A Republic – Without Morality?

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It is amazing how many Americans expect government leaders to be moral – how sickened Americans are when they are lied to by politicians – and yet how NAIVE so many Americans are to expect moral leaders when so many Americans reject the very recipe necessary to achieve moral governance in a Republic.  The Founding Fathers were explicit about the fact that the only way to maintain a free Republic was to maintain virtue and morality.  In his farewell address to Congress, and the nation at large, George Washington said that it is impossible to maintain liberty without national morality, and that only a fool could expect to elect moral leaders in the absence of religion – by which he meant Christianity.

But don’t take my word for it.   The following is an exact quote from George Washington’s Farewell Address:

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. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: 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. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

Earlier this week I wrote about my lesson plan for Constitution Day today.  I was not surprised to read some comments on social media objecting to my referring students to the Constitution of Michigan which states in Article VIII, Section 1, that, “Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”

We live in America’s post-Christian era.  The generation growing up today in America is comprised of a clear majority that rejects the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the generation that is biblically illiterate; the generation that may see the complete collapse of everything Americans once held dear because we have rejected the very foundation George Washington – and the other Founding Fathers – warned us NOT to reject.

If this generation loses everything that made America great, it will not have happened without us being warned.  I intend to write more articles on this subject, but for today, it should be enough to point out that the men who wrote the greatest documents of freedom in the history of the world, were the same men who told Americans that the only way to have good government is to teach each generation “Religion, morality and knowledge.”

We cannot live in freedom without those three ingredients.  As educational leaders rewrite the curriculum to teach children that we live in a democracy, and those same educational leaders argue with the small remnant who point out that we live in a Republic; as the president increasingly acts above the law while scolding the rest of us about the “Law of the Land”;  as radicals chant in the street that they prefer sharia to liberty;  shouldn’t we Americans re-examine where we are at as a nation, and heed the warnings of those who put in place the instruments of freedom and what makes them tick?

Tim Keller
About Tim Keller

Tim Keller has taught American History, World History, government, writing, speech and related courses at both the high school and college level since 1997.

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