I recall previous elections and can remember an interview with Dick Morris, who was the White House Secretary with the Clintons for a number of years. When asked by a commentator upon Hillary Clinton’s win in the state of New York, if he could define her in one word. Without hesitation, he answered amoral. What we are seeing in America is the death of morality. What we are seeing in America is the death of Biblical standards. What we bear witness to is the displacement of Christianity. Morality and Biblical commitment are fading in our nation and fading before our very eyes. Understandably, Christians are disturbed. Not so much because we want Mitt Romney to win, but because we want Obama to lose. Despite what the spin masters would claim, it is not personal. We simply would prefer one last triumph for what is moral, one last victory for what is right and righteous and Biblical. We would like to believe that we can hold on for a place in our society for God’s Word. Sadly and tragically, it is becoming self-evident that it is a losing battle
In the Bible, Acts chapter 14, we get a perspective that I think is important. The Apostle Paul, along with Barnabas in this case, and anybody else who does what Paul did, describes himself as a preacher of the Gospel. Verse 15 of Acts 14, he says, “We are also men of the same nature as you and preach the Gospel. We preach the Gospel to you in order that you may turn from these vain things, idols, false religion to the living God who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.” Paul continues, “We are preachers, and we preach about the one and only God. The true and living God. And we preach to you the Good News of that true and living God, that sinners can be reconciled to Him.”
And in verse 16, he says, “In the generations gone by, He permitted all the nations to go their own ways; and yet He did not leave Himself without witness.” And that’s the story of human society. Nations rise and fall. All nations come and go. In the midst of all of that, God always has His preachers who are preaching the Gospel. He is never without witness. But the cycle is always the same. Verse 16 says that, “In the generations gone by,” He can look at all of human history, “God permits all the nations to go their own way.” There is no way to stop the cycle.
It has been oft repeated, “If men have learned anything from history, it is that men never learn anything from history.” So you have people today working feverishly to save America. To save America. That is very normal, and it pains so many of us greatly, to see the declining interest in the Bible, indeed to witness an all-out massive effort to get the Bible out of the public discourse. To get the Bible removed as the standard for conduct and behavior and law. However, it must be remembered, this is history, and history inexorably repeats itself. And the cynicism of the preacher in Ecclesiastes is justified when he said there is nothing new under the sun. And he went on to say that history is an endless cycle of repetition. “That which has been is now; that which is to be has already been,” he said.
And we are now in the cycle. Men and nations follow the same path from glory to dust. From the heights to the depths. From great achievement to destruction. The beginnings are bright, and the beginnings are hopeful and filled with promise. But there’s always the slide and the drift, the spiritual entropy that takes over in a fallen world and catapults nations downward and downward into destruction. In actuality, if you consider it, every baby born stands as a living memorial of the inevitable course of men and nations. Beginning in the loveliness of innocence and infancy, and moving through childhood and all of its bright, shining hope and, finally, to adulthood and decline through maturity towards the ultimate and sad reality of death.
Our own nation is on that same path. America is caught in the doomsday cycle that has caught every nation and will until the Lord comes and establishes the glory of His own Kingdom. We are a dying nation in a world of dying nations and a dying people. For Americans it is heartbreaking to comprehend, because we had a particularly bright infancy. Conceived in such a primitive beauty, its commencement began with a hardy breed of people coming here to this great land to seek out freedom. Freedom to express their love to Christ in a community of people who were devoted to the Word of God. Whether or not you want to acknowledge it, or accept the facts as they are historically recorded, it was in that context that we established our Constitution. It was in that context that we established our Bill of Rights. It was in that context that we designed our government with all of its wonderful freedoms. It was in that context that we established our churches and our schools and our legal system.
The Bible was held high, and the Bible was the source of all truth and authority for life, both private and public. And God was at the center of our activity, and His name is even on our coinage. Worshiping God was a way of life, and churches were the hub of communities and held a central place in the life of this nation. There was a standard, and there was a norm, and there was an absolute. It was the Word of God.
However, that was America in its infancy. As maturity came, we began to drift into a degraded adulthood. It was easily self-evident. There were some voices that tried to call us back. The Edward’s and Whitfield’s and Moody’s. There were preachers and churches here and there, crying out to try to stem the tide. But evil has prevailed, and we now, as so many nations and people before us, face the inevitable judgment of God.
The decline is measurable. Indeed, this election may be potently demonstrative as to how really measurable it is. We hope for a triumph of morality, even if it is only a 1 percent triumph. Here we are days before an election, and the country is so divided we are unable to project with any surety, who the victor shall be. Immorality has taken us over. If we do survive this election hanging by a thread in one last hurrah, without a significant change in the hearts of the people, it is extremely unlikely that we’ll make it through the next one.
Immorality is inescapable. We’ve grown accustomed to seeing it in upper levels of society, but now, even citizens of main street America find themselves touched by the waves of licentious and lewd behavior generated by the convulsions of this behavioral cesspool. We have in positions of leadership and authority individuals who are unworthy of either. Individuals who possess the one primary characteristic required to lead: moral authority. Our most precious commodity, our children, are forced by threat of law to attend public institutions of learning, where they are prey for those in front of the classroom, with pedophilic intent. As if that is not horrific enough, to add insult to injury, we now see a member of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, recently jailed for a charge of forcible sodomy. While I full well understand that in our judicial system, an individual is innocent until proven guilty, I also understand appearances. I understand that the individual in question turned himself in. Now I may stand in error here, but my Scots-Irish Southern upbringing finds me unable to so simply turn myself in like that, were I in no possession of the question of my innocence. And therein is the basic problem today. Character, integrity, and leadership. Like economic and energy resources, we have too little of it available to us today.
