We Are Rome

The George Washington Masonic National Memorial
Alexandria, Virginia, outside Washington D.C.
Height 331 feet
We've all heard the saying many times.  America will never be conquered from an outside military force, but she will fall from within.  I think the truth of this statement is beyond dispute now, for I don't know many people who would deny that America is currently falling from within.  What is of greater curiosity is how America is falling from within.  On the one hand, there is a tendency to pin it all on economics and social safety nets.  On the other hand, there are those that point to America's wars overseas that are stretching her resources.  Both sides point to the national debt and trade deficit, along with the poor economy and unemployment figures.  Not to minimise these things, for they certainly all play a role, but I think the most important thing we can do to understand this is pause and try to back away from an Amero-centric world view.  Often times we Americans look at the United States in an isolated way, as if the rest of the Western world didn't matter, and in doing so, we miss the big picture.

America is not just a nation, made up of borders language and "culture."  Oh sure, we have all that -- sort of -- but to think of America simply as a place on the map is the miss something really big.  America isn't just a place.  It's an idea. It's an idea started in America but promoted around the world.  What is this idea?  It's the idea that the United States was founded upon, but it is not limited to the United States alone.  Other nations have emulated this American idea -- particularly Western nations, but it doesn't stop there.  To understand this we need to go back in time, to colonial America, before the Revolution.  What was the world like back then?  The world's governments were made up of kings and queens.  In Europe, where America's origins begin, these were Christian monarchs.  Unfortunately for them, and for all our European ancestors, these monarchs had been divided for 200 years between Catholic and Protestant alliances, and this division gave rise to a lot of conflict between them.  Mainly for political reasons, Catholic monarchs persecuted Protestants, and Protestant monarchs persecuted Catholics.  The persecution was mutual, so there is no need to blame one side more than another.  Basically what we had back then was a lot of Christians behaving in a very unchristian way, and this was promoted by the political powers that be, namely because it served their interests.  While this was all happening in Europe a considerable amount of migration was going on.  Catholics in Protestant countries were relocating to Catholic countries, and Protestants in Catholic countries were relocating to Protestant countries.  In some cases, where Protestants were being persecuted by other Protestants (as in the case of the Puritans being persecuted by the Anglican Church of England) they simply moved to other Protestant countries where they would be more tolerated.  (The Puritans initially moved from England to Holland before coming to America to establish a Puritan theocracy.)  In this religious-political hotbed called post-Reformation Europe, the seeds of modern America were planted.

The colonisation of the Americas was initially about the promise of land, wealth and fortune (not so much about religious liberty, that was merely a side issue at first).  We can say this of all the colonising world powers at the time: Spain, Portugal, France and England.  North America was divided up three ways between the Spanish, French and English.  The Spanish acquired the western region. The French acquired the central region (in which I currently live), and the English acquired the eastern region.  The only exception to this was the Puritans, who's story we are all familiar with.  These "pilgrims" (as they are commonly called) originally came to America not for religious freedom.  They already had that in Holland.  No, they came to establish a religious theocracy and evangelise the natives based on Puritan religion.

It is here the story of thirteen English colonies begin.  Unlike the French and Spanish regions of America, all considerably larger than the English at the time, the thirteen English colonies eventually took on the unique character of becoming a place of religious refuge for persecuted Christians and Jews in England.  This is namely because of all the religious turmoil that resulted from post-Reformation England.  It wasn't true of all the colonies, but some in particular took on a position of tolerance toward people of differing faiths.  One example is Maryland (Mary Land), which became a colony for persecuted English Catholics.  It is here that the modern concept of "religious liberty" began.  It didn't last long.  The religious toleration of Catholics in Maryland lasted only fifty-eight years (1634 - 1692), when it was overturned by English Protestants, but it did provide a foreshadowing of things to come.  Later, other colonies would follow suit with similar measures, some even more generous, but it was not until the American Revolution that full religious liberty (at least on paper) was granted to all Americans in the formerly British colonies.

