Have you noticed that the United States government doesn’t work anymore?
Our deficits are out of control, nearing 18 trillion and counting. Nobody seems able or willing to take on the debt or do anything about changing the tax code. At the same time, the economy is stuck in the doldrums with a jobless recovery.
The immigration system is broken–with “children,” mind you–crossing the border and overwhelming the border patrol.
Our foreign policy is in shambles with Iraq falling to jihadist butchers while America’s strength and credibility are being questioned everywhere.
All the while, our national leaders seem weak, paralyzed, grid-locked, with no Franklin Roosevelt or Ronald Reagan in sight.
Why doesn’t the US government, once the envy of the world, seem to work anymore?
We must begin by admitting that, with all the faults of the present time, our government it is still far better than most forms that have existed in history. For most of the past five thousand years, nations were been ruled by tyrants who were chieftains, war-lords, dictators or egotistical kings.
In the ancient past, and even as recent as the Middle Ages, freedom, human rights or hope for the common person didn’t exist for living a “middle class life.” In fact, most societies (city-states and tribes) were vulnerable daily to another warring group entering their territory and annihilating them.
What’s going on in Iraq this week is really the norm of human history for thousands of years.
Then the development of human society in Europe gave us the Magma Carta, civil and human rights of the individual, self-government, Lex Rex (the Law is King), and eventually democratic republics that were based on the biblical worldview of man and the freedoms of the Gospel.
The birth of the United States of America–what one author calls the “5,000 year Leap”–brought many of these biblical ideas of government and individual rights into one nation that became the envy of the world for its work ethic, system of government, generosity, family stability and national security.
The United States of America and its government is a unique model in the long and barbaric history of human civil polity. That model was exemplified by a “Statue of Liberty” which begged the huddled and depressed masses of the world to come to the New World to experience the blessings of liberty as promoted and protected by a benign civil government.
What was the secret to this society and its government that produced more freedom, prosperity and security than the world had every known?
It can be found in two wise sentences from our second president, John Adams:
“Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
(Letter to Zabdiel Adams dated June 21, 1776).
One of the greatest lessons of history is that morality is essential to liberty and religious faith is the surest source of morals.
It was Christianity, with the power of Christ unleashed in every born again life, that produced highly moral people who controlled their own behavior enough to live under free and limited governments.
Here’s the genius of John Adam’s insight: When people control themselves according to Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule, their faith-filled morality decreases the need for civil government (jails and punishments) and increases the freedom of the individual.
But Adams knew correctly that when the people lose their faith and morality, this freedom-producing form of government will not work.
Read the quote again: “Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
In other words, our constitution of government cannot work for an irreligious and immoral people.
Today, America has many evidences of this sad truth. Here are some examples.
They control two-thirds of the US government and the increasingly powerful office of the presidency. Barack Obama professes to be a Christian, but shows little faith in his policy positions which are mostly secular (irreligious) in nature. The Democrats are a primary reason for a failed economy and staggering national debt through their tax and spend policies. They spend tax payer money in the name of compassion, while destroying our financial solvency (intentions don’t count in economics).
At the same time, the D’s are killing the nation’s children through abortion, destroying the family through same sex marriage, and generally undermining nearly every aspect of biblical morality that once made America great. Their refusal to guard our shores to gain cheap labor and Democratic votes has created the nightmare on the Mexican border. President Obama’s incompetence and inability to promote peace through strength in the world has Russia and China on the rise while the Middle East burns.
Many Democrats, including our president, consciously or sub-consciously fight faith and morals at every turn.
This is a major reason our government doesn’t work anymore.
The party of Lincoln has a stronger recent heritage of biblical faith and morality. That is why in the social areas, Republicans generally are pro-life, support traditional marriage, and morality and want to preserve America’s biblical heritage like the Ten Commandments in public places, student-initiated prayer in the schools, and chaplains in the military.
Economically, Republicans say they favor less regulations, more free enterprise, and a lower tax burden on all groups of people. As to national security, they, more-often-than-not, believe in a vigious military force to protect American interests and help police the world against global evil.
