Are you enjoying the news concerning the upcoming election? I am certain there always have been political discussions between parties involved. Do you remember the things I discussed in my last article in which the issue of truth was involved?
Now that our culture is characterized as "post modern," the big question is finding the truth. The culture is characterized by the questions in the form of "It might be true for you but not for me," or "If it feels good, do it," or "Don't try to tell me what to believe. I have my own opinions."
The discussions have gone past just the issues to the point of trying completely to destroy the opponent. And the language being used is far from being acceptable. What has happened to our America? And what is happening to our America?
I continually hear we either do not recognize and know about our history, or we don't want to recognize it and disregard it as our American foundations. So, I am going to give you some quotes which, I hope, will give you something to think about and compare with what is happening in America today.
Benjamin Rush, the father of American medicine, said, "The only foundation for a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty; and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments."
Calvin Coolidge, president from 1923 to 1929, said, "If there be a destiny, it is of no avail for us, unless we work with it. The ways of Providence will be of no advantage to us unless we proceed in the same direction. If we perceive a destiny in America, if we believe that Providence has been the guide, our own success, our own salvation, requires that we should act and serve in harmony and obedience."
Timothy Dwight, former president of Yale, said in 1798, "Religion and liberty are the meat and the drink of the body politic. Withdraw one of them and it languishes, consumes and dies. Without religion, we may possibly retain the freedom of savages, bears and wolves, but not the freedom of New England. If our religion were gone, our state of society would perish with it, and nothing would be left."
Peter Marshall, chaplain of the United States Senate, said in 1947, "The choice before us is plain: Christ or chaos, conviction or compromise, discipline or disintegration. I am rather tired of hearing about our rights and privileges as American citizens. The time has come, and is, when we ought to hear about the duties and responsibilities of our citizenship. America's future depends upon her accepting and demonstrating God's government."
When asked by an associate what his duty was as president, Abraham Lincoln replied, "Freedom is the natural condition of the human race in which the Almighty intended men to live. Those who fight the purpose of the Almighty will not succeed. They always have been, they always will be, beaten."
Ronald Reagan, our 40th president, said, "Without God, there is no virtue because there is no prompting of the conscience. Without God, there is a coarsening of the society; without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure. If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under."
George Washington, in 1788, said in a letter to Benjamin Lincoln after the ratification of the Constitution, "No country upon Earth ever had it more in its power to attain these blessings. Much to be regretted indeed would it be, were we to neglect the means and depart from the road which Providence has pointed us to so plainly; I cannot believe it will ever come to pass. The great governor of the universe has led us too long and too far to forsake us in the midst of it. We may, now and then, get bewildered; but I hope and trust that there is good sense and virtue enough left to recover the right path."
Harry Truman, our 33rd president, said, "The basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings we get from Exodus and St. Matthew, from Isaiah and St. Paul. I don't think we emphasize that enough these days. If we don't have a proper fundamental moral background, we will finally end up with a government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the State."
In 1863, President Lincoln said, "We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us. It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness."
I could go on and on with quotes from many people but hopefully the above have given you something to consider. Think about what these people have said and compare with what we see going on in our country today. The answers to many of our questions likely will be in November.
* Quotes from "The Glory of America" by Peter Marshall and David Manuel.
Arris Johnson is a member of the Generations advisory committee.