What happens when a country loses its soul?
Genevieve Wood, a vice president at the Heritage Foundation, describes Greece as “a country that’s lost its soul.” Ms. Wood says, “What we’re seeing there should really terrify us in terms of what could be coming in our direction.”
Rioters have repeatedly filled the streets of Athens and during a recent riot they kept firemen from reaching a fire in a downtown mall until the raging flames complete gutted it. The marble buildings around Greece’s Parliament building are now pitted and scarred where rioters have ripped off chunks of marble to hurl at police. Graffiti defaces the area with slogans such as “anarchy = freedom” and the stench of excrement pervades the air.
Greek-Americans are fleeing the country and abandoning their homes there. “They’re afraid to go back,” said Maria Miliotis, a first generation Greek-American who visited Greece recently.
What’s behind all the anger and rioting? According to Lawrence Reed of the Foundation for Economic Education, “you have a lot of people today feeling great pain in Greece because they have come to expect the government to bail them out; to provide them with a living.”
Stephen Moore, senior economics writer for the Wall Street Journal, explains that this is at the heart of the problems many European countries are facing where people have come to believe “that those kinds of benefits are like a birthright that is a human right.” Both Moore and Wood worry that Americans are starting to think like the Greeks — to think that they have some sort of “right” to government benefits.
“I think when you look at Europe, when you look at Greece, you can certainly see the future of America if we don’t make some serious changes,” says Genevieve Wood. Besides having subsidized retirement incomes for their citizens these nations have had “their version of Obamacare, nationalized healthcare for years,” says Wood. “They’ve been taking money from their taxpayers for years, but finally they’ve run out of their taxpayers’ dollars and what you see is what you’re going to see in this country if we follow their logic.”
Ms. Wood warns that “when you look at where we are as a country today we’re really at a tipping point.”
Few in the mainstream media seem to be talking about this “tipping point,” On the contrary, according to the Associated Press there is now “more optimism” about U.S. jobs and the economy. The AP story claimed, “The U.S. economy has been improving steadily for months. Industrial output jumped in January after surging in December by the most in five years. Auto sales are booming. Consumer confidence has reached its highest point in a year. Even the housing market is showing signs of turning around.”
But as tempting as it is to think that everything will be all right if the economy continues to move in a positive direction and unemployment decreases, in reality, America is on the brink of economic disaster, and reports such as the AP story don’t begin to show the whole picture.
As Stephen Moore points out, “in just the last four years we’ve increased our national debt by $5 trillion.” It is now over $15 trillion, which is equal to the annual productive output of our entire economy. “That’s unprecedented,” says Lawrence Reed in an understatement. Mr. Moore calls it “really frightening because what it means is we are leaving to our children and grandchildren and our grandchildren’s children the biggest debt burden in the history of America!”
In 1996, the U.S. national debt was a third — $4.5 trillion — of what it now is, yet Dr. D. James Kennedy told his television audience at that time, “It amounts to stealing from our children and our grandchildren.” Dr. Kennedy asked, “What do we call this profligate immorality? Entitlements! How deceived can we be! We are stealing from our children, and we claim we are entitled to it. The Bible says, ‘Woe unto them that call evil good’” (Isaiah 5:20).
According to Genevieve Wood, “We know that in the United States today 43 percent of U.S. tax dollars are going to pay for so-called entitlement programs. Forty-three percent today!” Wood warns, “Within the next forty years, if we don’t get off this trajectory, they will take up the entire spending for the federal government. That means there is no money left over for things like national defense, which is one of the few things that the Constitution actually requires the government to do — provide for the common defense.” She adds, “It’s dishonest to continue down that path without telling people this is where we’re going.”
This dishonesty is symptomatic of the disease that is corroding America’s soul, and weakening our nation. “There is a moral element in the matter of debt,” said Dr. Kennedy. “When you create debt, with no real intention of repaying it, all you’re doing is stealing.”
But, Dr. Kennedy also said that the disease that is corroding America’s soul goes deeper than moral weakness, and just as in 1996, the real problem in America today is not economics. “The problem is godlessness,” said Dr. Kennedy. “It doesn’t matter where you look, from the White House to the court house, from our legislation to our judicial decrees, from our educational system to our media; everywhere we look we find a de facto godlessness in America.”
What is the cure? “There’s no cure for godlessness, except God,” said Dr. Kennedy in his sermon, “The Disease of Godlessness.” If America is to avoid becoming “a country that’s lost its soul” because its people have turned from God to government to supply their needs, then Christians need to bring “the cure” to the nation.
Every Christian should obey both the Great Commission — by sharing the gospel of Christ with others, and the Cultural Mandate — by getting involved in our culture and in our nation’s political process. “We need to vote for principled and moral and godly men,” said Dr. Kennedy. Then he quoted John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the first Supreme Court and co-author with Madison and Hamilton of The Federalist Papers. Jay said, “It is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”
Will Christians follow this advice in the upcoming primaries and in November’s election?
Dr. Karen Gushta is research coordinator at Truth in Action Ministries, author of The War on Children, and co-author of Ten Truths About Socialism. As a career educator, Dr. Gushta has taught from kindergarten to graduate teacher education in both public and Christian schools in America and overseas. She has a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Education and Masters degrees in Elementary Education and Christianity and Culture.
Publication date: March 15, 2012