|Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States|
Painted in 1940 by Howard Chandler Christy
There is a popular story that goes like this. Benjamin Franklin (depicted as seated and facing us, lower centre in the painting above) emerged from Independence Hall at the close of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on September 18, 1787. He probably exited the building much slower than the other delegates as he was suffering from an infection in his foot at the time. A woman approached him and asked, "Well Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?" Mr. Franklin paused for a moment and replied, "A republic, madam – if you can keep it."
Later John Adams, as the second president of the United States (depicted seated to the right of Franklin above, facing us), elaborated on this remark, when he wrote a letter to the officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts on October 11, 1798...
"Should the people of America once become capable of that deep simulation towards one another, and towards foreign nations, which assumes the language of justice and moderation while it is practising iniquity and extravagance, and displays in the most captivating manner the charming pictures of candour, frankness, and sincerity, while it is rioting in rapine and insolence, this country will be the most miserable habitation in the world; because we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."In other words, according to John Adams, our constitution and our government, have not been designed to govern a people who do not restrain themselves through religion. Without religion, our system of government implodes upon itself.
George Washington, acting as the first president of the United States (depicted standing far right in the painting above, overlooking the delegates), in his farewell address of September 17, 1796, had much to say about this...
"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 labour 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 connexions with private and public felicity.... 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."In other words, according to George Washington, even if you're not a religious person, you should learn to appreciate the value of religion. Because it is through religion that a nation of people find their moral compass. While it may be possible for a handful of irreligious (atheist or agnostic) individuals to find some system of morality, through science or something, it is not the experience of history that an entire nation of irreligious people can do the same. Even a militant atheist, if he cares about the political prosperity of his nation, should be an advocate for religion. Anything else is national suicide.
These were the words of the men who signed the Constitution of the United States. Our system of government was created by them. Indeed, the entire contemporary model of democratic republicanism (or republican democracy) was invented by these men. What they forged on this continent over two and a quarter centuries ago, the entire Western world has come to imitate in one way or another. And yet they gave us a stark warning. To make this system of government work and prosper, you must have a religious society. Of course, by "religious" these men meant the contemporary religion of their time, which was primarily Christian. And they were not just talking about a cultural nod to Christianity without any real substance. They were talking about the contemporary people of their time, people who went to church every Sunday, lived the Christian morality in their daily lives and prayed often. Were they a perfect people? Of course not. There were most certainly deists, agnostics and hedonists among them. Many more failed to live up to the Christian standards they espoused. Yet, it is undeniable that the majority of these people, at the time, were God-fearing Christians, and this the founders saw as necessary for the creation of their democratic republic. Without it, they did not believe it could survive.
Were they wrong? Let's examine the historical facts. In spite of the great moral dilemma that plagued much of 19th century America (slavery), and the conflagration of war that ravaged the continent in the 1860s, over the issue of state secession, the American republic held strong and recovered from these events with remarkable vigour. The nation only continued to solidify well into the 1950s, even after the two world wars and the greatest economic depression in modern history. However, this began to radically change in the decade of the 1960s, and it would seem that the seeds of this great unravelling were planted in the decades prior. By the 1970s, the moral and religious decline of America was well under way, and by the 1980s unstoppable. It was just a matter of time before what was going on in the streets became enshrined into the law of the land. This is what we are witnessing today, with the permanent legalisation of abortion-on-demand, same-sex marriage, euthanasia, unjust wars, legalisation of illicit drugs, corporate and banking bailouts, and now the legal marginalisation of churches and Christian owned businesses. In the course of just my own lifetime, from 1970 until now, I have witnessed this filth go from dirty magazines and back alley perversion, straight into acceptance in the workplace, and now into the courts and legislatures across the nation. Our government of today has simply become a reflection of our streets a few decades ago. It doesn't take a wise man to understand that the government of tomorrow will simply be a reflection of our streets today, and that does not bode well for Christians in America. A great antipathy toward Christianity exists on our streets of America today. This is because the influence of Christianity is seen as the greatest obstacle standing in the way of total self indulgence and sexual license. This will only play out in government in the years ahead. There are a lot of young people today, who feel hostility toward churches for not embracing their sinful lifestyles, and when these youngsters are old enough to start running for office, there is going to be some "payback." This is why, Catholic Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago, said the following while speaking to a group of priests in 2010 about the increasing secularisation of American society...
"I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilisation, as the church has done so often in human history."Some have regarded this statement as prophetic. Only time will tell with that, but for now, that does seem to be the logical trajectory of America's political climate.
