We have often, on my talk show, referenced a 1798 speech by John Adams, the content of which is key to understanding the struggle that rages in our society over the so-called “separation of church and state.”
“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. . . . Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”*
In other words, those who would seek to “separate” church and state are faced with a dilemma. Three choices, really. One could call Adams a liar (unlikely), greatly amend the Constitution (too difficult), or vastly increase the size and scope of government (a-ha!), in order to have some sense of order in a society spinning out of control.
Too often, of course, we have chosen the latter option, with disastrous results. Yet, our society is hell-bent on making a government that was designed for a “moral and religious people” work in a culture based on “tolerance, at any cost.”
Only three options remain. First: Remake our society in man’s image (the slowly unfolding disaster we are now witnessing). Or, we can re-invent religion and morality (which is underway, sadly, in many churches today). Or, there is what Os Guinness once called “the third way”—to reclaim Biblical morality and theology in
DeTocqueville would be quite surprised that Americans would be so determined to avoid that third way.
More on Monday.
*(Source: John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co. 1854), Vol. IX, p. 229, October 11, 1798.)