Was America ‘Never That Great’?
“We’re not going to make America great again. It was never that great.” That is what New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told the press in Manhattan last Wednesday. The statement was a direct rebuttal to President Donald Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
“We have not reached greatness,” Cuomo continued. “We will reach greatness when every American is fully engaged. We will reach greatness when discrimination and stereotyping against women—51 percent of our population—is gone, and every woman’s full potential is realized and unleashed and every woman is making her full contribution. When that happens, this nation is going to be taken even higher. Because we have not yet fully liberated the women in this country. And we will.”
Governor Cuomo took a lot of heat for his remarks. And he immediately tried to explain how they had been misinterpreted. His press secretary said, “The governor believes America is great and that her full greatness will be fully realized when every man, woman and child has full equality.” Cuomo said that when President Trump says, “Make America great again,” he is really saying he wants to take America back to when there was “slavery, discrimination, segregation, sexism and marginalized women’s contributions.”
This is how a leading Democrat and potential 2020 presidential candidate views America’s past.
What Governor Cuomo said was not just a clumsy misstatement. It encapsulated a core conviction of leftist Americans. Many politicians, professors, teachers and reporters sincerely believe America was never that great.
This is a serious error that is sabotaging what greatness America still possesses.
When Was America Great?
Last September, a reporter referred to the “Make America Great Again” slogan and asked Senate candidate Roy Moore when America was last “great.” Moore answered that it was prior to the Civil War. “Even though we had slavery … our families were strong, our country had a direction,” he said. The press and politicians automatically attacked: Roy Moore thinks slavery made America stronger! He supports slavery!
The question is, what would these leftists say is the correct answer to that question?
Governor Cuomo just articulated their “correct” answer: America was never that great.
In the view of leftists, America was immoral from its foundation—guilty of “slavery, discrimination, segregation, sexism and marginalized women’s contributions.” And it is still sullied by the presence of “the basket of deplorables,” as Hillary Clinton referred to “half of Trump’s supporters” at an lgbt gala in New York in 2016—“the racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it.”
Leftists believe that only when they get enough power to silence those “irredeemable” people (as Clinton called them) will they be able to make America moral and great for the first time.
Of course, leftists never seem to say that other nations have never been great. They don’t say that about Saudi Arabia, where women gained the right to drive a car just a few months ago; or about Iran, where women are arrested for watching men play sports; or about Afghanistan, where a woman wearing anything less than a crown-to-toe burka risks being beaten or killed. They seem unconcerned about “greatness” as measured by women’s contributions in Africa, Asia, South America or the Pacific Islands.
Truly, though, measuring national greatness by when “every woman’s full potential is realized and unleashed and every woman is making her full contribution” is exceedingly unusual. By this strange measure, no nation in history has ever been great. It is not just an impossible standard—it is a perverse one. Why? Because Governor Cuomo doesn’t believe a woman is “making her full contribution” by being a homemaker, helping and supporting her husband, or raising and training future citizens. By his measure, she is making her full contribution only when she is doing what Karl Marx and other socialists say she should be doing: leaving her husband and children with someone else and working someplace else.
That is the gospel according to Andrew Cuomo. And supposedly America won’t be great until that happens.
But did you know that God Himself says America was great? So says the Bible.
The Bible on America
In The United States and Britain in Prophecy, Herbert Armstrong traces America’s origins back to biblical times. Our history traces back to Britain, back to Western Europe, back to captivity in Eurasia, back to Samaria, back to the biblical nation of Israel, back to Israel’s patriarch—Abraham—and back to the promises that God Himself made to that man!
“Get you out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father’s house, unto a land that I will show you,” God told him: “And I will make of you a great nation” (Genesis 12:1-2).
Study the book of Genesis, and you will see that promise repeated several times, and refined, and emphasized. God promised that several nations would descend from Abraham. He promised that some of these nations would come to possess the world’s sea-gates, even those of their enemies. He promised that these nations would inhabit the richest parts of the Earth, enjoying tremendous wealth and power. He promised that they would spread abroad, north, south, east and west. He promised that other nations would serve them, and that these nations would actually be a benefit to other nations. These were foundational, massive, civilization-defining promises.
God specifically promised that two particularly powerful nations would descend from Abraham’s great-great-grandsons Manasseh and Ephraim. He said they would be “a nation and a company of nations.” This promise refers directly to America and Britain. There is a mountain of proof in Mr. Armstrong’s book—but you can just read the descriptions in Genesis, look at world history, then look at the world over the past 200 years. Only America and Britain have fulfilled those promises!
In Genesis 48:19 God specifically says that America, descended from Manasseh, “shall be great.” And America was great—and in many ways it still is stunningly great—because God made it great. He did that to fulfill His promises to Abraham and his descendants.
