America is on life support. I don’t want to believe it, but a brand new poll out proves it. The country as our founders started it has been shredded like an old frayed and tattered flag. You can see the Stars and Stripes, but there are more holes in them than our borders.
As we walk into what is traditionally Holy Week, in reality, if this poll is right, it’s an unholy week in America, at least for most.
In his column “America Pulls Back From Values That Once Defined It,” the Wall Street Journal’s (WSJ) Aaron Zitner wrote: “Patriotism, religious faith, having children and other priorities that helped define the national character for generations are receding in importance to Americans.”
It’s absolutely startling how America’s core values have changed over the last few decades.
In the WSJ/NORC poll, all age groups, including seniors, attached far less importance to these priorities and values than when pollsters asked about them in 1998:
- Patriotism is very important: Decreased from 70% to 38%.
- Religion is very important: Decreased from 62% to 39%.
- Community involvement is very important: Decreased from 47% to 27%.
- Having children is very important: Decreased from 59% to 30%. Only 23% of adults under age 30 said that having children was very important.
- “The only priority the Journal tested that has grown in importance in the past quarter-century is money, which was cited as very important by 43% in the new survey, up from 31% in 1998.”
Did you expect that big of a drop in each category, in just 25 years?
NORC an objective, nonpartisan research organization at the University of Chicago, further described America’s descent into darkness with these stats:
- Only 1% described the economy as “excellent.”
- 33% said they have very little or no confidence in public schools.
- 56% said a four-year college degree is “not worth the cost because people often graduate without specific job skills and with a large amount of debt.”
Is it any surprise that respect for people’s variant views has radically dropped? WSJ’s Zitner added, “Tolerance for others, deemed very important by 80% of Americans as recently as four years ago, has fallen to 58%.”
As a result, do Americans believe that life for their childen’s generation will be better than it has for them? Only 21% “feel confident” verse 78% who “do not feel confident” their kids will be better off.
The fact is, America has reached or gone over its tipping point. It’s soul is rotting, and most don’t even see it.
The big question is: Is there any way back home besides the myriad of political and economic pitches to make American great again? Can any president restore the soul of America, or is something much bigger required?
My wife, Gena, and I respect all people, despite varying political positions, personal convictions or religious confessions. Nevertheless, we are unapologetically constitutional conservatives and committed Christians, who still believe in God and country. Faith, family and freedom are our core values. And we will continue to fight for what’s right with truth and optimism.
Despite the fact the nation and world look like they’re going to hell in a hand-basket, with its leaders pushing us to the edge of a nuclear war, we’ll be optimists to the end. Why? Not because we have some pie-in-the-sky paradigm of life, but because we understand and follow America’s original blueprint plan, summarized in the U.S. Constitution, our Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence and the moral code of the Bible and the Ten Commandments. (It’s America’s original blueprint plan that I call people back to in my New York Times bestseller, “Black Belt Patriotism.”)
I recently watched a great new Western starring Nicolas Cage, “The Old Way.” It’s about operating the way it used to be, when God, guns and grit were still at the heart of who we are.
And who better to tell us about the old way than the greatest leader America may have ever had? Namely, George Washington, who led and won the Revolutionary War and the nation as its first president. No man represented the core of America better than he did.
We need to relearn and follow the wisdom of leaders like our first president in his presidential farewell address. We need to unearth this documentary treasure, unknown I’d expect to most Americans. It’s a national treasure that can lead our country out of darkness and into a better, more prosperous and civilized united future.
As OurDocuments.gov explains, “In the 32-page handwritten address, Washington urged Americans to avoid excessive political party spirit and geographical distinctions. In foreign affairs, he warned against long-term alliances with other nations. The address was printed in Philadelphia’s American Daily Advertiser on Sept. 19, 1796.”
Dr. Gordon L. Anderson (Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University), the president of Paragon House and author of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,” penned an excellent summary of our nation’s first president’s speech, titling it: “20 Unheeded Warnings in Washington’s Farewell Address.”
Though a few might even ruffle the feathers of some of my readers, please consider their wisdom, and how not heeding George’s words has led us to our present peril.
Here are those “20 Unheeded Warnings in Washington’s Farewell Address”:
- Be vigilant. People will seek to use the government for selfish ends.
- Avoid overgrown military establishments; they are hostile to liberty.
- Prevent all obstructions to the execution of the laws.
- Control bureaucracies; make sure they all work together.
- Avoid political parties; they will cause divisive factions and unscrupulous men will use them to undermine the government.
