Song Snapshots #16: God is Still in America (Legacy Five)

“It seems we tend to romanticize the 1950s version of America,” songwriter Ben Storie observes. “We have this ideal that if we could just get back to the ’50s, we’d be much better off. Maybe that’s true, maybe it’s not.”

All the bad news Christians hear today helped inspire the song “God is Still in America”: “I wrote it as a kind of response to all the anxiety and frustration that I feel about the state of our nation.”

In an interview conducted before November’s election results, he elaborated: “I just wanted to encourage people that even though maybe your guy’s not in the White House, or maybe there are laws being passed that fly in the face of your values and morals—just because America isn’t the 1950s version of America anymore, God is still here. We know that because in His Word, it says, where two or three are gathered, He is in their midst. So if we as Christians in this country are still gathering together in His name, then He’s still here. Regardless of whatever Washington, D.C. is doing, or regardless of whatever state our local communities are in, God’s not abandoned us, and God’s not absent.”

He co-wrote the song with Belinda Smith via phone and email; they didn’t actually meet in person until the song was done. In the song’s lyric, they referred to specific instances of God moving in difficult times, referencing the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina, and individuals like Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who was removed from his office for acknowledging God and standing for the Ten Commandments (but was recently re-elected), and Valeen Schnurr, who stood for her faith in the 1999 Columbine, Colorado school shooting. (According to eyewitness testimony, early reports attributing the conversation to Cassie Bernall were mistaken.) They built from these specific instances into a sweeping chorus acknowledging and celebrating God’s ongoing work in hearts and lives in this country.

Legacy Five recorded the song on their 2011 album A Wonderful Life.