My Country Was of Thee

Praying-Ladyby Deana Chadwell5/18/16
Our father’s God to, Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.

Yet, Obama says that we are not a Christian nation. And maybe we aren’t any more. Let’s define that term:

It does not, nor has it ever meant, that every citizen is a professing believer in Jesus Christ, or ought to be. Even in the earliest days of westward migration there were Jews amongst the brave souls who ventured to cross the Atlantic.

It doesn’t mean that all of the founding fathers were Christians, though the language of their writings, both private and public, would indicate most were.

A Christian country is one saturated with Christian standards, with biblical thinking, with a societal organization that runs close to the precepts of the Mosaic Law.  For instance, the “trickle-up” allotment of power — from family, to village, to county, to state, to federal government –power was intended to be distributed most heavily at the lowest levels, as it was in the fledgling nation of Israel – family, clan, tribe, nation, God. (Note: no king)

A Christian nation bases its core law close to the Ten Commandments and America’s commitment to that concept can be seen in the monuments bearing those edicts on government buildings from small town to the Supreme Court.

America is a Christian nation because our culture has always been saturated with Christian assumptions, references, and behaviors. The cords that have held this nation together are biblical.

It is biblical thinking that brought people here, and the hard work such thinking produces built, in a very brief time, a thoroughly prosperous and functional civilization. I’ll never forget the first time I saw the Old North Church. I had expected a rustic building, barn-wood red perhaps, weathered and crude. What I found was a gem of architecture – brick, white trimmed, and gracefully steepled, the interior sunny, orderly and beautiful. It was then that I understood what the colonists fought to keep. They had created a whole new world and England had no right to it. The world they built was Christian.

Our bedrock suppositions, our ideas of what ought to be, are Christian principles. Americans grow up believing in the value of loving our fellow man, in justice, goodness, faithfulness, in producing things of worth with hard work and devotion to duty. True, our most recent generations are not learning these concepts; much effort has gone into disabusing our youth of the principles taught them by their parents and clergymen, but these concepts are so woven into the fabric of this nation that they take much effort to pull out. This makes America like no other country.

You don’t see these traits in predominantly Muslim societies. In those places women and children are treated cruelly, filth and sloth are the rule, and integrity is not seen as a useful, beneficial standard. Murder and mayhem prevail.

I have had, over the decades as a high school teacher, a fair number of exchange students come through my classroom. Many have been from Asian countries, and those students have told me how much they love being in America because Americans are so kind – a trait they saw much less of in their home nations.

Even while church attendance drops, that concern for the wellbeing of others remains embedded in our thinking. That didn’t come out of nowhere; it came from several hundred years of being admonished to “Treat others as you would have them treat you.”

Christianity saturates the artistic part of our culture as well. From Negro spirituals, to more traditional hymns our music has been washed in Christian thought. Everyone recognizes the strains of “Amazing Grace” or “Silent Night.”

Our literature, too, is rife with biblical references, starting with children’s stories about Noah’s Ark, or Jonah and the Whale. Most people know that the Red Sea parted and the walls of Jericho came tumbling down. The name “Nimrod” is still synonymous with “idiot,” though many may not know he was the fool who built the Tower of Babel. Those stories are buried in our national soul.

It’s hard to find a classic American novel that’s free of biblical allusions, even when the author claims no biblical allegiance. The Christ-figures alone are impressive – Jim Casey in Grapes of Wrath, Santiago in The Old Man and the Sea, McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Owen Meany in John Irving’s famous novel bearing the same name. Over and over again American authors reach for a symbol of ultimate sacrifice and guess who they come up with? Jesus Christ. He is in our cellular structure, our cultural bones. Yet these authors are not evangelicals trying to proselytize. They are writers trying to connect with a readership that will know what they are talking about. We are a Christian culture.

Or we were. Now all things Christian are fair game for ridicule, lawsuits, physical attack. Not only are our school children being robbed of their opportunity to learn our Christian heritage, they are being assaulted on one hand with anti-Christian teaching in many of their classes, followed by Islamic propaganda. The phrase separation of church and state masquerades as a constitutional statement applicable only to Christian concepts. A student entering public school from an un-churched family could complete his entire education and never hear the name of Christ, never know His story, let alone His message. He’ll know who Mohammed was, but not Jesus. This student, like our president, will have no idea what made this country the greatest nation the world has ever seen.

