Adam Graham
November 15, 2012
The American crisis: it's not just a political problem, it's a spiritual problem
By Adam Graham

As I mentioned in my previous piece, the political animals of our culture dream that the re-election of Barack Obama was primarily a political failure addressable by compromising on political issues or formulating a better strategy.

However, as Christians, we have to be aware that our nation more than having political problems has spiritual problems that are at the root of it. Our political problems are so intractable because our hearts are so hard.

Our Libertarian friends will extol the virtues of selfishness and looking out for yourself, Yet, I would suggest that America is in the throes of national and cultural decline because of a cultural of selfishness and self-centeredness.

This is not to say that all the emphasis our society places on the individual is bad. I'm grateful that we don't live in a country where the individual is stamped on by an almighty government.

Why is that we are unable to reform our nation's entitlements? Selfish seniors or near seniors are manipulated into believing that any reforms will affect them and so are willing to allow future generations to suffer horrifically in order to protect their existing benefits because "we worked for them."

We have entitlements grown out of proportion because many families would rather have the government take care of their aging relatives rather than them. This is also why we have so much for government-funded school lunches and school breakfasts. There are many parents who can't, but there are many who just don't. The same pursuit of selfish desires explains the over-sized burdens of foster care and correctional facilities with men from broken homes.

Why is that younger people came out to vote for Obama despite the fact that he was wrecking their futures and had left them with record unemployment? Because President Obama allowed them to remain as "children" on their parents health insurance until they were twenty-six years.

Yes, it is part of our culture's new extended adolescence. Young men, who would have in prior generations, seized the day, begun families, started businesses, and sought to make something of themselves too often follow the easy path to being overgrown children who are going nowhere because it's easy.

Our political culture is gripped by this self childish worship. We have liberals who believe that they are demigods who can create Heaven on Earth, we have libertarians who believe every man is an island and ought to be granted full autonomy. Both are equally egotistical, equally egregious self-willed positions that are symbols of the Spirit of Our Age.

We fundamentally as a society, believe we don't need God. This not to say we're an atheistic society. We believe God is okay-in his place. We might like God like we like Doctor Phil or like we enjoy music. For many, religion is good for comfort, it's good for their well-being, but don't think that it's going to change their lives.

We are a nation of Cafeteria Christians who will choose which Christian doctrines we'll believe in and which we won't. If you're a protestant, you'll change churches until you find that fits you like a suit you and fits all your preferences.

Our problem is that while Americans acknowledge the existence of God, most of us in our heart of hearts deny His authority. We are looking out for our self-interest as we see it. And we will not let anyone man, moral, or even God, restrain us from our pursuit of what we want. This was well-illustrated during the last election (particularly the primaries) as I noted many professed Christians committing the grossest of slanders against good and decent men.

Our libertarian friends will praise as the highest virtue, the pursuit of enlightened self interest. The problem with human beings in general is that we have a twisted idea of what our is really in our best interest and are not that enlightened about it. For most, what's in their self-interest is what will provide the short-term gratification. If you don't believe this, you only have to examine our waist lines and our bank statements.

Examine the Federal Budget. The libertarians like to tell us about the high cost of the War on Drugs. I wonder if they've taken a look at the high social costs and big budget expense of our people's War on the rule of God in our lives: of broken homes, out of control health care costs, and rampant fraud. The breakdown of the family itself costs us $300 billion a year.

Let me be clear, I'm not calling for any level of government to make us submit to God. History shows that theocracy just allows unbalanced people to oppress others and ambitious people to disguise their avarice in a cloak of religion. Nor do I exclude myself from being a part of this problem. I think almost all us who live in this country, follow the ways of our culture, some times without thinking about it.

The Reverend Billy Graham called for our nation to repent:

We must also remember that no election will ever solve America's most basic problems. That is because the trouble, at its root, is in the human heart, and the only path to true restoration — for a person or for a nation — is through repentance. The Bible says, "Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord" (Acts 3:19–20, ESV). Only the Gospel, God's Good News, has the power to change lives, heal hearts, and restore a nation.

John Adams said of our country's constitution, "Avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness 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."

The ideal of the Founding Fathers was self-government. However, self-government will not work for a whole people if we are being driven by exalted egos that tell us we and are immediate needs are the center of the universe. While, there are many things that can help bring our nation back, repentance is essential. We must become a people that relies on God and trusts in Him to direct our lives, so that we can exercise self-government as a blessing to ourselves and others, and not a curse.

© Adam Graham

 

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Adam Graham

Adam Graham was Montana State Coordinator for the Alan Keyes campaign in 2000, and in 2004 was a candidate for the Republican nomination for the Idaho State House... (more)

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