The struggle to overcome Nazism (Germany), Fascism (Italy), and Nationalism (Japan)—civilizations of the pharaohs, by the pharaohs, and for the pharaohs—is captured by the famous statue of the U.S. Marines in the Battle of Iwo Jima. This statue depicts the Marines raising the Star-Spangled Banner in victory. Americans have only just begun to raise our Star-Spangled Banner. It is rising towards the heavens, even though it is not yet firmly planted in the earth. We’ve only just begun the War against ALL who are racists, against ALL who start wars, against ALL who persecute others, against ALL who love to hate; the War for Freedom of Speech everywhere, for Freedom to Worship everywhere, for Freedom from Want everywhere, for Freedom from Fear anywhere.
This blog is based on passages first published in 2004 in my book Visions of America (published together with my book Visions of the Church), at pages 116-118.
When I consider the tensions creating wars and terrorism throughout the world today, I take heart from the way the British Empire and the United States have gone from being bitter enemies to being best friends forever.
The United States fought the War of Independence against the British Empire in order to win its freedom to form a government based on these self-evident truths: “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
After that war, the United States and the British Empire continued to compete for land and power in North America.
The most notable example of their bitter rivalry was the War of 1812. The United States invaded Canada in a failed effort to conquer it. The British Empire captured, occupied and burned Washington, the capital of the United States.
Fifty years later, during the Civil War, the British Empire almost recognized the Confederacy as a separate nation, humbling the power of the United States forever.
A key reason why the British Empire ultimately stayed out of the Civil War was the growing belief in the British Empire that all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with the rights to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. Specifically, hatred of slavery kept the British from siding with the Confederacy after Abraham Lincoln freed slaves with his Emancipation Proclamation.
Of course, neither the British Empire nor the United States fully lived up to their ideals of equality.
Grudgingly, they only slowly reduced their mistreatment and exploitation of indigenous peoples and colonized lands.
Grudgingly, they only slowly expanded equality to include ALL people: male and female, whites and non-whites, conqueror and conquered, exploiter and exploited, rich and poor.
Nevertheless, the British Empire and the United States gradually changed from being bitter enemies to being best friends forever.
Late in World War 1, the United States became an ally of the British Empire.
In the 1920s and 1930s, the United States abandoned its great allies, the British and French.
Lulled by wishful thinking—and deceived by racist, anti-Semitic, isolationist groups such as America First—the United States did not pursue collective security among the Democracies.
The racist, anti-Semitic, isolationist vision of “America First” was a perversion of the vision of the ideal America first discovered by the hearts of Abraham, Moses and Jesus.
In this ideal America:
—America blesses ALL people
—America overcomes ALL pharaohs to set ALL people free
—America heals ALL hurting people.
All people of goodwill—and all Democracies—share these American ideals, including people of goodwill who live in non-Democratic nations such as China, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and North Korea.
Democracies are governments who implement these American ideals:
—Their governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.
—Their governments secure the rights of each person to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
—Their governments are of the people, by the people, and for the people.
In the aftermath of World War I, the United States should have helped other Democracies protect themselves from the Nazis (Germany), the Facists (Italy), and the Nationalists (Japan).
But even the immense popularity and wisdom of President Roosevelt could not convince the United States to reject the principles of America First—Racism, Anti-Semitism, and Isolationism.
Instead of wisely joining with other Democracies for collective security, the United States foolishly stayed aloof from confronting the Nazis, Facists and Nationalists—until it was almost too late.
In 1940, France fell to Nazi tanks and dive-bombers. Britain fought on alone, led by the indomitable Winston Churchill.
Churchill was the child of an English father (descended from British nobility) and an American mother (descended from great wealth).
Instinctively, Churchill knew that the evil power of Nazis (Germany), Fascists (Italy), and Nationalists (Japan)—civilizations of the pharaohs, by the pharaohs, and for the pharaohs—could only be overcome by the wedding of the common ideals of the British, the Americans, and ALL Democracies.
This “wedding” took place when Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt issued the Atlantic Charter in August 1941.
Roosevelt had previously set forth his vision for the future of America and all Humanity.
In early 1941, he said in his State of the Union Address:
“In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression—everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way—everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want . . . everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear . . . anywhere in the world.”
As his vision for America and Humanity shows, Roosevelt understood and perceived that liberty is never safe anywhere in the world until liberty is safe everywhere in the world.
Because he saw the world shrinking as planes now circled the globe.
Because he heard the world shrinking as radio now reached every home.
Because he believed—as Abraham Lincoln did—that liberty and union are one and inseparable.
Obviously, the technological marvels of the Twenty-First Century make it even more necessary for liberty and union to become one and inseparable.
