DALLAS, Texas — A Southern Baptist choir sang a song based on President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan during Saturday’s “Celebrate Freedom” rally in the nation’s capital, sponsored in part by the First Baptist Church of Dallas.
The song, which is now licensed by the worship music resource group Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI) for other churches and religious gatherings to sing, had been written by the church’s former music minister, Gary Moore.
“Americans from ev’ry corner of this blessed land/Come together with one voice/Help us take a stand/Following the vision to make her proud and grand/And make America great again,” the choir sang out.
The brief tune followed a rendition of “Break Every Chain,” led by Leo Day, the dean of the School of Church Music at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The song speaks of the power in the name of Jesus.
Robert Jeffress, leader of First Baptist Church of Dallas, praised the president from stage as being a sign from God that He is not finished with America.
“In recent years, there have been those who have tried to separate our nation from its spiritual foundation,” he lamented. “This has caused many of us, especially Christians, to wonder, ‘Is God finished with America?’ Are our best days over? Has God removed his hand of blessing from us?”
“In the midst of that despair came November the eighth 2016,” Jeffress continued. “That day represented the greatest political upset in American history, because it was on that day that God declared that the people—not the pollsters—were going to choose the next president of the United States, and they chose Donald Trump.”
However, while the song was received with applause and cheers from those present, some who viewed the video footage of the performance expressed concern.
“It seems innocent enough. Indeed, if it were just another little ditty to whistle on Independence Day, it would be fairly innocuous,” wrote Jonathan Aigner for Patheos. “The problem is that it has been adopted by a significant portion of the evangelical church. It’s their mantra, their creed, and their prayer, and they shout it out with nationalistic fervor.”
“Pledging allegiance to God and to America in the same breath, melding together the kingdom of God and self, they pray a blasphemous prayer to a red, white and blue Jesus,” he opined. “How tragically this prayer cancels out the prayer of Jesus himself. The political church prays, ‘Make America great again!’ Jesus prayed, ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.'”
Trump himself spoke to those gathered at the event, acknowledging that the freedoms Americans enjoy come from God and not man.
“Since the signing of the Declaration of Independence 241 years ago, America always affirmed that liberty comes from our Creator,” he said. “Our rights are given to us by God, and no earthly force can ever take those rights away. That is why my administration is transferring power out of Washington and returning that power back where it belongs to the people.”
“Our religious liberty is enshrined in the very first amendment in the Bill of Rights. The American founders invoked our Creator four times in the Declaration of Independence,” Trump stated. “Benjamin Franklin reminded his colleagues at the Constitutional Convention to begin by bowing their heads in prayer. Inscribed on our currency are the words ‘In God We Trust.’”
He tweeted the video of the “Make America Great Again” performance this morning, writing “#HappyIndependenceDay #July4 #USA.”
Note: Song begins at approximately 34:30 into the recording.