In 1782, Thomas Jefferson, addressing the subject of American slavery, wrote:
Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure, when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice can not sleep forever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference! The Almighty has no attributes which can take side with us in such a contest.
In 1865, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed:
The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”
In 1968, Martin Luther King opined:
We’ve committed more war crimes almost than any nation in the world, and I’m going to continue to say it. And we won’t stop it because of our pride and our arrogance as a nation. But God has a way of even putting nations in their place. The God that I worship has a way of saying, “Don’t play with me.” He has a way of saying, as the God of the Old Testament used to say to the Hebrews, “Don’t play with me, Israel. Don’t play with me, Babylon. Be still and know that I am God. And if you don’t stop your reckless course, I’ll rise up and break the backbone of your power.” And that can happen to America.
In 2001, Jeremiah Wright preached:
No, no, no, not God bless America. God damn America – that’s in the Bible – for killing innocent people. God damn America, as long as she pretends to act like she is God and she is supreme.
I gather from the establishment echo chamber that three of these people are apparently great American patriots we should all revere, while one of them is horribly un-patriotic and un-American and must be denounced. But I’m having a bit of trouble figuring out which is which. Any help?