Now this is what makes history interesting.  When you learn history properly, you'll quickly see that the whole thing is simply a tale of cause and effect, or action and reaction.  It's not just a list of names, dates and places.  Everything happens for a reason!  Unfortunately, that's why so many students lose interest in history, because it's not taught as a cause and effect thing.  When you understand cause and effect, history starts to make sense.  So with that being said, why did people start coming to the English colonies in America to establish religious theocracies and later for a vague promise of religious liberty?  The answer is because they were persecuted in Europe by governments of different religious persuasions, or else they were otherwise dissatisfied with the religious status quo.  Why were governments in Europe under different religious persuasions?  Because of the Protestant Reformation.

You see, one thing leads to another, and so it was with the formation of modern America, particularly in the British Isles.  England was originally a very devout Catholic country prior to 1535.  In fact, England was so Catholic, that it was once called the land of "Mary's Dowry."  However, when King Henry VIII forcibly broke England away from the Catholic Church, all over a marriage annulment the pope would not grant him, the history of England turned very bloody very fast.  The Protestant Reformation in England was a terrible one.  It resulted in the persecution and deaths of many Catholics under King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I, followed by severe discrimination against Catholics thereafter.  It also resulted in the death of a good number of Protestants under Queen Mary I, who came to be known as "Bloody Mary."  My point here is that this conflict in England, gave English colonists in North America a very different experience that was all together unique from that of the Spanish and French colonists in North America.  It is this unique experience of nasty religious infighting that caused the English colonists to come up with a final solution in the late eighteenth century (1776 - 1800).  The American Revolution against the British crown was not a religious war at all.  It was a political war of secession (independence) over taxes and parliamentary representation. However, with the success of that conflict resulting in the liberation of the thirteen colonies from the British empire, the opportunity to solve some other problems presented itself.  It is in this context the final solution to religious infighting entered the picture. That final solution, at least on paper anyway, was absolute religious liberty.  All religious beliefs would be tolerated in America, no matter what.  It wouldn't matter if you were Catholic or Protestant, Christian or Jew.  Every person would be free of religious discrimination (at least on paper) regardless of religious belief, and a "wall of separation" would forever exists between religion and the newly formed government of the United States of America.

