Below is an excellent discourse by my father on the necessity of religion to sustain our republic. Enjoy RWM.
The Founders of our Republic repeatedly warned of the need to uphold morality, religion and God in our society or suffer the loss of our freedom. During the formation and early years of our republic the leaders and citizens in general read from a well spring of knowledge; scriptures and writing of the founders, in the process ensuring that their freedom would remain.
During the early portion of the 20th Century the writings of our founding fathers and the scriptures were vanquished from the schools, government and the media. Our history has been rewritten by the revisionist and mention of God and his involvement in our founding has been excised from history books and our constitution is either ignored or ridiculed. The wisdom of our founding fathers has been gradually replaced with the teachings of socialism and secular humanism. One of the things which has made this possible is philosophy of the press/media being extremely liberal and hostile to anything religious or conservative! The results – our society is in a self-destruct mode. Particularly during the past decade we have seen a rapid decline in the morality of our nation. The last vestiges of God and religion are being driven out of government and the schools. Good and honest men have absented themselves from the councils of government, the wise and religious are ridiculed and ignored.
The American people have been corrupted and have exchanged their birth-right of freedom for a bowl of socialist pottage. They have replaced self reliance for government support, frugality for debt, morality for animal behavior, hedonism for responsibility, crass materialism for charity and pride for humility. One must ask where is this anti-god/morality revolution taking us? History (which is not accurately taught in schools) is replete with the answer – the graveyard of nations that followed the clarion of voices of immoral leaders promising false peace and security.
Our founders understood history and human nature, then coupled with inspiration wrote our constitution thus forming the greatest system of government in the world. Nevertheless, it is dependent on a moral and righteous people. It is most befitting to ponder the founders sage advice relative to our nation and government.
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labour to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let us simply be asked where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation deserts the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. ‘Tis substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government – President George Washington, Farewell Address – HTML, PDF.
“… I fully agree in Opinion with a very celebrated Author, that ‘Freedom or Slavery will prevail in a (City or) Country according as the Disposition & Manners of the people render them fit for the one or the other’; and I have long been convinced that our Enemies have made it an Object, to eradicate from the Minds of the People in general a Sense of true Religion & Virtue, in hopes thereby the more easily to carry their Point of enslaving them. Indeed my Friend, this is a Subject so important in my Mind, that I know not how to leave it. Revelation assures us the ‘righteousness exalteth a Nation’—Communities are dealt with in this World by the wise and just Ruler of the Universe. He rewards or punishes them according to their general Character. The diminution of publick Virtue is usually attended with that of publick Happiness, and the public Liberty will not long survive the total Extinction of Morals.” – Samuel Adams, Letter to John Scollay, 1776.
“While ambition, wild and lawless, seizes on the citizen entrusted with the government; when licentiousness diffuses itself through the community and corrupts the sources of power, that Republic is doomed to destruction. Mounds of paper and parchment cannot arrest its progress; the voice of reason will be drowned and Liberty expire. Over men void of principle laws have no force, when they can be transgressed with impunity. If you can stay the current of ocean by a bulrush, then may you impede the course of an aspiring, triumphing demagogue by throwing in his way the laws of his Country. A power of restraining the tumultuous passion of the human heart is found only in the dictates of solid morality; this therefore is as necessary to Republican Governments as blood to the Constitution of man.” – Daniel Webster, The Letters of Daniel Webster, p 11.
“A frequent recurrence to the fundamental principles of the constitution, and a constant adherence to those of piety, justice, moderation, temperance, industry and frugality, are absolutely necessary to preserve the advantages of a free government.”
– Massachusetts’s Bill of Rights, Article XVIII, 1780.
