Recently, the nation’s Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee to discuss myriad threats to the United States. China, Russia, cyber security, and the national debt were among those listed. With all due respect to Coats, we would like to add another threat, that being the sharp decline in the belief in God among Americans during the past half century.
There are many reasons why this is a national security issue. In fact, we have written an entire book on the subject, which is at the publishers right now. In the meantime, we will simply note that when writing the Constitution, the nation’s founders were able to provide for a maximum amount of individual freedom to the American people because the young colonists shared a common belief in the Judeo-Christian moral framework. You see, they understood that the three practical checks on human behavior are the belief in God, public opinion, and law. In the absence of God, the standards underlying public opinion weaken, and the law must take on the primary, even sole responsibility for keeping order. John Adams put it this way: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.”
But the belief in God is not limited to guarding against wrong doing. It is the foundation upon which the moral and ethical life of a country is constructed. Washington expanded on this point in his Farewell Address. To wit: “Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert 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.” More recently, the esteemed moral philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre explained this principle as follows: Without God, the phrase “this is good means nothing more than Hurray for this.”
Additionally, God is mankind’s oldest defense against fear and the principal building block of courage, which are the foundations of the nation’s defense. Indeed, the history of mankind is replete with stories of men and women whose trust in God helped them to conquer their fears, to shun temptation, and to react courageously in defense of justice. This point is illustrated in the 23rd Psalm: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.”
So what are the consequences to the nation’s future if God is dead? We will discuss these further in later issues. In the meantime, we will note the views of one of the founders of modern day conservatism, Russell Kirk.
Even a state…plundered and mauled, stripped of moral armor, might be tolerable if only the activity of government were confined to its ancient bounds. But modern populations, upon whom a popular press bestows presumption without knowledge, are resolved to extend the functions of government immeasurably beyond its old duties of defense and maintenance of internal order; for the public is now fascinated with the possibility of obtaining necessities and comforts through action of the state, even to the exclusion of those liberties which once were so resounding a rallying-cry. Economic appetites, now the masters of all classes, incline the public to demand a paternalistic regime; they encourage a variety of cheap Utopian fancies, as popular as they are gross; they lead almost invariably to manipulation of the value of money by the state, with its consequent inflation and insecurity; they are an excuse for profuse public expenditure; they make the labor question doubly dangerous; and the delusion, already dismayingly general, that prosperity depends upon the action of government, must lead to socialism, if wholly triumphant – to a common poverty of body and mind which masquerades as common gratification….Corrupt and stupid governments may be tolerated when their activities are confined by prescription to a small and certain sphere; in this age of aggrandizement, however, corrupt and stupid governments deliver us up precipitately to class warfare and international anarchy.