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Daily News and Prayer is inspired by The Christian Science Monitor, one of the most important (and most underappreciated) newspapers in the world. Posts are usually (but not always) responses to articles in the Monitor about events and trends that call for prayer.

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Defending America

The other day a friend of mine, not an American, said, “I love America, but it’s such an embarrassment now.” She was referring to things like presidential candidates who seem far less than presidential, a political process driven by money and locked into permanent anger, a reputation for “bomb first, ask questions later” as a foreign policy, and seemingly regular mass shootings by troubled men.

The world is desperate for an America that works. Recall that back in 2009 President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize almost before he had gotten a tour of the White House. He had done nothing to earn it; he only promised an America that the world could look up to.

The world needs America because America is exceptional. Italy is exceptional, too, just for different things. So are China and Cuba and Kenya and a host of other nations. America’s uniqueness is the mandate to model freedom – freedom from tyranny, limitation, fear and anything else that would oppress. The guys who brought down the terrorist on a French train Friday were being quintessentially American because they broke free from fear and acted in the interest of everyone on the train.

Where America runs into trouble is when we (I’m American) interpret “exceptional” to mean “superior.” It’s rather like a religion that believes its understanding of God is the right one, and then assumes that this gives its adherents the right to push their theology on others in the name of helping them. We have been acting superior for a long time, although I think it got out of hand with the fall of communism and the assumption that we won the right to lord it over the world. We’ve lost our sense of humility.

Humility is a major part of America’s spiritual DNA. Abraham Lincoln understood that. Talking from the winning side as the bitter experience of the Civil War was winding down, he said:

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

This is the humble America people love. It hasn’t been lost, but it’s in trouble. Everyone who loves freedom, no matter what color his or her passport, needs to come to America’s defense. We are all Americans now. If we can find more humility in ourselves and defeat some of the tyranny of pride, we can help to strengthen the America we need. (If you prefer to be Italian, do something so beautifully creative it will bring a smile to someone’s face.)

In the words of the Bible:

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

This is what we can have if we defend the true nature of America.

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