The feet and toes you saw were a combination of iron and baked clay … while some parts of it will be as strong as iron, other parts will be as weak as clay … They will not hold together, just as iron and clay do not mix. – Daniel 2:41-43 (NLT)
Not many of us are willing to trade our American citizenship for citizenship elsewhere. The freedoms and opportunities we’ve come to cherish in America are not available in many other nations. Some even view the U.S. as a paradigm of democracy, a shining city set on a hill. They point to the countless people around the globe desiring to migrate here as evidence of America’s international prowess.
Yet, we are aware of America’s deep divisions and consistent contradictions.
The prevalence of mass shootings. The ongoing racial strife. The widening wealth gaps. The southern border crisis. The heightened controversy over voting rights. The disparate state ordinances regarding reproductive rights. All these point to very deep divisions in America.
Daniel prophesied that the iron-and-clay feet of the man in King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream symbolized a divided kingdom that would not hold together. The super strengths and the stagnating weaknesses of that kingdom would eventually prove to be utterly inconsistent and lead to the kingdom’s demise.
The remarkable diversity of America is one of our greatest strengths. But the view that differences are a license to deny, demonize, and dismiss others is a lethal liability.
E pluribus unum—“Out of many, one”—is more than just a motto. It must become the prayer and practice of all who value the American experiment.
Lord, let the whole be enhanced by our many differences. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Decatur, Georgia.