As our culture pulls further and further away from biblical morality, common sense evaporates. I recently began watching House of Cards  – years late, I know – and I enjoyed the Machiavellian plotting and the Iago-like performance of Kevin Spacey until I hit the episode that had the vice-president of the United States, his wife, and his driver involved in a drunken, gay three-some. It’s true, now that we’ve had the Clintons in office, just about any debauchery is possible, but placing it in my living room with no advanced warning passed my limit. It evidently wasn’t past the limit of most viewers, though, because the show is moving into its fourth season.

Much of the demise of the Christian tenor of America lands squarely in the laps of the churches. Little biblical teaching is going on in most of those institutions, so little that the Barna Group research shows 80% of Christian college students claim to have lost their faith. They evidently were not “armed with the full armor of God.” The popular rock-band-youth-group theology failed to prepare them.

The subtle anti-Christian multiculturalism that places exceptions as more important than the norm, will undo the whole fabric of this amazing American experiment, an experiment in human social organization that brought civilization forward into a prosperity, a decency, a national integrity that had never been seen before. The warp and woof of that society has been Christianity.

Our Christ-inspired largess toward those of other persuasions is not a surrender of our high ground; it is an expression of it.

Our Christian concern for the welfare of those less fortunate is not a submission to Marxist principles because it is personal, not collectivist.

Our Christian desire to come to the aid of refugees is not a willingness to offer up the wellbeing of our own children as sacrifices to other gods.

Our readiness to treat others as we would be treated is not a refusal to stand up for all those ideals our Christian faith teaches us to hold dear.

Long may our land be bright
With freedom’s holy light;
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God, our King!

We are a Christian nation — or we are no nation at all.


Deana Chadwell blogs at ASingleWindow.com and is a writing and speech professor at Pacific Bible College in Southern Oregon.
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Deana Chadwell

About Deana Chadwell

I have spent my life teaching young people how to read and write and appreciate the wonder of words. I have worked with high school students and currently teach writing at Pacific Bible College in southern Oregon. I have spent more than forty years studying the Bible, theology, and apologetics and that finds its way into my writing whether I'm blogging about my experiences or my opinions. I have two and a half moldering novels, stacks of essays, hundreds of poems, some which have won state and national prizes. All that writing -- and more keeps popping up -- needs a home with a big plate glass window; it needs air; it needs a conversation. I am also an artist who works with cloth, yarn, beads, gourds, polymer clay, paint, and photography. And I make soap.
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35 Responses to My Country Was of Thee

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    Liberal rejection of Christianity reflects partly their tendency to embrace perversion, and partly their collectivist rejection of voluntary individual charity. As for the Golden Rule, I read once that C. S. Lewis reported that it exists in all religions — except Islam. The greater strength of religion in America, combined with its national worship of individualism, no doubt explains its greater importance here than in other countries. But this is obviously changing as America becomes more collectivist. The epidemic of hate crime hoaxes is a good example of this decline.

    Religious references are everywhere in our literature. Consider that some scholars of Sherlock Holmes believe he was born on Epiphany (January 6) because the only play by Shakespeare quoted twice in the Canon (the terminology is itself suggestive, as Cathy Gill pointed out at one of the Dayton Holmes/Doyle symposia) is Twelfth Night.

    But moral codes also play a role. Consider Dreiser’s Sister Carrie, which we read in the 11th grade. It was controversial when it came out due to the aspect of unmarried sex (though Carrie sought marriage from her lover Drouet, the fact remains that she stayed with him even without it). But it also shows the importance of a moral center in making choices by its exposure of the amoral Hurstwood, whose choices (a result of having no moral center) lead him ultimately down to his doom.

  2. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    This is a timely piece about a Catholic cardinal who does not shy from speaking the truth about what is happening in America. I thought it fit very well with Deana’s article.

    http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-05-18/cardinal-robert-sarah-claims-god-is-being-eroded-eclipsed-liquidated-in-the-united-states

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Why isn’t this guy pope? And yet, like the good Catholic, he obediently and reflexively praises Pope Francis. But it is the Pope Francis type who is the problem. With a wink Francis upholds orthodoxy on certain issues while teaching Cultural Marxism as the overriding “social justice” paradigm. Reminds me of the type of mixed messages we get from Trump.