There is a lot of talk these days about the political problems in America, and possible solutions for these problems. Of course the constant mantra of "throw the bums out!" is ever present in reference to our elected officials. Some have tried to be more creative, by proposing a constitutional amendment for term limits, a balanced budget, changing the tax code, raising the minimum wage, universal healthcare, etc. Some have even proposed another Constitutional Convention, often called a "Convention of States," enacting Article V under the U.S. Constitution. Some have even proposed state secession again, reopening the old wounds from a conflict long ago. All of these are well and good, and may serve as useful political tools in the years ahead, but they don't really delve into the heart of the problem. None of these measures will fix America's gradual decline into tyranny, and ultimately collapse. Perhaps, if fortunate, they may slow America's decline a little, but they will not prevent it. The reason for this is because too many Americans are diagnosing the problem as a local problem, particular to the United States, when in fact the problem is universal, spanning all of Western civilisation, and is systemic at the "cellular level" (socially speaking), starting at the bottom, with the common people in general. I liken it to a surgeon trying to remove a cancerous tumour from his patient, when the cancer has already metastasised and gone throughout the body. The surgeon's noble effort, even if successful, will be in vain. In truth, the death spiral America now finds itself in, is not limited to America. All of Canada and Western Europe is in a similar death spiral, while Latin America and Oceania are not far behind. Furthermore, the moral cancer that afflicts us is not limited to government institutions, nor even corporate entities, but actually begins at the most basic levels. It starts in America's urban and suburban neighbourhoods. Even the country farms are not immune. It begins with the corruption of our youth, through loose morality, often promoted on television and the internet. Sex of course is the primary lure, but it's not just limited to that. Greed also plays a role, as does the devaluation of human life. In our homes, in our families, and our neighbourhoods, the destruction of America begins in the minds of the young. These youngsters grow up, and they enter the work force, then they are promoted to management, and finally they become CEOs of major corporations, or they are elected to government office. Some become lawyers and are eventually appointed as judges. See the pattern now? The decline of America did not come from the top down. It came from the bottom up. Immoral laws were instituted by immoral men because these men were made immoral as boys. They were made immoral by looking at dirty magazines, reading immoral books, watching immoral movies, and talking with other boys who were doing the same thing. Some of these boys were lucky, and received the intervention of godly men (fathers, uncles, priests, teachers and mentors) who set them back on the straight and narrow. Sadly, some of them were not so lucky, and many of those are now running our corporations and government today.
America's moral decline coincided with America's religious decline, and for America, that religious decline began in earnest during the 1960s. Now, we can point to brief periods of religious decline in the 1920s, and previous decades, but nothing on par with what was seen in the 1960s. This latest religious decline, which has continued non-stop for 50 years now, follows on the heels of Europe's religious decline, which began decades sooner, and has left Europe nearly devoid of all practising Christianity.
The problem is intergenerational now, and it's only going to get worse before it gets better. If you want to know what America will look like in ten to twenty years, you need look no further than Europe. It won't look like the distopian nightmare often portrayed in the movies, but at the same time, it's not going to be easy for Christians to cope with. Almost all of the European governments are just one generation away from collapse, and a good number of them currently have policies that Americans would consider "tyrannical." In England for example, citizens are constantly watched by government video cameras. On the one hand, this has helped to reduce crime. On the other hand, privacy and personal liberty are a thing of the past. In Germany, children are forced to attend government-approved schools, where they receive government-approved propaganda. Home educating a child is illegal, punishable by jail time for the parents, and foster care for the child. In America, where homeschooling is currently legal in all fifty states, this is a shocking violation of civil and parental rights. In France, America's sister-nation by revolution, the traditional family has so completely broken down, that the native French population is no longer producing enough babies to replenish itself. Therefore, the government is forced to import millions of African Muslims to shore up the birthrate gap. The result is the gradual "Islamification" of France. Many other European nations are experiencing a similar problem. So were America's founding fathers wrong? Can a democratic republic, built on personal liberty, survive without national religion? If we use post-Christian Europe as an indicator, the answer is no. It cannot survive. Gradually, it slips into tyranny. It's people are slowly replaced, until the only thing that remains is the replacement of the government. That day will come for some European nations in about thirty to fifty more years. America won't be far behind, that is, if our government doesn't implode for some other reason first.
It is a noble effort for American Christians to be involved in politics, and try to slow America's decline, but we should all understand this is a losing battle. For it's not just the special interests of the homosexual lobbyist that are pushing our government toward same-sex marriage. A whole lot of major "big money" corporations have publicly thrown their support behind it too. I'm speaking of such corporations as: Thompson Reuters Corp., Disney, Viacom, Inc., Bloomberg, Verizon, DirectTV, Google, Comcast, CBS, AT&T, Facebook, Twitter, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Starbucks and Miller Coors. Even sports teams have jumped on board this bandwagon, such as the NFL New England Patriots, and the MLB San Francisco Giants and Tampa Bay Rays. These join a list of over 300 major corporations and franchises that have formally petitioned the United States Supreme Court to rule in favour of same-sex marriage (source). Again, if you want to know America's future, you need look no further than Europe, where same-sex marriage has been legal in some countries for decades, and is currently being legalised in many others. Again, none of this should be a surprise. Boys and girls are made to be immoral by the things they see, read, and are exposed to via the popular media. Some of them are rescued by the moral intervention of parents, teachers, religious leaders and mentors. Most of them are not. They in turn grow up to become business managers, CEOs, lawyers, judges and politicians. Their immorality becomes institutionalised and enshrined into the policies of corporations and the laws of cities, states and countries. We're just watching this all unfold before our eyes. I often hear people lament, "what is going on in the world today?" and "it seems the whole world has just gone insane!" Why should they be surprised really? This is the same immorality they watched in high school. The people who are now promoting it in business and government are the exact same people who were promoting it in high school thirty years ago. Nothing has changed, except of course the venue. What began as a homosexual make-out scandal in a high school boys locker room thirty years ago, is now being enshrined into the laws of our land as same-sex marriage. It's the same people folks! The homosexual couples in the locker room back during the 1980s and 90s have just grown up now, and they're running our corporations, cities and state governments. Some are even in national government. Greed plays a huge role in this, because when corporations endorse homosexuality, there is usually a big financial pay off. The days of trying to boycott these corporations are long since past. Organising boycotts is hard enough, but now there are so many corporations to boycott, one would have to become Amish to avoid them. This is it folks. The end of the "culture war" is upon us, and guess what? We lost.
