Is God Done with America?

“I believe God isn’t done with America yet,” Ted Cruz pronounced in his stem-winder at Liberty University last week. Cruz was upbeat, brimming with confidence, and defiant. The Texas senator’s speech was the feature of his presidential campaign kickoff. Cruz’s words are encouraging. But is America still exceptional, as Cruz suggests? Aren’t the troubles that beset the nation about more than politics and government?    

God is never done with His creations -- humanity, in particular -- but He does grant free will, and with free will comes consequences. Among right-thinking Americans, who doesn’t see the cultural rot, the unraveling mores, and societal disintegration? This disintegration has been in the making for decades and is accelerating in recent years. The cliché goes that older generations see things getting worse with the coming of younger generations. America’s woes are more than older folk misperceiving. Societies and civilizations do decline. 

Hazarding predictions is tricky business, so no venture here that Western Civilization is a goner, though Europe’s trajectory has trended down since, well, World War I. The U.S. is harder to peg, but since the 1960s counterculture exploded on the scene, traditional America keeps being shoved to the back of the bus. The nation is hurting for it. “Post Modern,” for all intents and purposes, is post faith, morality, natural rights, and so forth.        

To lay this all at the feet of left-wing politics and leftist ideology is too easy. Certainly, both are intertwined with a worldview that despises Western Civilization. The despisers – the intellectuals who champion all sorts of “isms,” are mostly leftists occupying university departments. But a relativist needn’t be a leftist; he could be apolitical, but assuredly destructive in spreading his beliefs. Relativism may be a handy tool for the left in knocking down the West -- relativism and much more. After all, the left wants to build Utopia on the West’s rubble.     

There’s the wrong-side of affluence to consider, too. Materialism unmoored from moral precepts, not tempered by virtues and faith, contribute. The U.S. has become awfully materialistic, and awfully superficial: looks, styles, fads, celebs, in crowds and out, the latest this and the latest that. What you’ve got seems to matter more than who you are. 

Discussing arts, academics, and politics with Reason TV’s Nick Gillespie, Camille Paglia remarked that Western culture is in decline. Paglia, an iconoclast of the left, said:

On the verge of collapse? Yes! Western Culture is [in] decline. There's absolutely no doubt about it, in my view, looking at the history of Egypt, of Babylon, of Byzantium, and so on. And so what's happening is everyone's so busy busy busy with themselves with this narcissistic sense of who they are in terms of sexual orientation or gender, and this intense gender consciousness, woman consciousness […]

Here’s a simple proposition: Governments are no better than the societies they rise from. 

Ted Cruz is a politician; of course, his task is addressing government. Explaining his presidential candidacy on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show, Cruz used words and phrases that included “urgency” and “now or never” and that the nation was approaching a “point of no return.” His comments were aimed at policies and actions out of Washington. He’s right in his estimation, but Cruz’s words have greater implications.

For the U.S. to arrest – and then reverse – its deterioration, it needs more than exorcising leftism from government and marginalizing it in politics. That must happen, but the imperative is a “Great Rediscovery” of, and rededication to, the virtues and values that made America exceptional. Society needs an overhaul. Whatever a Cruz or Walker or Paul or Rubio, et al, can accomplish in the White House is of short duration otherwise.

As the esteemed evangelist, Billy Graham, wrote in the summer of 2013:

If ever there was a time this country needed the intervention of God, it is now. We can and should pray for America as a whole, but remember that when God sets out to change a nation, He begins by changing people. It starts with individuals. [Emphasis added]   

The good reverend is right. An American revival starts from the ground up, in homes, neighborhoods, and communities from Maine to Hawaii. None of this is to dampen freedom-loving Americans’ enthusiasm for political change. It’s to say that the magnitude of the challenge faced in revitalizing America is more than about politics, elections, legislation, and policy. It’s more than any politician, no matter how committed to moral probity and liberty.     

The left’s role in degrading society and liberty? The left has been expert and cunning in using politics and government to reshape America to its liking (it’s not succeeded entirely yet, but working hard to). The left’s attack is comprehensive, and for decades has targeted critical institutions. The bill of particulars is lengthy.     

Marriage and family are being degraded, more brazenly in recent years. Assaults on faith have become bolder since the 1960s; atheism grows in militancy. Through feminism, efforts are ongoing to obliterate gender differences (or make gender interchangeable); to impose the marginal and idiosyncratic -- homosexuality and “transgenderism” -- as norms.  Indoctrination in education -- on college campuses, yes, but in primary and secondary public schools, definitely. The arts and entertainment have long been leftist domains. PC is used to smother dissent. A culture of death is embraced, with abortion and euthanasia. (Add to the list.) 

Barack Obama’s efforts to “transform” America are about policy and government, principally. But Obama’s agenda suggests a fuller, more enduring transformation in how Americans perceive themselves, their society, and their relationship to institutions (primarily, but not exclusively, government). The left wants us to think that changes in society -- adverse changes that they’ve exploited or instigated – are evolutionary or, simply, progress. Timeless values and virtues are just old and for another era, the left argues.      

From the vantage point of 2015, doesn’t Reagan’s presidency seem more an interregnum than a sea-change? Why is that? One answer is that the left never relented; never let political setbacks stop it from carrying on with its assaults on society. 

Let’s make the 2016 elections a watershed in stopping the left from using Washington against our liberties, from waylaying society, from employing government to efface time-tested virtues and values. Cruz’s urgency is apropos. Government is a chief theater in the bigger war on America (let’s not be afraid to call it a war). Denying the left a powerful means of running down the nation matters greatly.

“Our constitution,” declared John Adams, “was made only for a moral and religious people.” Washington, in his utterances, concurred. Today, morality and faith (religion being formalized faith) are taking body blow after body blow by hostile “isms.”              

The U.S. isn’t being cast down by natural disasters, plagues, or enemy invaders. Too many Americans, in different walks of life, through lesser and greater evils, are shredding the nation’s fabric. If God isn’t done with America, let’s hope its charity he intends. Let’s hope the U.S. isn’t destined to be an object lesson in how a once great nation squandered its many blessings and bounty.