It all sounds great!  Right?  Just separate religion from government and the problem of religious persecution and sectarian infighting is solved.  Well, not exactly.  The colonists didn't just come up with this idea on their own.  Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), was heavily influenced by the writings of John Locke (1632 - 1704), whom Jefferson described as one of the three greatest men who ever lived, alongside Francis Bacon and Sir Isaac Newton.  Jefferson, himself a Deist, rejected Christian theology, and rewrote the New Testament to exclude all the miraculous accounts of Jesus Christ.  Many Americans are shocked to discover this is the same man who wrote our nation's Declaration of Independence.  Let us not forget however, that Jefferson was a student of John Locke, who denied the Trinity and divinity of Jesus Christ, while accepting an Arian and/or Unitarian view of Christianity.  Writing in his curiously titled essay "A Letter Concerning Toleration," in regards to Roman Catholicism, Locke asserted that: "all those who enter into it do thereby ipso facto deliver themselves up to the protection and service of another prince."  Therefore, he surmised, Catholics, like atheists, cannot be tolerated.  While Jefferson may not have shared Locke's hard line view of Catholics, the basic premise of Locke's essay essentially became his core belief, and has since become the foundation of American law and government.  That premise being that all belief systems are equal, but very private, and should be tolerated provided they are subordinate to a non-religious state.  This is namely because the state concerns itself with issues primarily related to the physical world, while religion concerns itself primarily with issues related to the spiritual world.  Locke's world view was that spiritual matters are completely separate from physical matters, and never the twain shall meet.  He vehemently objected to the notion that the state has any interest in the spiritual well being (or salvation) of the souls of men.  While conversely, religion has little interest in the physical and political well being of the state.  The writings of John Locke were well known among the American colonists and were followed by most of America's founding fathers, many of whom were Deists. Due to his service as America's ambassador to France, Jefferson himself could not be present during the Constitutional Convention that followed the American Revolution, which would eventually frame America's system of government, but instead he sent a letter to James Madison advocating the creation of a Bill of Rights to be added to the Constitution.  This was to secure the rights of the colonists against the increased powers of a federal government and simultaneously enshrine the ideals of his Enlightenment hero John Locke against those in the convention who were leaning toward a stronger central authority based on the Enlightenment ideals of Thomas Hobbes (1588 - 1679).  Jefferson was above all a Southerner, a Virginian by birth, who believed in the inherent rights of the individual over the authority of the state.  It was only natural that the writings of John Locke would appeal to him.  Hobbes, on the other hand, appealed more to representatives from the Northern states, who longed for greater central control and a more streamlined governing order.  The key component to insure that Locke's views would stand under the growing Hobbes influence became the first article in the Constitution's Bill of Rights, which is well known and beloved by Americans today, yet simultaneously contains within it the seed of our nation's eventual demise.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Many have accurately pointed out that the restriction in the Establishment Clause of this article is upon Congress, or the government, and not upon the people or religion.  Simultaneously, the Free Exercise Clause, that immediately follows, guarantees total autonomy of the individual to practise any religion as he sees fit.  It would seem this would allow religion to operate freely without government harassment or molestation.  Indeed, I think it's safe to surmise that was Thomas Jefferson's original intent which would make his Enlightenment hero John Locke very proud.  Should there be any doubt, Jefferson stated his mindset, and intent of the Establishment Clause, by drafting the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in 1777, and in a letter he wrote to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802 he described the Establishment Clause as creating a "wall of separation between church and state."  Now these things did not present any kind of measurable problem in the early decades of the American republic.  We could argue that lack of religious influence over the moral issue of slavery eventually led to the bloody conflict that took the lives of over half a million Americans in the Civil War, but we could also argue that increased federalisation caused this too.  I suppose we could say that America's Civil War was really a war of ideology between Hobbes and Locke.  The North taking the extreme Hobbes position, while the South taking the extreme Locke position.  What came about as a result of the war was a "Hobbelockean" amalgamation, in which Hobbe's view of a strong centralised government that defines right and wrong prevailed, but with heavy emphasis on Locke's view that part of the mission of this centralised government is to insure the rights of individuals as the courts defined them.  I suppose we could say that the war of words that began at the Constitutional Convention (1787), eventually played out on the battlefield between 1861 through 1865.

The seeds of America's undoing did not really begin to fully sprout until the late twentieth century, when the logical conclusion of Jefferson's "Wall of Separation," inspired by Locke, would be realised by the United States Supreme Court heavily influenced by a Hobbes mentality.  Jefferson would not likely have any problem with the court's decisions to ban prayer in public schools and eliminate all government references to religion, but I think he would be shocked at the effect this would have on society.  Jefferson lived in a time when people were much more set in their ways and not easily swayed by the government dictates.  I believe if he could have lived to see how quickly American society would crumble as a result of his personal secular beliefs becoming enforced law, he would be flabbergasted.

You see, while totally separating religion from government does solve one set of problems, it in turn creates a whole new set of problems.  When you totally separate government from religion, you create a government without religion, or so you may think.  Except that a government without religion is merely a vacuum, because you see, governments in and of themselves (when you really get down to the heart of it) are just political expressions of religious beliefs. Let me give you and example.  Murder is illegal right?  Well, why is it illegal?  It's illegal because it's wrong.  Well, who says it's wrong?  The overwhelming vast majority of people say it's wrong?  Well, why do the overwhelming vast majority of people say murder is wrong?  Now, pay attention here, because this is where it gets interesting.  The overwhelming vast majority of people say murder is wrong because they come from a Judeo-Christian moral belief system.  So, why do they come from a Judeo-Christian moral belief system?  The answer is because they come from Christian Europe and are Christians!  Other religions might have similar beliefs about murder, but there is usually a caveat.  For example, in some religious cultures, it may be okay to murder you wife and children if they dishonour you. Such prejudices have even been enshrined into national laws in various places outside of Europe.  My point here is that government is just an outward political expression of religious beliefs.  Indeed, I assert that religion pre-dates government.  Government is a product of religion.  In other words, I am directly opposing John Locke and Thomas Jefferson here.  There is no real separation between the spiritual and the physical.  They are intimately related to one another, and this "wall of separation" Jefferson advocated is, in practical experience, a very porous thing.  In America, murder is always wrong (or at least it's supposed to be) because American law was formed under a Judeo-Christian moral code, and that moral code existed only because the majority of Americans were Christians!