    • That is a good article, Mr. Kung. It’s not like these observations — mine, his, whomever’s — are particularly perceptive; the situation is pretty obvious. The impetus for this essay came from some remarks made by some of my Bible college colleagues. Some of them were denouncing the idea of a Christian America and expressing concern about the lack of cultural diversity on the faculty. It was then that I realized how bad things had gotten. If we have to be multicultural in an evangelical Christian Bible college, then nothing has any meaning left at all. Stop the world; I want to get off.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        It was then that I realized how bad things had gotten. If we have to be multicultural in an evangelical Christian Bible college, then nothing has any meaning left at all. Stop the world; I want to get off.

        I’ve heard about this kind of stuff before. The height of compassion is considered to be “inclusive.” People have had this garbage shoved down their throat so long, they’re embarrassed (or feel uncomfortable) being one of the types who ought to be “included” by others. But instead they evaporate away their own beliefs to be “inclusive” while everyone else just believes what they believe and are “included” by the Kumbaya Christians.

        I sneer at this kind of Kumbaya Christianity. And perhaps that doesn’t say much for my character. But I get my hackles up when something good is being destroyed. Not only are these fools helping to tear apart Western Civilization by leaving the door wide open for Cultural Marxism, but they are (if they believe their own doctrine) being traitors to Christ.

        If you believe John 14:6 (I am the way and the truth and the life), you’re not doing anyone any favors by letting Cultural Marxism act like a vampire bat on your theology and drain away its life.

        People these days just lack the kind of wise and tempered conviction that used to be the bedrock of being a good person. A good person bends on some issues but is an oak on others. But he does not just bend because he’s learned to do so reflexively.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          It’s easy to see that most Catholic colleges in America reject their church’s doctrine. I think it was Marquette that went after a professor who defended students espousing Catholic views on homosexual issues against a liberal professor. William Peter Blatty (author of The Exorcist) has sought to get the Church to discipline Georgetown (which is very nominally Catholic), but Marquette needs it just as much, and I think there are others as well.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            It’s easy to see that most Catholic colleges in America reject their church’s doctrine.

            This is why the official policy of StubbornThings is “Words mean things…except when they don’t.”

            I think the last thing a decent person should want to be is a “Christian,” particularly given how degraded and cheapened that word has become. One should instead be a “follower of Christ.” And there’s very little Kumbaya in that notion. There is one’s cross to bear. There is discriminating between good and evil and not simply wallpapering over the differences and calling it “inclusive.” There is holding people to good standards instead of punting and defining deviancy downward. There is accepting the deep and painful realties of this world, including that we suffer, sometimes nice guys finish last, and sometimes the bad guys win — which is quite opposite to the expectation of having a warm, comforting, spiritual “buzz” surrounding you at all times.

            What Kumbaya Christianity is is the continued pampering of people, but this time not with two dozen choices of toothpaste on the supermarket shelves. It’s with your choice of emotional ratification. I’ll never forget the real-world experience I had (and that I’ve mentioned before) about a friend of my sister’s who had recently moved because she had divorced. She told my sister in a very ho-hum way that she was looking for the most liberal Catholic Church she could find.

            These people are narcissists. They are silly people looking for the ratification of their liberal doctrine not the transformation into sons and daughters of Christ.

            So keep your labels. No, I’m not one of those ridiculously shallow “no-labels” guys such as David Brooks. But it’s the content that matters, and not so that we define an “in group” and an “out group” and then can collectively turn up our noses at the libtards. It’s so that we don’t get into a habit of fooling ourselves for if we get into that habit, we might start seeing plenty of Trumps in the world and call them conservatives and so on.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        It’s not like these observations — mine, his, whomever’s — are particularly perceptive; the situation is pretty obvious.

        As Orwell said, “In a time of universal deceit-telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

        We are living in such times and need more such revolutionary acts as your piece.

        Some of them were denouncing the idea of a Christian America and expressing concern about the lack of cultural diversity on the faculty

        This use of the word diversity was one of the big changes I noted in our country when I moved back to the USA. I still have not heard anyone give a very convincing reason that diversity is so good for a country. In fact, if one has an honest look at societies, one will find that overly diverse societies lose cultural and political cohesion.

        By the way, has it not occurred to your students that Christianity itself is a unifying, i.e. non-diverse force in society? It is the main force in creating the Western culture.

        I wonder what exactly your students think they will gain from more “cultural diversity” in the teaching staff? Can they articulate what they are actually thinking?

