Alan Keyes
The Christian ethos vs. arrogant elitists
Alan Keyes exhorts Americans who understand the role of God's authority
By Alan Keyes
November 4, 2018

I think that every election in the United States ought to be taken as proof that the elitists are wrong who have, for several decades, preached the end of "American exceptionalism." Who knows what most Americans take that to mean? But to their elitist enemies, it has always referred to the existence and success of their self-government and the disruptive effect it has had, from the start, on the self-respecting aspirations of human beings around the world. Ironically, I think the enemies of America's liberty get it right. Our very existence as a free people means trouble for the age-old dominion of arrogant elitists. But what disturbs them most is the fact that our national identity is rooted in an exceptionally sophisticated understanding of Divine power.

Elitists have always and everywhere sought to manipulate humanity's sense of that power, and its articulation, to justify and facilitate their controlling pre-eminence. Mostly they have favored polytheistic paganism. It offered a panoply of godlike powers, convenient for use and exploitation by successful coalitions of elitist forces. The power of creatively delineated gods could be invoked to reify the significance of their victories, and of their enemies' defeat. As the god or gods whose worship they enacted won victory after victory, the powers of the gods whose worshipers they defeated could be ascribed to theirs, so that the growing Pantheon of powers they collected verified the expanding reach of their jurisdiction.

These days, the proven power of our empirical sciences tempts us to believe that this Pantheon is simply the product of superior numbers, overwhelming their opposition. But the history of human battles points to a more complex truth. The measures used to marshal and direct one's forces, in critical circumstances, more often than not determine the outcome. The effectiveness of those measures often depends on their effect upon the determination of those who fight – i.e., whether they will stand and fight, or succumb to fear and run away.

The forcefulness of their determination cannot be measured until after the fact. A large number of people may give way to a much smaller number because the latter stand and fight, either as individuals or as a group, with greater effect and stamina. What will happen in the battle thus depends on the will that informs their activity. And the force of that will often depends, in turn, on factors invisible to the naked eye up until the outcome reveals them.

The effective – though invisible – willpower of superior individuals lends credence to the idea that the outcome of any given contest depends on the presence of forces that "must be acted 'ere they may be scanned." They remain invisible until the outcome makes their presence known. As the Greek poet Homer depicts it in the "Illiad," it is as if the superior power of a god takes over individual bodies, raising their performance to heights not foretold beforehand by outward appearances.

Thus elite performers are presumed to enjoy divine favor. Those with no outstanding achievements are presumed to be their inferiors. This presumption is what makes it possible for outstanding individuals to identify themselves as a class set apart. Since people assume these elites are endowed with superior power to enforce their will, others conscious of no such power are more likely than not to defer to them. Thus divine favor, once proven, becomes a warrant to rule over others.

However, the Christian ethos extends the presumption of divine favor to people who have never proven themselves superior to others. The premise of One beyond all human power who rules over all others, regardless of their relative attributes, takes the first step toward democratic equality. It implies that, in respect of that One, all stand in equal need of His favor.

In the Gospel, Christ says, "blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it." He also makes clear that the key to keeping God's Word is not measured by material action, but by the disposition of the heart that informs the action. Thus the widow's mite, given wholeheartedly, is worth more than the prince's treasure, given without wholesome love and respect for the provisions of God's will. Thus, according to the Gospel of Christ, He offers all human beings the opportunity to enjoy God's favor. No special material skill or capacity is required to take advantage of Christ's offer. Only the firm goodwill to do so.

Since God is thus favorably disposed toward all who have love and regard for Him – and all people share in the Being of God, which substantiates that disposition (for in Him we live and move and have our being) – the likely obstacle to God's favor is the determination of our will in respect of His. Given the provisions of conscience – i.e., sensible knowledge of what is right and what is wrong in respect of God's will – which He programs into our human nature (inscribes upon the heart of humanity), as a general rule, we do not lack the knowledge required to follow His prescription. For all that we need to do so is in the substance of God's being, in and through which our own arises. For, as long as we live, we are, as it were, but a divinely informed drop in the ocean of His truth.

If we accept to follow His information, we preserve our being in good relation to all others. If we neglect or refuse to do so, we disserve ourselves and deserve our own annihilation. The doctrine of rights on which our liberty depends presumes that we will accept God's information. It presumes that as individuals and as a people, we are therefore willing to enact God's standard of right, which alone secures our just self-government.

In our day, as in days gone by, a challenge to our existence as one nation is coming to a head. Before now, every time we were called to prove and approve the moral basis of our identity as a people, we have done so. But our elites never before set their faces against it as so many of them are doing now. Given their apostasy, our liberty will survive only if enough Americans return to, and rely upon the moral sense that, time and again, has restored our national heart to God's keeping. In this regard, people who live by God's written and Incarnate Word bear an exceptional responsibility.

Whether on spiritual or material fields of battle, such restoration requires that we pray to God-in-Christ for the resolve to take the stand, here and now, as witnesses to God's justice and truth for humanity. Because God's authority is the first premise of our national identity, our vocation to be citizens of God's Kingdom is vital to fulfilling our responsibilities as citizens of the United States. For we are, as it were, the leaven on which our nation depends to produce the truly moral confidence and courage to uphold its God-revering creed. We must make our presence felt, according to His will, in this and every political election, else that courage will fail.

To see more articles by Dr. Keyes, visit his blog at and his commentary at and

© Alan Keyes


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Alan Keyes

Dr. Keyes holds the distinction of being the only person ever to run against Barack Obama in a truly contested election – featuring authentic moral conservatism vs. progressive liberalism – when they challenged each other for the open U.S. Senate seat from Illinois in 2004... (more)


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