Editorials

Government is our servant, not our master

Zachary Nelson holds an American flag during the National Anthem at the Arlington Fourth of July parade. Saturday, July 4, 2015. (Star-Telegram/Rodger Mallison)
Zachary Nelson holds an American flag during the National Anthem at the Arlington Fourth of July parade. Saturday, July 4, 2015. (Star-Telegram/Rodger Mallison) Star-Telegram

President Donald Trump says many things that are at the very least problematic.

But something he said at an event to honor veterans and celebrate religious freedom on Saturday night was exactly right.

“In America, we don’t worship government, we worship God,” he declared.

Trump’s comments, made during a largely political speech at the Celebrate Freedom rally in Washington, D.C., were in part an effort to rally his support from the evangelical community.

Not all Americans worship a higher being of any kind, and that is their right.

But that caveat does not make the president’s statement any less true or relevant.

On our most sacred national holiday, it’s important we take it to heart.

The great American experiment, which began 241 years ago, was predicated on a belief that ours is a government of, by and for the people — a belief so eloquently reaffirmed by Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg.

The genius of America was the idea that these rights were inherent to man and the job of government was to protect these rights.

Even the horror of slavery was eventually defeated because this very idea was vindicated after much bloodshed and sacrifice.

While the founding of America recognized the importance of government, it rightly designed a government that played a secondary and supportive role to the community and civic organizations that bound us together, houses of worship prominent among them.

This Fourth, we give thanks for our families, neighbors, churches and charities, and the multitude of other organizations both religious and secular that make America the great country it already is regardless of who controls the government.

In this sense, Trump, despite his polarizing presence, was right.

Today is a time to honor and memorialize the men and women, civilian and military, who have worked, served and fought to preserve our freedoms and protect our nation from tyranny — without and within.

It is also a time to reflect on the reality that our government was designed to be the servant of the people and not their master.

  Comments