In addition to planes, we have satellites. In addition to radios, we have mobile devices and social media.
And so, we are blessed to this very day by the wisdom of Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill in 1941.
Because in the Atlantic Charter they wrote one small piece of paper that took a gigantic leap toward establishing a civilization where there is Freedom of Speech, Freedom to Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear.
They wrote one small piece of paper that took a gigantic leap toward establishing a universal dominion of right by a concert of free peoples—an alliance of Democracies—to bring peace and safety to all nations and to make all Humanity free at last.
And so, in August 1941 (a few months before the surprise attack by Japan on Pearl Harbor that forced America to enter World War II), Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill issued the Atlantic Charter. On behalf of the English-Speaking Peoples, they proclaimed that:
“After the final destruction of the Nazi tyranny, they hope to see established a peace which will afford to all nations the means of dwelling safely within their boundaries, and which will afford assurance that all the [people] in all the lands may live out their lives in freedom from fear and want.”
The decisive moment in the final destruction of the Nazi tyranny came on D-Day. The English-Speaking Peoples and their allies (collectively called the “United Nations”) stormed ashore on the beaches of Normandy.
The most memorable moment came when U.S. Army Rangers scaled the “unscalable cliffs” above Omaha Beach.
At such momentous turning points in the fate of Humanity, we instinctively turn to prayer, requesting God’s help.
Therefore, on the evening of D-Day, President Roosevelt broadcast a prayer for America and for the brave warriors of the United Nations. I can never read his prayer without getting misty-eyes as I enter into the emotions of that moment. Here are some highlights of his prayer:
“Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.
Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.
They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy Grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.
. . . .
They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and good will among all Thy people.
. . . .
With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogancies. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister Nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace—a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of [Humanity] live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.
Thy will be done, Almighty God.
With this prayer, America and its Star-Spangled Banner were committed to coming in Peace for all Humanity.
Many “unscalable cliffs”—gates of hell (Matthew 16:18)—lie in our way to this very day.
Americans still must scale unscalable cliffs—overcome gates of hell—to overcome “greed and racial arrogancies”.
Americans still must scale unscalable cliffs—overcome gates of hell—to overcome “the schemings of unworthy men” who want to keep all Humanity from living peacefully in freedom, “reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.”
Americans still must scale unscalable cliffs—overcome gates of hell—to establish a civilization where there is Freedom of Speech, Freedom to Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear.
Before Americans can scale these unscalable cliffs—overcome these gates of hell—many struggles still lie ahead.
The first such struggle was “the final destruction of the Nazi tyranny.”
The essence of this struggle to overcome Nazism (Germany), Fascism (Italy), and Nationalism (Japan)—civilizations of the pharaohs, by the pharaohs, and for the pharaohs—is best captured by the famous statue at the U.S. Marine Memorial in Washington, D.C.
This statue depicts the Marines raising the Star-Spangled Banner in victory at Iwo Jima.
The actual battle of Iwo Jima was fought against Japan, not against Germany. But the struggle against Japan was part of the struggle against Hitler, the evil demon who preached that his race was superior to all other races, who deliberately started World War II, who brainstormed and led the Holocaust, and who gloried in his gruesome mission of genocide.
The toil and triumph of battle are carved in the forms and etched in the faces of these victorious Americans. The Star-Spangled Banner waves majestically in the breeze as the Americans strain to plant it firmly in the earth.
For me, the most meaningful inspiration that comes from gazing at the statue is a realization that Americans have only just begun to raise our Star-Spangled Banner. It is rising towards the heavens, even though it is not yet firmly planted in the earth.
A battle is won. But the war is far from over:
—The War against ALL who are racists.
—The War against ALL who start wars.
—The War against ALL who persecute others.
—The War against ALL who love to hate.
—The War for Freedom of Speech everywhere in the world.
—The War for Freedom to Worship everywhere in the world.
—The War for Freedom from Want everywhere in the world.
—The War for Freedom from Fear anywhere in the world.
Americans have come far. But Americans have much further to go.
Many more unscalable cliffs to scale!
Many more gates of hell to overcome!
To read more about Americans raising the Star-Spangled Banner, please read about Apollo 11 and After 9/11 in my book Visions of America (published together with my book Visions of the Church), at pages 138-139, 150-151.
Keep in mind that the Wars that scale unscalable cliffs and overcome the gates of hell should not use the Power of knives, guns, tanks, and nukes, the Power of Money, the Power of Religion, or the Power of the Kingdoms of the World.
As I explain in my blogs “Building the Temple—Jesus” and “Building the Temple—The Word”, ultimately, we can only overcome the gates of hell by using the Power of the Word, filling our hearts, souls and minds with love, joy, peace, forebearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23; Matthew 5:14,16; Zechariah 4:6).