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FIRST EVER READER COMMENTARY!
TIM DAGGET: IS AMERICA FALLING FROM ITS FOUNDATIONS, OR INTO THEM?
Many of my conservative friends are unhappy because they see where America’s values are headed. They see the increasing acceptance of gay marriage and heterosexual cohabitation, the national apathy toward abortion, and the way Christians are portrayed in the media and think, “This country has fallen so far.” It is true that the United States was founded on some Christian values: justice for all people, peace, and liberty. Liberty especially is an excellent thing, the primary thing for which Christ died on the cross. But what has humanity always done with liberty? See Genesis chapter three for further details.
It should be apparent to anyone who has ever worked with children or logic that liberty is a double-edged blade. On the one side, a man with freedom of thought, speech, and the press can exchange ideas and expand his mind. Perhaps that man invents something ground-breaking, writes intriguing new music, or learns about incredible human brain. On the other side, nothing stops that man from filming pornography on a grand new scale and distributing it to the masses. This is the trade-off we make with freedom: greater result from good, but greater injury from evil.
So why are we surprised that one of our favorite liberties, freedom of religion, has backfired? Obviously the Founding Fathers knew that their Constitution allowed Buddhists as well as Baptists… right? Everybody’s beliefs are allowed here, no exceptions (so long as they do not infringe upon the freedoms of others—serial killers, for example). Islamic communities flourish all over the Twin Cities; we have the largest number of witches in the entire nation; and the church plant I attend is about to plant yet another evangelical church. All religions are equal.
Here is the issue that nobody, not my friends (who are way, way smarter than me), not my father the pastor, not even my history professors, seem to understand: America was not founded on God. We are not a theocracy. It is not the goal of our government to see God glorified. Rather, America was founded to be a safe place for everyone, from pantheists to atheists, to live their lives in pursuit of happiness. They founded it on God’s principles. Many of them were indeed Christians. But the central governing philosophy of America is humanism, not a submission to and love for the Word and Will of God.
Therefore, it all falls apart. Why would it do anything else? People, we are fallen. Because of what Adam and Eve did in the Garden we have a sin nature. That means that we will eventually fail every time we try to do something that is good in God’s eyes. Selfishness will corrupt it, until the freedom fighter becomes the dictator, the lover either slave or captor. The only way to do good is to walk in the Holy Spirit, having faith in the hope of this world’s renewal at Christ’s coming. C.S. Lewis says it beautifully:
“That is the key to history. Terrific energy is expended—civilisations are built up—excellent institutions devised; but each time something goes wrong. Some fatal flaw always brings the selfish and cruel people to the top and it all slides back into misery and ruin. In fact, the machine conks. It seems to start up all right and runs a few yards, and then it breaks down. They are trying to run in on the wrong juice. That is what Satan has done to us humans.”</em>
So there is our problem. America is trying to run a nation on principles cannibalized from God but founded on fallen humanity. We cannot take God out of the equation entirely; the basic principles of the value of human life, hard work, charity, etc. come from Him. But neither can we decide to govern wholly based on a relationship with Him, for no nation can follow him wholeheartedly.
Does anyone see a solution to this? I am sure that anyone who read to the end of this is now either angry enough or was already smart enough to come up with something better than I can. I am a fool, well-experienced in idiocy, and I welcome your input.
In conclusion, unless we find a way to resolve this tension one way or another, please stop acting as if this nation’s people ought to behave like Christians. It is perfectly constitutional to require people to not kill their neighbors, pay taxes for the defense and upkeep of their nation and refrain from selling potentially lethal drugs (life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness). It is not constitutional to tell them who to marry.
Addendum: some intensely intelligent person (and I mean that) is going to point out the gaping hole in my argument, so I will save that person the trouble. See, the reason we prosecute the sale of certain substances is primarily to protect our children. If I believe that it is harmful for a child to grow up in a home with two mothers or two fathers, would I not vote against that? Answer: I still do not know. Let’s talk.
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