The Cost of Losing Our Cultural Conscience
I believe America could be one election away from the total and complete bankruptcy of her moral conscience. It’s not that the election itself would be cause for this moral collapse (that has been happening for some time), but to consign our nation to another four years of heading in the same direction, caving to the purveyors of political correctness who define “correctness” as appeasing the demands of the most recently offended special interest group, not to mention the moral relativism that pervades our country, would be to slip off the precipice and into a moral abyss from which it is difficult to imagine a recovery. To anyone with a biblical worldview, it would seem that we are inexorably heading into dark and dangerous waters, despite the fact that many seem to recognize the problem and are desperately trying to turn the ship around. It’s like one of those dreams in which you’re trying to shout out a warning but have no voice. There seems to be a group think among our intellectual elite and cultural influencers that holds to the idea that to espouse moral absolutes, to actually hold people accountable for their choices, is itself a crime and the very height of social indecency.
I am not sure how we got here. We are a mere quarter century separated from the fall of Communism, which left both Russia and the Soviet Bloc nations culturally and financially destitute, and we have those in our nation who are getting political traction campaigning from an unapologetic platform of socialism. It’s utterly unbelievable. Even worse, just fourteen years after 9/11, we have an administration that seems to feel that its chief role as the Executive is to serve as an arbiter for radical Islam, kowtowing to it rather than taking a positive and aggressive stand against its absolute and inhumane brutality. How many beheadings do we have to see on our social media sites before we say, “Enough is enough,” and put a stop to this madness?
What happened to us? Where are our moral convictions? Where is our heart? Where are the real statesmen like Churchill and Reagan who have a clear understanding of the times, a clear vision for their nation, and who are not confused about who the good guys and the bad guys are? And yes, there really are bad guys out there; people who want to promote their ideology at the expense of everyone else’s life and liberty. When Churchill faced such aggressors, embodied in his day by the Nazi’s, there was no confusion as to the course Britain had to take. It was win or be destroyed. When Reagan declared there to be an “Evil Empire,” there was no ambiguity about who and what he meant. He met the challenge to freedom head on and ultimately triumphed. Such leaders inspire those they lead, rallying and unifying their nations behind them.
When we fail to stand for something, we fall for anything. We become the victims of the newest bully on the block, which at this time is ISIS and other radical Islamic groups, who seem dead set on turning the West into one giant Islamic state. Europe is being hit like a tsunami now, and there are leaders there who are scared that the battle is already lost. Our national resolve is weak, and that, to those who are not confused about their objective, is like the smell of blood in the water. But I do not believe it is too late.
If ever there was a time when a nation was completely, morally destitute, it was late 18thCentury Britain. Child prostitution, violence, slavery, and corruption were the order of the day. Even forms of animal cruelty far worse than our modern dog fighting, were considered an acceptable form of entertainment. However, God had an answer to this moral crisis. Into this time and place, He raised up men like John and Charles Wesley, George Whitfield, and John Newton, preachers who helped to restore the crumbling biblical foundation of Great Britain and brought their nation back to Christ. Alongside these men was the unquenchable MP, William Wilberforce, and his friends known as the “Clapham Sect,” a group of wealthy and highly influential Christians who helped him to achieve his two great objectives: to bring about the “reformation of manners” (what we would today call morals), and the suppression of the slave trade in Great Britain. To these ends they were successful, not only seeing sweeping social reforms pass into law that completely changed the complexion of their nation, but ultimately seeing the abolition of slavery in Great Britain, way ahead of our own nation which would not achieve this without the bloodiest of civil wars.
Wilberforce alone, who was greatly forgotten and unknown in our nation until the recent movie, Amazing Grace, resurrected his memory and brought awareness to his great accomplishments, was a veritable force of nature. Standing only five feet tall, he became without question the most gigantic figure of this time on the political scene. A sickly and frail child, Wilberforce would suffer from the debilitating affects of Colitis all his life, only finding relief from the opiate, laudanum. The drug, however, never dulled his evangelical zeal when once his lost faith was recovered in his early manhood. Thinking a career in politics to be out of step with a life of godliness, he considered entering the ministry until his friend and mentor, John Newton, author of the hymn, Amazing Grace, encouraged him to serve God by continuing to serve his nation as a Member of Parliament. In so doing, Newton did the world an enormous favor, as the reforms that Wilberforce would achieve quite literally changed the course of his nation. His influence, though seldom credited, is unquestionably still felt in western civilization today. However, he would be the first to say that he did none of this on his own. He was surrounded by likeminded individuals whose commitment to their cause was as unflagging as his own.
We need that same spirit in our nation today. There is a cause worth standing for in our times. We need our nation called back to the biblical foundations of liberty that made her great. What made us great then can make us great again, but it takes men and women equal to the task who are willing to speak up and let their voice be heard, both before the Throne of grace and in the public square. If not now, never. This is America’s last, best chance to recover something of the greatness that made her the model of democracy the world over. This is not about being a proud American, but about being a humble believer who knows that our hope is not in ourselves, but in the God who once shed His grace on our nation.