This has been going round my head for weeks. I love America and loved every minute I have spent there, but I hate a lot about how America behaves. It’s a long thread.
When I lived in Illinois I was bombarded by the phrase ‘God Bless America.’ It was in church services and on bumper stickers. It was always in proximity to ‘Land of the Free.’
God bless the land of the free!
20 years later I realise that America was already blessed and already the land of free, but only for some. The rich and often white population, the lovely middle class families and the Evangelicals were blessed and free. They were safe and they had more than enough.
They were really free. The American dream was for them and they lived it. The black population, the LGBT community, the Muslim population, the sovereign indigenous? They were not free, the dream was not for them. The system was weighted against them, their freedoms curtailed.
Yet on went the mantra. ‘God bless America. God bless America.’ They prayed for more in their churches, bless us ,the blessed, with more. God bless America again.’
Did God listen?
Today America is in uproar. From across the Atlantic you can tell the atmosphere is thick with activism and the cries for justice. Monuments to slavers fall and the systems they built are creaking under the pressure of the people’s will.
God Bless America they pray.
What if God, with a heart moved by the cries for equality, calls for freedom and the right to live safely in their own homes, is answering the prayer of those evangelicals?
What if blessing America looks like black people no longer having to fear those hired with their own tax dollars to protect and serve them?
What if blessing America affords the same rights to an LGBT person as to any other person?
What if blessing America is the end of slaveholder religion?
What if blessing America is that indigenous lives are valued as much as other lives?
What if blessing America is the end of slaveholder Christianity?
Blessed are the poor in spirit, crushed by exclusion, violence and the theft of their lands and heritage. Theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, their loved one killed by a racist cop, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, who kneel in strength on the football field, protesting the brutalising of their people, they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, standing in protest as tear gas rains down, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, who reach out in peace to those who declare war on their skin, they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, who seek only that which we all deserve, they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, who walk across divides to sit with their enemies, they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because righteousness, because they dare claim that lives denied value for centuries matter. Theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
God bless America. God is blessing America. God is blessing America by dismantling its greatest evils. God is blessing America by making it the land of the free for all of its people.
Be careful what you pray for.
You might just get it.