It is not surprising to me that this member of the ACBOS recently made a public spectacle of his renouncing of the Eagle Badge earned in his youth. Obviously, one can repeat by rote an oath and a pledge, able to utter the words, yet failing to absorb the characteristics into one’s heart and mind. In that regard, especially given this latest action, I am not at all offended by his renouncement of his Scouting rank and heritage. Indeed, he did a great favor to all of the rest of us who were just crazy enough to try to live by those anachronistic character traits. You spared us the embarrassment and guilt by association.
There was a time when the manner in which one comported one’s self was simple. It was the cognizant acceptance of a basic life principle. Abstain from all appearance of evil. Corrupt affections indulged in the heart, and evil practices allowed of in one’s life, will greatly tend to promote fatal errors in the mind; whereas purity of heart, and integrity of life, will dispose one to receive the truth in the love of it. We should therefore abstain from evil, and all appearances of evil, from sin, and that which looks like sin, leads to it, and borders upon it. He who is not shy of the appearances of sin, who shuns not the occasions of sin, and who avoids not the temptations and approaches to sin, will not long abstain from the actual commission of sin. This is why so many today weary of the alleged leaders put into office. They once were held in high regard, raising the bar of wise and disciplined behavior. Giving a set point for others, especially our youth, to aspire towards. How untrue today! Our community pillars and those of leadership and authority over us do the exact opposite. They pull our youth down. If you question this, then consider the statistical abstracts regarding the explosion of oral sex and the accompanying health issues. Examine the age group most affected, and do the math. They are of the generation whose formative years occurred with Bill Clinton, Monica Lewinsky and a certain dress. Impressive legacy slick! In a former age, no individual would have been allowed to have kept his office, much less be as popular on the speaking tour as is Bill Clinton. Most certainly he would not be sought after to assist in a re-election campaign, indeed, a candidate of integrity and character would want as great a distance as possible from such a person. Now, they are embraced. This is in no small part, why there is such disgust and contempt, not necessarily for government. I do not resent the government, as designed and intended by our founding fathers! I am disgusted by the manner in which it has been perverted and subjugated by those possessing no morals, and consequently no moral authority.
Proverbs Chapter 29 verse 2 is correct in saying “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan. “
America has rejected the Bible. With that rejection, what do we have left? Polls and surveys. Everyone clever in his own sight, wise in her own eyes—espousing supposedly wise and sagacious opinions. That is all that remains is it not? The only right or wrong we understand is whatever the poll tells us. This is the ultimate destination where hope and change and moving forward without following God’s law has taken us. This is what we ended up after all we had. An economy that was once the financial engine of the planet, reduced to near ruins. A spirit of exceptionalism that led the world in the educational and scientific communities. A society free of crime and violence. One where the family was strong and the individual was of hardy character and righteousness. Now what do we possess? An arrogance and conceit marks us, as we sit around with the bedazzled smirk of self-congratulation as fools who don’t know how stupid we are, with polls giving us the sum of collective fools. Don’t you wish we could trust leaders? Well, it was that way in Israel. Isaiah 5 Verse 22, “Woe to those who are heroes.” The word “heroes” in the Hebrew means leader. “The leaders were drinking wine and the valiant men a different Hebrew word for leaders were mixing strong drink.” They were drunk. And, in addition, verse 23, “They were justifying wicked people for a bribe.” In other words, they could be bought. “And they take away the rights of the ones who are in the right.” They abuse people. There was no equity. There was no true justice. People were buying offices, buying positions, taking bribes. They weren’t even in control of themselves, because they were drunk. Perverse leaders. Drunkenness, bribery, corruption, perverting of justice, and these were the leaders. The cycle of nations, we are there are we not?
The final point. I do not know about anyone else, but I am disturbed at the speed at which local officials have recused themselves from adjudicating this matter. On the one hand, it is should be comforting to think that this matter will be fairly and objectively handled. On the other, I cannot help but to inquire as to the nature of the after-hours relationships by the various parties involved. Indeed, since I first submitted this for consideration, the news has now reported that the individual who placed her home on the block, in order to bail out the accused supervisor, has herself now been arrested for drunk driving. This same individual who has twice now, attempted a run for public office. Now I may be old fashioned, but I surely do not want to see the arrest photographs of individuals who sit on a governing body, or wish to, regularly showing up in the media. Where does all this lead? How significant is it that the supervisor accused of forced sodomy is bailed out by the party leader who puts the lives of others in danger by driving drunk on public roadways? That question must be answered within the recesses of one’s heart and mind. I know where my thoughts lead on the matter. In older times, tar and feathers, rotten vegetables and rails would be appropriate accoutrements in the solution.
It is important to remember that one need not look too far back into recent history to recall how the prosecution of just one operator of a house of ill repute destroyed the judicial and legislative pillars of some communities. It is my most sincere hope to not find that to be the case here, but recent events have not given me pause to hold my breath. The most honorable action that could be taken would be for that member of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, to voluntarily step down from his leadership position. The same for holds true for the local party leader whose actions call into question, moral authority, or lack thereof. If by some long shot, these actions can somehow be successfully defended in a court of law, the fact that one lived a life that allowed accusations of such questionable character to be leveled, displays a lack of discretion. Those of us citizens in possession of such discipline and discernment deserve to be represented by ones more honorable.
Filed Under: Social Issues
About the Author: HANK MARTIN is a Charlottesville native, a graduate of Albemarle High School and Piedmont Virginia Community College. Growing up, he spent more than a decade in the Cub and Boy Scout Programs and was a member of the Monticello Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol. As an adult, he has served as a leader in Scouting and church youth character building programs. An avid history lover, he participated in the adoption of the school anti-bullying legislation sponsored by delegate Rob Bell. Hank most recently founded and chaired Forever Albemarle, a personal property rights group. He lives with his wife and children in Charlottesville.