        • Timothy Lane says:

          “Diversity” is a liberal shibboleth. Never mind that it leads to a loss of social cohesion (as has now been established in a Robert Putnam study, and could have been guessed all along). And the last thing they’ll ever consider is ideological diversity, which is how you get embarrassments like the recent Facebook exposé.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            Diversity” is a liberal shibboleth. Never mind that it leads to a loss of social cohesion (as has now been established in a Robert Putnam study, and could have been guessed all along).

            I believe I have previously mentioned an old study showing how “diversity” helped destroy Burmese society. In those days, diversity was called pluralism.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            A concept too complicate for today’s kumbaya crowd (including most libertarians) is that the good society that was conceived to be America was one where order was necessarily in dynamic tension with liberty.

            That is, we would not have government tell us every little thing, but neither would we have government constrain nothing.

            And against this backdrop, what is the framework that allows us to choose the necessary and weed out the mere fanciful or arbitrary? Well, Deana has set it out very well. It was always against a generally Christian (or some might say “Judeo-Chrisitian”) backdrop, spiced and liberalized with more modern ideas of liberty.

            Early and necessary experiments to the contrary, America was not meant to be a religious utopia either. And real Christians do not believe in any such thing. I remember reading, with great amusement, how the Puritans were completely unsurprised by the evil in the world. It was never on their radar that evil could be eradicated, although they chose to try to live in communities where it wasn’t the norm.

            We now live in an utopia of the emotion where everyone suddenly has a right to “self-actualization,” even if that means that your self or my self gets put in a literal or figurative gulag in order for this to happen. Without a bedrock of solid, rational, agreed-upon standards than “diversity” is not a strength. It’s a weakness that only the feeble-minded can see as a strength. Only a strong and coherent vessel can ever hold a variety of things. But variety itself is no vessel. And if you try to make the concept of “diversity” a framework, all you get is anarchy. And some (including myself) would say this is just what those on the demonic Left desire.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              Anarchy is chaos, and chaos leads to total order — in other words, a police state. And that’s what liberals want, as long as they run it. And here in America, they think they’ve arranged demography so that their control is guaranteed. Perhaps this is why they’ve now gone wild. The 2012 election results told them they’d finally done it.

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                Anarchy. This is where libertarians and liberals meet as the left/right spectrum wraps around on itself. It’s an odious thought to most libertarians that the state should restrict any behavior other than what they themselves carefully designate with their generally short, but impracticable, rules.

                The “Give me liberty or give me death” impulse untempered by the need for some kind of order and shared values will lead to a distempered society. Conservatives are certainly glad to have that “Live free or die” impulse. But we simply think it’s trivializing the concept when libertarians obsess over pot while giving a free ride to the bazillion other and more important constraints imposed by the nanny state.

                On the other side are those for whom society is their identity. We call them “Progressives.” Pop culture is their perfume of choice and they can easily pretend it doesn’t stink because everyone is wearing it. The idea of aspects of life other than ego and the material do not occur to them. Onward and upward and always.

                Thus in this decidedly materialist mindset there is no other way to be other than to be aggrieved at every inconvenience, especially in this highly technological and market-oriented culture where there are a dozen products for every little inconvenience.

                I really hated the movie, “Wall-E.” But the one great image I took away from it were all those enormous people who were being carried around on floating chairs. They never had to walk or lift a finger for anything. That’s the utopia we are headed for.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                Liberals (like the Confederates of 1861) want their personal freedom — i.e., a life of no restrictions on them. Thus, there need be no freedom of speech because they’d never say the sorts of things their side will seek to ban. So lifestyle restrictions that affect them must be stopped — but bans on cigarettes are all right.

            • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

              We now live in an utopia of the emotion where everyone suddenly has a right to “self-actualization,”

              The Left uses this exaltation of utopian emotion, in conjunction with their praise of diversity, for different objects.

              It has reached the point to where it gives cover to every pervert, deviant, crook, misfit and malcontent to “push” their desires without others being able to push back from a moral point of view. Hey, were are just being “diverse” and all choices are equally valid. (In practice this is true only so long as the choices are non-traditional) Thus it fragments society.

              Furthermore, the constant pursuit of emotion is something like drug addiction. It leads to little which is concrete or worthwhile. It causes perpetual confusion in its adherents, thereby leaving them easy prey to the evil types which Tim calls the inner-party.

