[Daniel Webster (cited in this piece) statue in DC, photo by Jerry Newcombe]
When I was a kid, there was an expression: “Stop the world. I want to get off.” Glancing at the headlines sometimes make me feel that way.
For example, here are some stories highlighted on Drudge today (8/6/18):
- A crackdown on free speech by Apple. They decide what is and what is not “hate.” Consequently, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is now denied his platform.
- The #MeToo movement continues to speak out against alleged sexual predators, and CBS is working to weather a storm of allegations swirling around their CEO.
- Canada is calling for a boycott of the US.
- Sex with robots is a growing fad.
- The president is beleaguered by allegations of collusion with the Russians.
- Calls are going out for social media censorship of climate change “deniers.”
- In Chicago, 63 were shot over the weekend in a city with some of the strictest gun control laws. 44 of them were killed within 14 hours. As a colleague noted, “It’s like Fallujah, only worse.”
- Parkland victims protest the NRA…but the former have armed guards.
- Older Americans have money woes. The New York Times (8/5/18) reports: “The rate of people 65 and older filing for bankruptcy is three times what it was in 1991.”
Why is America seemingly sinking into the abyss? We have forgotten God. As a nation, just like as individuals, we reap what we sow.
Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, the great Russian writer and critic of the atheist USSR (who spent years imprisoned in one of Stalin’s gulags), once said: “…[W]hile I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.”
The Nobel-prize winning writer went on to say that he had read hundreds of books on the godless Soviet state and talked with many people about the murderous disaster it was, and he said no one provided a better explanation than those simple peasants: We have forgotten God.
Not to the same degree, but something similar could be said about America. We have forgotten God, and are reaping the consequences.
About 200 years ago, Yale University president Timothy Dwight (1752-1817) warned us against forgetting God: “Without religion we may possibly retain the freedom of savages, bears, and wolves, but not the freedom of New England. If our religion were gone, our state of society would perish with it and nothing would be left which would be worth defending.”
Dwight also added: “Where there is no religion, there is no morality….With the loss of religion…the ultimate foundation of confidence is blown up; and the security of life, liberty and property are buried in ruins.”
Why? If there is no God, there is no one to hold us accountable. That is why so many deny God, when they know deep down, “Of course, there is a God.”
About 50 years after America’s independence, Alexis de Tocqueville, a notable Frenchman, came to these shores to assess the new nation. He wrote his famous observations in 1835 in Democracy in America, a book that is still in print, in which he noted: “It must never be forgotten that religion gave birth to Anglo-American society.”
One of the greatest American speakers in the 19th century was Massachusetts Senator Daniel Webster. He’s depicted in statues in DC and is the center character in a large painting in Boston’s Faneuil Hall.
Webster once declared, “Finally, let us not forget the religious character of our origin. Our fathers were brought hither by their high veneration for the Christian religion. They journeyed by its light, and labored in its hope. They sought to incorporate its principles with the elements of their society, and to diffuse its influence through all their institutions, civil, political, or literary.”
The famous orator also opined, “We live under the only government that ever existed which was framed by…deliberate consultations of the people. Miracles do not cluster. That which has happened but once in 6,000 years cannot be expected to happen often. Such a government, once gone, might leave a void, to be filled, for ages, with revolution and tumult, riot and despotism.” [Emphasis added]
Revolution, tumult, and riot are becoming almost commonplace in America. We have a U.S. Congresswoman, Maxine Waters, declaring people should publically hound out and shame members of the Trump team. The minority leader in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, is wondering why there are not more “riots in the streets” against this administration.
During the days of the Civil War, our nation faced worse challenges. But Abraham Lincoln called for a national day of repentance and prayer in 1863, in which he warned us to stop forgetting God as a nation and to remember this truth: “those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.”