But some Republicans have been going the direction of the Dems the past few years. As America secularizes, the Republicans, wanting to win elections and gain power, have become “Democratic-lite” on the social issues and tepid on economic policy. This shows itself in the media-trumpeted battle between the “Tea Party” and the “Establishment.”
Here’s the translation: Tea Party = principled conservatives who still believe in faith, morality and freedom. Establishment = we need to become more like the Democrats to win elections in an increasingly post-Christian world.
This is a huge dilemma for the Rs because both sides are right. Vote like Ds and they might win because the electorate has changed. But don’t vote like historic Republicans, and lose the nation (economic depression and national insecurity).
Republican timidity and double-mindedness are another reason why our government doesn’t work anymore.
It’s been well-documented that the mainstream media (ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, most big-city newspapers, and the Associated Press) are liberal-progressive and make no bones about cheering for and promoting anti-faith, anti-morality positions in the political arena. They’re in bed with the Democratic Party.
This means that in most elections, the conservative, biblically-based candidate is facing two opponents: the anti-faith, anti-biblical morality Democratic politician and his media allies.
It’s 2 against 1.
Ever since the Clinton election of 1992, this has been a major problem and led to the unfair demonization of politicians like Dan Quayle, George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, and Mitt Romney.
Today’s mainstream media is a major contributor to the loss of faith and morals in the US and thus the dysfunction of the American government.
The greatest blame lies here as, in free societies, governments and their leaders are simply reflections of the people.
Over the past few generations, the American people have lost faith in God (“not religious” has doubled during this time and atheists have become far more militant), and have given in to many forms of immorality and loose living. We, the people have voted for leaders that kill babies and change the meaning of marriage because, we, too, are confused and have moved away from our biblical anchors.
As we’ve abandoned faith and biblical character, we have more and more embraced the welfare state and vote for politicians who will give us “stuff.” Even principled leaders face our fickleness. They may want to do the right thing (e.g. lower taxes), but the people want all the hand-outs which fuel deficit spending (free health care). So the modern politician dishes out the candy against his own conscience–or be voted out of office.
The peoples’ greeds stop their leaders from voting for their true needs.
Then there are ungodly and unprincipled leaders like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. Why is there such a leadership vacuum in Washington, D.C. today? Because a faithless and moral-less public votes them into office year after year to bring them the goodies.
I am stunned each time I watch “interviews on the street” with average Americans who know nothing about their history, can’t name their leaders, can name all the raunchiest TV and movie celebrities, and have little understanding about the faith and morality that is required for freedom.
Our government doesn’t work because of the immorality, gross ignorance and apathy of a large portion of the American electorate.
We get what we are.
Recently, I’ve been wondering if it would be better to have a Parliamentary system of government where we could have a vote of no confidence and more quickly dispose of bad leaders.
But the problem is not really the leaders–it is the people. And in our increasingly faithless and immoral state, it is almost impossible to impeach a president (as it should be) and we must wait two-and-a-half years until another presidential election cycle.
So our system doesn’t work because of us. Time only makes things worse.
But the greatest blame for our government dysfunction lies at the feet of God’s people who are also not as strong in faith and morality as in past generations. We’ve been caught up in the secular pipe dream of personal gratification, self-help, live for today, and have failed to be the salt of society we once were (Matthew 5:13-16).
The American Church is no longer a light on a hill, disbursing the encroaching darkness through our prayers and tireless activities on behalf of righteousness. We are content to lurk in the shadows, wring our hands, or not even be in the game.
Why was Barack Obama, re-elected in 2012? Because half of the Church in America didn’t even bother to vote. When the Church does not light up the voting booths–let alone the neighborhoods with God’s grace and truth–the nation defaults to evil in all its forms and consequences.
Our government doesn’t work in 2014 because it was made for a religious and moral people.
We are neither as we used to be.
There are two choices before us: 1) Watch our government turn to tyranny in a variety of forms as has been the case of most nations in history, or 2) Pray for a spiritual awakening that impacts the nation to cast off its present chains of unbelief and sin.
I believe that both choices will be offered through trials and tribulations in the coming years.
If the Church wakes up and the people see the “light,” then our special form of government can be renewed and revived.
But if we do not, our government will never work for us again.