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FIRST-PERSON: God help us as a nation

MARTINEZ, Ga. (BP)–In Webster’s Dictionary, the word “declension” is described as a falling off towards a worse state; a downward tendency; deterioration; decay. It perfectly depicts what is happening to the United States right before our eyes.

We are literally watching a society decline into the abyss of immorality at a rate more rapid than one could have imagined only a few years ago. It is happening so fast that it leaves one’s head spinning as we strive to find where the moral fulcrum is located on any given day.

In reading some of the history of the Roman Empire, one can get a glimpse of where we are headed as a nation. The Roman Empire fell as a direct result of immorality among its citizenry. This immoral frame of mind polluted every aspect of their society, which led the most powerful empire in the world at that time.

It polluted the home and caused the destruction of the Roman family. Immorality polluted the government and caused it to lose its focus and effectiveness. It polluted the men in their military and caused it to become ineffective and less powerful than before. It weakened their resolve to be the nation and people they had been before. The Roman army is infamous for its cruelty, and that was a direct result of the devaluing of human life. Chaos reigned in the Roman social order from the emperor to the common people.

Even at that, we learn from history that it took a long period of time for the Roman Empire to fall to such levels that it ceased to be an empire. It did not happen in the span of only a few years or decades. But, they are gone and the American people need to examine exactly what happened to them in order to recognize the parallels to our country.

The great Grecian Empire is another case in point. The empire was totally democratic, with the people having absolute control over the direction of the country. But when a people are totally free, they will descend into anarchy and rebellion. If man does not have some constraints upon himself, he will finally destroy himself and the society of which he is a part.

The Greek Empire produced some of the greatest minds that have ever existed on earth. These people produced some of the most wonderful literature and philosophy that have ever emerged. Societies have always reflected on the teachings of Plato and the writings of Homer as well as others. It was a brilliant society, but it too was corrupted from within. The same immorality which destroyed the Romans also destroyed the Greeks. Today, they are a nation with no empire and very little influence in the world. I’m sure they thought that a general declension of their nation would never happen, but it did.

Any time a person, a people or a nation slides down the slippery slope into immorality, it dooms them to destruction. We could also look at the Egyptian Empire and come to the same conclusions concerning their fall. The British Empire is a more modern example of how a once-powerful nation can decline so radically because of immorality within. The roadways of history are strewn with the debris of many nations which have ceased to exist as powerful entities simply because of the inward decay of immorality.

No nation in history was any worse at the point of immorality than is the United States. What makes this country think that we face any different future than others who have traveled our present path? We should be taking good lessons from history and correcting some of the deadly influences which destroyed others. But it seems that such a course will not be taken. It seems that, with our eyes wide open, America is on a death march into declension which will ultimately make us little more than a footnote in history books along with other nations.

Immorality in every form has become the entertainment and desire of so many people of the United States. Things are happening now that one would never have dreamed only five years ago. Among them:

1. The redefining of marriage. It strikes at the family, which is the ordered heart of any society. Who would have thought even one year ago that such an abomination as to declare that two people of the same sex could “marry” each other would happen in our country? Such things are happening so rapidly that it is stunning the nation. Did you ever think you would see the day when homosexuals would proudly proclaim their immoral lifestyle before the nation the way they do today? Did you ever think that it would be our courts which are filled with activist judges which are actually winning the battle for the homosexual agenda? The ramifications of the decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court for same-sex “marriage” are astounding when one thinks about it.

With the ACLU threatening people and activist judges providing the impetus, just where will all this stop? It is frightening to think about. When something of such far-reaching implications for a society as marriage is dealt with, the people themselves should make the decision and not just a few people on a court who seemingly have lost all common sense.

But, those pushing the homosexual agenda have been smart enough to know that they would fail if it was left up to the people, so their strategy has been to change the venue of decision-making from the public to the courts. Thus, just a few people who sit on our courts are moving this immoral agenda forward to the consternation of the people who really should be the ones to make the decision. Polls show that even in Massachusetts, people do not want same-sex “marriages.” But the homosexual activists, with the help of radical liberal lawyers and judges, will not stop at Massachusetts. They will come to every other state in an effort to see just how far they can go with the normalization of same-sex “marriages” and their homosexual agenda. Only God knows how the final chapter will read.

2. The emergence of the judiciary as a legislative body. The United States is in danger of being radically transformed through the use of the judicial system as a method of re-interpreting the laws to make them fit the agenda and mindset of the judges. The original intent of the judiciary and the judges which occupy their offices was to make sure that the laws involved in a particular case were followed correctly and equally applied.

About 60 years ago, the scene changed as judges began to see their task as something quite different. Slowly but surely they began to interpret the law the way they saw it as it applied to a particular situation. In other words, the application of the law began to “float” according to the different particulars of a case.

Once this was accepted and written into an “opinion,” it then set a precedent for the next case to which the opinion could be applied. Over a period of time, the original law which was supposed to be judiciously applied by the judges became something which hardly resembled the law in its original intent.

This is what is happening to the Constitution. It has now been described as a “living document” which can be “re-adjusted” in its application in order to meet almost any criteria. This allows for activists and judges who are sympathetic to their causes to formulate an application of a law or constitutional statement which totally misses the point and which is a misuse of the original intent of the constitutional authors.