History will record that the death of America and the West began with the widespread distribution of entertainment media. It began with print magazines, which allowed perversion, heresy, apostasy and greed to be easily spread over great distances. However, it was accelerated with the invention of film, radio, television and ultimately the internet. History will record that churches were no match for the rise of mass communication and the entertainment media. The corruption of America and the West began with the corruption of the youth, both through the communist propaganda of "there is no god," to the capitalist mantra of "eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die." Together, these competing voices actually complemented each other, to create the greatest fall of a civilisation since the Roman Empire, one that will likely rival that by at least ten-fold. A civilisation that was build on Christianity, just had its foundation ripped out from underneath it. The gradual collapse of the superstructure above it was only inevitable.
While it is noble for Christians to try to save what is left of the American Republic, it is perhaps time to come to a sobering realisation. The fall of America is not an isolated event. It is simply a rather large domino in a chain reaction that is bringing about the fall of many nations in the Western world. In other words, we're not alone. Canada is falling too, as is Europe, Latin America and Oceania. The problem is much bigger than many of us realise, and it may not be possible to save the country we once knew and loved. It is time, perhaps, to start thinking outside the box, and I suspect most of America's founding fathers would agree. (I say this because of their own writings, and sayings attributed to them.) While keeping all political options on the table (such as term-limits, tax codes, constitutional conventions, and even secession), Christians in America must begin to understand that the battle transcends the United States of America, and indeed, our country may not survive this. That being a real possibility, Christians in America need to begin to understand that the battle continues even after America. It is a battle first and foremost, to preserve ourselves as a people. By that I mean a battle to preserve ourselves as Christians. This is our primary goal. Beyond that, it is a battle to preserve our heritage as English-speaking people and the values of our English Common Law, as well as our British (English, Irish and Scottish) cultural heritage. If these things can survive the coming fall of America and the Western world, we will have done well. With these things in hand, we can easily rebuild a new nation on the ruins of this old one. As Cardinal George said would come after the martyrdom of a future Archbishop of Chicago, "His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilisation, as the church has done so often in human history." The good news here is that as Christians we are on the winning team, because even if we lose this nation, our descendants will just build another.
So what is the game plan? How do we devise a winning strategy, regardless of what the future holds for our country and our civilisation? The answer is simple, and it can be found in our children. First and foremost, we must become Christians who know our faith intimately and live it passionately. This is especially true for Catholics. So Catholics take note. Ours will be the last Church standing when the conflagration of the West is finally over. Second, we must start having babies, as many as we can. We must not buy into the contraception mentality. The more children we have usually means the better off we are. A greater number of children insures our Christian values will propagate. Third, we must guard our children's minds. Now by this I don't mean shelter them. While we should when they are very young, as they get older, we should prepare them for the perversion of this world. That might mean letting them see some of it on the television or internet -- within reason of course -- so that we can apply our parental guidance while they're still young, explaining what is wrong and why it is wrong. It has been this failure of parents in previous generations that has led to the mess we are in now. It's not about hiding our children from the world, but rather guiding them into understanding it from a Christian perspective. Fourth, nurture our English history and values in our children. Help them to see their identity as something that reaches far beyond the shores of America alone. We have a history as a people. Maybe our ancestors came from other lands, such as Italy, Mexico or China, but as Americans we have inherited the language and culture of the British. Our language comes from England, while much of our folk music and dance comes from Scotland and Ireland. Our laws come from English Common Law, and this is how we understand the concept of individual and family rights. All of these things will be necessary if our children's children are to rebuild a new nation (or nations) atop the ruins of this one. If by remote chance, America does not eventually collapse, then again knowledge of all of these things will be necessary to repair the damage that was done. Either way, we must survive as a people -- a Christian people -- and we are worth preserving. I think America's founding fathers would agree, and I think they would likewise agree that the principles they founded America upon are far more important than the republican government they created.
Shane Schaetzel is a published author and columnist for Christian print magazines and online publications. He is a freelance writer and the creator of 'FullyChristian.Com -- The random musings of a Catholic in the Ozarks.'
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