America has broken covenant with God by forsaking her Christian roots in thought, word, and deed. Because America is the new Israel, God's new covenant nation, it is up to Christians to restore this covenant by behaving in a biblical manner. This is author Carol M. Swain, PhD's thesis in Be The People, which could more accurately be titled Be The Christian People.
In 1620 William Bradford and the other Christians who'd sailed on the Mayflower to America wrote the Mayflower Compact. In this they entered into a covenant with each other to behave in a manner in their new nation that would honor God. Dr. Swain makes the argument that the covenant was made between the people and God, and while the distinction that the covenant was between themselves in order to honor God sounds like how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, the distinction is significant. It is significant because Dr. Swain uses the Mayflower Compact to bolster her contention that God has made America His new covenant nation. Since a covenant always is between at least two parties, Dr. Swain sees the Mayflower Compact as America's recognition that she is indeed God's new covenant nation. Dr. Swain quotes three verses on covenant-keeping from the twenty-third chapter of the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, a book of laws given to Israel by God, and claims these verses apply to America. Neither of these contentions is true.
There is no arguing that America was founded by men who believed in a Creator God, many of whom believed in Jesus Christ. But the Mayflower Compact was written primarily to prevent the non-Christians on board the Mayflower from establishing their own form of government with their own laws. Deuteronomy was written specifically to the nation of Israel and does not apply to America. Many people (rightly) believe that God has blessed America because of her biblical foundations, but to claim that the Mayflower Compact and the Old Testament refer to a covenant between God and America is false. However, ideas about restoring a healthy morality to America need not have a biblical or even historical basis to be worthy of discussion.
Dr. Swain claims the ideas she presents in the chapters on abortion, immigration, and various racial issues are a call to action for Christians, an intellectual treatise for discussion among intellectuals, and a guidebook to the behavior of the Christian Right for atheists and secular humanists. She includes Action Points at the end of each chapter, and a list of questions for discussion in a separate freely downloadable document. If Swain's contention that America is God's covenant nation can be set aside, the book and associated guides might serve as a basis for discussion.
Swain attacks the issues of abortion, family, immigration, race, and racial issues by presenting statistics that seek to persuade the reader that there is indeed a problem, but when she moves from statistics to persuasion the arguments for her solutions tend to rest on anecdotal experience or a "some say that...." offense that is neither persuasive nor particularly helpful in the context of a book. "The most ardent secular humanist" says Dr. Swain "might easily recoil when confronted with data about the multibillion-dollar biotechnology trade in human fetal tissue obtained from aborted babies." Probably not, given that secular humanists don't view the fetus as a human being, nor are they opposed to multibillion-dollar biotechnology corporations engaging in the sacramental activity of their religion, namely abortion.
When statistics might be helpful, Swain is intentionally vague. "Despite the brutal violence, an unknown number of whites who have read The Turner Diaries seem to be attracted to its vision of an all-white America purged of racial minorities and Jews." An "unknown number?" "Seem to be?" The implication is that most if not all Caucasians are racist, and it only takes a book like The Turner Diaries to bring it to the surface. Though Dr. Swain's previous books deal almost exclusively with racial issues I do not believe her intent is to suggest Caucasians are racists, but the vague suggestions of widespread racism give a false impression; facts or statistics could have made a strong and specific statement.
Dr. Swain does use one statistic consistently throughout the book. She claims that approximately seventy-eight percent of Americans claim they are Christian. If this is true, then perhaps as John MacArthur says, "America's moral decline is a spiritual problem, not a political one, and its solution is the gospel, not partisan politics." Be The People mentions Christians' responsibility to study their faith but the majority of the book insists Christians need to exert a strong influence over the government and the media so that Christian principles can reign again in America.
Michael Gerson and Pete Wehner in their book The City of Man: Religion and Politics in a New Era make a case for reasonable and biblical Christian political action. Pastor Tim Keller writes (in an installment of the Redeemer Report) in "Work and Cultural Renewal" that "If God and his grace are not at the center of a culture, then other things will be substituted as ultimate values. So every vocational field is distorted by idolatry." So it isn't that Christians aren't called to engage in politics, it's that political action, for the Christian, is in third place behind preaching Jesus Christ and strengthening themselves and the Church with solid doctrine. Only then can Christians come honorably to the marketplace, ready to engage the culture.
