Pete Riehm
America was great when God was first!
By Pete Riehm
November 22, 2022

Our cherished national holiday, Thanksgiving, is upon us, but with the nation in disarray and discord abounding, Americans may be wondering for what should we be thankful? The holidays usually bring a respite from daily drudgery and a time of reflection for all the blessings in our otherwise too busy lives, but this year a pall hangs over the country. Thanksgiving feels hollow when American are hurting. Have our blessings eluded us? Or have we evaded the One who blesses us?

The United States is again suffering from malaise. Americans feel insecure as inflation eviscerates our economy, crime and open borders threaten our general safety, and an inept government is more focused on oppressing law-abiding citizens for dissent than implementing policies to solve the nations’ problems. The challenges of self-government are perennial, but the real damage to the nation comes from the all-out assault on our traditional values.

The 1960s mantra, “if it feels good, do it,” has come to full fruition; decency and morality have been suspended as bigoted and intolerant. Substance abuse is devastating our society, but instead of temperance, we call for legalizing more drugs. Sexual immorality and infidelity are destroying families, but instead of restraint, the militant LGBTQ lobby demands we push perversions on our children as normal. Most disturbing is that millions of Americans demand the right to murder the innocent lives of those who inconvenience their irresponsible life choices with the consequence of a new human life. Instead of accountability, too many insist on abortion as an easy excuse and exit.

America appears in decline; Americans are depressed. Our ruling elite claim the days of abundance are behind us and only scarcity lies ahead. They oddly advance that narrative and admonish Americans to submit to an ever more powerful government for our needs because our luck has run out. It’s not luck and never has been. America has enjoyed the bountiful blessings of God for centuries. The blessings have not run out, but rather we have run out on the Almighty Creator who has so richly blessed this country.

Over 400 years ago, the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock with literally nothing but a will to work and a spirit to serve God. They braved a treacherous transatlantic voyage in a tiny vessel and a wild untamed continent for a new home where they could worship God freely; they were solely driven by a quest for religious freedom.

Though half of them died the first winter, they were confident in the providence of God to bless them for seeking Him first. They clearly stated their purpose in the Mayflower Compact: “Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honor of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the first Colony . . .”

Our founders enshrined the principles of freedom in our founding document with the acknowledgement that our primary purpose was and is freedom of religion and to guarantee the blessings of God for us and our posterity. For most of our first four centuries, most Americans had their sights squarely on God, so the United States became the most peaceful, prosperous, and powerful nation on the planet by the providence of God.

America flourished because we glorified God as a nation and as a people, but in the past six decades we have drifted away from God and His teachings. We banished God from schools and chased Him from the public square. Our affluence and success have deceived us into believing we can thrive on our own without the steady hand of God. Pop culture has misled us to believe the Bible is outdated, so we abandon or ignore scripture for what we think is right in our own eyes. Depravity and immorality have eroded our culture and national identity.

In his 1835 book, “Democracy in America,” Alexis de Tocqueville wrote “America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.” That is precisely our problem today; we have lost our greatness because we have ceased to be good. We pursue our own wants and desires with no regard for the Word of God; and that path leads only to destruction.

The good news is God is still in control and His blessings are still available, but we must seek His face. We must also realize that separation from God does not put us in control; it only leaves a vacuum for evil to fill, an opportunity for the devil to rush in. America is only in decline if we turn away from God, but if we return to the Almighty, America will be restored.

We do have much for which to be thankful. We can be thankful that we can each be redeemed by a loving God and America can be great again if we only put God first again.

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).

Pete Riehm is a conservative activist and columnist in south Alabama. Email him at or read all his columns at

© Pete Riehm


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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Pete Riehm

Born to German immigrants, Pete Riehm grew up in Texas as a first generation American. Working his way through college, he enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve. After graduating from the University of Houston, Pete was commissioned into the United States Navy through Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island. He also earned a Master's Degree in National Security from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas... (more)


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