Few Christians would disagree that our modern culture here in the United States is defined by moral relativism. Some fallen churches praise it for being more open and welcoming, while other, traditional churches either ignore it or fail to come to terms with what it means and how to confront it. I will put it simply… Moral Relativism is a great evil.
Now that that’s out of the way lets be honest. This election year of 2016 more than any in history is being defined by moral relativism and how we respond to it. Lets look at the playing field with a fair and honest seeking heart.
- Bernie Sanders, a self avowed advocate of communist inspired socialism, that old enemy of both America and Christianity is a viable contender for the Democratic nomination. Only 15 years ago such a thing would have been unthinkable.
- Hillary Clinton, having lied about secure emails, having lied about the deaths of men serving the United States in Benghazi, Libya and after having supported a serial predator of woman in her husband Bill Clinton is the very pinnacle of what the Democrats want in a leader. Feminists flock to her, despite her calculating stand by her man gambit and even after very credible evidence points to her directly threatening victims of her husbands alleged rapes.
- Donald Trump is leading among Conservative and Christian voters despite having a deplorable history of conservative values and no recognizable Christian faith. Here is a man who has committed adultery, promoted himself on greed, changed political loyalties not once, not twice, but four separate times in his adult life. Not to mention his pride in having bought people to pay attention to him, in business and in things as personal as his own weddings. Here is a man who declares his chief opponents are not eligible for office implying they are in fact not American enough (Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio), who links men who have risen from poverty and violence (Ben Carson) to life saving commitments as pediatric neurosurgery to crazy people and pedophiles. Of course he did this ONLY when Carson was rising in the polls.
But wait… Donald Trump and his supporters are far too righteously patriotic and much too strongly opinioned to be accused of moral relativism! This is absolutely correct. However they are still victims of it in so much as they are reacting to it, or more to accurately reacting against it. When Trump proclaims his will that a wall be built, it is a reaction against the idea that borders do not matter and national identity represents cultural bigotry, which has long been the narrative of the Left. It deforms patriotism, which should be love of ones country owed on account of civic virtues into a monolithic, radical superiority that demands recognition of and adherence to authoritarian nativism. As sad as it is to say, this sort of patriotism is more akin to National Socialism than to Republican Democracy.
When the dust settles and the last ballot is counted I fear three things will remain.
- The future of America promises to be bleak.
- Any divine mercy that has protected America may be revoked, and with just cause.
- Moral Relativism will become the default ethic defining this country for at least two decades while those who hold to traditional moral systems, including the virtue of family, procreation, male/female uniqueness, or religions that have long been the foundation of the United States will increasingly be marginalized, demeaned and possibly suppressed.
But there is hope, because Christianity is in the very business of hope. All nations stumble and all nations fall. This is not a theological idea but a basic historical fact. The good news of an America in shambles is that it might reveal what was rotten all along but also what was good and noble, a sort of American Evangelium if I may use the imagery of the crucified Christ who, on the cross was grotesque, and foul and filthy and yet only in that most detestable state was his true beauty most magnificently revealed.
Unlike the promise of Israel that was a blood covenant, we have only assumed that God set America aside, and perhaps he allowed us to have that delusion because for a time we were faithful. Once the arrogance of a thriving nation is deceased perhaps, just perhaps we can begin to make ourselves worthy of the grace we tried to purchase through patriotism.
I believe America must come to a Nehemiah moment before change can be effected. What do I mean?
Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem because the great city had fallen to ruin and was shameful. Her walls were broken, her gates asunder. While it is true God is not bound to any place, this was the city he set apart and it was being used to make a mockery of Gods majesty and power. Jerusalem was a city upon a hill which meant that in good times her light could be seen far and wide, but tragically in bad times, her darkness could not be missed. Nehemiah came to rebuild not a city, but a symbol. So it will be with America.
Perhaps it is fitting Donald Trump speaks of building walls and Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders erect walls between those they favor and those they oppose.
Unlike Nehemiah’s wall building, we are graced with the indwelling temple of Jesus Christ whose walls can never be breached or torn asunder so while we need a different corrective, I believe we also will see a different type of man (and woman) emerge from the ruins. A patriotic Tatterdemalion echoing an earlier age when America was rough and rugged and its promise lay ahead of it.
If this new America is to be born it will be in a gathering of spirits, the spirit of 76, the spirit of self-determination balanced by humble faith, the spirit of bible reading and plan speaking and the heart that desires abounding grace. This is not the America of Clinton or Sanders or Trump. It is, and I believe this with all my heart, the nation that comes after America has been burned away.