Reviving American Christianity
It is an understatement to say that America is divided. One well-known expert in American history, David Barton, says the state of the country today feels like 1856, five years before the start of the Civil War.
Calls for calm and civility go unheeded by Democrats and their supporters, who will not accept the results of the 2016 election. The same attitude was prevalent after the election of Republican Abraham Lincoln.
The mainstream media, Hollywood elites, college professors and progressive activists spread conspiracy theories about the Trump campaign colluding with the Russians. They promote division and hostility everywhere -- between men and women, rich and poor, young and old, black and white, Christians and LGBT activists, and even exploit illegal immigrants to protest America’s sovereign right to secure borders.
President Trump, Republicans, and their supporters are depicted as racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic, and dangerous. The cauldron of resentment and bitterness has begun to boil over into violence on campuses, in the streets, and even at a baseball field in Virginia, where Republican congressmen and their staffs were shot by a progressive activist.
There have been calls for unity, but reconciliation requires two sides and the Left is unwilling. They are blinded by hatred, and they apply the Saul Alinsky principle that their success depends on division and confusion.
The chasm between the two sides is not intellectual, but spiritual. The only antidote for bitterness is forgiveness. The only prescription for division is reconciliation. These are distinctly Christian virtues, and therein lies the rub. Much of the hatred that is poisoning our politics is directed against Christianity itself. There is a widespread rejection of the Bible’s moral absolutes and the virtues that bring healing in a society: patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.
The intense division in America is a sickness of the heart, the result of turning away from God and our cultural identity as a Christian society. Without the divine hope of eternal peace and joy, people substitute desperate utopian dreams which they feel compelled to implement “by any means necessary.” As the communists murdered millions in the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin callously cited the French proverb: “If you want to make an omelet, you have to break a few eggs.”
This seems to be how the Left in America thinks today. The intense political hatred, destructive protests and riots, murdered politicians and police, are the broken eggs necessary to make the omelet of utopia. The fixed guideposts which once united us are being ripped out of the ground. Facts and truth are being cast aside along with reality. Liberal cultural elites, having denounced the Higher authority to which our Founders appealed, are dragging us into the madness of cultural and moral relativism.
Just this week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that birth certificates, which have always recorded the biological parentage of a child, may be inscribed with two same-sex “parents.” In other words the justices, to satisfy political correctness, have allowed public officials to deny reality and bear false witness on a legal document.
Is this any different from the courts and governments of the antebellum south denying reality and officially sanctioning the falsehood that black people were not fully human?
There is an unresolvable conflict between those who submit to truth and those who reject it. There are only two ways to resolve the unresolvable. One is violent confrontation, which is what happened in 1861. The other – and far more desirable – way is to return to the universal values that birthed our nation and made it great.
These quotes from Alexis DeToqueville remind us of those values and the country they created:
“I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of America in her harbors...; in her fertile fields and boundless forests; in her rich mines and vast world commerce; in her public school system and institutions of learning. I sought for it in her democratic Congress and in her matchless Constitution.”
“Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power.”
“America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
“The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other.”
“Christianity is the companion of liberty in all its conflicts -- the cradle of its infancy, and the divine source of its claims."
This is our identity, and it is time to return to that tried and true landmark. As the vibrancy and number of Christians decline, division and disorder increase. If that trend continues, the moral foundations of the country could become too weak to sustain our constitutional republic.
Americans must return to the Church, to our spiritual birthright as Christians and to the God who gave us America. Pastors and churches must become as engaged as they were in the early days of our nation. We need another Christian Awakening. That is the only way to heal the divide, avoid what happened in 1861 and fulfill the vision of “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
E.W. Jackson is a Republican political analyst; a nationally syndicated radio host on American Family Radio & Urban Family Talk; founder & president of S.T.A.N.D. [www.standamerica.us]; Presiding Bishop of The Called Church, and was 2013 Republican nominee for Lt. Governor of Virginia.