As we celebrate the Fourth of July this year, let us take a good, honest look at our once-great country. My parents came to this country from a troubled Europe. My dad came from Poland/Austria at the turn of the century, my mother from Germany. They met over here, and I can remember them preparing to get their citizenship papers during my preschool years.
I grew up in the ’40s, during the war. There was a special significance in the air—a recognized threat was aimed at our liberty and freedom. Being “an American” was more than just provincial nationalism. It had a moral quality to it.
During my college years, I spent my Wednesday afternoons with the Brigade of Midshipmen on Worden Field. I can still hear the sound of the Drum and Bugle Corps in my ears as our regiment passed in review before whatever dignitaries happened to be visiting Washington that week. I can still hear the reverberations of “Eternal Father Strong to Save” in the Naval Academy Chapel.
My exchange weekends at West Point also gave me a glimpse of “the Long Gray Line” of the Corps of Cadets. Some traditions reveal the very soul of a nation. It gets into your blood. It also instills in you a deep sense of our unique spiritual heritage.
There is a time to get angry. There’s a time when anger takes on righteous indignation. It’s time to see if there is any manhood in our bones. Have you noticed what has become of our beloved country?
In the 1940s, our top school discipline problems were, essentially: talking in class, chewing gum, making noise, running in the halls, getting out of turn in line, and failing to put litter in waste baskets. Look at our schools now: daily reports of rape, robbery, assault, burglary, arson, bombings, murder, suicide, absenteeism, vandalism, extortion, drug abuse, gang warfare, pregnancies, abortion, and venereal disease.
Symptoms of our Society’s Sickness
Let’s take a “brief” look at our nation’s headlines: child abuse and molestations; rape by stealth, date, or gang; pre-marital teenage sex, pregnancies and abortions; teenage suicide, vandalism and property damage; the drug scene—sales, use, and violence; robbery, burglary, and murder (with its progressing casualness and viciousness); violence, explicit, and adulterous sex as part of the entertainment fare offered on movies, stage, television, videotapes and magazines; racism—organized and vicious; scandals in high places, e.g., Congress, financial institutions, and the highest offices in the land; trial marriages, family breakdown, the scattering of children; gang warfare in our cities; and, pornography, involving both adult and child.
Man has created, for his own pleasure, an immoral society. But it is for God, not man, to decide what is moral. God hates wickedness, and He hasn’t changed His mind.
John Adams said:
We have no government armed with the power capable of con-tending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, greed, ambition, revenge, or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
When will we get angry enough to take this seriously? It’s only when we can honestly address the problem, logically analyze it (in depth) and admit that immorality is the basic cause of all these symptoms that we can begin dealing with the problems in restoring a civilized society.
What Has Happened?
We have lost the roots of our heritage. We need to rediscover the source of our freedoms, our safety, and our opportunities. Can we recapture our inheritance? Only if we take it seriously enough. Our Constitution says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Yet we now have enforced paganism—federally supported—in our schools. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are based on Judeo-Christian teachings. Thirty-four percent of the writings of our founding fathers are direct quotes from the Bible!
To know the Christian basis of our country is to learn what every schoolboy and girl learned two generations ago about the writings and early documents of those who built the greatest nation in all history.
Reexamining the Basics
Let’s re-examine our Christian roots. Warning! For those of you educated by our public school system after 1962, this in-formation may be new to you!
In 1620 The Mayflower Compact, written by the Pilgrims before they got off the ship said:
In the presence of God, Amen. We...do by these present solemnly and mutually in ye presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves into a civil body politic.
In 1638, The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut (often called the first American Constitution) said:
We ...enter into a combination and confederation together to maintain and preserve the liberty and purity of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ which we now profess.
It further stated that men’s rights come from God, as was later stated in the Declaration of Independence.
In 1772 Samuel Adams wrote:
The rights to freedom being the gift of God Almighty...The rights of the colonists as Christians may be best understood by reading and carefully studying the institutes of the great Law Giver which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament. In 1777 the First Continental Congress appropriated funds to import for the people 20,000 Holy Bibles as “the great political textbook of the patriots.”
Written in 1776, the Declaration of Independence says:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men....
1) There is such a thing as truth, not “relative values”;
2) Men’s rights come from God, their Creator;
3) Government exists to protect these God-given rights. This is the very essence of Americanism.
These rights are under a powerful attack by the forces which have been unleashed in our country. God will hold us accountable for our stewardship (1 Corinthians 4:2). “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17).
In 1787, at an impasse of several weeks at the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin rose and said:
I have lived, Sir, a long time and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: that God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground with-out His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this...
Then he moved that they resort to prayer and thus their problems were soon solved.
It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists but by Christians, not on religions but on the gospel of Jesus Christ.
John Quincy Adams:
The first and almost only Book deserving of universal attention is the Bible. The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of Civil Government with the principle of Christianity.
And in 1861 Abraham Lincoln wrote:
It is the duty of all nations, as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and prov-en by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.
Did God have a special plan for America? Was Columbus’ discovery accidental? Does God deal with nations as corporate individuals (Deuteronomy 7:6-9)?
Throughout Israel’s history, as long as they kept their end of the covenant, God blessed them. Yet scarcely as He began to do so, they would turn away from Him, often in less than a generation. They would grow so hard of heart that they would stone the prophets that He sent to persuade them to humble themselves, seek His forgiveness, and by His grace change their ways—that is, to repent.
Yet because He did love them, He would not wash His hands of them, no matter how sorely they tried Him. All too often, however, they left Him no choice but to lift His grace and allow drought, flood, pestilence, war, or bondage to turn His people back to Him. Does this just apply to Israel alone? Why did God send Jonah to Nineveh? Could it be that America was meant to be a “light to lighten the Gentiles” (Luke 2:32)?
Is our vast divergence from this promising beginning the reason why we are now heading into a new dark age? Does 2 Chronicles 7:14 apply only (denotatively) to Israel? Or does it embody a principle of an immutable God? Can we humble our-selves, pray, seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways?
The answer lies within ourselves.