Highly Accelerated Moral Decline:
by Tim Haile
February 01, 2001
Edmund Burke said, "Among a people generally corrupt liberty cannot long exist." This is correct, but I would suggest that there is another victim of general corruption - society itself. God made us social beings and He designed the concept of "society" to accommodate our social needs. However, many people fail to see or appreciate the fact that God structured societies to operate by His set rules.
Obviously, many people blindly assume that things will continue to go well for them even when these rules are abandoned. However, Biblical and secular histories, both demonstrate that societies that fail to respect and follow these rules will eventually collapse. This may be the result of direct divine fiat (e.g. Sodom & Gomorrah, Gen. 19), or through instrumentality. After using Assyria as a "rod" of punishment against Israel and other wicked nations (Isa. 10:5), God then selected Nebuchadnezzar as His "servant" (Jer. 27:6). The Babylonians became His instrument to inflict punishment. Among their targets were Jerusalem and the great city of Nineveh. Of course, the Babylonians were also a sinful and rebellious people. Eventually, the time would come for them to be punished for their crimes (Jer. 25:12). When this time came, God used the co-regency of the Medes and Persians to breach the impregnable city of Babylon, and remove them as a world power. Cyrus, the Persian, then became God's new "shepherd," whom He "took by the right hand to subdue nations" (Isa. 44:28; 45:1). As previewed in Daniel 8, history would continue to unfold with the Medo-Persian Empire giving way to the Grecian, and the Grecian to the Roman.
A New Punishment Mechanism
Rome also fell, but it fell from moral degradation from within. Her fall seems to reveal God's use of a different mechanism for bringing about societal collapse. It is a mechanism that He has built into society itself. Solomon alluded to it when he said, "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people" (Proverbs 14:34). As long as a society functions upon righteous principles it will succeed, advance and prosper. When any society loses respect for God and His laws, it begins its descent down that slippery slope, which leads to its own demise.
History would suggest that these societies are then stamped with an expiration date. A combination of factors will determine how far away that expiration date may be. One must consider the present level of decadency and the overall rate of decline. He must also consider the fervor of sin's opponents, as compared to the fervor of its proponents. Who has the most momentum? Those who uphold God's moral standards or the change agents who don't? Another factor would be the general attitude towards sin. Which attitude is more prevalent in our society, tolerance of evil or intolerance of evil? I wonder how much time our society has before its expiration date!
Rapid Moral Decline of the Clinton Years
For some time now, the citizens of this country have witnessed the moral degeneration of our government. Not all of this is Bill Clinton's fault. For many years there has been a gradual descent, however the decline rapidly accelerated during the reign of the Clinton administration. His administration combined outstanding communication and manipulative skills with immoral behavior and a godless approach to governance. The result was irreparable damage to many of our ideals and institutions. During the time of the Clinton administration we lost valuable ground on vital moral issues, like abortion and homosexuality. We also witnessed an increase in open disrespect for our nation's highest civil law - the Constitution. This disrespect for law reached its apex with Bill Clinton's pardons of several criminals and traitors. We saw an increase in drug abuse and a decrease in drug law enforcement. We had a lying fornicator for a president, who received his "spiritual advice" from another lying fornicator named Jesse Jackson.
Clinton's Primary Problem - No Standards
Bill Clinton clearly demonstrated a lack of respect for all standards. These include important ethical and moral codes, and civil and constitutional laws. Sadly, his deceptive skills enabled him to evade most of the normal consequences of these crimes. Like the sinners described by Paul in Romans 3:13, "with his tongue" Clinton has "practiced deceit." In our generation, he stands as the epitome of spin and deceit. He has denigrated the office of the president. I am very happy he is gone from it. Former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh summed up Clinton's problem quite well when he said,
"Much about the Clinton presidency was obscured by his seemingly effortless maneuvering around the notion that there are fixed and immutable principles of right and wrong that should govern public and private conduct."
Clinton's guiding principle is that there are no guiding principles! In this philosophy he does not waver from the fundamental humanistic ideal that there is no clear line of demarcation between right and wrong, good and evil. In the humanist's mind, there is no established code of right conduct that consistently applies everywhere and all of the time. For him, "right" is simply defined as what he is doing at the time, or what he intends to do later. Antinomians deny the fixed meaning and universal applicability of moral law. Some of Clinton's actions manifest this antinomian mentality. In a January 11th, 2001 editorial, conservative columnist George Will described Bill Clinton as "the worst person ever to have been president." Will also wrote,
"It is reasonable to believe he was a rapist 15 years before becoming president, and that as president he launched cruise missiles against Afghanistan (a nearly empty terrorist camp), Sudan (a pharmaceutical factory) and Iraq to distract attention from problems arising from the glandular dimension of his general indiscipline. As president he was fined $90,000 for contempt of court, and there is no reasonable doubt that he committed and suborned perjury, tampered with witnesses and otherwise obstructed justice." (Ibid.)
"The Statutes of Omri"
God "ordained" (ordered) civil law for the purpose of regulating societies. Civil laws should be for the praise and protection of well doers and for the punishment of evildoers (Rom. 13:1-4). God's desire is for civil leaders to provide an atmosphere conducive to us leading "quiet and peaceful lives in all godliness and honesty" (1 Tim. 2:1-2).
Solomon said a righteous king "scatters away evil with his eyes" (Prov. 20:8). This principle holds true regardless of the type of government in power. Even today, good civil leaders of high moral character will scatter away evil with their eyes. However, it appears that the converse of this is also true. Wicked and unscrupulous leaders will always heap to themselves like-minded ministers. They are like amoral magnets that draw the most unsavory of characters and compound their ability to implement their godless agenda. Rather than "scatter evil," the immoral leaders gather it!
There is another consequence of having unscrupulous leaders. Their immorality has a trickle down affect. Under these conditions, those who occupy the greatest positions of influence morally desensitize people! The masses witness this behavior and reason that, "if they can do it and get away with it, why can't I?" Micah witnessed this same digression in his day. He attributed the present sinful actions of his people to their former leaders. He said, "The statutes of Omri and all the works of the house of Ahab are observed" (Mic. 6:16). Some time had passed since these men were in power, but the ill effects of their actions continued to plague the people. There is hope, however. As Ronald Reagan once said, "Presidents come and go. History comes and goes, but principles endure...." Through reform and enlightenment, it is possible to change the way people think and act. By "holding forth the Word of Life," we not only save souls, but we provide structure to society. Let us continue to teach and fight.
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