If the people of the United States do not stand up and demand that this sort of thing stop, then they are at the mercy of a handful of people who can actually rewrite law to fit their own agenda or understanding of it instead of judiciously applying it. The liberal agendas which are so aggressive these days would not have a chance without the judges. A small group of people are negating the work of Congress in many ways and they are telling the whole of society what their mores should be. This is not right and must stop.

Originally the different branches of the government were designed to check and balance each other to keep one from becoming too powerful. The executive branch had veto power but a veto could be overridden by the legislative branch. Those two still balance each other. The legislative branch has a power it is not exercising and therefore the judiciary is running wild. The legislative branch can, if it would, instruct the judiciary that they cannot rule concerning certain things. This is supposed to balance the power of the judiciary but it is not being employed. I think the American people should demand that the legislative branch exercise this right given to them in our Constitution. Without this balance, the judiciary will continue to warp the law to fit their own liking. It will also re-shape the moral code of the United States into something which is a total abomination.

3. The media, which has become a 600-pound immoral gorilla determined to foist all the immorality on the general public they can. In actuality, they are insulting the intelligence of the American public by assuming that they will only watch or purchase those things which are immoral in some way.

I am not only referring to Hollywood, but to the giant television media as well which are piping the grossest forms of immorality right into our living rooms.

Recent huge successes of Christian films should show these people that the public wants something different. Good secular family films have enjoyed wonderful box office receipts. But the media giants seem blind to this fact. They continually offer only those things that reflect their own perverted lifestyles. Seemingly, they do not have a good moral frame of reference with which to create anything.

Things have degenerated at such an alarming rate that programs are shown on television now that one would never have imagined 30 years ago. The minds and hearts of a couple of generations have been poisoned by what they have seen and heard. The time is quickly approaching when Christian people and moral people of other faiths will have to turn off their television sets in order to maintain their own conscience in a proper manner.

The national news media is going to have to bear the burden of much of the declension of America. They are like a bunch of mangy vultures sitting on an old dead tree just waiting to find something that stinks enough so that they can swoop down and gorge themselves. I have lost all respect for the national news media. Their behavior in the last two or three years has been despicable.

The American public has been force-fed a 24-hour-a-day diet of news which is slanted toward a liberal interpretation of events. It shows the same things over and over, with the result that people are indoctrinated in the direction of the political agenda of the media. Their coverage of political matters in particular betrays their liberal viewpoint. And, if an event does not suit their need, they simply ignore it or pay only as much attention to it as they can get by with.

Also, too much is told. There must be some things which are not for public consumption such as military secrets. Our news media sit in their studios and enable our enemies to know exactly what we are doing and what their own aggression has done to us. If our enemies see that something has worked, they will simply do it again. It is absolutely foolish for the media to divulge as much information as they do. Of course they are after one thing: advertising dollars and ratings. All else to them is not much of a consideration. In my humble opinion, the media of today are at the very core of a lot of our societal ills. It has, however, been encouraging to see the FCC begin to rein the mass media in on some counts. Notice, though, that the media is screaming to high heaven that their “right” to say things and do certain things is being infringed upon. Some moral sanity must be restored.

4. The church in America, which generally is in a mess. The denominations showing growth are those which adhere to the Bible and teach their people those principles found therein.

The real problem is that too many preachers and church leaders are too politically correct to deal with the truth. They are afraid they will offend someone and it seems that the worst thing one can do to another in today’s PC world is to offend them or tell them they are wrong in some way.

Where moral issues become political ones, those preachers abdicate their position and mollify their message in order for it to fit the will and desires of a PC world. I believe that one of the major reasons our nation is in a moral abyss is because the preachers of righteousness have ceased to do just that and have altered their message to be palatable to a world which hates God and His authority, the Bible.

Biblical passages which make a definite statement on issues such as homosexuality are reinterpreted to fit the agenda of the homosexuals. Anyone who says they are called of God and who will not stand for the Word of God and the moral positions prescribed in it should be honest enough to step out of the pulpit and go get himself an honest job. The Episcopal Church as well as the United Methodist Church and Presbyterian Church in the USA, joined by the United Churches of Christ and others, can’t even find due north on the moral compass enough to know where they should stand on homosexuality. If I were a member of any of those denominations, I would repent, beg God for forgiveness and join another denomination which honors Him. These churches are fast becoming some of that immoral refuse left alongside the road of history. God will not honor them as they do not honor Him, and He will see to it that they cease to be at some point in time. Millions of good people are being led astray by these who are nothing more than the biblical “blind leading the blind.”

What America needs is for God’s men to stand boldly and proclaim His truths while relying on Him for protection. We must have a rebirth of biblical preaching if we are to return to a solid foundation morally and spiritually. What we really need is another Great Awakening and a national revival. Pray that God will send us one.

There are many other areas reflecting the rapid moral declension of the United States, such as the value of life and the emergence of pornography as a form of entertainment. We are becoming more like Europe every day. The rest of the world looks at the United States and scoffs at our puritanical viewpoints. I think that speaks volumes about how far they have fallen if they think we are puritanical.

The declension of the United States is thoroughly under way and it is akin to a freight train which is out of control and headed for a disastrous wreck. God help us to turn to Him before it is too late.
William F. Harrell is pastor of Abilene Baptist Church in Martinez, Ga.

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