NOTE: This commentary was originally written in 2002. Please keep in mind this represents the political climate 18 years ago, but it is still relevant today.
“It all depends on what the meaning of is, is.”
With those words, then president of the United States Bill Clinton, crystallized to the world something that we all had sensed. Like a soft buzzing in our ears, we were aware something was out of whack in America, but we couldn’t quite put our finger on it. That proclamation out of the mouth of the most powerful man in America diagnosed the ailment. The greatest nation in the history of the world, a government of laws undergirded by Truth, had been replaced. There was a new sheriff in town. A coup de tat had taken place in the culture and the mouth of the President trumpeted the arrival of this new nation.
A nation not of laws, but of opinions.
“…every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes” Deut. 12:8
The greatest threat to America has always been from within. While we focused on the enemies from without, (can you say cold war) subversion below the radar screen was eating away at the foundations of the nation like the termites in an oak tree. The gnawing upon the foundation was within plain view, but we were told that the termites were actually strengthening the foundation, chewing away all of the rotten wood. The termites, we were told, would eventually make the nation stronger.
“If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Psalms 11:3
What are the foundations of this great nation? What has made America great? Even a casual reading of early American history will reveal that the 10 Commandments was the model upon which the Constitution was created. The United States Constitution and the Decalogue had one thing in common. They were both based on the rule of law. Honored in our homes, and posted in our classrooms, Americans knew that the teaching of these precepts to our Children insured the passing from generation to generation the foundations that supported the nation. Some things were right, and some things were wrong, but we all agreed on a standard by which all Americans would be judged.
The 10 Commandments and The U. S. Constitution were the rule books. For 200 years the nation thrived.
Enter the termites. Few at first, but ravenous nonetheless. Madalyn Murray, The ACLU, People For The American Way, Liberal Seminaries and Universities, labor unions, all munching away at the main beam supporting this experiment in self-government.
“Separation of Church and State” their teeth gnawed. No prayer in school, remove the 10 Commandments off of the wall, no prayer at graduation…or before football games, take God out of the pledge…they hacked away at the root of the nation. “We’re good Americans too “the white ants cried. “We want to see the Constitution applied to everyone. No one has the right to tell another person what to do. You have no right to force your religion on me”, the winged Isopterans moaned. Like the proverbial frog in a pan of boiling water, the heat was gradually turned up to the point where God-fearing Americans believed that they were the ones who were wrong. Intolerant, hate-monger, homo-phobe the nest of foundation-eaters, like a cow chewing his cud, continually ruminated.
In 1980 the Supreme Court of the United States, standing on the same shaky foundation, ruled that the posting of the 10 Commandments in public schools was unconstitutional. The American rule book, holding together this republic for 2 centuries was taken off of the wall. The Termites had broken through. A crack had appeared in the foundation. It would take years for the real damage to take full effect, but the white ants moved rapidly into the crevice, boring away at the girders of this once great Christian nation.
THOU SHALL NOT MURDER became……a woman’s right to choose.
THOU SHALL NOT COMMITT ADULTERY became….homosexual rights.
THOU SHALL NOT LIE became….”It all depends on what the meaning of is, is.”
The fault line was complete. The rules had been altered. The standards had changed. The Truth no longer mattered. The sawdust of the Termites’ destruction has finally been exposed.
The President of the United States lied under oath and got away with it. 40 million babies have been murdered hiding behind the banner of CHOICE. The institution of marriage is no longer valued. Alcohol and drugs ravage a generation in the name of freedom. Enron, World Com, and Global Crossing have been swallowed up in covetousness.
Do you remember the election debacle in Florida? Chads, dimples, perforations counted as votes. Never before had the Termites chewed so publicly, eating away at election laws. It all depends on what the meaning of “vote,” is. Knowing the national foundations had been removed, the insects moved in for the kill. In the middle of the game, after the election was over, they wanted to change the standards. After years of sitting in slowly boiling water, God -fearing Americans were unable to recognize the insect’s blatant disregard for the rule of law.
The standards had changed and we couldn’t even recognize it.
I am reminded today of a conversation I had with my 81-year-old father before the election of 2000. My dad, a dyed-in-the-wool union Democrat, had been a tremendous moral example to his children. He had spent his life, giving us a better one. I had to ask him the question.
“Dad, why are you voting for Al Gore?” I looked upon his deeply wrinkled face, wearied by WWII, and the pressures of raising a family in the 60’s and 70’s. His lip quivered as he spoke.
“Well Dave, for as long as I can remember, whenever there was a Democrat in office the economy was good. When there was a Republican, we had either a war or a recession.”
The Termites had infected this proud, patriotic, Christian American.
I took a deep breath and spoke into his still-lively soul. “I see your point, Dad…. But the last time there was a Democratic president, I had to explain to my 11-year-old daughter what oral sex was.”
I guess the Termites where right….It’s the economy, stupid.
A wise man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children. Proverbs13:22.
When age finally takes my dad from the earth it won’t be his money I will treasure. His sense of right and wrong, his love of family, and the Christian American work ethic, that’s the inheritance my father has left me.
What are we leaving to our kids? In the end, isn’t that all that matters?
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