The Decay of a Great Nation (1)

By Billy Ashworth

“The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (Psa. 9:17). “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34).

I feel that it is necessary in the very beginning to give the readers some facts that will let them know why I am writing this article. I am not writing it to boast about my experience and the knowledge I have gained in my many years in federal service in official capacities, both civil and military. Also, I have preached the gospel of Christ for over forty years. Neither am I writing for partisan political reasons. If I were, one might be justified in refusing to read and consider what I say, even though it would reveal a closed mind in this matter.

I am writing this article as a concerned citizen of my beloved United States of America, and of the kingdom of God. I am writing from a standpoint of history in which I have been involved personally, and am setting forth facts that are painfully obvious in the light of God’s divine revelation. Hopefully I can awaken many of my brethren and sisters to the alarming decay in this nation that affects all citizens of the nation and of the kingdom of God.

I was born into a theistically-oriented family in a free country which had as its foundation a belief in God and in the Bible as his revealed will. In the days of my youth, this country was in its ascendancy, on its way to become the greatest nation that has ever existed on the face of the earth. God-fearing, family-loving, hard-working, honest people labored to build a country in which they could be free to live their lives as they believed to be right and good, and to be free religiously to worship and serve God as they saw fit, or to refrain from doing so as they desired.

Having obeyed the gospel in March, 1950, I studied the Scriptures diligently and have preached the gospel of Christ for over forty years. God’s Word reveals that he ordained “the powers that be” (Rom. 13:1), and “that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and giveth to whomsoever He wills” (Dan. 4:17,25,32). Peter wrote: “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praises of them that do well” (1 Pet. 2:13, 14). Paul wrote: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (I Tim. 1:1, 2).

The Scriptures give only one exception to the command to obey civil rulers. In Acts 4:18, 19, we read: “And they (their rulers, elders, scribes, the high priest, BA) called them and commanded them not to speak in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them. Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Cf. Dan. 1:8).

From these scriptures references, it is evident that: (1) God ordained (ordered) the powers that be, including civil rulers. (2) God’s people are to be subject to (obey) them. We are to obey “every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake.” We have no right to pick and choose what laws we will obey, and those we refuse to obey. (3) God’s purpose in ordaining civil government was to have an orderly society under law in which rulers were to “punish the evildoer and to protect and praise them who do well.” God’s wisdom is seen when we realize that there are duties that his people sustain that the church, as such, cannot perform. (4) “Rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil” (Rom. 13:a). It is obvious that God’s people could not have flourished without the stability afforded by civil law, even under the heathen Romans. (5) God’s people are to pray for all that are in authority that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and holiness.

It is true that civil rulers have a profound effect upon the morals of its subjects. How foolish is the assertion often made by misinformed people that, “The government cannot regulate morals.” That is precisely what God intended that civil rulers do! These same people speak of a “person’s right” to do whatever he pleases  even to a woman’s decision to have her unborn baby aborted (murdered). Question: Where do they get the “right” to do what they please? Answer: not from God! If civil rulers fail in their mission as ordained of God, people live in an uncivilized jungle, a situation that prevails in many areas of this once-great nation today.

The “Founding Fathers” (a term rejected by radical feminists today) wrote a Constitution with a Bill of Rights to guarantee freedom to the citizens of this country under law. They knew that freedom without law is not possible. They established a government in which the people had the right to elect their own rulers, and to remove them when they were guilty of malfeasance in office of public trust. This constitutes democracy.

The people of this new nation, who fled Europe to escape the tyranny of religious bigots, hewed themselves out an existence in a wilderness and endured disease, severe weather, and strong opposition by the inhabitants of this land. The nation they founded became great  a tower of strength and bastion of free people under God  and the object of fond hopes of people in foreign lands.

This nation has existed for over two hundred years, the longest of any democracy that history records. Why did so noble an effort by our forefathers succeed beyond their wildest dreams? I believe that Psalms 33:12 sets forth an answer: “Blessed is the nation whose God is Jehovah, the people whomhe has chosen for his own inheritance “I hasten to observe that this passage refers primarily to Israel of old, but I believe that the faith most of the pioneers had in God was a vital factor of the wonderful growth. It was during the early years of this nation that the restoration of the Lord’s church had its greatest success.

