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Changing America's prayer

God Bless America
A decal reading "God Bless America" is seen on the wall of the soup kitchen in the basement of the St. Leo Catholic Church in Detroit December 17, 2011. |

A repeated appeal to the Almighty has echoed throughout America's existence from citizens, military, and political leaders alike. From professional sporting events to standup comedians and musicians ending their shows to Irving Berlin's "God Bless America," the phrase is uttered in every part of the country — every day.

Yet, "God Bless America" took an unexpected turn when then-President Obama invoked it when ending one of his speeches by asking God to bless Planned Parenthood.

As this familiar phrase perfunctorily continues in America's public life, one can't help but wonder to whom people are praying.

If the deity entreated is the God of the Bible, then specific questions might be in order — the main of which is "do we even know this God so regularly asked to bless America?"

"God" arrives in our language and subsequently in our English Bibles from the Proto-Germanic "Gudan." Yet the God of the Bible was not referred to as such. Surprisingly to some, neither Moses nor the Apostle Paul read from the King James Bible. Considered so holy, the Jews used a shorthand reference to keep the name of the God of the Bible separate and avoid breaking the second commandment:

"You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain." Exodus 20:7

The God of the Bible seems serious about His name — and invoking that name. It seems hard to imagine the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob getting fired up at the Super Bowl, NASCAR, or other events where Americans wax sentimentally. Would the "Great I AM" who made Himself known to Moses — spared during Pharoah's genocide of infants — be pleased when entreated to bless the nation's largest provider of abortion services? 

Glibness towards the Almighty implies disrespect, as well as a dismissive contempt of an omnipotent being who "... brought forth the heavens and the earth." Even if merely a higher power, there remains a deplorable ignorance from a culture cheekily referring to Him as the "Man Upstairs." 

America's concept of and relationship with God claims roots in the framers and founders of the country. As they knew and described Him, God was indeed the God of the Bible. Their understanding of God is far from this caricature, this "good luck charm," that many superficially mention.

With so many mocking His word, His followers, and His tenants, why would He dismiss such behavior to bless something His Word clearly abhors? Scripture remains clear on God's principles: same-sex relationships, mass genocide of the unborn, immorality and lawlessness are all contrary to God’s will. Yet America flagrantly disregards at best or worse rewrites to accommodate the desires du jour, while still asking for God's approval and blessing. 

The prayer must change. The people of God can no longer appeal to the Alpha and Omega for blessings in good faith. "In God, we trust" no longer applies to our culture. In the act of wry honesty, America could change the motto to "In a manufactured god we trust." That's what Moses' brother, Aaron did with the golden calf — and for centuries after, the people of God seemed pre-disposed to repeat Aaron's idolatry and appeal to a created deity that accommodates unbridled desires.

Contrary to pop culture, the character of human beings remains unchanged over the ages. We're not becoming better people. Societies that divorce themselves from the authority of the God of the Bible prove that point each day. Yet even those who adhere to that authority still find themselves coming up short due to our systemic failings. The Biden administration is correct to recognize a systemic evil in America — but they miss the mark by identifying it as racism. The failure is far more profound and none are immune. 

Jeremiah, as well as the framers of our Constitution, knew this when describing human beings. 

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?" Jeremiah 17:9

America's decline, along with growing defiance against the Almighty, now warrants a change in prayers. No longer can we appeal for God to bless America. Our circumstances now prompt a cry for mercy. Due to our collective decay now bearing fruit, a more urgent prayer is for God to spare America. 

Peter Rosenberger hosts the nationally syndicated radio program Hope for the Caregiverwww.hopeforthecaregiver.com

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