Curtis Dahlgren
Did God have a plan for America? (A "top 5 American book" review)
By Curtis Dahlgren
March 4, 2019

"America, Americauntil about fifteen years ago, the name by itself would evoke a feeling of warmth. Whether it was pride or gratitude or hope, the response of the majority of people on earth was deeply positive. America's moral and fiscal currency was the soundest in the world; you could bank on it, and most of the world did . .

And then, with a suddenness that is still bewildering, everything went out of balance . . Our young people began to revolt on a scale no generation ever had before . . The emerging nations, to whom we had given so freely, were almost unanimous in their hatred of us . ."
– from "The Light and the Glory" by Peter Marshall,Jr. and David Manuel

THAT WAS 1977 WHEN THEY PUBLISHED THAT BOOK, but decline and decay come in waves, not a steady, gentle brook, and those introductory words remind us of very recent waves of so-called "revolt." A few words more:

"But perhaps the most mystifying indicator of all was the loss of moral soundness. To be sure, there had always been pockets of dissolution, but we had thought of them as isolated situations – surface cavities which needed to be drilled and filled. Now we were finding that what was actually needed was root-canal work, if it was not already too late.

"And yet, the sexual promiscuity, which we scrambled to accommodate through legalized abortion, permissive sex education, and ever more effective birth preventatives, was not in itself the most telling sign of the depth of the moral decay. Nor was it the disintegration of the family unit, the common thread which was all that was keeping the fabric of America from coming apart at the seams . . .

"The most significant index of the extent of our moral decay was our very indifference to it."

AGAIN, sounds familiar in 2019, doesn't it? "There is nothing new under the sun." Nothing is 'vanguard' anymore. It's been done before. "Free" love, the New Morality, predated our now-septuagenarian "sixties" hippies. And they were only clones of the Nihilists in 1860s Russia, the precursors of the Bolsheviks!

Generation Z college students, as I've been observing here, are an inexplicable combination of "toleraters" and haters, self-assured and easily offended, self-obsessed but pie-in-the-sky dreamers, chasing after mirages. I generalize, but their professors have certainly told them that America's founding was all wrong. Founded by Dweebs, Dead White English & European Boys (the only "good" thing to them being that the 1789 government was a secular one, "not a Christian nation" – supposedly). I've only had time to scan the Marshall and Manuel book in part, but I've seen enough to document the truth about the earliest settlers. They were religious. And spawned the type of a government the 1789 patriots gave birth to, from town halls to popular sovereignty and checks and balances on human power. A few words more:

"Thomas Hooker was probably the most popular Puritan preacher. He barely escaped the King's soldiers, as he embarked for Holland in 1630. Three years later, God called him to New England. In Hooker, John Winthrop found the first person he had met who fully shared his vision of what God was doing in New England."

Their only difference of opinion was on church government. Their intramural exchanges on the subject were forerunners of the Hamilton-Jefferson-Adams debates, aristocracy versus more "democratic" systems. Winthrop might say:

"If the Kingdom of God were a democracy, how long do you think God would remain in office?" In the words of Marshall and Manuel, Hooker might have said:

"Nothing would make me happier, John, than to have you continue in office until the Lord returns. But you're not going to, and what if your successor turns out to be a bad apple? What if the magistrates start creating laws which line their own pockets or subvert the common good? How do we pluck them out, before they ruin the whole barrel? And Winthrop might have said:

"But you cannot trust most men to have the necessary wisdom to elect governors and magistrates. They'll be putting in their cronies for favors, or golden-tongued charmers who will promise the world and all; you'll end up with more bad apples in the barrel than you ever dreamed of."

These were the real-life beginnings of the Great American Experiment – "starting the world over again" – with history's failures and Divine Providence in mind. Our so-called "secular" nation ended up with a balance between aristocracy and pure democracy: a representative Republic – admittedly dependent upon an informed and godly Common Man. If they had lived, the 17th century pilgrims would have seen the 1789 America as one result of the Protestant Reformation, more than religious but well-rooted in the Word. "Neither bond nor free, neither Jew nor Gentile, etc." was the founding ideal in a nation where equal justice for all was evolving (but is now in great danger). Just ask the President about that.

P.S Someone said "Read the best books first or you may not be able to read them at all." I recommend "The Light and the Glory"; you can still find it. And I need to finish reading it.

PPS: DON'T TAKE THE BAIT! ("charmers who will promise the world and all"; sounds like the Deep Swamp in Washington)! Yes, God had a plan for America, but the acronym for "I Have A Dream" is IHAD. The spiritual jury is still out on the future.

More to come.

© Curtis Dahlgren


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in southern Wisconsin, and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)


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