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                The Left uses this exaltation of utopian emotion, in conjunction with their praise of diversity, for different objects.

                We should do a seminar, Mr. Kung., on “Emotions vs. Reason.” There are valid sides to both, of course. But I tend to agree with Dennis Prager who says we now emphasize “feelings over standards.”

                What does it mean in today’s culture to have an unrequited emotion? Yes, we would not be human beings in any meaningful sense, nor would our lives be worthwhile, if we didn’t have things we wished to pursue.

                But mere emotion as a guide is horrible. Emotions change at the drop of a hat. Who hasn’t sat behind the keyboard on the internet and erased a couple sentences before hitting “send”? This is not necessarily because we are cowards, or even particularly sensitive to others, although those aspects may come into play. It’s because emotions can, and usually should, cool and give some air to the better (and wiser) angels of our nature, you stupid, bigoted, sophomoric nimrod. (Opps…forgot to delete.)

                There’s nothing wrong with emotion, per se. But the pursuit of it (as with the pursuit of “reason”) out of balance with other considerations tends to be destructive and dumb.

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                But mere emotion as a guide is horrible. Emotions change at the drop of a hat. Who hasn’t sat behind the keyboard on the internet and erased a couple sentences before hitting “send”? This is not necessarily because we are cowards, or even particularly sensitive to others, although those aspects may come into play. It’s because emotions can, and usually should, cool and give some air to the better (and wiser) angels of our nature, you stupid, bigoted, sophomoric nimrod. (Opps…forgot to delete.)

                Since the times of ancient Greece (at the latest) thinkers have warned of a person being controlled by his emotions. Whole philosophical systems have been built around this, think Stoicism.

                Kung Fu Zu’s philosophy also dealt with this in that it laid out societal relationships and the obligations incumbent on each.

                Throughout history, everyone has understood the danger of unbridled emotions, but only the criminal cultural Marxists have tried to keep humanity in such an infantile and destructive state.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          This use of the word diversity was one of the big changes I noted in our country when I moved back to the USA. I still have not heard anyone give a very convincing reason that diversity is so good for a country.

          There’s nothing wrong with “diversity” when it means “Allow for peaceable disagreement and non-conformity.”
          Call that “classical liberalism” if you wish (a phrase I’ve come to hate…but that’s another subject).

          But what “diversity” now means is the preeminence of grievance, of abnormalcy, and nihilism, not simply the peaceful coexistence with these factions. Instead of anchoring our ship to the bedrock and allowing for a few barnacles we have instead decided that a “diverse” number of holes in the hull is reason for celebration.

        • It’s interesting, but I don’t hear much social “justice” kind of talk from my students. They are people who’ve chosen to dig deep into biblical studies and to take them seriously. I don’t always adhere to the brand(s) of theology taught at my school, but it is actual Christian theology. It was the shock of hearing that kind of talk from faculty that amazed me, though it came mostly from the counseling department, which may explain a lot.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Feel free to distribute all the literature and information for Pacific Bible College in Southern Oregon that you would like. I’m not sure that we’re a site they would approve of. But certainly it sounds as if that is a college I would approve of.

            My brother has a doctorate (or masters…I forget) in theology and he’s been to a few seminaries here and there. And without betraying any secrets, let’s just say it shocked him at times not only how irreligious some places were but how they put the emphasis on cold-blooded marketing. I keep prompting my brother to write of his adventures but he’s too busy writing his music…which is fine because he does produce some really good stuff.

            I ran into a friend of a friend who had some excellent stories to tell about her liberal past in California, particularly of some of her son’s adventures in the libtard colleges. I practically begged her to write something but haven’t seen anything in my inbox. I encourage people to use a pseudonym if they are in the least wary of their privacy.

            But most people just want to bitch and complain. Here we at least do it in style and of 1000 words or better. 😀

  3. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    As our culture pulls further and further away from biblical morality, common sense evaporates. I recently began watching House of Cards

    Deana, don’t bother with the American version. It’s debased like so much else in American culture. Go to the original British version with Ian Richardson. There’s still plenty of bad behavior. But it’s not as crude as the American version…which I gave up on after a couple episodes.

  4. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Our Christ-inspired largess toward those of other persuasions is not a surrender of our high ground; it is an expression of it.