Why is this once-great nation now in chaos and decay? I call the readers’ attention to an article that appeared in the U.S. News and World Report (February 1, 1993). It was titled, “The Fueding Fathers.” The article reviewed the battle between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson at length. The difference between the two was the attitude each had toward the kind of government the new nation would have. Jefferson favored democracy (government of the People) while Adams held a more aristocratic position, seen by many as a “hereditary aristocracy.”

A most interesting statement by Adams was placed in a box, which reads: “There never was a democracy that did not commit suicide.” I do believe that democracy of and by the people is the greatest form of government any human beings ever conceived. Remember, God did not ordain any one particular form of government, although he gave the Israelites a kingdom (monarchy) whose kings he selected. Of course the kingdom of Christ is a spiritual monarchy, ruled over with absolute power by the King, Jesus. When Paul wrote the book of Romans and Peter wrote his epistle on the subject at hand, they were living under the control of the heathen Roman Empire under the rule of the Caesars.

I believe, in light of history, that Adams was right in his statement that democracies commit suicide. Rulers elected by popular vote of the people, tend to believe that they must rule according to the desires of their constituents. As the incumbents bend to increasing demands of the people, which are usually selfish, eventually all drown themselves in selfishness and greed.

President Roosevelt introduced socialism into this country in his efforts to break the economic depression that began with the Market Crash in 1929 and extended into the forties.

This “Great Depression” held the United States, as well as the rest of the world, in its vice-like grip. It was imperative that Roosevelt try earnestly to rescue the nation from total economic collapse, the very thing he was elected to do in 1932.

But it is a well-known fact of history that once socialism is introduced into a democracy it will escalate; as many people prefer the government solve their problems. This eliminates much personal/individual responsibility that democracy requires. (Consider how soon the Israelites forgot the burdens of slavery in Egypt when they were subjected to hardships in the wilderness under the leadership of Moses.) Personal responsibility, the basis of democracy, chafes the unthinking, lazy masses who prefer the government take care of them. Consider the millions of citizens in America on the government dole today. It has been well said: “The government that is big enough to give its citizens everything they want, is powerful enough to take everything they have.”

The escalation of socialism continued until General Dwight D. Eisenhower ran for president in 1952 and was elected. His administration lasted from 1953-1961, and slowed the acceleration of socialism. His eight years as President gave America its best years in my lifetime. (I have lived under fourteen Presidents, not including the present one.)

During President Eisenhower’s eight-year reign. America enjoyed prosperity and relative peace within, as well as around the world. The “Cold War” with Russia occurred during this time. Military intelligence recognized Russia’s overall military might, but found that their leaders apparently feared to attack us because we had the atom bomb.

The Psalmist wrote: “The wicked shall be turned into hell and all the nations that forget God” (Psa. 9:17). Proverbs 14:34 reads: “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” As God is no respector of persons (Rom. 2:11), this nation began to decline from greatness when she turned away from her spiritual values and “forgot God” and began to indulge in “socially acceptable” sins.

I believe that the turning point from greatness to decay began in the late forties just as America reached the zenith of her greatness. At the close of World War II, the old saying that “prosperous times are dangerous times,” came to pass.

The introduction of television into our world changed our lives and country forever. No one in his wildest imagination could have foreseen the havoc that such an invention could bring to this nation as well as to all the industrialized countries.

The invention of television was not bad within itself. It is a fascinating but addictive thing. Estimates of the average hours a person watches TV in America is about six hours a day. In our affluence, many families have several TV sets in our homes: one in the den, in the kitchen, and in each bedroom.

But the wasted time before the silver screen is not the main problem. The main problem involves what is being shown and who determines programming. The sad facts are that programming is being done in all too many cases by ultra-liberal humanists (atheists). These evil people have gained control of the widest, most effective means of communication the world has ever known.

By controlling TV programming, these atheistic humanists control most news media, the educational systems of this country, including what textbooks are to be used, and alarmingly, the Federal Judiciary which they manipulate through their legal arm  the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Because of the propagation of their rotten concepts of atheism through the means described above, I predict that the on-coming generation will be, to a large degree, agnostic! A few years ago, there was an article in Humanist magazine in which the author exhorted school teachers to use the classrooms as pulpits for humanism. I know of no more effective way to brainwash a generation  in this case, our children and grandchildren. Beware my brethren.

Guardian of Truth XXXVII: No 19, p. 12-14
October 7, 1993