So with that being said, what happens when you separate religion from government? The last 222 years of American history is a tale of that experiment.  The experiment began in earnest in 1791 when the U.S. Bill of Rights was ratified officially separating American government from religion.  However, that experiment was not limited to America.  What followed the American Revolution was the French Revolution (1789 - 1799), which rapidly took many of the ideals from the American Revolution to their final and logical conclusions.  Thus began the expansion of the American experiment beyond her own boarders.  Granted, the French Revolution was different, and we could even say much less civilised, but the ideals (and in some cases the players themselves, including Thomas Jefferson) were the same.  One of the reasons why the American Revolution seemed more "civilised" than the French Revolution is the fact that the American Revolution was really a war of secession from the British Empire.  It was a struggle for political independence.  Once that independence was granted at the Treaty of Paris (1783), the war was over, and America officially became a sovereign entity.  There was no need to kill the king, and behead the aristocracy, because once the separation was complete, it was over.  America's founding fathers were free to move on.  Though the driving principles of the French Revolution were virtually identical to the American Revolution, the nature of the conflict took on the characteristics of a full blown civil war.  This is because once the revolutionaries had gained control of the country, the previous ruling class needed to be eliminated.  After all, it wasn't like they had an ocean to separate them from their former king, like the Americans.  The French monarchy and aristocracy were living right in their back yard -- literally.  This explains the particularly gruesome nature of the conflict.  In addition to that, Catholic France, unlike Protestant America, understood that when you take religion out of government, you create a vacuum, and vacuums will be filled one way or another.  America's founding fathers preferred a gradual filling of this vacuum over time, and believed society would eventually self-regulate with a natural balance occurring between church and state.  The French knew this would never happen, and they were right, so they preferred to just get it over with quickly.  The vacuum created by separating Christianity from government was quickly filled by another religion.  It was a philosophical religion really, but one with very old roots that stretch back to the days of antiquity.  It had different names back then, but today we simply call it Humanism.  The French revolutionaries personified this as the "goddess of reason," or Sophia, and elevated her (symbolically and literally) as they drove all traces of Catholic monarchy out of France.  They even placed a statue (idol) of this Pagan goddess on the cathedral altar at Notre Dame in Paris.  The American revolutionaries, on the other hand, understood that an alliance with traditional Christian religion was necessary, at least on the outset, because such a massive undertaking of creating a "New Order for the Ages" (Novus Ordo Seclorum) cannot be done overnight.  As time would eventually reveal, the French were right about what happens when you separate government from Christian religion, but it would be the slow and gradual American approach to this that would ultimately prevail.

So right from the very beginning, we see the movement that created America was not limited to America alone.  It was a Western thing, a direct product of non-Trinitarian, Deistic and anti-Catholic Enlightenment thinking.  The thirteen United States of America and France led the way, and slowly, over the course of 200+ years, the rest of the Western world would follow.  When you start to understand America not just as a nation, but as an international Enlightenment movement, spearheaded by the newly created United States federal government, things start to make a whole lot more sense.  Then and only then, can you truly understand why America is falling from within.  It is the same reason why the whole Western world is falling from within.  The ideas of the Enlightenment are flawed.  There is a chink in the armour of John Locke and Thomas Jefferson, and that imperfection is slowly being eroded and exposing the soft tissue of society underneath.  We are finding out that Enlightenment ideology does not match our experience in the real world, and that is causing a very big social problem.

