One of the “Twelve Steps of Recovery” * is to “Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves”. I propose we do that very thing as we look at the history of America. The self-image of this nation contains the characteristics of a myth, especially in light of this nation’s history with the Indians. According to today’s dictionaries one meaning of myth is “a popular belief or tradition that has grown up around something or someone; especially one embodying the ideals and institutions of a society or segment of society.”
As we view the history of America it is hard to sort through the widespread hype and propaganda. Many have been so caught up in the popular image of America that they are willing to overlook the glaring inconsistencies. This seems to be especially true of those who consider themselves to be Christians. In a barrage of publications and websites, there is what appears to be a desperate desire to project a Christian image upon the founding of this nation. It is true that there were many Christian’s who influenced its founding, but many of them were victims of their own cultural blindness. When we hold any nation on earth, to the standard of the Kingdom of God, we find that they all fall short, and America is no exception. It is a common human trait to want to be proud of the nation we are born to. There is nothing wrong with finding the good in our nations, and America has done much good. However, we shouldn’t think that the good it has done excuses its wrongdoings. Many today are ignorant (which comes from the word ignore) of the true foundations of this nation.
Even though the founding fathers used a lot of religious language with an emphasis on justice, they did not practice what they were preaching. Few realize the irony that the US Capitol building was built by African slaves that were rented from their owners, and that an African slave named Philip Reid oversaw the casting and installation of the “Freedom Statue” on top of that building. It may come as a surprise that many of America’s Founding Fathers were slave owners who became rich off the land stolen from Native Americans.
In the “Twelve Steps of Recovery” this “Fearless Moral Inventory” is a crucial step toward finding freedom from the destructive habits of the past and to be able to make a true recovery. Denial of our past will prevent us from making the changes we need for the future. Lets face up to who we really have been so we can move forward to who we can become–this will take real courage!
Miigwech Bizandowiyeg (thank you for listening)