- Give allegiance to the Constitution; improve it as necessary.
- Do not alter the Constitution lightly, or based on hypothesis; apply the experience applied when it was created.
- Be suspicious of administrators; they may serve themselves rather than the people.
- Watch for consolidation of power in any department of government.
- Preserve existing checks and balances and add more where power needs to be checked.
- Religion and morality are essential to create the virtue necessary to preserve the union.
- Promote widespread education; democracy requires literate citizens that understand the system of governance and take responsibility for themselves.
- Avoid debt; and immediately discharge any debt created by war.
- Taxes are unpleasant; government spending should be candidly conducted.
- Cultivate peace and justice toward all nations.
- Avoid alliances and maintain neutrality among nations.
- Avoid dependency; a weak state that allies with a stronger state will become its servant.
- Real patriots will resist intrigues, while dupes will surrender to interests.
- In trade, give no nation a favored nation status.
- Be guided by principles, not interests.
I would encourage you to read them one more time, and even slower, further pondering each of their meaning.
Because it’s Holy Week, I want to highlight what Washington thought was the most important tenet of all for maintaining civility and our national core.
Did you reflect upon No. 11 above? “Religion and morality are essential to create the virtue necessary to preserve the union.”
Look at the exact words from our first commander in chief’s farewell address as he admonished us:
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.
To Washington, religion (not just general spirituality but Judeo-Christianity) was the bedrock of our society and republic. He believed that every week of American life should be a holy week.
But that’s not what most Americans believe today, at least not anymore. We continue to refuse to heed Washington’s words that we cannot maintain morality apart from the pillar of religion (or moral absolutes). As a result, we’re reaping what we’ve sown: A land of lawlessness and licentiousness. He warned us!
Washington was not alone in his belief in the overall preeminence of the role of God and religion as a foundation of decency and morality.
Dr. Mark David Hall, Herbert Hoover Distinguished Professor of Political Science at George Fox University, said, “America’s Founders were committed to the idea that religion (by which virtually all of them meant Christianity) was necessary for public happiness and political prosperity. This view was so widespread that James Hutson [American historian, scholar and chief of the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress] has called it ‘the Founders’ syllogism’ [a form of deductive argument where the conclusion follows from the truth of two (or more) premises].”
What George Washington and the rest of the founders were saying was basically this: If we’ve got God, we’ve got the gold, and what we need to establish and maintain civility, respect, decency, morality and prosperity. Why? Because God serves as a basis for all of it. God commands us to love everyone – even our enemies, and instill hope and value in every human being – including ourselves – from the cradle to the grave.
In the beginning of our republic, it’s no coincidence that morals, ethics and religion (Christianity) were a part of the public square, including public education. Imagine if all our young people did what a 14-year-old George Washington did in copying by hand the small book: “110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.”
America’s religious foundation and bedrock could continue to be seen into the mid-20th century. That is why in 1957, Congress voted that “In God We Trust” appeared on U.S. paper currency as an act to distinguish America from the officially atheist USSR (the motto had appeared on coins at various times since 1864).
“In God We Trust” are the same four words that were also largely inscribed in marble over the center of the chamber of the House of Representatives and chair of the speaker of the House. (Maybe it’s time the chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives again point them out.)
So, what would be the fallout and consequences if we don’t trust God as a nation, if we abandon this Divine Friend and Helper, as Benjamin Franklin once asked at the constitutional convention? The answer is: national impotence, anarchy and moral and societal unrest, divisiveness and all forms of chaos. Exactly what we’re experiencing today.
The truth is, we’re going to have to dig deep to rediscover America’s divine bedrock and national treasure, because society has buried God and religion deep under the grounds of greed, selfishness, division, pleasure and personal expediency.
Boy, could Washington, D.C., sure use God’s help and wisdom right now. You don’t have to take my word for it. Listen to the man from whom the U.S. capital city derives its name and the wisdom from his unparalleled farewell address. Unearth that national treasure in your life and lives of your loved ones. That’s where it needs to start anyway, with you, not hundreds or thousands of miles away with someone in Washington, D.C.
If we do, we would not only restore Holy Week from among unholy weeks, but restore the very soul of our nation, one patriot at a time, which could truly return America to its glory days.
(I encourage you to download this FREE E-copy of the small but very educational book, “God Questions: Exploring Life’s Greatest Questions About God,” which tackles tough questions about God and gives evidence to support them.)
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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.
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