So, it's the 4th of July, and I have a cd on for the kids, Wee Sing America, and I was struck by how many passionate references to God there were in these old anthems....lots. Lots and lots. This is not a Christian collection or anything either, and there are a number of lighter, silly songs like "Eating Goober Peas" and "Yankee Doodle".
From "America",,,a.k.a. "My Country Tis of Thee"
"Our father's God, to Thee,
Author of liberty
To thee we sing,
Long may our land be bright
With freedom's holy light;
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God, our King!"
From "America the Beautiful"
May God thy gold refine
Till all success by nobleness
And every gain divine!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
From "Battle Hymn of the Republic"
"Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loos'd the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword,
His truth is marching on.
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me;
As He died to make men holy let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on."
These songs were often written during war time, to express patriotism so strong that men were willing to die for it. And men did. And do.
How did we go from that to this in 200 years? Is this really what most Americans want? I know that Americans still have far more freedom than many countries, but sometimes I feel like we are sliding down the other side of the slope. Have we traded freedom of religion for intolerance of religion? In another 200 years, will we still have freedom of religion or will atheism be the new "religion" of the state?