America, the Ten Commandments, and the Culture War
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
No one can doubt that the United States of America is in the midst of a culture war. This war has been going on for over forty years. The war is between two opposing forces. On the one hand, there is the “politically correct” crowd—those who embrace pluralism, atheism, agnosticism, and humanism. They generally reject the God of the Bible and the principles of morality contained therein. They define “liberty” as the right to believe in and practice whatever they choose. “Freedom” to them means freedom from restraint. They wish to be left free to indulge their fleshly appetites fully. This indulgence has manifested itself most clearly in what was referred to in the 1960s as the “Sexual Revolution.” Many people have insisted on being unhampered in their engagement in illicit sexual activity, i.e., pre-marital, extra-marital, and homosexual sex. (The United States Supreme Court, in an unprecedented action—in direct contradiction to the stance that has completely dominated American civilization since its inception—has single-handedly struck down state sodomy laws—see Supreme Court, 2003). This sexual anarchy has naturally resulted in two critical cultural catastrophes: (1) widespread divorce and the breakdown of the home and family; and (2) the legalization of abortion. After all, illicit sexual activity inevitably destroys marriage, and it has, in turn, led to the destruction of children—either by killing them in the womb or neglecting to rear them properly. Most of the ills of society, and the core of the present culture war, is traceable to this lack of sexual restraint.
On the other hand, there are still those in America who understand that God exists, i.e., the God of the Bible, the Creator of humanity and the Supreme Ruler of the Universe. They recognize that the Bible is His communication to humanity to instruct people how to be successful and happy in this life and how to prepare for the life to come in eternity. They recognize that American civilization must maintain its Christian foundation if it expects to survive and flourish—as it has done for the 150 years preceding the current culture war.
One way to view these two opposing forces is in terms of the generational shifting that has occurred in America. The World War II generation represents the previous social atmosphere when Americans were encouraged to be “God-fearing citizens” who lived according to unchanging Christian values and the standard of the Bible. The “Babyboomer” generation is largely responsible for orchestrating change and igniting the culture war. The mottos of the 1960s illustrate this defiant rejection of the past: “do your own thing,” “make love, not war,” “if it feels good, do it,” and “the devil made me do it.” Such slogans exposed the underlying intent: “I want to be left free to do whatever I want to do with no restrictions and no one telling me what I can and cannot do.” The “generation gap” of the 1960s was simply a rebellion against authority. The present culture war is the result of the continuing attempt to be free from authority and restraint. It is the attempt to rewrite law to make lawlessness legal!
That is what the Ten Commandments monument in Alabama is all about. It’s not about that particular monument. It’s not really even about the Ten Commandments themselves. After all, the Bible teaches that God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses to govern the Israelites (Exodus 20:1-17). Christians have never been under the Ten Commandments per se (Colossians 2:14; Hebrews 9:15-17). They are under New Testament law brought by Christ and His apostles. Is there considerable overlap between the laws given by Moses (which included the Ten Commandments) and the laws given by Christ? Certainly. In fact, nine of the Ten Commandments (excluding the Sabbath) are repeated in one form or another in the New Testament as being a part of New Testament Christianity. What Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has said is that the Constitution endorses the acknowledgment of the God of the Bible in public life (see “Transcript,” 2003). Note carefully what Justice Moore explained:
Anytime you deny the acknowledgment of God you are undermining the entire basis for which our country exists. Rights come from God, not from government. If government can give you rights, government can take them away from you. If God gives you rights, no man and no government can take them away from you. That was the premise of the organic law of this country, which is the Declaration of Independence. Because, if there is no God, then man’s power is the controlling aspect, and therefore power will be centralized (quoted in Wright, 2003).
The Founding Fathers intended for the Bible to be recognized as the foundation of American civilization. They never envisioned the government being allowed to interfere with the free exercise of the Christian religion in public life (see Barton, 1996). They would surely view as insane the generation that would remove from government premises a monument that celebrates Bible law, only to install a monument celebrating homosexual war veterans (see Limbacher, 2003).
For over forty years now, the Christian foundations of American civilization have been undergoing gradual, incessant erosion. The non-Christian forces of society, assisted in large measure by an unrestrained, leftist judiciary, have been systematically dismantling the nation’s ties to the Bible, removing one by one the public symbols of America’s Christian roots. The recent brouhaha over the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance is simply one more example among a long series wherein the liberal forces, under the guise of “civil liberties” and “separation of church and state” (a phrase not even found in the Constitution) are attempting to expunge all traces of America’s Christian heritage. Make no mistake: the nation has embarked upon a slippery slope that will guarantee its downward spiral into the abyss of godless hedonism. The attack upon external symbols of attachment to God—Bible monuments, the Pledge, “In God We Trust” on coinage, Leviticus 25:10 on the Liberty Bell, and a host of other ties—is simply part of the larger conspiracy to act out hostility toward the God Who places restraints upon human behavior.
Many who have embraced the myth of a “religionless” society and government (interpreting “freedom of religion” to mean “freedom from religion” rather than “freedom for religion” as the Founding Fathers intended) have naively presumed that humans will automatically choose to do “right” (whatever “right” is), and that humans can be their own authority without any outside interference from a higher power imposing an objective standard upon them. They dispute the historical evidence that unrestrained freedom results in moral chaos and social anarchy. Whereas Hinduism posits millions of gods (like all the pagan religions that have existed in human history—gods conjured up by their human creators and, hence, flawed like their creators), Buddhism removes humanity from the notion of higher powers “out there” to whom humans ought to look for guidance, and places divinity within each individual. Hence, every human has within himself/herself sufficient insight into “right” if he/she can just “get in touch” with the inner self. To fail to do so is to be subjected to a virtually endless cycle of reliving earthly existence through an infinite number of life forms (animal and plant) until one learns his/her lesson and “gets it right.” American civilization has been the victim of serious encroachment by this secular “New Age” philosophy.
Please excuse the bluntness, but such thinking is irrational, nonsensical, and, well, absurd. The only rational perspective is the biblical one, the one upon which this nation was founded—that one Supreme Being exists Who is nonphysical (i.e., spirit—John 4:24), transcendent of the physical realm, and infinite in all of His attributes. No other rational explanation exists for what we observe all round us. Evolution certainly does not account for it. No atheist, mystic, or existential philosopher has come up with an adequate explanation. The evidence points to the existence of God—the God described on the pages of the Bible. As the Creator, He has communicated to humans regarding their origin, their purpose in life, and their eternal destiny. Those who wish to be free from restraint in order to indulge their fleshly appetites may invent complex, convoluted alternate explanations for human existence, they may insist that moral behavior is subjective and susceptible to the whim of human inclination, but no such evasions will alter the facts. Those who remain rational, objective, and unbiased are forced to conclude that spiritual reality is within the grasp of every accountable human being. But the individual must decide to seek the truth.
If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect. The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord (Psalm 33:10-12).Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people (Proverbs 14:34).
Barton, David (1996), Original Intent (Aledo, TX: Wallbuilders Press).
Limbacher, Carl (2003), “Monument to Homosexuals Is OK; Monument to Ten Commandments Isn’t,” [On-line], URL: http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2003/8/27/142215.shtml.
Supreme Court of the United States Syllabus (2003), “Lawrence, et al. vs. Texas,” [On-line], URL: http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/02pdf/02-102.pdf.
“Transcript: Justice Moore on His Monumental Battle,” Fox News, [On-line], URL: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,95342,00.html.
Wright, Wendy (2003), “Citizens Organize Events to Support Chief Justice Moore,” [On-line], URL: http://www.cwfa.org/articles/4428/CWA/freedom/index.htm.