In a blog titled "Dominion Theology or Reconstructionism" Pastor John Piper states "...we do well to exert our influence in ways that do not put the sword into the hands of the priests." While Dr. Swain's discussion of the issues plaguing our nation is interesting, and there is much Christians can agree with, her contention that America is God's covenant people weakens the arguments she makes in the rest of the book and makes it hard for intellectuals or atheists to give the book any credibility.
I received a copy of this book at no cost to me from Thomas Nelson publishers, in exchange for a review of the work.
Can I vote for Carol Swain for President? Read Be the People: A Call to Reclaim America's Faith & Promise and you may be thinking the same thing. Carol Swain is a well-educated, wise woman. She clearly defines the issues facing our country and offers solid reasoning for why our country has come to this point and good ideas on how to fix it.
The following is directly from page 166:
In recent years our nation has been shocked and embarrassed by the
actions of US troops who have committed atrocities and tortured,
murdered, and raped other human beings. The Old Testament makes
clear the brutalities and horrors that are part of war. We might ask
how soldiers from our predominantly Christian nation could commit
the horrific acts that occurred at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad and
Guantanamo Bay. The answer, I believe, lies in the ungodly model
of leadership that has been patterned in our nation--for instance, the
burning of Christian Bibles at the order of military officials, the
acceptance and accommodation of Wiccans in our military ranks,
and the passing of resolutions that ban American soldiers from
witnessing to others about their Christian faith. Under current
military rules, American soldiers home on leave or stationed within
the United States are prohibited from sharing their Christian
testimony while wearing their military uniform. Clearly, we have
strayed from the religious foundations of our nation and our
belief in the providence of a God who watches over us. So-called
secular progress in recent years is actually our nation's decline
from grace, common sense, and wisdom.
In this book, Carol Swain addresses issues such as abortion, racism, homosexuality and immigration and offers reasons why these issues are all part of the problem of our country's decline. I highly recommend this book to anyone who truly cares about our country and the shape that it is in and the direction in which it is headed. This book is eye-opening.
I will leave you with one more direct paragraph from the book (pages 224-225):
Pastor Joe Wright of Central Christian Church in Wichita used his
opportunity as a guest chaplain at the Kansas State House on January
23, 1996, to call for national repentance. Thousands of copies of Pastor
Wright's prayer circulated the world in the weeks after he uttered the
prayer. His words still reverberate across the nation. Wright's prayer
is one that we should all consider praying, with sincerity and conviction,
individually, congregationally, and in small groups.
Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness
and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says,
"We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values.
We confess that:
We have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it pluralism.
We have worshiped other gods and called it multiculturalism.
We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle.
We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.
We have neglected the needy and called it self-preservation.
We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.
We have killed our unborn children and called it choice.
We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem.
We have abused power and called it political savvy.
We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it building ambition.
We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.
We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.
Search us, O God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin
and set us free. Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent to
direct us to the center of Your will. I ask it in the name of Your Son, the
living Savior, Jesus Christ.
This book has a very timely and valuable message. Our government was designed to be "of the people, by the people and for the people". We need to stand and "Be the People".
Carol offers great suggestions for things we can all do to make a difference in our government at the end of each chapter. She also gives other resources and has study questions available for each chapter. At the end of the book, she has included a copy of the Ten Commandments, the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights. I urge all Americans to read this book and take a stand.
Be the People: A Call to Reclaim America's Faith & Promise by Carol M. Swain, PhD
When I first saw this book, I thought, "This is going to be a boring book about political topics. I don't know why I am even choosing to read this book." The truth is, this is not a book that I would typically pick up off the shelf of a bookstore or a library. I am not much interested in politics, so I really expected this to be a difficult read. Imagine my surprise, when I found that I couldn't put the book down. Carol Swain discusses issues from the founding principles of our country's earliest leaders to topics such as Family Issues, Immigration, Race and Social Issues that impact our nation on a daily basis. Basically, the main message that Carol is trying to bring out is that we, as a nation, need to reclaim our founding principles. As our country has moved away from the religious principles that our nation was founded upon, Carol was able to show how that movement has negatively affected our nation's rights and freedoms.