“But I go on this great republican principle, that the people will have virtue and intelligence to select men of virtue and wisdom. Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks—no form of government can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea. If there be sufficient virtue and intelligence in the community, it will be excised in the selection of these men. So that we do not depend on their virtue, or put confidence in our rulers, but in the people who are to choose them.” James Madison, Virginia Ratifying Convention, 1788)
“… The powers reserved by the people [under the Constitution] render them secure, and until they themselves become corrupt, they will always have upright and able rulers. I give my assent to the Constitution.” – John Hancock, Massachusetts Ratifying Convention, 6 Feb 1788
The Book of Mormon, which is a largely religious history of some of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas (~2000 BC – ~400 AD), contains a number of promises / decrees from the Lord relative to this land. They include the following:
“And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land.” — Mosiah 29:27, read whole chapter to better understand the role righteousness plays in government.
Two grand civilizations, and perhaps more, violated these decrees and are no more; they were wiped off the face of this continent when they were ripe in iniquity. During this time on two separate occasions two great leaders resigned their positions of leadership because of their peoples wickedness.
About thirty years before the coming of Christ to the Americas, Nephi a righteous leader resigned his political position to focus on his role as a spiritual leader. “And it came to pass that in this same year, behold, Nephi delivered up the judgment-seat to a man whose name was Cezoram. For as their laws and their government were established by the voice of the people, and they who chose evil were more numerous than they who chose good, therefore they were ripening for destruction, for the laws had become corrupted. Yea, and this was not all; they were a stiffnecked people, insomuch that they could not be governed by the law nor justice, save it were to their destruction. And it came to pass that Nephi had become weary because of their iniquity; and he yielded up the judgment-seat, and took it upon him to preach the word of God all the remainder of his days, and his brother Lehi also, all the remainder of his days;” — Helaman 5:1-4.
About 53 years earlier another righteous man, Alma also resigned his position as chief judge and turned it over to another: “And he did that he himself might go forth among the people, or among the people of Nephi, that he might preach the word of God unto them, to stir them up in remembrance of their duty, and that he might pull down, by the word of God, all the pride and craftiness and all the contentions which were among his people, seeing no way that he might reclaim them save it were in bearing down in pure testimony against them.” — Alma 4: 15-20
The solution to our problems today are spiritual in nature; not political! Not until or unless we address them will they be resolved; otherwise our nation will continue to deteriorate until it will be necessary for God to do as he has done before – invoke the decrees long ago pronounced upon this nation. We too must bear down in pure testimony. Testimony that our constitution and therefore our form of government was divinely inspired. That our rights derive from God not Washington DC. And lastly in order to preserve our rights and framework of God-given government we must abide by the principles enunciated and lived by Christ.
On the 19th of February 1795, in Commemoration of the day that George Washington had set apart for general Thanksgiving and Prayer, Bishop James Madison (a cousin of President James Madison), delivered a sermon on “Manifestations of the Beneficence of Divine Providence Towards America, in Richmond, Virginia. I have selected his concluding remarks as mine also.
“Ye then who love your country if you expect or wish, that real virtue and social happiness should be preserved among us, or, that genuine patriotism and a dignified obedience to law, instead of that spirit of disorganizing anarchy, and those false and hollow pretences to patriotism, which are so pregnant with contentions, insurrections and misery, should be the distinguishing characteristics of Americans; or, that, the same Almighty arm which hath hitherto protected your country, and conducted her to this day of glory, should still continue to shield and defend her, remember, that your first and last duty is ‘to fear the Lord and to serve him’ (Joshua 24:14, Deuteronomy 10:20); remember, that in the same proportion as irreligion advances, virtue retires; remember, that in her stead, will succeed factions, ever ready to prostitute public good to the most nefarious private ends, whilst unbounded licentiousness, and a total disregard to the sacred names of liberty and of patriotism will here once more, realize that fatal catastrophe, which so many free states have already experienced. Remember, the law of the Almighty is, they shall expire, with their expiring virtue. – Political Sermons of the American Founding Era, 1730-1805, edited by Ellis Sandoz, Liberty Fund, 1991, page 1320