Ask not what your country can do for you

In his inauguration speech on January 20, 1961, JFK, perhaps the most well-liked Democrat ever to serve as President of the United States, said this:

“…my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”

My, how far we have come.

The main planks of Hillary’s platform are all about what your country can do for you:

  • Is your wage too low?  Ask what your country can do to raise it
  • Is your college tuition unaffordable?  Ask what your country can do to pay it for you
  • Is your health care too expensive?  Ask what your country can do to cover that for you
  • Is your job insecure, potentially being shipped overseas?  Ask what your country can do to keep it here
  • Are you a female in the workforce?  Ask what your country can do to assess the complexity of your job and your performance in that job against a comparable job held by a male and ensure you get paid equally

Americans enjoy more freedom than anyone else in the world.  The danger with freedom is it can be abused, treated with an attitude of entitlement.  It can become a covering for self-indulgent, wanton living.  That’s not the America I think we are.  The America I know is one where people….

…work hard to earn their living

…understand the value of competition

…are not afraid to do their best to earn those choice positions

…are mindful of the needs of others and take action to help each other out  

The nation saw this first-hand last weekend in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  Volunteers flocked by the thousands, filling sandbags, loading pickups, building up floodwalls–not just for their own businesses and homes, but for those around them, friends, neighbors, even strangers.  No questions asked.  This was the America I know.

This spirit of unselfish giving is at the core of Christianity.  Jesus speaks a lot about social justice–more than we give Him credit for.  He is all about treating people with kindness and respect.  He decries selfish living and appeals to His followers to live for a higher calling, where liberties and freedoms are not clutched with white knuckles, but relinquished in deference to other people’s needs.

Consider the messages of two of Christianity’s most respected founders, Peter and Paul.

In the second chapter of Peter’s first letter to the young church, he says(1):

“Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil.”

In his letter to the new church at Galatia, Paul says(2):

“For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”

Hillary appeals to Americans who want their country to work for them, who want freedom to satisfy their own needs.  I hope you can see that for what it is–an unabashed attempt to win votes from masses of people looking for handouts.  She does it by  appealing to your envy, greed, and selfishness–exactly the evil that Peter and Paul warned us about. Freedom is not about you getting whatever you want.  It’s about earning your keep as best you can, and using what you have to serve others whenever possible.

If you believe God exists, and that He rewards good behavior, then know that He is looking for free people who use their freedom to serve others.  Don’t horde your freedom; give some of it up, use your precious time and money to help others.  That’s what it means to ask your country what you can do for it.  Amazing–JFK was right on.



  1. I Peter 2:16
  2. Galatians 5:13

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