Recently I read a secular article addressing the decline of America’s greatness. The author seemed to have no answers to the plunging descent of America from the lofty pinnacle it once held on the world scene. Not only did the author have no answers, he wasn’t sure what were the underlying causes for America’s rip in the fabric of her once seemingly invincible super-cape. To discover the answer to America’s descent one must look for an answer that transcends secular reasoning. There can be no lasting greatness without spiritual and moral righteousness. Patrick Henry correctly stated, “Righteousness alone can exalt America as a nation.”
Flowing from the pen of the Wisdom writer we find words which history has proven over and over to be true, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Prov. 14:34). Can a nation, can a people who make up a nation, forget and violate the righteous moral principles of God and expect to stay a blessed nation? Will God violate His own holy nature and bless that which His nature opposes? Can America expect to continue to remain great when we have willingly and blatantly chosen to defy His moral truths? Some would say it matters not how we live, all will be fine. Others will say we cannot abandon the biblically moral foundation upon which this nation was built without suffering dire consequences. It was the conclusion of a 19th century French statesman, Alexis deTocqueville, that when America ceases to be righteous and morally good she will cease to be great.
In the 1830’s de Tocqueville came to America seeking an answer to her success and blessings. His often-quoted conclusion needs to be revisited, “I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of America in her harbors; in her fertile fields and boundless forests; in her rich mines and vast world commerce; in her public-school system and institutions of learning. I sought for it in her democratic Congress and in her matchless Constitution. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
de Tocqueville saw that America’s greatness lay in a people who believed and adhered to living morally accountable and responsible that flowed from a fountainhead of Judeo-Christian influence. He concluded that when such living ceased, the nation’s greatness would also cease. His assessment has proven prophetic.
When any nation makes the decision to separate itself from moral values and principles, as this nation is so obviously doing, it will always bring upon the landscape consequences that come with such moral abandonment. Some seem to think that society can divorce itself from any moral parameters and religious standards and just accept any kind of behavior with no ill consequences. The question is posed, “What is wrong with everyone just living as they please regardless of it how affects others?” Such thinking that becomes adopted by a society eventually leads to moral, societal, cultural, political, and spiritual collapse and anarchy. The Psalmist sums it up by telling us that when a nation forgets God it is turned into a place of chaos, a place of hell (Ps. 9:17).
I challenge anyone to give an example from history of a society that has abandoned moral order and replaced it with the philosophy “each person doing that which is right in their own eyes” that did not eventually collapse as the result of chocking on its own sin. When a society departs from the foundational truths of traditional family values, sanctity of life, hard work, compassion, integrity, honesty, love, self-restraint, moral decency, sobriety, individual responsibility and the individual liberty to pursue life, liberty, and happiness as God given, then you will find a society that is in decline and headed for the dust heap of history.
Now be honest, can this nation survive if we continue to remove the foundational truths on which this nation was built? Can a nation survive that refuses to acknowledge and honor the Creator from all blessings flow, has redefined the institution of marriage, redefined what constitutes a person’s gender, adopts moral perversion as normal, embraces debauchery, moral relativism, excessive materialism, applauds abortion, an entitlement mentality, and seeks to replace a Christocentric view of life with a godless, humanistic view of life. History teaches us the answer is an unequivocal NO.
To the alert observer this once great nation is plummeting from her pedestal of greatness, and is falling faster than a sky diver without a parachute. Why? The answer is simple: she is ceasing to be righteous. As a nation we have sadly allowed, and even supported, men and women, groups and movements who promote destructive agendas which are morally corrupt and decadent to become the national compass, and as a result we are headed in a destructive direction and spiraling downward. Unless there is a return to what is spiritually and morally right and good this downward trend will continue. There can be no lasting greatness without righteousness.
Is it too late to return America to the place of the once greatness as de Tocqueville wrote about? I don’t know if it late or not, but the outlook seems bleak. But I do know this, unless there is a return to what is right and good on an individual level there will never be a return to righteousness on a national level. Our moral measuring stick of what is right and wrong, what is good and righteous, is found within the Sacred Volume known as the Bible. There we find a holy God giving us eternally moral and ethical principles and standards that will not only bring order to our lives but bring order to our chaotic society.
There must be a return to what made this nation great, or the greatness that once was a lighthouse and awed the rest of the world will be lost forever. Let the words of de Tocqueville echo in our ears, “When America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” Let us remember it is not our goodness that gives birth to greatness, but the righteousness of God and the goodness of our Lord as He reflects His Light of Truth through us in a dark world (Matthew 5:14-16). Only as His light uncompromisingly and lovingly shining through us begins to permeate society, does the greatness of America have any hope of being restored.