Green Room

The American Faith

posted at 11:05 pm on July 2, 2010 by

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.

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Comments

Proud to be an American. I have faith in you, Doc.

publiuspen on July 2, 2010 at 11:16 PM

When does “Doc Zero, Year One-point-Five” come out?

You’ve been OUTSTANDING lately (new DZ fan, 6 months. I Want Hardcopy).

Who is John Galt on July 3, 2010 at 4:00 AM

You’re a national treasure Doc. Excellent, as always.

beachgirlusa on July 3, 2010 at 3:14 PM

Beautiful, Doc. :)

Bee on July 3, 2010 at 5:11 PM

Doc, you know how to say it….thank you sir.

ted c on July 3, 2010 at 5:17 PM

I might suggest it is the faith (of our fathers?) that was outlined in our founding documents (not created but recognized) that we are to be free because we have been so constructed with dignity abouve all creatures by Nature’s God. It is that reason and that reason alone that gives us rights. Without recognizing that (as liberals never have) there is no such thing as freedom, for it can be stolen out from under you faster than a Marxist could steal GM.

Don L on July 3, 2010 at 5:18 PM

Happy Independence Day, Doc. I certainly hope that our next President gives consideration to hiring you for a speechwriter….

TeresainFortWorth on July 3, 2010 at 5:38 PM

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.

The president is a disgrace, but put him aside for a moment.

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

Faith between free men must flow both ways to be valid.

This is why any elected representatives who refuse to attend Town Hall meetings or other open forums with their constituents are so reviled.

landlines on July 3, 2010 at 6:34 PM

You sure have a way with words, Doc…

Excellent post, as always.

Happy Independence Day to you and all of my fellow Americans!

Seven Percent Solution on July 3, 2010 at 6:36 PM

With your great gift of writing and your even greater gift of generosity it is always a pleasure to read your work. Thamk-you.

fourdeucer on July 3, 2010 at 6:46 PM

Beautifully put. We are a good people in a fine country and we need to drive that point home at every opportunity and to everyone who asks or needs to know. God bless America. Happy 4th.

jeanie on July 3, 2010 at 6:53 PM

Thanks Again Doc, Happy Independence Day to you and yours! And let’s keep Lady Liberty walking forward with her torch of Freedom and Liberty held high to the world.

devolvingtowardsidiocracy on July 3, 2010 at 6:54 PM

Why is it the tears fill my eyes when I read your posts? It happens 9 out of ten.

mixplix on July 3, 2010 at 7:05 PM

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.

Your moving contributions to this site are like a vitamin B12 injection to the faith that I have in this country and its future.

Happy Independence Day to all, and thanks DZ – keep ‘em comin’.

ontherocks on July 3, 2010 at 8:36 PM

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.

Precisely why the Democratic Party has made class warfare their prime strategy when attempting to pass restrictive/controlling legislation or waging election campaigns. History has shown that those too weak to fight will be attracted to those who seem to be fighting on their behalf, especially if the “fight” is not a “just” one. There will alway be societal parasites, sadly, and the Dems know how to home in on them and push their buttons.

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!

Thanks Doc! You sure know how to restore a grown person’s faith in fellow Americans. Those of us who are passionate about this country still outnumber those who have no clue as to how privileged we are to live here and/or be Americans.

Happy Independence Day everyone!

KendraWilder on July 3, 2010 at 9:06 PM

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Ed Morrissey on July 4, 2010 at 1:45 PM