by Tony Nester

Happy is the Nation whose God is the LORD
Tony Nester
Psalm 33:12

(Psalms 33:12 NRSV) "Happy is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage."

Psalm 33:12 promises God's blessing on that nation who lives under God, and whose people know themselves as God's own people.

Can we claim this promise for our nation on this Independence Day, July 4, 2004? Are we a nation whose God is the LORD?

The founders of this nation believed that the providence of God was at work in establishing the independence of the American colonies from England's control. Their Declaration of Independence cites God as the source of the liberties they were willing to fight, bleed, and die for.

They did not want the nation to be entangled with competing religious sects. They knew that Christians often do not get along with each other, that churches often break apart, and that each group can claim to be the true church while others are false churches. That is why our founders did not want the government to establish any particular church with a claim of superiority over others.

But our founders did not intend to banish religion. Instead they wanted its free expression. As one recent writer comments:

".. the founders never sought to drive religion from the public realm. The words they spoke, the symbols they embraced, and the rituals they established--from state-declared days of thanksgiving to prayers at the start of Congress to military chaplaincies--all made clear that even semiofficial acknowledgment of divine providence was not only acceptable but good." [1]

What then does it mean to be a nation whose God is the LORD?

For some it means keeping the phrase "under God" in our Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of our country.

Two years ago 9th Circuit Court of Appeals declared that the phrase "under God" is unconstitutional and violates the separation of church and state. The United States Supreme Court recently dismisse ...

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