We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
So said Founding Father and America's second President John Adams. And he was absolutely right. And that is what is absolutely wrong with our country today: America is in a complete moral, societal, and cultural meltdown.
Founding Father and America's first US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Jay correctly summarised the reason our new nation (and the fight for its liberty and independence) was successful. He wrote in Federalist 2, "With equal pleasure I have as often taken notice that Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people - a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs, and who, by their joint counsels, arms, and efforts, fighting side by side throughout a long and bloody war, have nobly established general liberty and independence."
In other words, a united constitutional republic can only exist within the framework of certain rather narrow and finite conditions. Remove those conditions and the framework for liberty and limited government falls apart. And the above statements by Adams and Jay succinctly summarise the conditions necessary for freedom's framework.
"A moral and religious people"
At America's founding, the principles of Christian philosophy and ideology were universally accepted. The vast majority of the colonists were churchgoing, Protestant Christians who firmly embraced and respected the sacred principles taught in the Holy Scriptures. In fact, the reason most colonists placed such a high premium on education was so that children would be able to read and study the Bible for themselves. It is more than interesting that America's early educators all centred their curriculum upon the Bible. Include in this august list Benjamin Harris, publisher of the New England Primer; the "Father of American Education", Noah Webster; along with one of early America's most successful school textbook authors, William Holmes McGuffey.
Beyond that, when we talk about colonial America's love of worship, we are not talking about what passes for "worship" in modern America. We are not talking about these Disneyland entertainment villages known as mega-churches. We are not talking about espresso Sunday Schools or glorified social clubs. We are talking about a place where preachers were bold and powerful proclaimers of truth and where people went to learn the Word of God (and how to apply it to every walk of life - including politics), not wallow in slurpy, sugary, shallow sermonettes that do nothing to prepare men for Christian warfare.
I challenge anyone to compare any of the sermons by colonial preachers such as Elisha Williams, Charles Chauncy, Jonathan Mayhew, Isaac Backus, Samuel Sherwood, John Witherspoon, Jacob Cushing, Samuel Cooper, Samuel Langdon, John Leland, Samuel Miller, Enos Hitchcock, Ebenezer Baldwin, or Jonathan Edwards with anything preached by Joel Osteen or Rick Warren.
Is it any wonder, then, that one cannot really distinguish the conduct and attitudes of professing Christians from those who make no Christian profession? Is it any wonder that churchgoing "Christians" seem to be as unkind, as deceitful, as lazy, as greedy, as unthankful, and as immoral as those who make no pretense regarding their unbelief? In fact, in some cases, those with no Christian profession put professing Christians to shame in matters of basic morality, decency, and civility. Why? One reason is the fact that the Church as a whole is no longer "the pillar and ground of the truth". Rather, it is more commonly regarded as being a Big Business enterprise that is focused more on political correctness and entertainment than it is on possessing real conviction or spiritual power.
Add to the collapse of spirituality in America's churches the collapse of morality in America's culture. We're talking about old-fashioned, basic morality. How is it that so many Americans seem to be so ignorant about the simplest moral principles? When did greed and ambition replace a desire for honest character? When did comfort and ease replace conviction for (and understanding of) good government? How is it that even "conservatives" have come to look to Washington, DC, for answers to State or even personal problems?
How is it that the fear of God is no longer relevant when choosing our civil magistrates? How can businessmen continue to sacrifice the sacred principles of liberty on the altar of financial profits? Are money and wealth really more important than liberty and peace? How can politicians blatantly disregard their oaths to the Constitution? How can they continue to grovel before special interest groups - and even foreign interests? How can they - so willingly and easily - violate the liberty principles enshrined in the Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence?
Without an understanding of (and an appreciation for) basic morality, America will collapse. Money and military might cannot and will not replace the time-tested foundations of morality and fidelity. The collapse of basic morality portends the collapse of America itself.