In Patrick Henry's immortal "Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death" speech, he said, "[I]t is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth."
Never have Henry's words been truer than they are today. For too long, good men have turned a blind eye to the obvious reality that America's Ship of State has swerved significantly off course. In fact, it is no hyperbole to say that America's Ship of State is completely rudderless and, absent a speedy course correction, seems destined to crash against the rocks of oppression and economic ruin in the very near future.
For anyone willing to open their eyes, the manifestations of America's almost-certain collision with history are everywhere.
America's Liberty Ship is dependent upon the twin mainsails of Morality and Constitutional Government to stay on course. It is an irrefutable and irreversible law that these twin sails are indissolubly linked. We cannot have one without the other. America's founders clearly understood this.
For example, our second President, John Adams, said:
"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
Samuel Adams (called the "Father of the American Revolution") said:
"He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of this country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man . . . The sum of all is, if we would most truly enjoy this gift of Heaven, let us become a virtuous people."
Thomas Jefferson (the author of the Declaration of Independence and our third President) said:
"Self-love . . . is the sole antagonist of virtue, leading us constantly by our propensities to self-gratification in violation of our moral duties to others."
Jefferson also said:
"[If a] people [are] so demoralized and depraved as to be incapable of exercising a wholesome control, their reformation [must] be taken up ab incunabulis [from the beginning]. Their minds [must] be informed by education what is right and what wrong, [must] be encouraged in habits of virtue and deterred from those of vice by the dread of punishments, proportioned indeed, but irremissible; in all cases, to follow truth as the only safe guide, and to eschew error, which bewilders us in one false consequence after another in endless succession. These are the inculcations necessary to render the people a sure basis for the structure of order and good government."
Our first President, George Washington (called the "Father of his Country"), said:
"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens."
And to quote Patrick Henry again:
"Bad men cannot make good citizens . . . A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, is incompatible with freedom."
Yet, what do we see taking place all over America—including in the halls of government, the boardrooms of business, and the sanctuaries of churches? An almost complete and total breakdown of morality. And by a breakdown of morality, I am referring to much more than sexual immorality.
Morality demands honesty and equity in judgment. Morality is selfless. Morality is humble. Morality is jealous over truth and justice. Morality would never jeopardize the future on the altar of the present. Morality does not place personal advancement above principle. Morality respects its heritage and honors its ancestors. And Morality gladly submits to lawful authority, especially divine authority.
But compare basic morality to the modus operandi of today's governments, businesses, and churches. Instead of truth and moral principles, we find people who are almost totally absorbed by a culture of deceit, selfishness, ambition, and greed.
Rightly does the Scripture say, "The love of money is the root of all evil." (I Timothy 6:10) Of more than one church or nonprofit ministry leader could it be said, "He doesn't let his Christianity get in the way of his business." Ditto for many so-called Christian businessmen and politicians. In fact, a good many religious leaders and churchmen today would not take a backseat to the most greedy, corrupt politician, or shady businessman that could be found.
Sunday-by-Sunday, pastors prostitute themselves to wealthy contributors, community leaders, or politicians. Day-by-day, unscrupulous bankers and businessmen give the shaft to honest, hardworking Americans. And almost hour-by-hour, politicians sell their souls to the highest bidder—even if that bidder represents values and principles that would destroy freedom and liberty in our land.
How is it that pastors are unwilling to educate themselves (and their congregants) about the dangers and pitfalls to which America's leaders are subjecting us?
How is it that businessmen will smugly look the other way as their practices advance the causes of our enemies and weaken our own country?
How is it that politicians will allow themselves to be corrupted, not only by evil forces from within America, but also by devilish forces from alien powers?
As a result of this total breakdown of basic morality in virtually every distinguished element within the American framework, constitutional governance is also virtually nonexistent.
Adams was right: "Our Constitution was made only for a moral . . . people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
America's political officeholders routinely ignore their oaths to preserve, protect, and defend the US Constitution. Routinely! Many have never read the Constitution, or if they have, they desire neither to understand nor to obey it.
And even worse is the fact that most Americans (including America's spiritual leaders) seem totally unbothered by it all. As long as their favorite politician, political party, or personal cause benefits, they could not care less whether the Constitution is followed or not.
More than 50 years of moral relativism has now reached almost total and complete social saturation.
If I'm a Republican, it doesn't matter if the Constitution is followed as long as Republicans win elections. And Democrats behave the same way. "As long as my party wins, who cares about the Constitution, honesty, or truth?" is the attitude of many politically involved Americans—including many Christian Americans.
Democrats don't care if Bill Clinton or Barack Obama lies, and Republicans don't care if George H. W. Bush or George W. Bush lies. The only time we care about someone lying is when it's the person from the "other" party. If the "other" party promotes evil, we are enraged, but when "our" party promotes evil, we sit on our anatomical posteriors in complete silence and with full approbation.
And this is the bottom line: because We the People have lost our morality and fidelity to constitutional government, we have countless conscienceless criminals located at virtually every level in and out of the federal government (political party notwithstanding) that are up to their necks in total and absolute EVIL!
I mean down-in-the-gutter, Genghis Khan-type evil. I'm talking about drug running, kidnappings, sexual exploitations, assassinations, family ruinations, illegal imprisonments, torture, and mass murder. If they desire it, they do it (or hire/order it done).
Because there is no moral compass guiding our churches and businesses, there is no moral compass guiding those Machiavellians in Washington, D.C. After all, where do all these politicians, bureaucrats, blood-merchants, and mercenaries come from, if not from within our own social and religious establishments?
Until we wake up to the fact that our country, our Constitution, our liberties, and our future are up against evil—PURE, UNADULTERATED EVIL—we are never going to be able to muster the dedication and resolve required to turn this Ship of State around.
Until we get our heads out of the sand and start seeing things as they are (and not as the national news media wants us to see them), until we are willing to stop indulging in the illusions of hope, and until we stop shutting our eyes against a painful truth, it will not matter to a tinker's dam who we elect or which party is in power. Folks, wake up to it: WE ARE FIGHTING AN EVIL SYSTEM!!
And there is nothing that the people who are caught up in this evil system will not do. Nothing! They will steal; they will lie; they will cheat; they will kill; they will rape; they will pillage; they will plunder; they will do ANYTHING they think is necessary to fulfill their evil machinations.
Setting our Ship of State aright starts with We the People returning to the basic, moral laws of right and wrong. Whether it is business, religion, or politics, right is right and wrong is wrong! (And one does not have to be a born-again Christian to know right from wrong: anyone who understands and respects the principles of Natural Law can and will be an ally in the fight for right.
In fact, sometimes our enemies come from within our family—even the family of faith. See Matthew 10:36.) It means to stop covering for evildoers, whether that person belongs to our own political party or even our own family. It means to stop living for personal gain and advancement. It means being honest and demanding honesty in others. It means elevating truth to a position above expediency. It means acknowledging that there is a Supreme Authority to which all men must submit—and I'm not referring to the US Supreme Court.
America's Ship of State is currently rudderless. And as long as we are expecting someone in Washington, D.C., to fix the problem, we will continue to be lost—adrift in a sea of evil and criminality.
To get America's Ship of State back on course, you and I must get back on course.
And it starts by being willing to OPEN OUR EYES TO PAINFUL TRUTH.
Dr. Chuck Baldwin is the pastor of Crossroad Baptist Church in Pensacola, Florida. He hosts a weekly radio show. His website is here.