I used to call myself lucky. I don’t do that anymore. I call myself blessed. The good and the great things I’ve enjoyed in my life aren’t the result of “luck.” God has smiled on me in wonderful ways, beyond even what I dreamed as a young boy in Nashville, Tenn.
To begin with, I was born in America.
Though I was blessed to be born to exceptional and loving parents, and given a great brother and two beautiful sisters — if I had been born in Mongolia, or Yugoslavia, or Pakistan, or indeed anywhere else in the world, my story would have been vastly different.
Whatever our individual life circumstances, above all other people on earth, we in America are the most incredibly blessed.
Any honest student of history has to know that the first explorers and settlers who arrived here were Christians from various backgrounds and occupations, looking for a “promised land” where they could be free and self-governed. Where they could make their own decisions about where they would live and what they would do and say, and above all, where they could be free to worship God as their Bibles and consciences instructed them.
They took enormous, almost incalculable risks, endured tremendous hardships, cut themselves off from everything in their past, and found their way through largely uncharted seas to a new land. And here, they founded a new society, a new Republic, predicated upon — and dedicated to preserving — liberty.
For over 200 years, our forebears fought numerous wars, shed blood on our soil and abroad, fought and argued and sacrificed, and many died, simply to defend and preserve our way of life, and its foundation — liberty.
In short, America, as folks my age knew it in our younger years, was the closest thing to an ideal society this world has ever known. And it was certainly the envy of the rest of the world. We all thought it would go on forever that way, didn’t we? Who could take away our liberty? We were the strongest, richest, most powerful nation on earth.
How then, have we become the generation that has begun to see our liberties lost, our cherished freedoms slipping away, our ideal society dissolving into humanistic, contentious, secularist chaos?
Is it possible — even thinkable — that after enjoying 200 years of unprecedented freedom, we, in just one or two generations, can throw away, or have wrenched from us, all our liberties?
We can. And it’s happening.
In the last two decades, we’ve elected leaders who promised to “reinvent” the American form of government and to “redefine” what it means to be Americans in this century. And they’ve set out vigorously to do it. Our president has said the Constitution is a “flawed document,” and some leaders in Congress have pledged to rewrite passages of that document to conform to the “times” and to “more current thought.”
Laws that once provided order and restraint have been tossed out by high courts and local magistrates, often by fiat — individual, subjective pronouncement. As a consequence, crime and immorality rage across the land. Rank pornography, not just in plain brown wrappers, but in celebrated movies, whole TV channels, best-selling books and magazines — and wholesale across the Internet — has been legitimized. Bizarre practices, condemned throughout history, are now promoted as “rights.” Powerful forces and legal groups are waging war against all public expressions of Judeo-Christian faith, and demanding that we be “no longer a Christian nation.”
How has this happened?
The Greek philosopher Heraclites said, “A man’s character is his fate.” In 1820, the French historian deTocqueville toured our new country and declared, “America is great because America is good. If America ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.” Ben Franklin said in 1787, “Only a moral and virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”
How is liberty lost?
Two ways. Abuse and apathy.
Abuse of our freedoms is rife; liberties have become license. Freedoms of press and speech have been so mercilessly stretched, taken advantage of, and so misapplied that they now protect pornography, blasphemy, sedition, libel, and slander — virtually every distortion man is capable of — all claiming the Constitution as their “protector”.
Freedom of religion has been distorted into freedom from religion. Freedom of “choice” has led to nearly 60 million child deaths in their mothers’ wombs. When a people loses its character, its spiritual DNA, it will inevitably lose its freedom, as deTocqueville prophesied.
The other enemy is apathy.
Since 1992, less than 52 percent of registered Christian voters have even gone to the polls. Morally committed Christians could easily have made the difference in America’s future simply by voting. And even when they do, and prevail as in the two ballot measures that defended marriage as between one man and one woman, critics scream that Christians are bigots and trying to “force their narrow views” on an innocent public.
There has been abroad in the land a sense of helplessness, a real ignorance about what was really happening all around us, a confusion about the issues, and a senseless vague hope that “everything will work out all right.”
What can we do? Can lost liberty be regained?
Yes it can.
First of all, Care. Be informed, inform yourself about our origins, the intentions of our forefathers, and then rededicate yourself and your family to being Americans like Jefferson and Adams and Madison, openly exhorting your neighbors to do the same.
Act. Get involved in local school boards, write your representatives and senators, even judges and mayors and governors frequently, and let them know what you think. Demand that they represent you as a citizen that gave them that responsibility. Attend the town hall meetings taking place across our land and make your voice heard. And vote, any and every chance you get. Countless Americans died to give you that privilege; don’t throw it away.
And finally, and most importantly, pray. God blessed us with this nation, and he cares about his gift. He promises to heal our land and preserve our freedoms if we bring him back into the picture. What we’ve lost, we can regain!
“Where the Spirit of the Lord is — there is Liberty.”
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