Since the Declaration of Independence and the adoption of the Bill of Rights, only a scant few have argued against the Judeo-Christian foundations being the bedrock for American and indeed, western thought and culture.
American government, law, education, history, faith, and yes, even science, have heretofore be predicated on individual and collective virtue.
It was John Adams who confidently declared that America’s existence was predicated on the retention and quality of its soul.
“Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
Adams and others were adamant about civil stability being the product of culturally accepted norms expressed in the maintenance of personal faith.
Arguing that the Founders were merely deists, or secularists, who were cognizant of the probability of the existence of absolutes handed down by a god, is easily dispelled by their employing “Creator” as the point of origin and endowment of “certain unalienable rights.”
This bestowment of which they spoke was traceable to a power outside themselves, not being self-generated, but imputed, buried with the human soul, and woven into the individual and collective psyche. How else, pray tell, could these rights be “unalienable?”
Now it seems clear to me that the corporate soul of America is feeling the unsettling tremors of challenges to its stability. Why?
The collective state of any culture is but the sum total of the virtue of its people. As assuredly that 2x+1=7 produces a value of x=3, so too, will the vast formulas of virtue, being acted upon, shape us en masse.
We tamper with the equation at our own risk, just as assuredly as a man pondering his first robbery risks changing his soul to that of a thief.
It’s remarkable that ancient writ tells us, “Israel had no King, and every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Without a central governing authority, a king being the archetype, people are freed to create any and all individual, self-serving values they please; whatever each deems right by his own estimations.
The secularization of America is complex, requiring the detailed recitation of the long series of compromises to social structures, law, education, and adopted behaviors.
Perhaps the most damaging force to American culture is secular humanism reflected in an unhealthy trust in centralized government authority. I have written elsewhere about government as a merchant of addiction.
To be sure, self-reliance, personal and collective values sourced to a Creator, and an understanding than culture functions best when power is outsourced, moved away from group allegiances and organized institutions of power, empowers all people, all cultures.
America is now a socialist nation. Her best days are not found in the windshield, but by gazing into the rearview mirror. The United States is barreling ahead at full speed, adrift on the raft of self-guidance, driven by self-righteousness, “self” being the common factor is life’s equation.
Unfortunately, self has become the common factor driving national policy.