Now let's change gears a bit.  It's not the "religious" part of religious liberty I want to focus on here, but rather the "liberty" part.  The word "liberty" means quite simply the power to do as one pleases.  The whole idea of religious liberty gave rise to other forms of liberty as well, such as freedom of speech for example, and the right to peacefully assemble.  However, practical experience in the real world tells us that liberty is usually not absolute.  For example; you can't yell "fire!" in a crowded theatre, especially if there isn't one.  For fear of causing a stampede that will hurt (or possibly kill) some people, the courts have ruled that freedom of speech is not absolute.  There are some common sense restrictions of course.  We could also say that ones right to peacefully assemble is curtailed in some situations.  You can't just "peacefully assemble" in the middle of a busy street.  Even assembling in a park or on a street corner might require a permit in certain circumstances.  So again, the right to peacefully assemble is not absolute.  Even religious liberty has its limits.  You can't plead that you're only expressing your freedom of religion, if doing so causes you to damage property, harm animals or even kill people.  Again, there are limitations based on common sense.  So the point here is that in any society, based on the Judeo-Christian moral code, there are limits to liberty.  Liberty is not absolute.  We often say that it is guided by "common sense" but let us not forget that this "common sense" was historically formed in a Christian society made up of Christian people.

So we could say that Hobbes, Locke and Jefferson built their castle on a foundation laid by the Church, and then effectively denied that foundation was necessary.  As time passed, people started to take that claim seriously, and the foundation was removed.  Naturally, when you remove a castle's foundation, what happens to the superstructure?  It erodes and collapses of course.  It may not happen overnight.  It may even take years, or decades, but it will crumble eventually.  Hobbes, Locke and Jefferson unwittingly sent the whole Western world down a trajectory that would eventually destroy it.  The complete and total decoupling of Christianity from the state was a disaster, and resulted in the creation of a new state religion by default -- the religion of Humanism -- because in practical experience, all vacuums must be filled.  Thus, what is left of the old religion (Christianity) must make way for the new unofficial state religion (Humanism).  This is why all vestiges of our once Christian society are slowly being erased, and replaced with a new social-religious order.

Humanism is in many ways like Paganism.  The pantheon of Humanism is "liberty," and the gods of Humanism are "rights."  The idea of this pantheon is that personal liberty must always be as full and complete as possible, therefore once a new right is defined, it becomes absolute, or as nearly absolute as possible.  Everything else must retreat to make room for this new god (right) even if this upsets the current social order.  Here are some examples.  In 1962 through 1992, all prayers and religious services were banned in public schools, citing the "right" of students to be free of any establishment of a state religion.  In doing so, the Supreme Court unwittingly established Humanism as the default religion in public schools.  In 1973 this same Court ruled that a woman has an absolute right to terminate a pregnancy, thus killing the unborn child, simply because it could not be determined if said child was a "person" under the law.  This paved the way for some forty-million abortions performed in the United States over the following four decades.  In 2003 the Court struck down an anti-sodomy law in Texas, thus paving the way for the legal normalisation of homosexual relationships.  It is expected that sometime in 2013 - 2014, the United States Supreme Court will likely hand down a favourable ruling on same-sex "marriage," thus redefining the very foundational building-block of human civilisation.  Each of these rulings has created a new right (god) in the pantheon of liberty, which all institutions must retreat from should they dare to stand in the way.  Naturally, as you can imagine, this presents a significant problem for Christianity.

Already churches have been forced to abandon public schools, and Christian students face an increasingly hostile school environment when attempting to start student-led prayer groups and Bible-study groups on campus.  Various Christian students throughout the United States have faced disciplinary action by school officials for wearing religious items or speaking of religion while on campus.  Likewise, churches have faced hostility toward any religious displays, or acknowledgement of religion on local, state and federal property.  Meanwhile, while Christians vigorously defend the right to life for the unborn, many have faced arrest, prosecution and restriction on their public speech and peaceful gatherings.  As of the writing of this article, churches and Christian businesses in America are now engaged in legal battle with the President of the United States over a mandate that will soon force them to pay for artificial contraception and chemical abortions.  Now, as Christians in America await the Supreme Court's greatest assault against religious liberty yet, with a new right (god) to homosexual "marriage," they are already enduring civil lawsuits for merely expressing their religion by refusing to provide wedding services for homosexual "marriages."  It is commonly believed these problems will only get worse, exponentially, once the right (god) of homosexual marriage is given life.

