"One Nation Under God"?
My desire in this article is to note the societal trends that would not only allow a man such as Bill Clinton to occupy the office of President, but also would allow him to stay, with an astounding measure of personal popularity, despite his rather public shortcomings. Such societal attitudes are expressed very clearly by Mr. Rogers, in his article. Two short phrases from his article sum it up well. He writes, "Unfortunately for President Clinton, his sexual peccadillos were committed during the reign of a spiritual descendant of Oliver Cromwell." In another place in the article, Rogers' writes, "It is the President's great misfortune that his inquisitor is a man who considers a little hanky-panky and its natural by-product (the covering lie), the equivalent of treason and bribery." Such words are, to say the least, a great concern to those who advocate an adherence to God's moral standard as revealed in scripture. How can we as a society continue when our attitudes and actions rise as a continual insult before the Almighty God?
The United States of America is a nation conceived in liberty, and based upon a heritage of righteousness. European immigrants came to this land in search of freedom from religious oppression. The various religions expressed in the liberty of those early days found their base in the Judeo-Christian ethic established in the writings of the Bible. Regardless of modern attempts to rewrite history, this is our heritage. It is summed up well in the pledge of allegiance we proclaim to our flag and country. "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America; and to the Republic for which it stands; One nation, Under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
The sentiments of that pledge have been distorted in our time. The concept of justice (what is just, or right) is strangely lacking in our day. The path of Liberty, if not accompanied by Justice, is the way of the Libertine. We today have many who are like those libertines who lived during an ungodly time in Israel. "In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes" (Judges 17:6). Today there is no king in America. There is also no President, at least not as envisioned by the founding fathers. There is no man who stands in the "bully pulpit" of the Presidency, leading the nation with integrity, honesty, and morality. Instead we have an aging playboy, with no morals, no decency and no integrity, and our nation suffers from his example.
Although society has forgotten God, it must be remembered that He still is sovereign in the universe. In times of old, He judged nations because of their evil. Examples of His judgment, like Sodom and Gomorrah (cf. Genesis 19) pepper the Old Testament. His sovereignty over the nations continues even today. The apostle Paul made this clear in both his sermons (cf, Acts 17:26, "And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings") and his writings (cf. Romans 13:1, "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God"). Rest assured that God considers carefully the good old USA, and will treat us (as a nation) in exactly the way we deserve to be treated.
It is truly appalling to note the state of moral decay that presently characterizes our nation. A partial list of particulars: (abortion, pornography, adultery, fornication, immodesty, greed, superstition, murder, drug abuse, gambling, drunkenness) is remarkably similar to the inspired list of fleshly lusts given by Paul in Galatians 5. "adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like" (19-21). It might be appropriate to note here that this ungodliness evident in society has had a discernible effect upon the attitudes of some of God's people. Paul noted the truth of that when he addressed the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 5. He upbraided the brethren for their toleration of sin, and explained that they should have no part in that ungodliness, nor the support of same. "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Some Christians today try to give a rationale for the support of such ungodliness as social drinking, gambling, immodest dress, and dancing. In so doing, they show just how much they have allowed an ungodly society to color their thinking. Can we not instead recognize that we, as the Corinthians, have been "washed", "sanctified" and "justified"? Can we not recognize the import of Paul's statement to Titus when he said, "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works." (Titus 2:11-14)?
President Clinton can truthfully be said to be a product of his times, as well as a causal factor in the continued decline of our nation's morals. At any time an immoral man may occupy the office of President. It is possible for a hypocrite, an evil man, to ascend to the office by deceiving the people. What is so very disturbing about Clinton's ascendency, and his ability to remain as President is that he has deceived no one, (at least with regard to his moral character). The initial campaign for the office had as a central theme the catch phrase, "Character Doesn't Matter." Truly we have sown the wind and are now reaping the whirlwind! All were aware of Clinton's moral failings, his lack of character. He was voted in as President despite this. Four years later his re-election campaign was likewise successful. He has been impeached, the tawdry affair and perjurious testimony have been exposed, and yet he remains as popular as ever. It is a shocking display of how very far our societal mores have degraded in a very short time.
It is remarkable that no attempt is made to defend the President's behavior. The term exculpatory has been drummed into our heads in recent weeks. As in, "The President has not introduced any exculpatory evidence regarding the accusations made against him." The term in its root (exculpate) means to "free from blame, declare or prove guiltless." Even his most ardent defenders recognize that he is guilty of unseemly sexual behavior, and that he has lied under oath. So, how do they deal with the issue of his guilt?
When all is said and done, the President is guilty of grave evil. He is unworthy of ruling this nation, and should be removed from office. But it is not going to be done. Why? Simply because the people (society) do not care. He retains great popularity. People are doing well economically, and are unwilling to risk their pocketbooks for the sake of principle. As such they are as guilty as the pagans of first century Rome. Note what the great Apostle Paul said of them:
Note Paul's phrase, "...approve of those who practice them." In this list of sins, the President is guilty of "unrighteousness", "sexual immorality", "wickedness", "covetousness" (of power), "maliciousness" (in treatment of "enemies"), "deceit", "evil-mindedness", "proud", "inventors of evil things", "untrustworthy", "unloving", and "unmerciful." But, his approval rating ("approve of those who practice them"), remains very high. This ought not to be so.
What to do? Very simple:
Standing for what is right will lead to much criticism in today's moral climate. Satan's influence to evil has had such effect that even those who claim to be children of God are taken in by his propaganda. But, God is sovereign, and we can be victorious in the end if we will maintain our allegiance to him. "Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:37-39).
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