There are other books on the market, written by respected conservatives, that seek to defend the premise that America was founded on religious, even Christian, principles, and to refute the currently popular cultural notion that our Constitution (particularly the First Amendment) necessitates a complete divorce of religion and politics or public life. Dr. Swain’s book goes further than that. She compares the founding of our country to the covenant that ancient Israel had with God; she goes so far as to say that many of the Founders intended for America to be built on a NEW covenant with the Creator. As we have, as a culture, turned our collective backs on this covenant, we have put our nation at risk, because just as God’s judgement fell on ancient Israel, so too it may fall on the United States of America. Dr. Swain’s book is a call to action for all Americans, especially Christian Americans, to sincerely repent of sin and of apathy, and to work together to reclaim our culture.
The book describes America’s religious history and foundation (including acknowledging that BOTH Christian and deist philosophies influenced the Founders), and then goes on to discuss cultural issues of our day, including abortion, gay marriage, divorce, immigration, and race relations. Swain’s treatments of these issues are very well-researched and well-articulated. The only complaint I have about the book, in fact, is that many times I felt that Swain was leaving a certain discussion to move onto another topic, but I wanted to read more! I suspect she could easily have made three or four books out of her material and had to edit quite a lot in order to have a manageable manuscript. I especially appreciated the way the author’s personal experiences as an African-American woman inform her discussion of issues such as poverty, abortion, single-motherhood, race relations, and “the American Dream.”
It’s so easy for those of us who believe that our culture is deteriorating to feel helpless to turn things around. I know I do. It feels as if the tide is moving in the wrong direction and all of us are getting swept up in that tide whether we like it or not. Dr. Swain’s book leaves the reader with hope, hope that with prayer and hard work – and God’s help — we can redeem American culture. I pray that she is right.
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