You see, under the religion of Humanism, the pantheon of liberty demands that its rights (gods) be honoured, and that means every other god, including the Christian God, must bow down to the rights (gods) of man.  The state determines these gods and gives them life.  Under religious liberty, Christians are of course allowed to believe whatever they want, and so long as they practise it privately, with no affect or influence on others, they are "free."  However, should their practise of Christianity interfere with the rights (gods) the state has determined and given life to, the Christian may very well find himself in some legal hot water.

Herein lies the fatal flaw of Jefferson's very porous "wall of separation" between religion and state.  Once the government has no creed, it de facto adopts the religion of Humanism, becoming a creed unto itself, wherein government men become the deciders of right and wrong, and things are right and wrong simply because government men say so.  (Locke gives way to Hobbes.)  Religion becomes a very private thing, which must effectively stay private if one wants to avoid any government attention, so private that it becomes nothing more than personal thought and/or opinions, limited exclusively to the mind of the believer.  There can be no authority the defines religion, or forces any kind of religious uniformity (like a bishop or a pope for example), because such a thing obstructs the state's absolute authority to define right and wrong through "rights" (or gods) that must be honoured by all.  That state effectively becomes the final arbitrator or religion, even if it claims not to favour any religion.  In truth, the state really doesn't favour any religion, except its own -- the religion of Humanism.  In truth, the state really doesn't favour any gods, except for the ones it creates as "rights."  In truth, the state adopts no moral code of any religion, except for the one it creates via the pantheon of "liberty."  Jefferson, Hobbes and Locke have effectively become the "prophets" of a new global religion that has many gods, which all the adherents to the old Biblical God must bow down to -- or else!

So now what?  Well, as hard as this is to swallow, as difficult as it may be to accept, I'm afraid we must come to the realisation that our forefathers unwittingly created a modern Pagan system, which they themselves could not foresee nor comprehend at the time of its creation.  The French revolutionaries understood it, and even personified it, but the American revolutionaries just didn't have the foresight, or maybe they were just in denial.  Whatever the case, and regardless of the intentions (we would all like to assume were pure), the monster has been created, and it's been walking the streets of Europe and North America (as well as many other places) for a very long time.  What can we expect from this monster?  We can expect more of the same -- only worse!  Devout Christians will continue to be marginalised, our influence will fade away, society will become more "Paganised."  Modern people usually consider the creation of statues to honour their gods ("rights") and antiquated thing, but I wouldn't be surprised if we eventually see it happen, at least on a small scale.  Christians will be persecuted, and this will happen as follows.  The persecution will take on a particularly financial and legal character.  It will be manifested in the form of lawsuits at first (we are already seeing the precursors of), which will result in the loss of private businesses owned by Christians, and eventually church property itself.  Common everyday Christians will not likely find themselves in any legal trouble, unless they are particularly outspoken (like yours truly for example).  I fully expect articles such as this one to eventually be classified as "hate speech" for not recognising the "right" (or "god") of same-sex "marriage," and possibly even classified as "treason" for questioning the whole premise of American "liberty."  (These will be my problems not yours.)  The average Christian can probably avoid persecution if he/she just keeps quiet and accepts the new "normal" that the government defines.  Those who cannot, like members of the clergy for example, will likely find themselves in some serious legal trouble.  Criminal charges of "hate speech" and "discrimination" will become commonplace.  Some Catholic priests and bishops will eventually be arrested.  Some Protestant ministers will eventually be arrested too.  Some will be fined and released.  Others will spend some time in prison.  This is what awaits the Church in North America, Europe and other places.  This is the new Hobbelockean paradigm under the undeclared state religion of Humanism.  If you ask me for time lines, as for when this is all supposed to happen, I will give you none.  That is impossible to predict.  Eventual trends I can give you because such things only require logic and experience. Anybody could do it.  Giving you names, dates and places however, would require a crystal ball, and I'm not in the habit of using those.

