

RBMN on July 4, 2010 at 12:14 PM

A very nice post, Doc. Thanks

ladyingray on July 4, 2010 at 12:26 PM

I have no faith in a people that could elect this government.

JohnJ on July 4, 2010 at 12:02 PM

One of the things that Americans have a history of and propensity for is learning from their mistakes.

Hence the Tea Party Movement.

Hence a head-banging-on-table ruefulness while watching the train wreck currently happening.

Hence a new kind of Conservative activism that most of the previously Silent Majority never dreamed would be necessary, having been raised with a work ethic and family dedication that kept the majority of conservatives busy 24/7 just living responsible lives.

Hence a growing political awareness among conservatives young and old which recognizes that the current GOP roster is woefully filled with long-timers whose Inside-The-Beltway addiction to old-style politics has rendered them spineless and useless, and part of the overall problem with big government. That growing awareness also recognizes that there are several GOP-ers in Congress who are actively trying to be part of the solution, who need support and encouragement from us all, not just their immediate constituents.

Don’t despair, JohnJ. Every single day more and more conservatives are awakening to the fact that they can no longer vote and elect someone to represent them in Washington DC and just go back to everyday life trusting that the elected representative will follow the will of their constituents. As much of a pain in the butt as it’s become, being active team members of the political and governmental realms is the new reality we all must accept if we are to be serious about learning the lessons of the last four years or so. No longer can we trust our elected officials to operate independently of our continual influence.

Which means that, in addition to raising families and working jobs and/or being active in our retirement years with pleasurable and/or community related pursuits, we now must plug in time to keep apprised of all that is happening Inside The Beltway. And take action as necessary when Congress and/or the President attempt to manipulate and dictate beyond the limits of the Constitution and the mandates from their constituents. And vote out those elected representatives and even the President ASAP if their arrogance exceeds reasonable limits such that they have flipped off their constituents and have assumed an elitist approach and attitude when doing their jobs.

KendraWilder on July 4, 2010 at 12:27 PM

Thx Doc! Happy 4th of July to you as well!!

Khun Joe on July 4, 2010 at 12:28 PM

Ignorance is something that can be fixed. There’s still time.

RBMN on July 4, 2010 at 12:14 PM

I don’t think Obama was elected as the result of ignorance. At the very least it was willful ignorance. The Democrats’ agenda has been obvious for quite some time. The vote for Democrats was a result of hatred, greed, and the desire to escape the responsibility of freedom. Attributing it to misguided good intentions is just wishful thinking, it seems to me.

JohnJ on July 4, 2010 at 12:35 PM

Well said, as usual, Doc.

surfhut on July 4, 2010 at 12:35 PM

KendraWilder on July 4, 2010 at 12:27 PM

I don’t despair. I simply acknowledge that the people in this country no want to be free. They’re so determined to make slaves of themselves that they’re willing to sell everyone else’s freedom too.

History has shown that nations will willingly give themselves over to despotism. I’ll hope for the best, but I’ll prepare for the worst. There are other countries out there that are more amenable to freedom. I’m going to keep my options open.

JohnJ on July 4, 2010 at 12:39 PM

Well, according to the answer I gave on the US Census…there is a race called “American.”

Hongqi on July 4, 2010 at 12:50 PM

I have no faith in a people that could elect this government.

JohnJ on July 4, 2010 at 12:02 PM

What is more American Than Going Down Swinging?

That’s something the Globalist need to understand about The American Spirit. We Don’t Go Down Without A Fight.

Dr Evil on July 4, 2010 at 1:31 PM

Well said as always, Doc. Happy Independence Day!

Hongqi, interesting note on the census. It has included questions about ethnicity from the very beginning. The census of 1790 found that only 60% of citizens were of English ancestry. 9% were German, 8% Scottish, 6% Scotch-Irish, 4% Irish, 3% Dutch.

hawksruleva on July 4, 2010 at 1:31 PM

I have no faith in a people that could elect this government.

JohnJ on July 4, 2010 at 12:02 PM

Americans were duped by the talk of Hope and Change. I think it’s pretty clear that they didn’t get the sort of change they wanted. Now they’re taking corrective action at the ballot box.

