An American friend of mine in England participated in a Palm Sunday event where participants walk down the street following a man representing Jesus. At the head of the procession, someone carries a silver cross, and they all walk down the street to recreate the Triumphal Entry. He thought such a procession might attract a few hundred people in the university city in which he lives. It attracted less than 50–mostly clergy.
That wasn’t so much what shocked him. He said people watching the procession looked at the participants like they had three heads. “Look at those religious kooks,” were some of the bemused overheard comments. Some others sneered at these weird Christians doing weird inscrutable things. In a country where under 10 percent of the population is committed churchgoing Christians, there is no cultural connection to anything he was doing. Sadly, he emailed, this is where America is headed.
What Erick wrote about tribal politics is more than just an admonishment and rebuke to those involved in politics. You see, those people were elected by voters. And when politicians care more about their partisan issues than doing the right thing (many times not even understanding that there is an objective “right thing” to do), it’s because those who elected those politicians have lost their connection with the transcendent, eternal, moral law. Eventually, America will become like England.
Christianity and its moral structure are counter-cultural in every human culture. They run counter to the “me first” values people are born with and follow without supernatural intervention. That’s not to say there aren’t truly moral, kind and well-meaning people outside of Christianity–of course there are. Those people are acting out of a heart God gave them, whether they know Him in a personal way or not. But as systems of belief go, Christianity is counter-cultural and difficult–really impossible without God’s help.
The more we realize when, as a culture, we abandon a connection to God and His moral law, the more we will slide into humanism, relativism, and political tribalism, the more we can understand just how fragile the form of government our founders established is without God.
The more we realize that “In God We Trust” isn’t just a motto on coins, the more we understand that without truly trusting God as a moral lawgiver, our government and culture will decline. It’s not if, it’s when and how fast. It’s starting even now, and accelerating.
There’s a reason in 2016 America ended up with a race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. While I’m personally glad Clinton didn’t win–in the end, without a moral and cultural change of direction, it really wouldn’t matter if she had. The country is headed in the same direction with Trump in office as it would have been with Hillary, from a moral standpoint. Having a few Supreme Court justices just delays the inevitable.
In fact, with Trump, having Christians abandon their faith in God to support a man whose ungodliness is manifest and publicly celebrated, our country may not even miss a beat on the path to a humanist future. Whether it’s the government or the church leading us to this dim future, America could easily find ourselves, sooner rather than later, exactly where England is now.
“Look at those silly Christians doing their silly incantations.” I grieve for our nation if we don’t realize what we’re doing.