Monday, November 24, 2014

Thank You, America!

America can be seen as idea
An idea such as a thought or suggestion as to a possible course of action.  An idea such as an image with an aim or purpose.  An idea such as a vision of an ideal country.

The Pilgrims coming to America certainly had ideas and hopes for a better life.  They parted Europe in order to find a land where they could freely worship God and pursue a life of freedom. 
Those were the principles America was founded on:

The Founding Fathers declared equal opportunities, not equal outcomes:
1)    The rule of law is a First Principle that mandates that the law governs everyone.
2)    The First Principle of unalienable rights recognizes that everyone is naturally endowed by their Creator with certain rights.
3)    Equality is a First Principle that recognizes that all persons are created equal.
4)    The First Principle of the Social Compact recognizes that governments are instituted by the people and derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.
5)    The First Principle of limited government means that the protection of unalienable rights is the legitimate purpose and limit of government requires the government to be strong enough to fulfill its purpose yet limited to that purpose.
6)    A final First Principle is the right to declare revolution when the other First Principles are being infringed by the government.

“America is more than just a place. America is an idea. It’s the only country founded ON an idea. Our rights come from nature and God, not from government. … We promise equal opportunity, not equal outcomes. And this idea was founded on the principles of freedom, free enterprise, self-determination and government by CONSENT of the governed.”
~ Paul Ryan, U.S. Congressman
When the Pilgrims arrived at the New World, they arrived in New England’s winter.  Even the following years 1621/1622 their harvest were scare, mainly because they didn’t apply themselves.  Some worked and others were lazy and stole food from others and suffered hunger. 

The Mayflower Compact which had been signed by all male passengers of the Mayflower which gave them permission to leave England and promised them land along the New World shore.  Due to storms they landed in what is today New England instead of their original destiny of today’s Virginia.  The compact was to give them some form of legal binding of self-governing.  Unfortunately, the compact got lost, and it was not until William Bradford declared the end of socialism in 1623 and help draft a legal code which distributed land to each family. 

Until then the Pilgrims had practiced some form of “common course,” which was a sort of primitive agrarian communism. Bradford decided to distribute land among all the settlers, not just members of the company and didn’t discriminate along religious line.  He encouraged free market trade; each family worked hard and worked the land with new pride and gratitude.  The following year they had a plentiful harvest and gathered for a feast of thanksgiving.  William Bradford was the governor of the Plymouth Plantation for over 30 years and wrote about their lifestyle in “The History of the Plymouth Plantation.”

God’s Hope for America
Coming from another country, I didn’t know much about American History. In the 1970’s Rev. Moon gave a series of public speeches entitled: God’s Hope for America, and I learned about the heart-warming stories of the American Pilgrims.

Rev. Moon spoke about the longing of the Pilgrims and their willingness to endure hardship and suffering to bring their dreams to a new reality.  They had a strong faith that God was on their side.  Here is an excerpt from the speech given in October 21, 1973 in Washington, DC:
A winter of heartbreak

During the first winter in America, the population of the hardy Mayflower survivors was cut in half. Each day that winter brought a heartbreaking separation from loved ones. One by one these courageous pioneers died. Yet their life from morning to night, from dusk to dawn, was centered upon the will of God. God was their only comfort, their only hope and their only security. God was the principal partner for them. Here was an example of such a rare and pure group of God's people. They demonstrated untiring faith, and God gave them power and courage. They never lost their trust in God and their vision of the future. Their purpose in coming to America was to build a nation where God could dwell, where they could really share fellowship with each other and rejoice in fellowship with God. This was all in God's providence, because He needed a nation to serve as His champion for the ultimate and permanent salvation of the world. 
So another miracle came to the Pilgrims. When they were just barely surviving and their population had been halved, the Indians could easily have wiped them out with one stroke. But again, God was a shield for them. The first group of Indians the Mayflower survivors encountered were not hostile. The Indians welcomed the settlers. If the Pilgrims had been destroyed at that time, there would probably have been no America for God. God intervened to save His people here in America. This is my belief. God wanted them to settle, and He gave the Pilgrims a chance. 
As the population of the settlement grew, they had to push the Indians away to enlarge their own colony. Of course, this land did not belong to the new American people originally. The Indians were the inhabitants of the land, and the Pilgrim settlers must have been invaders in the eyes of the Indians. Why then did God give these settlers their great chance? Here is my interpretation. God sided with the American settlers because it was in His plan. Furthermore, these American settlers met God's requirements and truly demonstrated an unwavering faith in God. God could not help but give them His promise and fulfill that promise. 
America's existence was according to God's providence. God needed to build one powerful Christian nation on earth for His future work. After all, America belonged to God first, and only after that to the Indians. This is the only interpretation that can justify the position of the Pilgrim settlers. 
This continent of America was hidden away for a special purpose and was not discovered until the appropriate hour. The people of God came at the appointed hour. They came to mold the new way of life. Their principal partner was God. At home, in caring for their children, in farming or cooking or building, they let God share their work. He was the only security they had. A farmer might talk to his son working out in the field with him. "Let's plow this field in the name of God." Their everyday life was lived in the name of God. 
After the first spring visited them, they cleared the fields, planted, cultivated, and harvested the crop. And they attributed all their precious harvest to the grace of God. The beautiful tradition of Thanksgiving thus originated. Following the next severe winter, the first thing they built was a church. At night, at dawn, in the morning and at noontime, they prayed to God. I am sure they prayed, "God, we want to build a place for You which must be better than the Old World. We want to build a place where You can dwell and be master." 
And they also had a vision of the future that this Christian nation would do more good for the rest of the world than any other country upon the face of the earth. I am sure that after their church they built a school. They wanted outstanding schools for their children, better than any schools existing in the Old World. And their homes came last. After they built these homes, they dedicated them to God. This is the history of your Pilgrim Fathers, I know. I can visualize early America as a beautiful America, because God was dwelling everywhere. In the school, in the church, in the kitchen, in the street — in any assembly or market place, God was dwelling.

The American Dream
The Pilgrims laid the foundation for the American Dream which is a national ethos of the United States, a set of ideals in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, and an upward social mobility achieved through hard work.

“That sense of can do spirit, of American Exceptionalism has a long history going back to the pilgrims who carved out a place to call home and the rag tagged army that defeated the most powerful empire in the world.”
What is America – ReadState

I like to finish this tribute to the Thanksgiving Holiday with a short video by musician and singer/song writer Bono at Georgetown University who as an Irish born sees America as an Ideal truth which is self-evident in all of us: 

Next week I will write about the movie America: Imagine a World without Her

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