So is there any good news?  Is there anything to look forward to?  Many of our Evangelical Protestant brethren would say "no."  A good number of them are of the opinion that these are the last days and the time of Antichrist is near.  Some of them embrace a form of spiritual escapism, wherein they just ignore what is going on around them, chalk it up to the "spirit of Antichrist" and look forward to a coming "Rapture" that will whisk them all away in the twinkling of an eye, so they will not have to deal with the consequences.  I suppose if ones faith does not equip one to deal with the prospect of persecution, this is as good as it gets.  If it gives them a few years of transient "peace" before they have to cower in fear of the government, then I suppose it's at least worth that.  There are, however, many Protestants who do not embrace the Pre-Tribulation Rapture theory and fully understand what is soon coming.  Many of them likewise believe this is all part of the end-times and the "spirit of Antichrist."  Who knows!?!  Maybe they're right!  Maybe this really is -- it.

On the other hand, maybe it's not.  There is a prevailing mentality among Americans that America is the last best hope for the human race.  Our politicians have repeated this mantra more than once.  Where does it come from?  It came from Abraham Lincoln, on December 1st, of 1862 as America was deeply immersed in her Civil War.  In speaking of America, and the issue of slavery, he addressed Congress with the following words: "in giving freedom to the slave, we preserve freedom for the free, honourable alike in what we give and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth."  While I have my problems with Lincoln over his governance and racism, I must say that he was right here in both ways.  For in the Civil War, America lost her union in exchange for uniformity, but this is what it means for Locke to give way to Hobbes.  In fact, Lincoln's statement was not original.  It was an embellishment of a statement made by another man several decades prior.  Thomas Jefferson had cited America as "the world’s best hope" in his first inaugural address.  So we come full circle again.

I resolutely disagree with both Lincoln and Jefferson that America is the world's "last" or "best" hope on earth.  In fact, I openly defy both of them on this.  The "last best hope on earth" is not a country, a nation-state, an idea or political philosophy.  For heaven's sake!  How shallow can one get!?!  Even for politicians this is stooping lower than usual.  No, the "last best hope on earth" is Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church he created.  It was Jesus Christ who saved the world, and it was the Church he created that guided it through the centuries; out of the fall of the Pagan Roman Empire, navigating it safely through the Middle Ages, establishing a defined Judeo-Christian culture in Europe, upon which these petty politicians built their little fiefdom called the United States of America.  It is a fiefdom that is only two-centuries old, and yet it is already falling apart!  It couldn't even get through the first century without turning itself into a bloody mess that killed over half a million of its own people.  It's time for Christians to put away the Enlightenment delusions and recognise American history for what it really is.  It is a history of rebellion against Christ, his Church and nature itself.  That will soon be made perfectly clear in the pages of history.  However, all is not lost.

Many Christians (especially Catholics) disagree with most of America's Evangelicals who believe that the fall of America signals the end of world history.  While we do believe the time of Antichrist is coming, many of us do not believe we are there yet, and the world still has quite a bit of history to go through before that day comes.  This Enlightenment experiment, spearheaded by the United States federal government, is coming to a close.  What we are witnessing in world events right now are the death gasps of a philosophical-political system that is flawed and crumbling from within.  It is not limited to the United States.  It spans all of Western Europe, North America, Oceana, Latin America, and parts of Africa and the Far East.  When it collapses, it will all collapse uniformly, not just in the United States, but everywhere else too.  We should not assume that it was the "rights" (gods) of abortion and homosexual "marriage" that directly caused this, though they will certainly play a big role.  There is an economic component as well, wherein a "right" (or god) to absolute ownership of property played a significant role that spawned poverty in many places.  Many factors are playing into this, and like the Roman Empire, no one thing alone will be cited as the cause of our civilisation's demise.  When that day comes however, whenever it may be, do not think the world will plunge into a vacuum of chaos.  That's not how the world works.  New governments, social orders, and economic systems will arise almost immediately, just as they did the last time the Roman Empire fell.  They will likely be smaller and more localised, but they will come, and they will come rather quickly.  Like last time, they will be based on the same institution that survived the fall of the last great civilisation.  For it will be the only institution left standing.  It will be the Catholic Church.  No, it's not going to be a repeat of the Middle Ages.  A lot of things have changed since then, including the Catholic Church, but it will have some elements similar to the Middle Ages.  Whatever forms of government come out of this time, whether democracies, republics or monarchies, they will definitely have an established religion.  That established religion will likely be Catholicism, or at least some kind of loose recognition of Christianity in general, but that doesn't mean the Church will rule the state or vice versa.  What it will mean is that politicians will finally recognise that the "wall of separation" between religion and state is a porous one and nothing can change that.  It is simply part of human nature.  Therefore, to maintain a Christian set of laws and civility, governments will have to, in some ways, recognise Christian religion.  They won't necessarily need to support it in any kind of financial way, or impose it on their citizens in any kind of forceful way, but they will recognise it at some level.  I believe we are beginning to see the early signs of this starting to take root in the European nation of Hungary, which has a high Catholic majority population and is now putting aside the Enlightenment religion of Humanism with its pantheon of gods ("rights").  Just as soon as the Hungarian people ratified their new constitution, the American State Department condemned it.  (If there was any doubt that the United States federal government is spearheading the Enlightenment religion of Humanism, this should have dispelled it.)

