In those disconcerting moments, when no one else’s around, one’s confronted with stark reality that our society is troubled, at risk, by internal and external threats — the kind that haunt our reverie. It’s hard to shake.
In the midst of constant murmur that drones a disturbing message our quotidian routine is insufficient to quell this troubling monologue as the contour of one’s existence is subject to haunting changes never before anticipated. We don ourselves in a razor thin veneer. However we routinely remind ourselves that in remote places like Montana, there exists a false sense of security in our vast expanse. A quixotic knee-jerk response that, “All is well,” rings hollow.
Whether one’s politically inclined or not, who could ignore the Democrat presidential mob breathing threats like confiscating our firearms, ushering in a socialist nightmare that would decimate those “permanent things” as we know them, and impeachment hearings to remove a duly elected 45th President.
One learns that government — at any level — cannot safeguard us. That’s our domain. Another compelling reason the Second Amendment is dear to us. Institutions are vulnerable to mischief and maniacal mayhem at any given moment. Public schools react perilously with expanded “gun free zones.” Public venues are soft targets for radical terrorists and disturbed young men intent on wreaking havoc on as many as possible. There’s no sign of relief. We’re accustomed to treating symptoms rather than root problems. Truth must confront such vexing problems.
Sadly, lending to one’s troubling soliloquy in America, the Constitution has become “merely parchment” with legions intent on its destruction. Those who understand its value, also understand, as James Madison warned in Federalist 48, that the provisions of it were only “parchment barriers against the encroaching spirit of power.”
Our Founders knew the only genuine protection for liberty and self-governance dwell in the will of the people to fight for those values and ideals. One progressive blogger wrote, “The Constitution is just parchment paper —get over it.” He added, “It’s a fool’s errand to believe that we can ascertain the intentions of the Founders on a raft of contemporary issues.” He used the vigorous debate between Hamilton and Madison as proof text for his argument, and dismissed our “knee-jerk adoration” of the U.S. Constitution.
Most liberty-minded Americans know otherwise, understanding that no other country invests such authority in a single document, dating from the era of silk knee britches and powdered wigs. Evangelicals find their primary allegiance to the Bible, but find no contradiction to embrace and support this document. They’re convinced the Founders were inspired by the God of the Old and New Testament. Both the Bible and Constitution share a common frailty — both must be assiduously read, studied, understood applied to life, defended, to avail one’s self of their force.
Is there any correlation between the prevailing view that a “fixed constitution has no place in a modern democracy” and the expanding secularism that dismisses anything sacred, regardless of its origin or nature?
Modern secularists seek to have man autonomous, free of restraints by any religious moorings. Jefferson sagely spoke to this in his 1798, Annals of America, “Let no more be said of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” Madison too, was leery of human frailties, that they weren’t “angels.”
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More than a century ago, the poet James Russell Lowell warned Americans that the Constitution was not “a machine that would go of itself.” It requires our intentional participation and vigorous defense of its principles in the public square. We’ve discovered Newton’s law of inertia doesn’t apply to liberty.
Alexis de Tocqueville understood that European philosophers got it wrong in their teaching that liberty and religion were inimical-enemies of each other. He wrote, “There are certain populations in Europe whose unbelief is only equaled by their ignorance and debasement; while in America, one of the freest and most enlighten nations in the world, the people fulfill with fervor all the outward duties of religion.” The 18th Century village of Charlottesville, and the role of legitimate Christian latitudinarianism, evanesced by the 21st Century.
Is this dilemma of disquieting times happenstance? Or a harmless blip on our historical radar screen? Our predominate secular media and faux erudite academic apparatus reject any possibility of a theological eschatology that would usher in God’s judgment upon mankind, as misguided, provincial and wholly unrelated to modern man’s behavior or actions, and is largely mythical.
Militant secularism approaches learning through the lens of what they call “methodological naturalism” based upon the presupposition that all faith claims are merely expressions of subjective preference. Therefore, any claims of “truth” now, or in 1787, are divorced from any supernatural context and impose no moral obligations on human comportment. Absolutes are untenable in their realm.
Christians aren’t off the hook either. Recent generations of youth haven’t seen the authenticity of biblical convictions, or adult role models who are consistently living those principles. Sadly, the 21st Century church’s cultural influence has waned and often assumed to be irrelevant. Notions of good and evil, or guilt and shame, have been abandoned or ignored.
A bitter root of skepticism has been swallowed by recent generations, and they’ve turned to secular fads, and a defiant posture to those “permanent things” that once were the linchpin of our Republic. Failure to infuse biblical principles and absolutes has fostered a culture of “if religious experience’s hip or haute couture, we’ll try it,” that fades before sunset. Osmosis is a poor substitute for inculcation.
That our nation has eclipsed our historical roots is inarguable after a thorough, penetrating analysis of recent, troubling trends in our relatively short experiment we call a Republic. The Pew Research Center documents that generations X,Y and Z today are far more likely than the general population to be religiously unaffiliated, and spurn outward religious expression. Evangelicals see that as an open-door moment. Shrinking mainline denominations and seminaries continue to jettison the tenets of orthodox Christianity, leaving an unfilled vacuum of existential disaffection. Some think there’s a fleeting opportunity to proclaim the transforming Gospel of Jesus Christ to them.
Recently ultra-liberal Union Seminary students gathered in chapel to confess their “climate sins” to various plants in the room. “Absolute theological bankruptcy,” was the headline by the Washington Examiner. Serious Christians must reverse the perception of a powerless church, peddling versions of “Christianity Lite,” recognizing our complicity in America’s spiritual apathy. Many contend there’s an inextricable link between liberty and biblical orthodoxy. Our cause is noble.There are genuine reasons to toss and turn at night. Denial’s a poor elixir to induce sleep. What do you think?
Mike Pyatt is a Ravalli County resident. His email’s firstname.lastname@example.org