America isn’t perfect. After all, we created the League of Nations, and then created the United Nations. But America gets it right in the end. Tired Revolutionaries didn’t have the stomach to fight to end slavery in the 1700′s. But they eventually got it right.

We’ll get this right as well. Obama is just giving us a bigger problem to fix, which will make our eventual success even more impressive.

hawksruleva on July 4, 2010 at 1:35 PM

Doc well said as usual. I know that I’ll not be the only one raising a glass in a toast to you and your fantastic insight and your ability to put it into words.Thanks for sharing so much with us.

Happy Independence Day to All!

tim c on July 4, 2010 at 1:41 PM

The faithful worship on their knees, who does Barack Obama think Americans should pay homage to?

For a President who bows to royalty and elevates our enemies, where, in his notion of a pecking order, are we?

Speakup on July 4, 2010 at 1:46 PM

Nice, Doc. Thanks, and Happy Independence Day!

J.E. Dyer on July 4, 2010 at 1:47 PM

May God bless you, Dr. Zero.

May God bless every American patriot who desires to see our nation be what it was meant to be, including the majority here at HotAir.com.

May God bless our noble, courageous troops.

Last but not least; God Bless America.

hillbillyjim on July 4, 2010 at 1:49 PM

And may God bless Allahpundit, in spite of himself.

;>)

hillbillyjim on July 4, 2010 at 1:51 PM

What an inspiring definition of American faith!

Too bad obama’s a heretic or, if he ever believed in it, an apostate.

bgoldman on July 4, 2010 at 2:44 PM

God bless and keep you on this fair Fourth, Doctor. Another powerful essay!

Dark-Star on July 4, 2010 at 2:46 PM

“Being an American is not a matter of blood or birth. It’s a matter of faith.”

The shorter, more accurate response is: Bullsh*t.

Just plain bullsh*t. There’s no way that’s a tenable proposition. If he used the word ‘faith’ to mean something else, then he should have said it, rather than obfuscating it by invoking some manipulative idea about ‘faith’.

Øbama need a new speech writer. This one speaks in platitudes, non sequiturs and pompous inanities.

petefrt on July 4, 2010 at 2:50 PM

*needs* (heh)

petefrt on July 4, 2010 at 2:51 PM

Some families have worked, studied, and waited patiently to obtain their citizenship… only to have their sons and daughters die on foreign soil in our service.

And some have joined our military who were not citizens, because they believe so much in our values that they want to fight for them and thereby obtain citizenship.

YehuditTX on July 4, 2010 at 3:11 PM

Happy Birthday United States of America! God bless all those that love her.

Thank you Doc for saying what ‘Bambi should have said. But, then, he doesn’t feel freedom (with what he’d consider cumbersome ideals) running through his veins the way patriots do.

24K lady on July 4, 2010 at 3:53 PM

24K lady on July 4, 2010 at 3:53 PM

It’s difficult if someone wasn’t raised in “The States” he spent a lot of time in Indonesia. I guess he thinks that gives him a better vantage point having lived outside the mainstream of America…But I think it’s a handicap – blind spot.

Dr Evil on July 4, 2010 at 4:13 PM

Ignorance is something that can be fixed. There’s still time.

RBMN on July 4, 2010 at 12:14 PM

I don’t think Obama was elected as the result of ignorance. At the very least it was willful ignorance. The Democrats’ agenda has been obvious for quite some time. The vote for Democrats was a result of hatred, greed, and the desire to escape the responsibility of freedom. Attributing it to misguided good intentions is just wishful thinking, it seems to me.

JohnJ on July 4, 2010 at 12:35 PM

Let’s call a spade a spade. Obama has personally blamed two groups for his election. 1. Young voters (especially unmarried women) 2. Minorities (black and hispanic)

How do we educate these groups?

scotash on July 4, 2010 at 4:20 PM

The American faith is our faith in each other

I disagree. It’s a faith in OURSELVES as individuals. It is a faith that a person can make it if they are not interfered with, controlled, or directed. It is my faith myself and your faith in yourself, that we don’t NEED a gov’t or any other group telling us what we need to do.

I believe the constitution as a document and an Idea demonstrates a profound lack of faith in people as a whole. It is designed to prevent tyranny of the masses. It is designed to lock up bureaucrats and politicians in a web of checks and balances. It places it’s faith in me and you, but not US.

