The campaign slogan, America First, might be the most destructive slogan or sentiment of any presidential campaign. The slogan itself is not inherently destructive, but the sentiment behind it predisposes our nation for an inevitable fall from God’s grace.
During the 2015 and 2016 presidential campaigns, Donald Trump implemented a slogan that resonated with millions of Americans. These Americans were feeling the sting of a slowly recovering economy over the past 6 years. They had grown increasingly frustrated with what was reported to be jobs going to other people groups, both foreign and domestic. This left a large group of white Americans looking for a reclamation of their rightful benefits. The slogan, America First, thus deeply resonated with a large percentage of this portion of the United States population.
The path to a narcissistic America is now being confidently lead by a gentleman who, by all measures, is widely known to be pathologically narcissistic. It seems to have been complimentary to his presidential campaign in that the promises he made to the American people were consistent with his own personal, lifelong attributes. There was little doubt in the minds of his supporters that he would indeed put America’s interest first, perhaps second only to his. While on the surface, it does not seem to be problematic to prioritize American interests. However when one evaluates the objective from a spiritual or Godly standpoint, the agenda appears to be a recipe for certain destruction of America.
Pride Comes Before Destruction.
There seems to be a sharp increase in American pride or patriotism. Seemingly now, more than any other non-war time, the America First sentiment is infiltrating the psyche of Americans, at least White Americans. Whether it’s genuine or a feigned pride that excuses their opposition to NFL players seeking justice and equality for Blacks, it is unmistakably prevelant and metastatic.
Fueled by the Narcissist in Chief the NFL protest has exploded into a national debate prompting some newly enlisted patriots to boycott the NFL while distracting from the underlying weightier matter of systemic racism and injustice. The passionate defense of the anthem and flag in combination with the motivational sentiment of “America First” is driving those would be patriots to a more extremist position of nationalism or what I consider “national narcissism.” It seems almost treasonous to state even factual information about the state of our country if it does not laud the virtues of America. While America remains a great country, this national narcissism is sending it on a trajectory of certain demise.
“… Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God”
(Luke 16:15 KJV). We have justified our actions and love of country and have even lauded it as honorable. But, God is a jealous God and the excessively high esteem to which we have elevated our flag, our anthem, our country has become an abomination be for God. Proverbs 16:18 and Proverbs 18:12 plainly outlines the consequence of pride being impending destruction. American Pride, though on the surface seems laudable, from a spiritual standpoint, it targets us for the impending wrath of God.
Love of Money is the Root of Evil
At initial glance, the America First mantra seems to be an economic policy. President Trump has vowed to no longer support international deals unless it first benefits America. When the economy was in the Great Recession, it sensitized a greater number of Americans to the powers of money by threatening, and even relegating them to, a life of poverty. The Apostle Paul asserts, “… I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need” (Philippians 4:11-12 KJV).
There is an intense fear of Americans to be financially destitute. I am not suggesting that we should seek to be impoverished but our fear of it should not drive us to ungodly pursuits and alliances. We should never forsake the poor, the oppressed and those who seek refuge or asylum in America with the condition that they bring financial gain to our country. It is not the sentiment this country was founded on and will certainly not propel us to the expected greatness we seek.
Our love for economic recovery and growth caused many to turn a blind eye to the atrocious behaviors of one who would ascend to the highest diplomatic office in the land, largely owing the allure to his own financial, or presented financial, success. We claim that America is by no means selfish and in love with money. In support of this belief we quote that Americans gave over $4 billion dollars in charity in 2016, a 4% increase over the preceding year. While this is a commendable deed, giving of money does not make one charitable. Jesus condemned such legalistic thinking, admonishing “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone” (Matthew 23:23 KJV).
In another passage, Jesus exposes the deficiency of a rich man and his impediments to entering the kingdom of God. The rich man alleges that he has kept all the commandments since his youth, thinking that to certainly grant him favor with God. To this Jesus reaponded, “…Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me” (Luke 18:22 KJV). Some reading this will presume I’m suggesting that socialism is the way to heaven. I am not suggesting this at all, but Jesus stated this knowing that the man’s love for money was greater than his love for people. Our pursuit of economic prosperity has outpaced our passions for the disenfranchised. This allows evil and inevitable rebuke to enter our land.
Abandonment of Godly Priorities
One of the most frequently quoted scriptures has been forsaken not only by the non-Christians but by many Evangelicals. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33 KJV). The first commandment is that we should have no other gods before the almighty. The mere recitation of “America First” places country above God. Moreover, the things that are dear to God have been forsaken for the things that are most dear to America. I am most saddened to see Christians who profess to love God err on the side of patriotism rather than support things that God love like justice. In my disappointment I am compelled by Isaiah 58 to “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God” (vs. 1-2 KJV).
The passage goes further to condemn the very perfunctory religious acts that God’s people do to give the appearance of obedience to his command. He asserts rather that what he requires is for us “… to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it [the fast that he approves] not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh” (vs. 6-7 KJV).
It is my firm belief that the Lord inspired Colin Kaepernick to initiate his protest very peacefully, but during the “hallowed” national anthem to show his people their transgression. Racial injustice is only part of the transgression. The greater transgression is the elevation of our flag, anthem and country to the level of deity that “must not be transgressed.” Some might argue that God wouldn’t ordain an act that is so offensive to so many. To that supposition I’d refer you to the numerous times Jesus himself offended the Pharisees and Saducees by healing on the Sabbath. Keeping the Sabbath holy was a command by God himself and is therefore certainly more hallowed than our anthem. Yet, God commanded that Jesus do these acts, not for the purpose of offense, but rather to reveal the transgression and hypocrisy of the Pharisees. That same hypocrisy exists today. It is evident in those who claim to worship and submit to God, but their true allegiance is to America First.
As a nation, we stand at a fork in the round and as the weeping prophet, I cry out, “Repent!” The hour for America’s redemption has not passed, but fast approaches. We need to correct our perspective from America First in pursuit of the more worthy cause of God First. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV).
Dr. Williams is a board certified Otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose & Throat Physician) in Nashville, TN where he opened his surgical practice, Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists of Nashville.
In addition to his establishing his private surgical practice on the campus of Southern Hills Medical Center, he is also an adjunct assistant professor at Meharry Medical College and founded the Voice Care Center of Nashville, where he specializes in treating and preventing voice problems in Christian and Gospel music artists.
As an independent gospel recording artist himself, Dr. Williams has a keen insight to not only the medical and surgical implications of voice disturbances, but also the many spiritual impacts.
During his medical school training, Williams wrestled with the possible demands that his future medical career (neurosurgery or cardiac surgery at that time) would preclude his ability to effectively develop the ministry he’d been called into. While completing his Ph.D. studies, a colleague suggested Otolaryngology.