Today, I want to digress a bit and deal with two items of relevance, I believe, faith and values. About one week ago, the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, made the comment, in an effort to placate his supporters, that America was never great. This was to counter punch the slogan by Donald Trump, “Make America Great Again.” Now most of you know, I am not a Donald Trump fan for many reasons and more of them that I long ago addressed are coming to pass as we see an increasingly besieged White House. Now, I do not like Donald Trump and I think in many ways he has been bad for this nation and the tone of this nation. But I sure do not give a free pass to the countless number of media elites and NFL and Hollywood types and the countless people who are no better than the one they criticize. I think this President has done some laudatory things, i.e. Supreme Court picks, tax reform, and some other things. But his tone and lack of civility are abysmal and a number of other things that concern me and I think that will come to light.

But as I said, the other side, which reflects the increasing polarization of this nation, is at least as bad and Andrew Cuomo reflects it. I think his comment, which under pressure he tried to walk back, is abysmal and horrendous but that it reflects the leftist political elite in this country, the socialist agenda. I take, as you can tell from this column, great offense at his comment . In truth, America is great and his own family found hope and opportunity in coming from Italy long ago because they saw America as great, which he obviously has forgotten.

In short, I want you to consider these things and I sure wish many of his ilk would sit back and consider what I am saying. I would also add that former President Barack Obama made similar comments.

America brought the idea of democracy, republic to the world. Now surely the Greeks did the same but America went far beyond that. The concept of religious freedom was a vital part of this nation’s inception and development. This nation proclaimed the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This nation developed and ultimately made education available to all. This nation led a technological revolution and enhanced opportunities through it to many and in medicine in communications, we were second to none. This nation gave women the right to vote and opened its borders to those less fortunate. Christianity and missions work to reach starving and war torn people worldwide was second to none. And let me mention American dollars, which have done so much overseas to help sop many.

Now to be sure, in all of this and specifically much more, we have had warts. Slavery alone was a thing that casts a dark pall. But let us also consider that the heart and hard work of the American spirit and people worked for change. Change that brought equal rights and opened up better treatment for so many.

But casting all of that aside, consider this. Over more than two centuries, the American citizen soldier has liberated more people and freed more people than all other nations in world history. Let us consider that we did that at great cost of dollars and life. Millions lie in overseas lands, never returning home due to the greatness of America and its people. Let us consider the Marshall Plan for one where billions of dollars rebuilt war torn Europe or where thousands stand guard far from home and family yet today to protect innocent people from being overrun. Let us consider organizations by the scores who are first to respond to hurricanes and earthquakes and help the poor. I could go on and on and I bet you could too.

America was and is great. We are not and have never been perfect. But in our history, millions have come and want to come because they see opportunity and a chance to fulfill their dreams. If America was not what it is, they would not come. Andrew Cuomo’s parents and grandparents would not have. Can we become greater, yes. We cannot as long as people of both political persuasions cannot set aside their desire to score political points nor can we become greater by allowing radicals to spew hate on both sides. But we cannot be greater either when we continue to kill the innocent and degrade God’s values that were part of the Judeo Christian fabric of this nation. John Winthrop, the great Puritan leader said his vision of Amewrica was to create a “shining city on a hill.” We have been all of that and more. At times our light has dimmed but we remain as the lady with the lamp in New York Harbor, the last great hope of mankind, apart from Christ. I wish Andrew Cuomo would, with his friends, wake up to that.

One other thing today. I am saddened deeply by the murder of Mollie Tibbetts by an illegal immigrant just to our north. I hope all of you will pray for her family. It is a reminder we live in an evil world and a reminder that we should encourage our young people in particular, never to be alone. This heinous crime by an illegal underscores the failure, the long standing failure, of this nation’s immigration policy. No nation in history can survive with policies or lack of policies to control its borders. Ancient Rome is a classic case in point as Germanic tribes did there what we are seeing here. The young man who took her life should never have been here. Never.

We have scores of all nationalities who come here legally and live lives of hope and contribution. We must be a nation of laws. While we may condemn the fact that Mollie was killed by an illegal, I believe those who have failed in various administrations and in Congress as well, bear responsibility. Politics and reelection have become too important to too many. But also culpable are those who hire and encourage illegals to come here and be hired in the name of cheap labor. Bluntly, cheap labor and the desire and looking aside in order to make an easy buck by corporations and business men has contributed to this. In other words, greed and a lack of vigilance.

Law enforcement cannot solve all of this but political and business leaders can. No child, no person should be in the situation the family of Mollie is in today. None. As I said earlier, I believe America is great, but with warts. In regards to tolerating illegal immigration and sustaining those who are lawbreakers in our communities, a face lift is in order to remove that wart.

America, America, God shed His grace on thee. And crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea. Amen to that. Till next time, shalom.

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