“Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” –Benjamin Franklin, 1787. Virtue, Liberty, and Independence!
Should cultural norms and public policy be influenced solely by the subjective and wavering opinions of fallen mankind? Or does the historical record demonstrate that honoring God’s eternal laws, including His moral code, become essential elements to the preservation of true freedom?
King Solomon, who clearly understood what it meant to lead on the global stage and in a challenging time, reminds us that, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).
The Bible provides the foundation for victorious living in a broken world because it is divinely inspired by the Creator, the One who is intimately acquainted with all our ways and who has given us the capacity to recognize His imprint through that which has been created. Romans 1:18-20 confirms this principle and also talks about, “…men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”
In His foresight and wisdom, the Creator of the universe provided a Guidebook that clearly defines right and wrong, prescribes the boundaries of balanced and godly living and instills a conscience in all of us that should gauge our conduct accordingly. Natural and moral laws exist and influence the world around us whether they are overtly recognized or not.
When Christians choose to live a moral life, it honors the natural and spiritual boundaries God instituted in Creation, protects the union between God and man and promotes His presence in society. The key lies in the choices that are made on a daily basis by the citizens of any nation.
Sadly, our post-modern, media-driven culture—with its “Me first” narcissism and callous disregard for the safety and blessings of God-given constraint—continues to plow headlong on a path of internal decay. The words of the Apostle Paul to his young disciple are almost prophetic, “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power” (2 Timothy 3:1-4).
Contrary to what the liberal agenda would argue, God’s standard of morality was never designed to quell our freedom, but instead to protect it. Anyone confined by the false belief that God is merely a Lawgiver and Judge—while negating the liberating abundance found solely in His Grace—abides in the cruelest of all prisons.
The American experiment has become a template for successful governance because we have respected and incorporated the timeless Principles and Values derived from the tenets of Judeo-Christian religion. The first Congress believed good government and overall happiness was wholly dependent on faith in God, moral conduct and education. The Religion and the Founding of the American Republic exhibit in the Library of Congress documents these early intentions:1
“In the summer of 1787 Congress revisited the issue of religion in the new western territories and passed, July 13, 1787, the famous Northwest Ordinance. Article 3 of the Ordinance contained the following language: ‘Religion, Morality and Knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall be forever encouraged.’”
Patrick Henry, a Founding Father and the first Governor of Virginia, left these words to posterity,
“Whether America’s independence will prove a Blessing or a Curse will depend on the Use our people make of the Blessings which a gracious God hath bestowed on us. If they are wise, they will be great and happy. If they are of a contrary Character, they will be miserable. Righteousness alone can exalt them as a Nation. Reader! Whoever thou art, remember this, and in thy Sphere, practice Virtue thyself, and encourage it in others.”2
It is our choice whether to heed the words and proven value system of the God-fearing men and women who founded “the greatest nation on earth” and faithfully raised their families on these precepts. To do so, we must continue to find our voice in the national dialogue, engage the opposition with sustained determination, fight passionately for our religious liberties and above all, faithfully model the very principles we so dearly embrace.
The world is watching! May we choose to return to God, to love Him and love our Country, desire righteousness and practice virtue once again. America, bless God and God bless America!