Pardon me if I get religious. It’s Sunday, and I feel it is appropriate to discuss religious matters on Sunday, particularly if it inspires us to righteousness throughout the week.
There is a passage in the Book of Mormon that struck a chord as I read it recently. Alma, the prophet and leader of the church, an untiring witness of Christ to come, one who had a special, personal witness of Christ’s mission and who has experienced the divine forgiving powers in his own life, is passing the baton to his son, Helaman.
Here, in this passage, Alma explains the situation with the land we call today America.
And he said: Thus saith the Lord God—Cursed shall be the land, yea, this land, unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, unto destruction, which do wickedly, when they are fully ripe; and as I have said so shall it be; for this is the cursing and the blessing of God upon the land, for the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.
And now, when Alma had said these words he blessed the church, yea, all those who should stand fast in the faith from that time henceforth.
I thought about how this relates to why liberals hate America. Or rather, why those who hate America hate America.
One of the biggest complaints of those who hate America is that Americans are too religious, and in particular, they are too Jewish or Christian, but especially Christian. They also complain that America is too violent with her enemies, and too radical in her defense of liberty.
Let me help pull out what I saw in this verse and explain it in religious terms.
The righteous are those who have surrendered themselves to God’s will. They see themselves as vile creatures unworthy of God’s love, and yet, having received God’s loved and being saved from their own sins, they have been put in a position of happiness with only God to thank. And so they live their life obedient to God not out of fear but out of love, gratitude, and with the clear knowledge that only through obedience is their happiness to be found.
The wicked are in a different state. They have not found God’s love, and so continue to persist in their wickedness, their hearts and minds cut off from the presence of God and thus incapable of feeling the pure joy and happiness that is to be found in the bosom of God.
Now, since America has, since ancient times, been reserved exclusively for the righteous, the righteous in America find prosperity and peace. That is the blessing that Alma pronounced on the land for the righteous. It didn’t start with Alma, but was communicated from God through his vassal-prophet, and Alma simply put that sentiment of God into words we can understand, and they were recorded so that we can read them and understand a little bit more about the mind of God.
What happens to the wicked? Coming to America, they find the happiness and prosperity and peace that the righteous enjoy elusive. Indeed, it almost appears to them that they are in an unhappy state because of the righteous. Isn’t this the classical Marxian argument? “You are happy, and I am not, so your happiness must have come because you have taken it from me.”
To which, the righteous respond, “There is enough, and to spare, for all. Come buy milk and honey without price, and enjoy the exact same blessings we enjoy by submitting to Christ as we have done.”
And so the division between wicked and righteous. The wicked want to turn the very freedoms that created the prosperity that the righteous enjoy on its head, to level the playing field, so to speak. The righteous, on the other hand, seek to preserve freedom, not just for the righteous but especially for the wicked, so that they can have the same opportunity to repent that they have had.
What inevitably happens, and we have seen this happen time and time again, is that the wicked are destroyed. It doesn’t have to happen with great balls of fire from heaven, but usually happens much more subtly and simply than that. In this case, Barack Obama, obviously unable to comprehend where prosperity really comes from (Hint: God), has acted wickedly, trying to take from the righteous and give to the wicked. As such, there has been a tremendous backlash against him, and now he finds himself in a worse position than he was in before he was even elected to the state senate.
The message isn’t that we should go out and punish the wicked. That punishment is meted out by God’s hand, and we simply have to petition God to hurry up or hold off for a bit, depending on what God inspires us to ask for.
The message is, instead, that if we are righteous, we should hold tight to that righteousness and the source of our righteousness—Jesus Christ.
If, on the other hand, we find ourselves in a state of misery, we should let go of whatever we were holding onto (it being, obviously, of no value), and instead hold on to Christ.
There is no political message here, except that it’s pointless to fight against each other. The real fight is between ourselves and our God, and we are always on the losing side until we align with God. In the end, if we refuse to humble ourselves before God, we end up destroyed just like everyone else who refuses to accept God are destroyed. This is especially so in the land of America, just as it was in the land of Israel.
In the end, Glenn Beck’s rally was the rally that will be recorded in the history books as a monumental shift in American political discourse. For so long, religion has played second to politics and government. Glenn Beck has taught us that nothing, not even our country, is more important than our personal relationship with God. If we do not get that right, then nothing else will be right. If we get that right, however, then everything else will be right.