‘America stands at a crossroads’

Op-Ed by US Rep. Jody Hice (R-Georgia 10)

America stands at a crossroads.

Frederick Douglas in 1847 defined a true patriot as a “lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins.” To genuinely love America, we cannot sweep our problems under the rug. We must acknowledge our national sins and actively work to right these wrongs.

Nearly 200 years later, Douglas’s wisdom rings true. The tragic death of George Floyd has brought our nation’s sins to the forefront. My heart broke watching the appalling video of Floyd’s slow and agonizing last moments as he struggled for breath under the knee of the callous and indifferent Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin.

I was proud to see my fellow Americans take to the streets in peaceful protests to demand systemic change so that this repulsive crime may never be committed again. Then I was horrified to watch these righteous demonstrations devolve into violence and destruction in cities across America.

The First Amendment guarantees all Americans the right to protest. We have a right to be angry over George Floyd’s death – and make no mistake, we all are outraged. The Scripture tells us that at times we will be angry, but that we must not allow it to drive us to sin. Anger can be a great motivator to create sweeping societal change. However, that change must be achieved in a peaceful manner or else we sow the seeds of future discord.

While I now serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, at my core I am still the pastor who stood at his pulpit for 25 years, and I continue to look to God for guidance.

In Acts 17:26, we are told that He created every nation on earth from one man. According to Galatians 3:28, there is no distinction between races, status, or gender, but rather we are all one in Christ. In Romans 2:11, we see that God is impartial and shows no favoritism for He loves all His children equally. Finally, verses like James 2:9 reveal that it is a sin to show partiality. Those who believe themselves to be superior to others do so with pride and arrogance. The Word of God is very clear: racism is sin.

In these turbulent days, I am reminded of Abraham Lincoln’s statement during the Civil War that “we have forgotten God.” That is what lies at the heart of America’s troubles today. We have lost our love of God. We have lost our love for one another. We need to return to God and restore the bonds between us. The simple reality is that all of us are sinners. We have all erred; we have all made mistakes, and we all need forgiveness from a just and loving God.

At the core of our nation, we have a deep spiritual problem within our nation’s heart. The violent riots wreaking havoc across our country underscore just how deep this problem runs. We have seen police officers shot, innocent civilians brutally attacked, businesses destroyed, and communities set ablaze. Racism is an evil sin, but more hateful acts are not the way to confront it.

My sincerest hope is that in the midst of this all we, as a community, will come together in a deeper understanding that God created all of us and He loves us without partiality. We should treat one another with the same love, respect, and civility that God offers us individually – in spite of all our faults and flaws.

America needs healing. Just as God offers us a new life in His Grace, we must chart a new path for America in which our mutual love of liberty and freedom far exceeds any division of race or belief.

Click here to watch Hice’s response to today’s current events.

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