The real democratic American idea is, not that every man shall be on a level with every other man, but that every man shall have liberty to be what God made him, without hindrance.
Even when you include the amendments, the Constitution says only three things about religion. Here’s exactly what the Constitution says about the subject: Article VI: “No religious test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” Amendment 1: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” In other words: 1. The government is not allowed to make people take a religious test in order to qualify for holding federal office; 2. Congress is not allowed to set up an official national church; and 3. Congress is not allowed to stop people from practicing their religions. These three rules are meant to protect your liberty to follow God, not to abolish it. That famous slogan about a “wall of separation” just isn’t there.
As God can protect His people under the greatest despotism, so the utmost civil liberty is no safety to them without the immediate protection of His Almighty arm. I fear that Christians in this country have too great a confidence in political institutions…[rather] than of the government of God.
It is a fact that unless children are brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, they, and the society which they constitute or control, will go to destruction. Consequently, when a state resolves that religious instruction shall be banished from the schools and other literary institutions, it virtually resolves on self-destruction.
Despite its foundational Christian heritage, America is rapidly degenerating into a godless society. The church in America, although highly visible and active, appears powerless to redirect the rushing secular currents. Mired in a moral and spiritual crisis, America’s only hope is a national revival, like God has graciously bestowed in the past.
You don’t have to go to heathen lands today to find false gods. America is full of them. Whatever you love more than God is your idol.
America’s greatness has been the greatness of a free people who shared certain moral commitments. Freedom without moral commitment is aimless and promptly self-destructive (John Gardner).
The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity (John Adams).
Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other (John Adams).
As we approach the twenty-first century, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that our entire culture is in trouble. We are staring down the barrel of a loaded gun, and we can no longer afford to act like it’s loaded with blanks… Our society has replaced heroes with celebrities, the quest for a well-informed character with the search for a flat stomach, substance and depth with image and personality. In the political process, the makeup man is more important than the speech writer, and we approach the voting booth, not on the basis of a well-developed philosophy of what the state should be, but with a heart full of images, emotions, and slogans all packed into thirty-second sound bites. The mind-numbing, irrational tripe that fills TV talk shows is digested by millions of bored, lonely Americans hungry for that sort of stuff (J.P Moreland).
In America, we have a long history of valuing the concept of the separation of church and state. This idea historically referred to a division of labors between the church and the civil magistrate. However, initially both the church and the state were seen as entities ordained by God and subject to His governance. In that sense, the state was considered to be an entity that was “under God.” What has happened in the past few decades is the obfuscation of this original distinction between church and state, so that today the language we hear of separation of church and state, when carefully exegeted, communicates the idea of the separation of the state from God. In this sense, it’s not merely that the state declares independence from the church, it also declares independence from God and presumes itself to rule with autonomy.
According to Edward Gibbon, in his classic work, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, there were five major causes for the decline and fall of the Roman empire.
1. The breakdown of the family and the increase of divorce.
2. The spiraling rise of taxes and extravagant spending.
3. The mounting desire for pleasure and the brutalization of sports.
4. The continual production of armaments to face ever increasing threats of enemy attacks.
5. The decay of religion into many confusing forms, leaving the people without a uniform faith. It is very significant that these factors exist today.
But we would do well to think of ourselves in the same way we used to think about the lost people of the mission field. We have become the new heathen. We Americans are the ones now in thrall to primitive superstitions, such as believing in the power of positive thinking and having faith in ourselves. We are the ones held back by a materialistic worldview that has little conception of the supernatural. We are the ones with brutal customs, such as aborting our infants, neglecting our children, and abandoning and sometimes euthanizing our elders. We have simple, pounding music, and we are uneducated about the realities outside of our tribe. With our limited mind-set, we have trouble grasping the truths of Scripture.
America today is a save-yourself society if there ever was one. But does it really work? The underdeveloped societies suffer from one set of diseases: tuberculosis, malnutrition, pneumonia, parasites, typhoid, cholera, typhus, etc. Affluent America has virtually invented a whole new set of diseases: obesity, arteriosclerosis, heart disease, strokes, lung cancer, venereal disease, cirrhosis of the liver, drug addiction, alcoholism, divorce, battered children, suicide, murder. Take your choice. Laborsaving machines have turned out to be body-killing devices. Our affluence has allowed both mobility and isolation of the nuclear family, and as a result our divorce courts, our prisons and our mental institutions are flooded. In saving ourselves we have nearly lost ourselves.