Book Review: God Bless Our Divided America: Unity, Politics and History from a Biblical Perspective
Publication Date: Jun 11, 2020
List Price: $14.19
Format: Paperback, 170 pages
Imprint: Xulon Press
Publisher: Xulon Press
Parent Company: Salem Media Group
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Read a Description of God Bless Our Divided America: Unity, Politics and History from a Biblical Perspective
Book Reviewed by Denolyn Carroll
At its core, David W. Marshall’s God Bless Our Divided America: Unity, Politics and History from a Biblical Perspective is about protecting our democracy from the metastatic cancer cells of divisiveness. From the book’s introduction, “Our Father,” to the closing lines of its final chapter, “The Conscience Driven Servant,” Marshall issues a clarion call for unity, couching his entreaty in biblical perspectives and pages taken from the teachable realm of history. Peppering his discourse with penetrating questions, he calls out the corporate church, the government, the politicians, as well as the everyday American, imploring them to do their part in excising the disease that plagues our nation.
From the outset, Marshall goes to great lengths to clarify the biblical point of view on family and unity (“one body/many parts”). He asserts, “By serving as the one social institution which acts as the moral conscience for the nation, the corporate church must show a secular world what unity within the family of God is supposed to look like.” Breaking down 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 verse by verse, Marshall highlights the importance of unity within one body made up of many parts, with each part being integral to the healthy functioning of that body: “…the Body does not consist of one selfish member or one selfish group that views itself as having all control and power. Instead, the Body is made up of many members each deserving respect and a voice to be heard…No part, for whatever reason, should ever be made to feel unwelcome…Every part belongs…”
Once Marshall clarifies these foundation points of his argument, he effectively highlights and expands on them throughout such provocatively titled chapters as “Americans Against Americans,” “Changing Hard Hearts and Narrow Minds,” “The Angry Man’s Candidate,” “Fear and Politics,” and “Profits Over People.” As he notes in his introduction, “The…chapters will share stories which are examples of how history, politics, race, religion and division are all intertwined…Overall, the chapters in this book serve as a call to action in taking a God Kingdom perspective in achieving racial, class, religious and political reconciliation.”
With references to a variety of historical figures, events, policies, and issues (including Harry Truman, the Civil Rights Era, Martin Luther King, Jr., the Declaration of Independence, Franklin Roosevelt, the Depression, Immigration, Harold Washington, George Wallace, Racial Segregation, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the Indian Removal Act, Colin Kaepernick, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, Police Brutality, and Mass Killings) Marshall shakes out the multilayered tapestry of the United States of America—boldly airing the good, the bad, and the ugly. In doing so he underscores that America needs to learn from its past mistakes and present woes to make better, and God-guided, steps toward a more principled future.
In God Bless Our Divided America, the advocate asks some hard questions, such as “Will God bless our divided America if Christians fail to apply biblical principles in confronting social injustice and inequality?” “Is it worth fighting for a corporate church which would not be paralyzed by pride and politics?” “Can a divided church help heal a divided nation?” “Do we sincerely want to take the sometimes-tough steps and conversations in confronting racial intolerance, economic inequality, religious intolerance, ageism, sexism, colorism, anti-immigration, and political partisan polarizations?” “As Americans, are we more attracted to elected officials who promote tribalism and division or to those who promote national unity combined with true American patriotism?” “Does it matter to us that America has maintained a culture of exploitation which has been embraced for centuries?” Yet Marshall’s treatment suggests that these questions need to be asked and addressed in our current cultural climate if we are to pass on, as he hopes, “legacies to the next generation with unifying words, visions and deeds.”