    This is where it gets tricky. People have been indoctrinated into a deep-seated guilty about being white, Western, and/or Christian. I believe much of “outreach” under the Christian banner is simply the playing out of Cultural Marxism whereby we assuage guilt by giving the supposedly stolen riches back to the poor people. And this is in place of actually helping to raise them up, both by an insertion of material needs (where Cultural Marxism and Christianity intersect) and an insertion of moral needs (which Cultural Marxism forbids…we must not blame the victim).

    I seriously doubt that many Christians know they are being useful idiots for the Left, even in much of their charity.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I don’t know how much of a problem it is now, but apparently the Catholic pederasty problem started in some (but not all) seminaries, which had been taken over by what amounted to homosexual recruiters. Perhaps they simply have a different set of corrupt recruiters today.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        My older brother came in the other day and told me I just had to see the movie, “Spotlight.” He had worked up a pretty good 2-minute hate for the Catholic Church. And maybe it’s deserved. Institutions need to be held responsible for systemic behavior.

        I haven’t seen the movie. But I told him to be careful to separate Catholicism from Cultural Marxism. I’ve heard that monasteries have become the safe-havens for homosexual men — somewhat of an open and cynical joke. (Never, ever, ever choose a Jesuit for a Pope.) And given the general surge toward Kumbaya Christianity (that is, Cultural Marxism as the reigning bedrock principle, not the Bible), it might be better, or at least fairer, to look at the pedophile priest problem as a liberalism problem, which I think it is.

  5. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Liberalism is the belief that all aspects of culture are arbitrary. If large numbers of Christians are going off to seminary and then losing their faith (as I’ve heard is the case as well), they are being taught in one way or another that Christianity is just another religion, just another belief system, no better than another.

    Maybe this is true or isn’t true. But you’d think it’s not the point of Christian seminaries to teach the tenets of Cultural Marxism (relativism, no absolute truth, “diversity,” multiculturalism, all adding up to an implicit atheism). But, again, look at the Catholics who have a Cultural Marxist Pope for all intents and purposes, not a Catholic one. This stuff is real and this stuff is happening.

    The official policy of StubbornThings is to be kind to Christians (although Kumbaya Christians might find some discomfort). And we (that’s a royal “we” in this case) are not kind because Christianity is simply traditional or a slightly better religion than all the others (both of which are objectively true given the “know them by their fruits” test method). And we are not kind because it might serve to ally ourselves in case hell is true (hell is Trump voters at the end of either pro-Trump or anti-Trump articles). We (you can kiss my ring later) do so because it is the best case for the reality of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. And if these things are not objectively real then nihilism reigns and nothing means nothing and everything is arbitrary so go ahead and put “transgenders” in girl’s bathrooms. (I still want my spot in the Swedish bikini team showers, but that’s another, perhaps tangential, story.)

    Deana has written one of the better essays that has ever been published here. It deserves to be read widely and shared widely and I hope you do so. Let Facebook be used for something more useful than stupid stories about someone’s cat.

    Most people (including probably most Christians) are materialists of one sort or another. That means they measure their life but what they have or don’t have, by whether they are happy or not, and whether they are esteemed by others or not. Your friendly Editor believes this is all hogwash. Life is pain. Life is suffering. Life is disappointment. Life is a travail. It is sprinkled with many good, true, and beautiful things as well. And we should be thankful for them. But the Christian saints were not the ones who led the easiest lives and thus were closest to God. Usually it was the pain of their lives that led them to refocus from the purely material to the spiritual.

    This is one reason the Christianity has so easily been rotted out. The general thrust of Christianity these days isn’t to good conduct, thankfulness, or even love. It’s about good kumbaya feelings, acceptance as an absolute good, and understanding the Christ died on the cross because he was so “nice.”

    The early Americans showed that there was no conflict between belief in a Creator and bettering ourselves while on this planet. “The business of America is business” is not in conflict with the idea of a large system of ethics that lies above this. Industry, creativity, productivity, and securing property are good things because we see the poison of sloth, anti-capitalism, envy of “the rich,” the dullness of being a beggar, and the four-corners rot of socialism.

    But believing is only one aspect. There are American traditionalists, Constitutionalists, and real Christians and Catholics still out there. But what they typically don’t know how to do is defend their ideas. The drip, drip, drip acid of Marxism, Freudianism, and Darwinism have prepared the culture for a deep materialist cynicism. The equation for the great unwashed is, “Oh, so you want me to believe in something else? Then you’re going to have to show how I gain from this.”

