Let's look to God, not to government

Will we return to be a country of salt and light, as Reagan always envisioned and defended us? Or are we destined to repeat the errors of so many as we lose our soul?

God or government?
Joel D. Hirst
On 18 December 2012 11:12

Somehow America has bred a kindliness into our people unmatched anywhere. We are not a sick society. A sick society could not produce the men that set foot on the moon, or who are now circling the earth above us in the Skylab. A sick society bereft of morality and courage did not produce the men who went through those years of torture and captivity in Vietnam. Where did we find such men? They are typical of this land as the Founding Fathers were typical. We found them in our streets, in the offices, the shops and the working places of our country and on the farms.

- Ronald Reagan, January 1974

Today as we reflect in horror at the senseless massacre of our beloved children, there are those who rightly doubt the words of Reagan, our greatest uniter. What is wrong within the soul of America that allows tragedies like this to keep happening? 

From the lockered hallways of Columbine to the wooded hills of Virginia Tech, to shopping marts in Tucson and temples in Wisconsin, even those of us who always preach the fundamental goodness of America are being shaken as we witness the vitriol and violence that appears to be bringing our country to the brink of destruction. Violent protests and occupations, hate hiding shrewdly beneath the iron banner of free speech, endless, pointless wars that dehumanize, Hollywood movies espousing more and more inhuman acts that fail to horrify even the softest hearts. And we are saddened.

Into the leadership void, politicians on all sides who fail to understand the beating heart of Reagan’s America move immediately to challenge our rights. Gun control will now be the central discussion of the day. Much as McDonald’s is blamed for obese children whose families no longer care, guns will be the scapegoat for a society gone wild. To everybody, I ask that we step back and examine ourselves. Are we really surprised; and is it really the guns?

A culture that has stood up and shaken its fist at God should not expect any better. We have given godless lawyers the right to administer the role of our creator in our society. From abortion to prayer in our schools; from the outlawing of manger scenes to challenging God in our national anthem; to the legalization of drugs and the savage attacks on the traditional family. 

We should be ashamed. 

In the absence of any moral compass, the guiding principles that Thomas Jefferson called inalienable truths and what the Apostle Paul in the book of Romans called the “laws of God written on our hearts” have been seized using illegal laws and bestowed upon a massive, dehumanizing government.

Mindless bureaucrats have been given the role to do – through regulation – what we once counted on God to do through faith. Instead of looking to each other, our families, and our faith to guide our behavior we look to our incompetent politicians, godless thought leaders or worse – so much worse – Hollywood’s malevolent voices for answers, and we are surprised when we find them wanting. 

But these are the only answers that a society that has embraced collectivism can offer. A culture that actively seeks its own destruction, in subservience to any overlord that is not our creator, can only expect to reap violence over and over in an endless downward spiral.

A civilization that has lost its personal responsibility and its sense of shame, decency, honor, and propriety cannot blame anybody but itself for its follies. Despite what President Obama has said in the past, there is no such thing as collective salvation. We cannot stand collectively before God, or each other; at the end each one of us stands alone – naked – before our creator and must explain ourselves. We have a lot of explaining to do. 

There are many who will misinterpret what I write as the unwanted intrusion of politics into a moment of national tragedy. That is not my intention; in fact it’s the opposite. I am simply asking that we be allowed to mourn in private intimacy, ask our Lord what we are doing wrong that this keeps happening, and look to Him safe in the knowledge that our scheming politicians and our immoral entertainers are not devising a way to “not let this emergency go to waste,” in order to advance partisan agendas that further curtail of our freedoms. 

Frederich Hayek, Austria’s economist-turned-philosopher noted in his eminent work “The Road to Serfdom” that it was much of this exact national behavior that opened the floodgates to Nazi Germany’s atrocities; that the problem of that regime’s evil was not genetic, but the wholesale abandonment of their ideals, their freedom, and their faith, and the natural collectivism that resulted.

Referring back to what Reagan said, America’s goodness is also not genetic, but a natural outpouring of our individual compassion, faith, and our understanding of our role in community. As I look around at the evil peddled in America, and the use of the resulting tragedies to deepen the evil even more, I wonder if America can be saved.

Will we return to be a country of salt and light, a city on a hill as Reagan always envisioned and defended us? Or are we destined to repeat the errors of so many great countries of the past as we lose our soul? It is in moments like these, and our response to them, that we will find our answers.

Joel D. Hirst is a Principal at Cordoba Group International and the author of the political novel “The Lieutenant of San Porfirio”. Hirst tweets @joelhirst

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