As I stated above, I was unable to put this book down. Carol was engaging from the minute I started reading the book, until I finished. She writes in a way that anyone would be able to understand what she is talking about, which is unusual for a lot of well-educated authors and political figures. She uses clear examples to back up her premises, and gives practical steps that every-day citizen's can take to make a difference in the direction that our country moves forward. I especially like how Carol was able to practically explain how the way our nation is moving forward at this time is contrary to what God's Word commands, and how we should get back to the godly roots that our nation was founded upon. Her book moves forward in a natural, logical way, which made it so much easier for me to follow and understand what she was trying to convey. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in knowing more about the principles our country was founded upon, and how we can get back to our roots.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÃÂ®.com <http://BookSneezeÃÂ®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
With the next election a little over a year away, the publication of this book was perfectly timed. Be The People by Carol M. Swain, PhD is a call to reclaim America's faith and promise in our nation's founding values. It is a call to reexamine the kind of nation we are becoming and encourages American citizens to stand up and reclaim the life, liberty, and justice envisioned by the forefathers.
This book is conservative politically and Biblical ethically. It is divided into two parts:
Ã¢âÂ Broken Vows:Forsaking What We Once Knew ~ The author gives a detailed chronology of the history of America's roots, policies that shaped and damaged our morals, and shares very personal details of her abortions and how this freedom has brought God's judgment on our nation. Historically, this book is well documented and whether you are a novice, scholar, liberal, or conservative, the information presented will enlighten, inform, and at times shock your being.
Ã¢âÂ Banished Virtues: Reclaiming Truth and Justice In Policy Choices ~ In the final half, the author investigates the break down of the family unit, immigration laws, race relations, her personal views and issues with President Obama's policies, and finally sounds the call to reclaim the faith of the founding father's from the secular world view it is presently claiming and shares Ten Steps Toward Reclaiming America in this final chapter.
Each chapter concludes with Action Points, several suggestions for ways to become more knowledgeable, sites to visit, and additional literature to read. At the end of the book, the author included The Ten Commandments, The Declaration of Independence, The Bill of Rights, and The Constitution of the Unites States of America.
This book was one of most concise, yet well documented books I've read. As a conservative black American, the author shared how she has been harassed in the media for opposing the present White House policy, yet has remained true to her message. She warns of impending judgment for forsaking the principles that founded America, just as God allowed judgment to fall on Israel .
I felt that she was a bit too harsh in her criticism of her own race. As one who came out of poverty and was the first in her family to graduate from college, at times, she seemed to critically turn a blind eye to the racism that still exists in this country, and the consequences of that racism.
The author appears to embrace Americanism, which is the view that if we return to the original moral principles our nation was founded upon, it will return to God. But she also states in the final chapter that it may be too late for America to escape God's hand of judgment. I believe that the morality of this nation will change when the hearts of this nation are changed by the power of God. Morality can only be legislated to an extent. Carol Swain discussed that some view America as the new Israel and that it is under the Abrahamic covenant and blessings, but I am not certain if the author believes this false concept.
This is a well written book. I encourage you, no matter what your political beliefs, to purchase a copy. It will inform, educate, and enlighten you politically and historically to do your part to bring change to America.
BE THE PEOPLE by Carol M. Swain, Ph D --- This book describes the problem that our government and we are facing and how we got to this point. We as a people need to change the way these things are going. The best way is to return to God and through prayer. At one time, God blessed our country and we have lost these blessing because we have chose to follow the path of sin. We are at a point as the Israelites were under the there kings, they choose not to follow the Lord God. The Old Testament tells us what happen to them and Revelations tells us what is going to happen to us if we do not follow God.
I recommend this book to all Christians and non Christians and if you care what is going wrong in our country to pray, pray and pray some more for our country.
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÃÂ®.com <http://BookSneezeÃÂ®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255