    The definition of a good life has been so narrowed that any non-materialist perspective tends to be treated by, and thus dissolved in, the acid of materialist cynicism. And the belief that all things are arbitrary, merely a matter of convention, have these supposedly clear-eyed materialists believing stuff far beyond the faith heights of Christianity. They can believe that there is really no such thing as man and woman, for instance. Given that truth is relative (meaning that it is a function of culture, not actual research and facts), they believe in global warming because its a popular belief. The same with Darwinism. The same with so many other things that either have little or no evidence for them or are just completely arbitrary.

    And one of the things that has occurred to me about the Ten Commandments is the first one: “You shall have no other gods before me.” I used to suppose this was about getting to the real monotheistic god instead of the various pagan earthly gods. And that is still true in a general way. But the point is that the earthly gods are mere projections of our desires, our wants, our fears, and our egos. In essence, that first commandment says “Do not make a god of yourself.” But that is precisely what materialist, nihilist, atheist, kumbaya Western culture has done. And this god is the most jealous of all. And destructive.

  6. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I was pleased to see American Thinker put Deana’s article at the top of the charts today. I sometimes read some of the comments to see how the article was received and if there is anyone smarter there than we are (not likely, but always looking for new talent). 😉

    With this subject in mind, it’s interesting to read an article by an apparent libertarian masquerading as a conservative who once again is telling us to get rid of those “social issues.” There is just no room for a “moral order” in American life.

    And yet this Einstein seems to have no inkling that what he is proposing in his philosophy (such as it is) is simply yet another moral order. It’s a highly materialist one, surprise surprise. And who can argue with his summation of “We need to be the movement of smaller government, free markets and individual liberty”?

    The problem is, it requires a moral order on a level above to have this. It requires moral ideas such as honesty, self-responsibility, respect for the rights and property of others, and a wide-eyed acknowledgment of the limits of human nature.

    It’s all well and good to espouse smaller government. But unless you can make the moral case that people can, and ought to, take care of themselves barring extraordinary circumstances, you can’t have smaller government. And you can’t have free markets without a moral order that says that people should be free to make most of their own choices, even including sometimes making bad choices, rather than having a government try to “rescue” them all the time. This is decidedly one moral conception of society as opposed to another.

    Another rather shallow libertarian who engages in cut-flower ethics. “Cut-flower ethics” is the idea that it’s easy enough to get a free ride off of the unacknowledged moral framework already established (which is roughly Judeo-Christian) and then proudly proclaim to the world “We don’t need any moral order but free markets and nobody dumping any pollution in the rivers.”

    And those ethics, like the cut flowers, will wilt because they are not grounded in anything. They ignore the soil that the flower grew in in the first place.

    So, sorry, I have not respect for this kind of fool pretending to be a spokesman for conservatism who is really a libertarian and who shares all the typical foolishness of libertarians.

    This Einstein just assumes the moral order is easy and self-evident:

    Certainly, the government has established laws prohibiting murder, theft, and discrimination.

    No. There are societies where murder, theft, and discrimination are the norm, where they are in fact the reigning moral order. There is nothing necessarily natural or self-evident about laws prohibiting these things. In fact, if this guy were half as smart as he thinks he is, he might notice that libertarians, by and large, are for abortion which is certainly a practice that dispenses with inalienable rights, if not crosses the line to murder. And how does anyone think they can ever be an impediment to the moral order of socialism without first presenting a contrary one in which then (and only then) all those conservative things such as limited government, liberty, and individual rights can blossom?

    Forgive my rant, but I’m just so tired of this kind of blinkered idiocy.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Some sort of law, or custom, against theft and murder (at least within the tribe or nation) is likely to exist, but discrimination? It’s amazing that this libertarian is so poorly educated as to be unaware of what the civil rights era was about. For that matter, the strict libertarian argument is against anti-discrimination laws. But I suspect that libertarian is committed to the homosexual agenda, which is generally libertinist rather than libertarian.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Well, I agree, But it makes me thing, Why shouldn’t you discriminate (in the sense of bigotry, not making valid and necessary distinctions) against someone? The Left’s dogma allows it…even requires it. They do not treat people equally. Some are more equal than others. If you’re not amongst the designated victim groups, you do not share equal rights in the eyes of the Left. Period.