America has been the single-greatest nation in history by virtually every measure—geographical advantages, natural resources, unprecedented wealth, industrial capacity, technological innovation, political strength, military might. It has been undeniably great in terms of individual liberty, social equality, economic opportunity, international generosity and many other factors. God gave America the most unique founding in thousands of years and provided the moral infrastructure necessary to acquire and sustain national greatness.
The Trumpet’s publisher, the Philadelphia Church of God, also sponsors Herbert W. Armstrong College. At our new school year’s freshman reception last week, one of our incoming students, Rufaro Manyepa, age 20, from Zimbabwe, said this: “Coming here to the United States for the first time in my life, I’ve just seen firsthand the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham. And the United States is just the most blessed nation in the world, ever. And seeing that, especially from where I come from—it’s had a really big impact on me.”
This newcomer to America, and others I have met over the years, refreshingly states the obvious facts right under our noses that many Americans have forgotten or never knew.
How appalling that God could bless America with unparalleled blessings of every type, lifting this nation to the very zenith of national greatness—and people can reason their way into looking at its majesty and its miraculous history, and say, It was never that great.
Have you ever given your child a gift—a great and precious gift—and had them treat it with such contempt, disdain and arrogance as people in America today are treating what God has given us?
Two Opposite Ways of Thinking
How can people be so misguided and delusional?
God answers: “Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited” (Jeremiah 17:5-6).
The man who trusts in man—who reveres human reasoning, who measures good and evil, greatness and weakness by his own standards rather than God’s—cannot see when good comes. Blinders on, his perspective is narrow, limited and negative. He can even live in the most abundantly blessed nation in all of human history—and say, It was never that great.
By contrast, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit” (verses 7-8). Trust God, and you will flourish and blossom even in heat, drought and adversity. This is what Abraham did, and the blessings poured into his life and those of his descendants.
Verse 9 talks about how black and ugly our human hearts are. We have to see this plainly, as God does. But when we recognize this and repent of it, God says He will heal us and create in us a new, clean heart.
Abraham had his flaws. God actually took pains to record and preserve in Scripture instances where he lied and committed adultery. But God’s ultimate verdict on his life was based not on his flaws and sins but on his successes. Abraham is called “the father of all them that believe” and “the Friend of God.” He is proof of how sin can be repented of and how an evil human heart can be transformed, remade into a heart after God’s own.
Recognize the vast difference between thinking like the devil and thinking like God! The devil is called “the accuser” (Revelation 12:10). Satan can look at God Himself and see a hypocrite and a failure. God can look at a sinner and see a perfect heart and a future king-priest.
That is one of the lessons of America’s greatness. It points back to the imperfect but ultimately successful life of Abraham. One man believed and obeyed God, and billions of people received unprecedented physical blessings and indescribable spiritual hope.
No nation is without sin. Those sins do not define a nation. God will correct, and He will bring people to repentance in His time and in His way. He is already doing that with America—and the curses and correction will intensify. Not so much because of the sins the liberal left self-righteously condemns, but because of so many of the sins they egregiously commit: rejecting God, defying His Word, inventing their own moral codes, redefining family in violation of how He created it, trusting themselves, trashing the blessings He gave us.
These sins have already undermined so much of what once made America great. And the left is doubling down on them, all the while extolling its own supposed moral sophistication.
To Preserve It We Must Love It
What happens when we come to view the greatness with which God blessed America with hatred and contempt?
“Now a government is like everything else: to preserve it we must love it,” wrote Thomas Jefferson. “Everything, therefore, depends on establishing this love in a republic; and to inspire it ought to be the principal business of education” (emphasis added).
In The Last Lion, his biography of Winston Churchill, William Manchester wrote that at the height of the British Empire, its young people were raised on tales of heroism and sacrifice, raised to love the empire and to do everything they could for it. With the people behind it, the empire flourished. When they believed in it, it expanded and thrived. And it improved life not just for its leaders but also for its subjects and even those within its far-flung territories. At one time, America had a similar belief in the ideals that built this nation.
Today, though, “enlightened” thinking says, America was never that great. Swayed by evil spiritual influence, a great many people are looking at the greatest nation in history and seeing it as nothing but a hotbed of discrimination, oppression and primitivism.
If preserving the republic requires loving it, and everything depends on establishing that love, then the hatred for this blessed republic currently being aroused and promoted augurs our doom. Americans themselves have come to view this nation the way America’s worst enemies do. And so they are diligently doing the work of those enemies—and of the devil himself.
To learn more about what is happening in this nation, and what prophecy says will happen, request Gerald Flurry’s free booklet Great Again. It shows not only why America has lost a great deal of the greatness it once had but also how God has promised to once again restore this nation to become even greater than it has ever been!