“And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust.’
And the star-spangled banner forever shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”
-Francis Scott Key, National Anthem
Take a look at your money and you’ll find the inscription “In God We Trust,” on every bill and coin. Read our Constitution and you’ll find mention of God throughout. We are a religious nation, and it’s apparent everywhere.
Alexis de Touqueville said of his arrival in the United States, “the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention.” Randall Balmer, of The Reader’s Companion to American History, noted that the Gallup poll data reported 94 percent of Americans believe in God or a universal spirit, compared to 76 percent and less in various European countries.
Why is the United States such a religious nation? Practically all the early settlers made the voyage to America for religious purposes. The Spanish sent the first missionaries to convert the Indians. The Pilgrims, exiled from England, came for religious freedom, and the Puritans came to practice their own religion free from the vestiges of old religions.
The Puritans were successful in making America their home. Here they found religious freedom, and a beautiful prosperous land as well. Balmer says they “saw themselves as the New Israel, fleeing from the Egypt of England for the Promised Land of Massachusetts.” They believed in divine providence, and that God had delivered them into this country for a reason.
The Puritans have had a profound impact on the United States. Later, Balmer continues, Benjamin Franklin suggested the seal of the United States “depict Moses leading the children of Israel across the Red Sea.”
It isn’t the Puritan religion that caught on in America; but the sense of divine providence, the sense that God had brought them all to America for a reason and had a special plan for this new country. This belief has enabled the American people to do many great things.
Miracles happen, because “in God we trust.” Who would have thought, in 1776, that this new country would become one of the most powerful and advanced in the world?
We are all here for a reason, which is divine providence, and if we trust in God he will help us complete the task he has set out for us. Our trust in God has made this country prosper, and whatever happens in the future if we trust in God “the star-spangled banner forever shall wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”