        Why shouldn’t a libertarian discriminate? After all, the free market is just a contract between individuals making free choices. And if he doesn’t want to serve a black or an Asian, why should he be forced to? And, in fact, libertarians tend to be loath to offer any kind of criticism to the slave states prior to the Civil War.

        These questions are difficult even without the moral confusion of libertarianism or Leftism. Why would it be considered okay by normal and decent Americans to have the right not to bake a cake for a queer couple but it would be considered wrong to refuse service just because of someone’s skin color?

        Even yours truly, the profound intellectual wordsmith that he is, would find it hard to make these distinctions in one or two sentences. In fact, from a Christian perspective, you ought to treat all people with a certain modicum of dignity — including people who decide to be queer or believe they are Napoleon. A Christian could in good conscience decide to bake a cake for a queer couple and leave it in the hands of God whether such a union is anything but a farce, mere frosting with no actual cake underneath.

        The question becomes what government compels us to do. And libertarianism has no moral framework upon which to make a solid argument one way or another. It has only simplistic, non-realistic, and decidedly non-persuasive arguments. The idea that “coercion” of any kind is wrong is completely contrary with organizing any number of people above one into a society. It’s just libertarian pie-in-the-sky nonsense. Basically they punt in regards to morality and then say the moral sphere just doesn’t count.

        The homosexual marriage/rights issue is complicated by the fact that it isn’t about rights for gays. Richard F. Miniter in What the restroom war is really about touches on some of the elemental truths of this subject (which is a completely manufacture one). It’s about a war against men, masculinity, and being allowed any sense of identity outside of the state. Bingo. He gets it. The useful idiots who support this “gender” baloney do not. And as I’ve stated before, and I’ll do so again, if queer marriage were only about the right of two sexually confused or damaged people to join together, I wouldn’t be against it. But it’s not about that.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Discrimination involves making judgments about people, and liberals obamanate that (since they would come off poorly).

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            I agree. And I think there’s a whole essay there regarding the distinction between making judgments about people and “live and let live.”

            Being an online figure and dirt-disher, I’ve grown used to insults and what-not. And it’s pretty normal for guys to “josh” one another with endless little insults anyway. It’s also called “male bonding.” It’s often, of course, simply the expression of stupid men who are frustrated in themselves and their jobs.

            But I digress. I assert that you can’t have society without a significant gloss of politeness. Even if you just can’t stand some jerk, in many situations it’s just better to put on a happy face, suck it up, and let discretion be the better part of valor.

            Other times a jerk needs to be called a jerk. Frankness must reign. Truth must come out rather than going-along-to-get-along. When and why? Well, if we don’t have some basic discipline over our own distempers, the “when and why” will be strictly primal emotion.

            But if we do, the “when and why” will be because to not confront someone (or some group) in a certain situation is to increment yourself into values that you don’t share and that are not good. Lemmings follow each other over a cliff. But we are not, or should not be, lemmings.

            Your typical low-information tattooed voter has come to equate “polite” with nodding in assent to whatever stupid left wing proposition of “tolerance” comes down the pike while he (or she, but more often a he) remains personally a crude billboard for contraception, or at least serious religious training. We are so damned “nice” to the homeless…which means we make it easy for them to remain in extremely unhealthy situations. We use these “homeless” to show how supposedly “nice” we are. A truly “nice” person would do what he or she could to get the person off drugs, to find him work, to get him to a mental health professional, etc. But the “nice” person simply puts a dollar in his cup and then pontificates about the evils of capitalism.

            I think I digressed again. Suffice it to so that I think our judgments should be soft and often non-existent regarding the small stuff. But we should always keep in mind that great evils start off small. So we have to discriminate between the small stuff that matters and the small stuff that doesn’t matter. And this idea of caring at all depends on having values that are greater than the kind of vacuous “niceness” that pervades so much of our society.

  7. David Ray says:

    I highly recommend material by David Barton of Wall Builders, one of which is “A Christian Heritage”.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      David, as far as I’m concerned, you just named the topic for your next essay. Although Wall Builders, Christian heritage, and the entire idea of the Constitution are becoming foreign languages in a now foreign land, it might be interesting to write a sort of open letter to the low-information voters and summarize what they are missing, perhaps with a few links to the material you are talking about, some quotes, and some of your own concise and well-organized commentary. Just a thought.

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