My point is very subtle, so to put it in as simple a terms as I can; I do not have faith that anyone but me can make the best decisions for me, as I am not the right person to make the best decisions for them.

So, Happy 4th to all the HotAirheads out there. I will defend to the death your right to be wrong (as I hope you will mine) and I will happily join to build the fences that make us all better neighbors.

Fighton03 on July 4, 2010 at 4:44 PM

I have no faith in a people that could elect this government.
JohnJ on July 4, 2010 at 12:02 PM

Yes, but it’s not the result of any dislike of the American ideal. It’s the result of poor education, not knowing history well enough. Ignorance is something that can be fixed. There’s still time.RBMN on July 4, 2010 at 12:14 PM

Unfortunately the vast majority of teachers voted for the Chicago thug.

Basilsbest on July 4, 2010 at 5:01 PM

Every good citizen makes his country’s honor his own, and cherishes it not only as precious but as sacred. He is willing to risk his life in its defense and its conscious that he gains protection while he gives it.
-Andrew Jackson

I see too little of those willing to take up the honor of the Nation as their own… and far too much of those disdaining it so as to avoid the heavy burden of keeping liberty and freedom alive for oneself and our Nation.

May we learn the error of our ways so we do not pay the heavy toll of our Founding Generation all over again.

ajacksonian on July 4, 2010 at 5:23 PM

We honor it by respecting our laws, including the just laws governing our generous policy of immigration. Its grace is denied to those who lack such respect… from thieves to lawless bureaucrats, corporate criminals to greedy politicians.

Hurray for freedom, except for the poor blokes who didn’t fill out the paperwork!

AshleyTKing on July 4, 2010 at 6:55 PM

Let us consider the irony of implying that people who (for the most part) desire freedom are criminals because they didn’t wait and fill out the correct paperwork.

Shall we “tut, tut” the slaves who came north before the Civil War because they had violated the Fugitive Slave Act? They freed themselves and that was against the laws of the time.

The restrictive immigration laws we currently are remnants of the Progressive Era. They are the antithesis of our policy from the founding up to that era, which was this is a free land, the Ellis Island gate is right over there.

Wake up conservatives! The Progressive Era was based upon late nineteenth century ideas imported from Berlin. Those ideas are not consistent with the natural rights ideas of our founding.

AshleyTKing on July 3, 2010 at 6:33 PM

AshleyTKing on July 4, 2010 at 6:57 PM

The problem isn’t that people are ignorant. The problem is that they genuinely prefer the security of slavery over the uncertainty of freedom. Granted, they choose to be willfully ignorant over the belief that that makes them somehow less responsible, but to fail to recognize them for who they are is a mistake.

JohnJ on July 4, 2010 at 7:33 PM

AshleyTKing on July 4, 2010 at 6:57 PM

Let us consider the irony of implying that people who (for the most part) desire freedom are criminals because they didn’t wait and fill out the correct paperwork.

I don’t imply it. I state it. We already have a method in place for becoming either a guest here, or a full citizen.

Shall we “tut, tut” the slaves who came north before the Civil War because they had violated the Fugitive Slave Act? They freed themselves and that was against the laws of the time.

You find a convincing parallel between the efforts of a slave to gain freedom from bondage, and the efforts of someone to gain illegal entry into this country, enjoy the priveledges of living here, and not follow the process?

The restrictive immigration laws we currently are remnants of the Progressive Era. They are the antithesis of our policy from the founding up to that era, which was this is a free land, the Ellis Island gate is right over there.

When the cost of transoceanic travel was high enough to be prohibitive, immigration was self-limiting. Go back and recheck your Ellis Island referrence – The Island was a point of limitation, not a wide open welcome mat.

massrighty on July 4, 2010 at 9:51 PM

JohnJ on July 4, 2010 at 12:39 PM

1 Samuel 8

Could have been written about America, with Government in place of a king.

pannw on July 5, 2010 at 12:13 AM

The Island was a point of limitation, not a wide open welcome mat.

massrighty on July 4, 2010 at 9:51 PM

We had free immigration. Ellis was no point of limitation until the Progressives perhaps.

Freedom worked in the 19th century, it can work now.

AshleyTKing on July 5, 2010 at 2:34 AM