That’s the theme the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies has chosen for Barack Obama’s second swearing in and related festivities.
“Faith in America’s future.”
As the Washington Post reported, “Just as President Obama’s reelection campaign adopted a forward-looking focus, his second inauguration will also ask the nation to look ahead.”
I suppose I would do likewise if my record over the last four years was so objectively miserable. Who would want to look back?
But there’s something else disturbing about this theme. I point this out at the risk of being accused of taking issue with everything Obama does. In this case, however, while I’m sure Obama approved the theme, it was actually chosen by the inaugural committee.
What’s wrong with it?
The Founding Fathers would understand immediately what’s wrong with it. Why should we have faith in America’s future? They understood America’s future would be secure if America had faith in God. I don’t have faith in America unless it turns back to God’s ways, instead of running from them. And that’s what we have been doing for too long and at breathtaking speeds.
Following an attack by the Assyrians on Israel, Isaiah records the response of the people and its leaders: “The bricks have fallen, But we will rebuild with hewn stone. The sycamores have been cut down, But we will plant cedars in their places.”
You could sum that response up like this: “Israel placing its faith in its own future.”
The results were catastrophic.
And history is repeating itself in America today. It’s hardly just Obama’s inauguration theme.
The day after 9/11, then Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle set the course for the nation with a speech in which he literally read the words of Isaiah 9:10. He added: “That is what we will do. We will rebuild. We will recover.”
On the third anniversary of the worst attack on America’s homeland – one that led directly to economic crisis – Sen. John Edwards, then a candidate for vice president of the United States, also read Isaiah 9:10 as if it were a verse of comfort in times of turmoil. It is not. It is a proclamation of judgment. It was a response God rejected, a response that led directly and ultimately to the destruction of the nation.
It was also the theme of Obama’s first State of the Union message: “We will rebuild. We will recover.”
And now it is being repeated in his second inaugural.
Placing our faith in America’s future is misguided. It’s spiritually bankrupt. It’s like placing faith in yourself apart from God’s Word and His commandments.
“Our nation has faced countless challenges throughout its history, and each time we have come together as Americans and moved forward with renewed strength,” explained the chairman of the inaugural task force, Sen. Charles Schumer. “During the 57th Presidential Inauguration, Americans from across the country will gather beneath the Capitol Dome to celebrate our history, take measure of how far we have come, and look towards our future with hope and determination.”
No, we can’t do it alone. It will be futile to try. The only answer to the problems plaguing America today is spiritual. We must not look to ourselves. We must not look inward with blind faith in our nation. We must look to God and beseech Him for forgiveness.
Do I not have faith in America’s future?
Not at all, apart from a recommitment to God.
In fact, I have faith that America will continue to decline without that recommitment.