The underlying, uncomfortable, reality at the core of America’s malaise

Massive corruption in government. Lying by public officials. Office holders receiving bribes. Unjust prosecution of political opponents. Justice meted based on political affiliation. News and information dissemination based on allegiance to a particular world view. Parents denied the right to mold and shape their own children and instead being forced to yield those rights to the state by law. Forced celebration of deviant behavior with a demand for approval of same, or else. The compromising of a once muscular military into one which is inundated with self-defeating progressive policies. And we could go on. The symptoms of decay noted above are occurring virtually unabated in this country right now, and in the West in general, and are directly linked to the widespread adoption of leftist ideologies. These have been embraced by many in our institutions, public and private, and have captured the imagination of our youth. Ironically, they represent policies that only a decade or two ago would have been scorned and reviled by those same individuals who now accept and promote them. The question is why. Why has there been such a departure from the guiding principles and values that launched the United States and the West to greatness for so long? What’s changed?

One key underlying reason is the turning away of or the complete lack of interest by so many in the Judeo-Christian values and principles that catapulted our civilization to prominence in the first place. That turning away has resulted in a nation that is starved for the knowledge of God, and the objective truths of God, with all His precepts and standards that make up a just culture. Abandoning those, we now find ourselves subsequently awash in sin and lawlessness. We have in effect in large part, become our own gods. We shunned the transcendent beauty of a holy God and replaced it with a vacuum of belief that we fill with whatever suits our desire at a given moment in time. This will only accelerate as time goes on. Our culture, our system of government, was not designed to thrive in an environment such as this. Instead, we can expect open tyranny by that same government in the not-too-distant future. John Adams along with other founders, observed, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” George Washington said, “Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” Religion, he thus suggested, is necessary to the preservation of “free government.” As Mark D. Martin, Dean of the School of Law at Regent University wrote: “Why did they believe that the success of the union ultimately depended on the virtue of the people? Simply put, the Founders knew that government was downstream from culture. A virtuous people would courageously defend the rights endowed by their Creator and restored by the blood of patriots.”

I read that last line and asked myself, what the hell happened to us during Covid? Our rights were trampled on left and right and very few of us stood up and said NO! What of the churches of America, the very bastions of salt and light? To my knowledge, very few Pastors or Priests said anything publicly. But what pressure could they have ‘biblically’ applied back then, let alone today against the raging of ‘woke’, the canceling of dissenters, the shutting down of religious speech, while the depravity of a vocal minority commands the day? As evangelist Mario Murillo opined: “We could take away their power overnight—if only a specific group would speak out. There are 400,000 men and women who are protestant ministers in the United States. They lead the largest voting bloc in America. Yet, the vast majority of them refuse to speak out on even the most incontrovertible and egregious acts of Woke.” Why don’t they?

The Barna Group is perhaps the most respected research and polling organization in the USA as it relates to the church. These very questions were asked of thousands of pastors and leaders in various polls over the past few years, and the results are unsurprising. When asked; “On which issues do you feel limited or pressured to speak out about as it relates to homosexuality? 44% said limited, since they were unwilling to offend, while 37% felt pressured to speak on the subject. As it relates to same-sex marriage, 22% felt limited, 32% felt pressured. When asked what their key concerns were, 72% said “watered-down gospel teaching.” It strikes me as odd that such a high percentage would indicate this. 66% had a high concern for the “cultures shift to a secular age.” 46% said “negative perceptions of the church”, while 36% indicated “hostile culture towards Christianity.” How do you think Christian leaders and martyrs through the ages would respond to those last two? Roxanne Stone , Editor in Chief of the Barna Group said, “The pressure for leaders and especially faith leaders to satisfy everyone on all sides, and to avoid offense, is very real today, especially in the digital era.” So, to many, fear of offending and perhaps being labeled a hatemonger is a core reason for not speaking out and taking a strong biblical stand on some of the key issues of the day. Related to this finding, George Barna himself observed, "Our studies show that Americans are neither deep nor sophisticated thinkers. Most people seem more interested in living a life of comfort and convenience than one of logical consistency and wisdom. Our children will continue to suffer the consequences of following in the unfortunate footsteps of their parents and elders. People who are willing to fight for a more reasonable way of thinking and acting can make a difference, but it will be slow progress." Wow.

The underlying, uncomfortable, reality at the core of America’s malaise is that in the public square, we have largely abandoned God, along with the biblical roots of our founding. Our churches seem to have acclimated to the culture or are unwilling to be the salt and light it so desperately needs. Not all mind you, but too, too, many. Sin has been normalized to such an extent that we are no longer alarmed by it, but rather desensitized. That last exit on America’s moral highway was Sodom. We are past that symbol of depravity. But there is always hope. I recall back in 2001 when we lived near Great Lakes Naval Training Center in Illinois, we were allowed to host recruit Sailors on major holidays. It was Thanksgiving, not long after 9/11. I asked the three young men sitting in our living room why they joined. To a man they said, “I saw the Towers go down. I knew I had to fight for my country.” Those brave young men and women are still out there, along with many, many, praying Dads, Moms, grandparents, and yes, Godly, courageous, Pastors all willing to eschew comfort and take a stand against tyranny. Let’s pray they stand up and their numbers expand. We need them now.

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