The (Not So) Great Debate

The second presidential debate produced little in the way of new insights about our two candidates. But it did expose how far Americans have gone in erasing our own history. Near the end of the debate, Bob Dole was questioned by a minister. He said: "This great nation has been established by founding fathers who possessed very strong Christian beliefs and godly principles." And then he asked: "What would you do to return this nation to these basic principles?" What a softball. I thought Senator Dole might refer to the Mayflower Compact, in which the Pilgrims declared that they came here "for the advancement of the Christian faith." Or Dole might have recalled the words of John Adams: "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other." But what did Dole do? He ducked, looked flustered, and changed the subject. Incredibly, he began talking about big government and the Tenth Amendment. President Clinton's answer was even worse. "This is," Clinton said, "the most religious . . . country in history, and yet, interestingly enough, we have the most religious freedom of any country in the world, including the freedom not to believe." The president not only ignored America's Christian roots, he seemed proud that America was the nation that best protects atheists. He then said, "The fundamental tenets of virtually every religion are the same." False. That's just not so, Mr. President. By answering as they did, both men contributed to rewriting American history. The fact of the matter is that the Lex Divina, the law of God, was at the very root of American jurisprudence. Among our founders were deists as well as Christians. But they all agreed that the Judeo-Christian tradition provided the moral consensus upon which limited government could survive. That's why the face of Moses is captured within the beautiful fresco in the House of Representatives. It's a recognition that the law came from God. It's vitally important for Americans to remember their history, because once you separate a nation from its own historical roots, you set it on the path to tyranny. In his classic novel 1984, George Orwell describes a world in which history is erased--and tyranny takes over. His point was that whoever controls history controls the present. People no longer feel responsible for what went before them. They don't even know about it. They become captives of whatever ideologue is in power. If the recent debate is any indication, our leaders are forgetting our Christian roots and rewriting history. And they aren't alone. Public school textbooks have eliminated references to religious events in our history. Sadly, the religious roots of this country are being eroded from public consciousness. The challenge for you and me is to read and to study our history. And then we ought to tell our children and our neighbors about America's Christian heritage. We have to plead with school boards to properly teach our kids their history. If we don't do this, the moral foundation of this nation will be uprooted. And then we will be set adrift . . . easy prey for an ideological tyrant.


Chuck Colson



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