What in the world has happened to America? How has it come to this? The America that we currently see is unrecognizable from the America many of us grew up in. The America that many oppressed people risked their lives to escape to now more resembles the oppressed nations that those people fled. (I’ve had scores of immigrants tell me that personally.) And make no mistake about it, the problem is much deeper than the shallow partisan mantra, “It’s the Democrats’ (or Republicans’) fault.” The root cause of America’s woes is much deeper than that. For decades, we’ve been trading Democrats for Republicans, Republicans for Democrats, liberals for conservatives, and conservatives for liberals, and nothing has changed–except the problems keep getting worse!
To the heathen king, Abimelech, in Genesis chapter twenty, Abraham said, “Surely, the fear of God is not in this place.” Two thousand years later, in Romans chapter three, the Apostle Paul said, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” I’m inclined to believe that this may be at the root of most of America’s problems. And for the non-religious reader, please don’t stop reading now. Hear me out.
For one thing, a person does not have to be a Christian to possess the fear of God. I’ve met many unbelievers who possess a firm and unmistakable fear of God. Furthermore, from what I’ve seen among professing Christians, most of them do NOT possess the fear of God–their Christian profession notwithstanding!
At the risk of sounding “carnal,” I am literally sick to my stomach with all this talk about electing “Christians” to public office! A thorough examination of the Scriptures teaches us that the Bible itself does not promote the concept of choosing “Christians” to be civil magistrates. A political candidate’s Christian profession or church affiliation means absolutely nothing to his or her fitness for public office. You heard me: NOTHING!
When John F. Kennedy was running for office, I remember all the excitement among Catholics to go out and elect a Catholic president. When Jimmy Carter was running for office, I remember all the excitement among Baptists to go out and elect a Baptist president. When G.W. Bush was running for office, I remember all the excitement among “born-again” Christians to go out and elect a “born-again” president. This year, Mormons are all excited that they can go out and elect a Mormon president. It’s all hooey! Whether our civil magistrates at the federal level are Democrat or Republican, Catholic or Baptist or “born-again” Christian or Mormon, our country continues to spiral into oppression and despotism. Instead of getting all wrapped up in a candidate’s religious profession or affiliation, we should heed the counsel of Holy Writ.
Here is the Biblical requirement for civil magistrates: “Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.” (Exodus 18:21 KJV)
See it again: “The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.” (II Samuel 23:3 KJV)
What difference does it make if one is a Democrat or Republican, if he or she doesn’t have the fear of God in his or her heart? What difference does it make if one is a Catholic or Baptist or “born-again” Christian or Mormon, if he or she does not have the fear of God is his or her heart? What difference does it make if they are “conservative” or “liberal,” if they are not men and women of truth, men and women who hate covetousness, and men and women who are just?
No two men were more different than George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. They were opposites in just about every measure of determination. But without a doubt, these two men were two of the most valuable and influential men at the time of America’s founding. It is safe to say that without these two men, the United States of America would not even exist. Though they differed in religious persuasion, background, education, etc., they both expressed the same sentiment in regard to the discussion at hand.
George Washington said, “The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.”
Thomas Jefferson said, “And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep forever.”
Christians or unbelievers, churchgoers or non-churchgoers, Federalists or Democrat-Republicans, northerners or southerners, to a man, America’s founders were men that feared God. That doesn’t mean they were without sin. It doesn’t mean that they possessed some sort of super-spirituality. But universally, the founding generation (and many generations afterward) possessed an innate fear of God.
Almost to a man, the founders emphasized that morality was the underpinning of liberty and freedom. And what is morality if it is not the governance of the way people treat one another? Furthermore, morality is something that must come from within; it cannot be coerced or forced externally. And, pray tell, where does morality come from if one has not the fear of God in his or her heart? And, again, this has nothing to do with one’s religious profession or affiliation–or lack thereof!
The fear of God is part of the Natural Law of God written in men’s hearts. The problem is that far too many people’s hearts have grown callused and hard to the “inner voice” of moral consciousness. How else can one explain the conduct of so many people?
The natural fear of God is a predicate for a person’s respect for their mother and father. (Leviticus 19:3) The fear of God is a predicate for a person’s respect for others, especially those who are disadvantaged. (Leviticus 19:14) This passage specifically notes the deaf and the blind.
So, how can TSA agents at the Louisville, Kentucky, airport possess the fear of God when they mockingly laugh at deaf people who were leaving the annual conference for the National Association of the Deaf in that city, calling them “F*%# Deafies”?
The fear of God is a predicate for people’s respect for the elderly. (Leviticus 19:32) The fear of God is a predicate for a political leader’s respect for liberty and refusal to engage in or allow oppression. (Leviticus 25:17) The fear of God is a predicate for honest financial and business practices. (Leviticus 25:36) And the fear of God is a predicate for a leader of any kind to not be tyrannical and heavy handed. (Leviticus 25:43)
And, as we are approaching the anniversary of the federal fiasco that took place near Ruby Ridge, Idaho, I am reminded again of how the lack of the fear of God is demonstrated in the way that our political leaders conduct themselves. How could federal agents possess the fear of God when they shot a fourteen-year-old boy in the back, and when one of them took aim through a high powered scoped rifle and shot the brains out of a young mother who was innocently standing in the doorway of her own home holding her infant child in her arms? Furthermore, how could federal agents possess the fear of God when they machine-gunned mostly elderly men, women, and children as they fled the burning buildings at Mt. Carmel outside Waco, Texas?
In addition, how can politicians in Washington, D.C., possess the fear of God when they routinely lie, steal, violate their oaths to the Constitution, and wreak havoc upon the liberties and freedoms of the American people? How can the banksters at the Federal Reserve possess the fear of God when they deliberately rape the US economy and purposefully manipulate the markets so as to destroy the financial well being of tens of millions of families? How can federal government officials at the highest levels possess the fear of God when they engage in international drug running and murder?
For that matter, how can professing Christians possess the fear of God when they engage in deliberate character assassination and slander? How can they possess the fear of God when they steal the honor and reputations of their own brothers and sisters? How can they possess the fear of God when they demonstrate selfishness, greed, and hypocrisy? How can they possess the fear of God when Christian school administrators lord over their staff and students as oppressively as any tyrant? How can pastors possess the fear of God when they willingly allow themselves to become the sheepish slaves of the state by avoiding–or even deliberately altering–the sacred principles of liberty set forth in the Holy Scriptures?
National policies and practices are totally dependent upon the personal fear of God by those who enact these policies and practices. No wonder the Scriptures admonish people to select civil magistrates who fear God. Forget his or her church affiliation! Forget his or her “Christian” profession! Are they people of their word? Do they hate covetousness? Are they people of truth? Are they men and women of character and integrity? Do they fear God?
America is not falling because of its politics. It is not falling because of its financial foibles. It is not falling because of its religious preferences. It is falling because “the fear of God is not in this place.”