America Has Ceased to be Great – or Good

As I listened to the convoluted legal gobbledygook passing for erudite Constitutional expertise from the United States Supreme Court as they attempted to justify same sex marriage, my mind was flooded with the haunting words of some of the great men of history.

Doug Patton 1

I thought of Aristotle, who said, “Political society exists for the sake of noble living,” a sentiment chiseled into the edifice of many a public building, including the south face of the state capitol building in Lincoln, Nebraska.

I remembered the words of John Adams, our second president, who famously observed, “Our Constitution was designed for a moral and a religious people; it is wholly inadequate for the governing of any other.”

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From somewhere deep in my memory, I recalled the plea of Abraham Lincoln, who declared, “Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought. Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.”

There were the eloquent but simple words of a wise Frenchman named Alexis de Tocqueville, who visited the United States in the 1830s and marveled at the genius of our system and the decency of our people. “America is great because America is good,” Tocqueville opined, “but if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”

Author G.K. Chesterton wrote, “Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.”

And the French author Voltaire said, “All sects are different, because they come from men; morality is everywhere the same, because it comes from God.”

But mostly, I thought of Thomas Jefferson’s lament, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.”

We now live in a lawless land ruled by lawless people. Our lawless president, Barack Obama, and his lawless attorney general refused to defend the law of the land – the Defense of Marriage Act – duly passed by both Houses of Congress and signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton. A lawless Supreme Court then disregarded the will of the people and the letter and spirit of the Constitution – again.

At the state level, California’s lawless governor, along with his lawless attorney general, refused to defend a ballot initiative duly passed by the people of California, thereby leaving it to private individuals to seek redress and defend the traditional and correct definition of marriage through the courts. On a technicality, the High Court decided that this group of citizens had no standing to sue in the first place – all because the people’s lawless elected representatives refused to carry out their constitutional duties.

Tocqueville would be saddened to know that America is no longer great, and we certainly are no longer good. And I don’t believe that he, nor Jefferson, nor Adams, nor Lincoln, nor Voltaire nor Chesterton would give the people a pass on the grounds that their elected officials and judges are lawless. We elected them, and we have allowed them to institutionalize deviancy while denying the fallen nature of man. We have refused to see that, regardless of what we believe, God is unchanging and He will not be mocked. And we have surely lost sight of the fact that we are not Him.

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