I share the following post as it encouraged me and challenged me … to be good and loving in fundamental, tangible ways and to see the goodness in others around me.
By Len Moisan, founder of The Covenant Group
America Great Because She is Good
When Alexis de Tocqueville first came here, he observed a young democracy that he both admired and wrote about in Democracy in America. He allegedly said:
“Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”
Unfortunately, there’s little evidence attributing this to Tocqueville. Still, Eric Metaxas finds irony here because the quote captures Tocqueville’s argument. He calls it a “brilliant summation” of his work. “ [Tocqueville] saw clearly that it was the ‘goodness’ of America’s people that made America work. “
Regardless of who said it, the statement is packed with truth, particularly in light of Mr. Trump’s campaign to, “Make America Great Again.” But are we looking in all the wrong places to bolster “American exceptionalism?” In fact, maybe America has been great because of its Christian heritage, a heritage that the courts, schools and municipalities hope to expunge from the public square.
Is America Still Good?
Recent headlines call the “goodness” of America into question. Chicago’s homicide rate continues at a horrendous pace (631 this year). Then in one night a deranged lunatic killed 58 people and wounded 489 in a mass shooting in Las Vegas.
However, in light of recent sexual scandals among Hollywood, media and congressional elites, Chicago and Las Vegas are passing memories. New revelations of misconduct appear daily. NBC’s Matt Lauer’s is only the latest story. Should that surprise us? Not really, particularly in light of the late Hugh Hefner’s influence on sexual liberation and freedom of expression, which became euphemisms for his pornographic view of life.
As a child growing up in Catholic schools, I learned to be honorable and respectful towards women. Not that I was always a pillar of virtue. Yet, when I pushed the limits, I was ashamed. I knew my behavior was inappropriate and the rest of society agreed.
However, today those Christian voices have diminished. In fact, trashing Christian teaching has become politically correct, and as a result there is virtually no shame. The decline is something that’s applauded by the same press that wonders what went wrong.
Still A Lot of Good
Yet, despite all of the noise, there are still good people doing good things in America. Consider that tens of thousands volunteered and donated to fundraising efforts to help hurricane victims in Texas and Florida. NFL great, JJ Watt raised over $37 million alone for hurricane relief. Beyond that there are fundraising campaigns to fund free schools, food banks, homeless shelters and much more.
Now not everyone agrees with America’s benevolence. In fact, recently I read articles that list America substantially lower than other countries for generosity. This includes Indonesia, Myanmar, Kenya and more. I’m not sure what justifies their assertions, but that just isn’t the case. No disrespect intended, but according to a CAF study, those countries aren’t even ranked in the top ten in monetary giving. Clearly giving in America is exceptional.
Statistics on Giving
Last year Americans gave $390.05 billion, or 1.44 % of their GDP. That’s nearly twice what the next closest country gave. In fact, consider this ranking of giving as a % of GDP:
- New Zealand……….0.79%
Additionally, the US provides aid to 96% of all countries, which now exceeds $50 billion annually. Simply stated, American generosity is unparalleled anywhere. But why is that?
The answer goes back to the quote, “America is great because she is good.” I believe that goodness comes from America’s Christian heritage. Oh there are some who debate that concept vigorously, but the more we depart from that heritage the less goodness we’ll see.
Len Moisan is founder and President of The Covenant Group, a consulting firm that helps churches and non-profits reach their growth and funding goals. Dr. Moisan has served as an educator, coach, manager, entrepreneur, and private consultant.
The Covenant Group
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Phone: (502) 425-9810