‘Prayer Breakfast’ hails American as ‘exceptional’

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, November 13, 2012

“Once upon a time.”

Bob Lambert, the keynote speaker for the Troy Exchange Club’s “One Nation Under God” Prayer Breakfast Tuesday, opened his presentation with those familiar words of childhood.

But Lambert quoted Norman Podhoretz, the former editor-in-chief of “Commentary” magazine in saying that “Once upon a time hardly anyone dissented from the idea that, for better or worse, the United States was different from all other nations.”

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Lambert said that was not surprising since the attributes that made America different were vividly evident from the day of its birth.

“First, unlike all other nations past or present, America accepted as a self-evident truth that all men are created equal,” he said. “Secondly, in all other countries, membership of citizenship, was a matter of birth, of lineage, rootedness in the soil. But America was the incarnation of an idea so no such factors came into play. To become a full-fledged American, it was only necessary to pledge allegiance to the new Republic and to the principles for which it stood.”

Thirdly, Lambert said that in all other nations the rights, if any, enjoyed by their citizens were conferred by human agencies and could be revoked at will by the same human agencies.

“In America, the rights were declared from the beginning to have come from God and to be ‘inalienable.’”

Those three attributes have made America exceptional, Lambert said.

However, as time passed, America was increasing seen by other nations, not as a country of generosity but a country fixated on objects, with greed and vulgarity as its trademark. Yet America beaconed the poor of Europe.

“America, so bad, but compared to what?” Lambert said.

America had excelled in coming up with a Christian constitution and is a country that pursues liberty. America is a country where those who are in the lower class can move to the middle and upper class.”

That is a dynamic that does not exist anywhere else on earth,” Lambert said in speaking of the enormous good of America.

However, America cannot continue to move away from its founding principles, he said. Lambert closed his presentation with a quote from President Ronald Reagan, “America is great because she is good and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”

Lambert said America’s liberty was conceived using God’s laws as the standards.

“As she has moved away from God’s standards, so her goodness has waned,” he said. “We must return to the principles that have guided us to goodness and to greatness.”