The future of America we can know.  Time tables, and exact course of events, we cannot know.  It is safe to say however, we are Rome.  Just like ancient Rome, the United States, and the Western world, will persecute Christianity.  Rest assured however, this persecution will be social, financial and legal.  (Nobody is going to be fed to lions this time around.)  Nevertheless, the persecution will be very real and very frustrating.  For a small group of Christians, it will even be dangerous.  Just like ancient Rome, the United States, and the Western world, will eventually collapse.  It's guaranteed and it's already begun.  We can reasonably assume this will happen more rapidly than the fall of Rome, but we can also safely assume that the rebuilding of a new civilisation will happen rather quickly too, namely because the foundations were already laid over a thousand years ago.  Yes, we are Rome, and no, that's nothing to panic about.  Christians have seen this all before.  We outlived the last world empire, and we will outlive this one.  Who knows?  Maybe someday, in the very distant future, Christians will triumphantly make pilgrimages to the ruins of the National Mall in Washington DC, in the same way they visit the ruins of the Forum and Colosseum in Rome.


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Claudio said…
Good article. I noticed that you did not mention Islam which I think will be a major player in upcoming world events. I also think you painted to mild of a picture in how secular governments will collapse and Christian governments will rise. With 50 million abortions in the United States alone, I think the transition will unfortunately be bloody and God will use Islam to chatise the West before it comes to its senses. The good news in my opinion is that the end result will be glorious Christendum that will hopefully last a few centuries before the AntiChrist finally comes.
Daniel Arseno said…
A very interesting analysis, but it's missing something about the role of socialism in history. We've managed to convince ourselves that socialism is merely an economic theory that is in demise, whereas the truth is that socialism is first and foremost a social phenomenon that is rapidly gaining ground. What I see coming is the gradual transformation of what you call Humanism (secular liberalism) into full-blown social Marxism. People who live elsewhere in the West are beginning to see what secular liberalism is turning into, with socialism rearing its ugly head especially among the youth, who are more godless and self-centered than any previous generation. The rise of cultural Marxism is especially clear when one considers the State's efforts to segregate society into a society of individuals and diminish the importance of any other loyalty than to itself, ie., family and religion. Attacks on the family, government monopoly in education, secularism taught as a religion in schools (this is the case where I live), publicly funded re-education campaigns, these are all signs of rising cultural Marxism.
MarijaD said…
Excellent analysis! You covered a lot of ground in a short commentary. I am currently about half-way through Christopher Ferrara's book, LIBERTY: THE GOD THAT FAILED. Very sobering to read. Whoever studies the writings of Hobbes and Locke anymore? Who knows how the teachings of Marxist socialism or Islam (called in early times a "Christian cult") will affect us in the years to come? Time will tell, won't it? Thanks be to God who will do His good pleasure upon the earth. May He find us faithful to the end of our journeys. Pax et bonum.