Written By Eddie Vines
Eddie Vines is a former Jefferson county Judge and currently serves as President of Faith Fortress Ministries
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 labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens.
George Washington 1796
As our country begins a fresh four years under a new President, it seems that now is an appropriate time to consider the relationship between morality and a strong nation. The above quote comes from the farewell address that President George Washing wrote to a number of friends as he neared the end of his tenure in the nation’s highest office.
Whenever I return to the writings of our founders, I am always amazed and fascinated by their wisdom and foresight. President Washington’s recognition of religion and morality as being the primary supports for our nation’s success could not have been more accurate. The profligate spending of our government leaders combined with abortion on demand, contempt for objective truth, and a public policy that is increasingly dictated by the sexual preferences of vocal minorities has helped to create the cauldron of conflict and dysfunction that plays out on our television screens each night.
George Washington’s declaration that the duties of morality fall upon “men and citizens” is consistent with our Lord’s charge to us, as believers, to be as salt and light in the world. Even as Washington politicians become increasingly disconnected with Christian values, we are not without hope. Columnist Cal Thomas was one of the founders of the group called “The Moral Majority”, which in the seventies sought to create a voting bloc of Christians that would improve the moral climate of the nation by electing good leaders. About thirty years later, he wrote an article revealing that he had changed his mind about the top-down approach and had come to realize that you improve a nation’s morality by reaching its citizens one at a time with the gospel.
For those of us who are evangelicals, the burden doesn’t fall primarily on government to influence society for good, but rather on us.