Together, We Can Restore American Goodness
America was once known as a nation of goodness. From the days of the American Revolution till the mid twentieth century, people around the world saw America as a city on a hill, a shining light in a world of darkness—a place where righteousness reigned.
Our country was, and still is, based on Judeo-Christian principles. There was a different level of respect among Americans back then…people had a firmer sense of right and wrong.
Things Have ChangedBut today, Americans have fallen so far morally that they now call "evil" "good", and "good" is now "evil." Why did this happen? How did our nation get to this point?
To get to the answers, I want to share with you an excerpt from an excellent book called Renewing the Soul of America, written by my friend and fellow patriot, Charles Crismier . It is my hope that what he has to say will inspire people to once again place great value in the principle of virtue.
VirtueWhen was the last time you heard someone use the word virtue? Have you ever used the word? Certainly the word virtue has lost its place in American parlance. It has become disfavored as a word because virtue is no longer considered something to be desired or preserved.
Virtue became, like a virus, something to be avoided. Morally defined virtue was replaced by morally neutral values.
Defining VirtueVirtue is not a plague. Virtue is moral goodness. It is purity in heart, motivation, intention. It is morally sound behavior. Virtuous behavior is that which seeks the best for those around us.
It is not self-serving but other serving. Virtue is the outward display of inward character.
The light of American liberty and virtue has grown very dim. America is quickly gaining a reputation throughout the world for vice rather than virtue.
When the Light of Virtue DimsIt is common knowledge that crime increases as darkness falls. With the dawn of light, misdeeds diminish.
So it is that as the light of virtue and morality has been quenched by purposeful and systematic snuffing of the candles of individual and social values, we see crime and numerous other consequences of "darkness" flood in upon us.
Virtue Is Not a Four-Letter WordThe most vocal elements of our society have these last forty years led us to believe that virtue is "out" and moral neutrality is "in." Many heroes have been branded with labels for speaking up for that which was right and honorable.
Labels and characterizations mold us and make us feel that somehow we are not in the mainstream of society. Because mankind's greatest needs are to be loved and to be accepted, we have defaulted on virtue and standing for morality to avoid feeling rejected.
We have been made to feel as if "virtue" were a four-letter word.
I have good news for you! To quote Forbes business magazine, September 14, 1992, we must "…encourage a 'counter-counterculture that will resist the now entrenched 'counterculture.'" Because the word "values" is morally neutral, many influential thinkers now suggest, "Instead of talking about family values, everybody would be better off talking about virtues..."
Let Us Rebuild American VirtueHere is wisdom. The French Nobel prize winner Alexis Carrel , who spent many years in America, stated, "Virtue roots us firmly in reality. A virtuous individual is like an engine in good working order. It is due to lack of virtue that the weaknesses and disorders of modern society are due."
Virtues have morphed into values to camouflage our hypocrisy. Changing the terminology from virtue to value eliminates the stigma of a moral standard for behavior, thus seemingly freeing us to do what we want to do rather than what we ought.
Virtue Begins at HomeIt begins with the little things. It begins with not calling in "sick" at work when I want to go shopping. It means not having my secretary say, "He's not in," when I don't want to talk to someone. Give God a crack into your mind, your thoughts, and your inner being—your heart. What does He see? What do you see? What do your children see?
Final WarningAlexis de Tocqueville warned us, "America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great." If America's future depends on your example of virtue and morality, what is America's future?
We do not need to strive for power or hope to have power someday; we have power now! The same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in us (see Rom. 8:11) and we can be quickened (filled with life) by that power. This is not a onetime filling that slowly drains out of us as the days go by, but we can be filled day by day and even moment by moment. We can constantly and continually experience God’s presence and power in our lives. When we belong to Him, there is never a time when His power is not accessible to us.