I don’t know about you, but I always feel hypocritical around Independence Day. On the one hand, I have spent six months discussing, or rather professing, America’s flaws; it’s politicians and leaders, illogical and unjust laws, and the domestic and foreign issues plaguing, if not our everyday lives, our news medias. On the other hand, Independence Day brings back the passed down memories of the War for Independence, the historical founding documents that sculpted the country that began on the ideal of freedom, and the price that was paid for that freedom. A country boasting a constitution unparalleled throughout the waves of history. And God has given us the privilege to here.
I am sure most Americans can relate to the feeling of honor and pride of our country, the next minute to feel the shame in the moral decline in this dear place we call home. President Trump’s campaign slogan “make America great again,” while it might have made us feel warm fuzzies and patriotic pride swelling in our chests, asks a greater question that stills that excitement: how? The questions sinks many Christians further when the answer includes morality, because morality has to be accepted, while the other half of the country wrinkles their nose in furry at the fact that morality has anything to do with it!
The fact is: it does. The foundation of America has to be morality, if it is not (as we have daily proof) the moral decline will feed the decline of the entire country. A fortress or building must have a reliable substructure: the first layer is of first importance. Physics dictates, as even the youngest of us, playing with building blocks and legos, understands this critical conclusion: the solidity of a building begins with the foundation. So how is it that when we are supporting and running a society we forget this basic principle?
Are your forcing your opinion on me?!
Logically, the idea that truth is subjective is completely inadmissible and hearsay, not only that, it is destroying our minds. It does not free us, but makes us more susceptible to tyranny; it does not illuminate our minds, it darkens them; it does not take our chains off, but it restricts our thinking. Perhaps, one day, I will write more extensively on the subject, but suffice it to say absolute truth must exist, not only that, but morality. A morality that recognizes the inherent worth of every individual and holds them to an unbiased standard of justice and liberty, and a respect for truth.
And may I be the first to point out, that it is impossible to live an intellectual life, in any remote sense of the word, without “forcing your opinion” on people. To search for truth, there has to be a truth to search for, if there is no truth to search for logic, brilliancy, and solidity go out the window with it as well. Mercy looses all meaning if there is no justice, thinking and creating looses all meaning if there is no truth.
But what about the separation of the church and the state?
“I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.” – Thomas Jefferson
Am I asking that the church should run the state? No, especially not in the context of the United States, that debate is one for another time. However, I am asking that there be some sort of basic God-given morality clung to by the government and the people.
When the founding fathers separated the church from the state, they did so with an understanding of just how twisted that could become with events like the Protestant Reformation and the causes leading the Pilgrims to the new world fresher in their minds. I am not saying that the morality of the founding fathers was perfect (it was far from), I am not saying that the separation between the church and the state should not exist, rather, I am saying that the moral decline in America is the reason for America’s decline in greatness.
What does this have to do with us?
The problems today are numerable, isolation through our technology, poverty, radical Islamic terrorism; in our decline of morality the most dangerous place in the US, with the highest death rate, is a mother’s womb.
I love the argument that Lincoln made for the freedom of the African American people: if we say that these people are not really persons and are not entitled to the fruits of their own labor, who is to prevent it from going one step further in the future: that African Americans and poor people are not entitled to the fruits of their own labor. In the same way, if we say the friendless and helpless, the smallest of us are not fit to live, who is to say that the poor are not fit to live, or the Christians? However, we shouldn’t approach the subject with a spirit of judgment towards the victims of this philosophy, but one of gentleness and compassion. We have to understand the problem arises from the source of the philosophy.
We return to our original query: how do we make America great again? It starts with the morality of her people. It doesn’t start with the morality of her president, her politicians, her lawmakers; no. It starts with her people. We have to be willing to take back the liberty we have let fall from our fingers in forgetfulness of our freedom, I believe, that at the core of the issues today, lies a supposition by the founding fathers: that we wouldn’t forget.
That we wouldn’t forget what tyranny was like, we wouldn’t forget our oppression, we wouldn’t forget our wounds that pushed us to find a medicine. For liberty never tasted so sweet as when you have tasted oppression. But more than that, that we would understand why liberty is so sweet: because it is right.
Even though Independence Day has passed, it doesn’t provide an excuse to forget or neglect the importance of morality in the foundation of this nation we call home, because truly, there is no place like it. Fall to your knees in gratitude for the providence of God through this country we take so much pride in, but with equal fervor beg a replenishing of conscience to our fallen generations, because that is where we must start: on our knees.