Anyone who is objective about the moral climate in America, or the world for that matter, would be hard pressed not to agree that not only is America abandoning her moral foundations, but she is doing so at ever increasing speed. This leads one to wonder has America become an unrighteous nation?
According to the book, Silenced in the Schoolhouse: How Biblical illiteracy in our schools is destroying America, the abandonment of Biblically based Christian education from the schools has had a marked change on the culture:
“With the removal of Biblically based Christian education from the schools, there has been a marked change in the culture. In 1910 only one marriage out of 100 ended in divorce. By the late 1960’s, that rate rose to three in ten. By the 1990’s, half of new marriages were ending in divorce. This figure fell to about 40% in the last 15 years, but does not take into account how many couples now live together without being legally married! It is estimated that when adding in second and third marriages, about 2/3 of all marriages end in divorce. The 1998 U.S. Census Bureau reports that between 1970 and 1996 the number of divorced people rose 40%.
Drilling down deeper as related to the removal of Christian education in the early 1960’s, the results are just as dismal.204 Before 1963, divorce had declined for 15 years. After 1963, it increased 300% in just over 15 years! From 1963 to 1995, unmarried people living together increased 353%, single parent families increased 160%. Today, married couples make up only 49.7% of all households in America, down from 51% five years ago.
In students, before 1963, pregnancies in girls 15-19 years had never been greater than 15 per thousand for 15 years. After 1963, this rate increased 187% in the next 15 years. For girls aged 10-14 years, the results were even more devastating; the pregnancy rates since 1963 have shot up 553%! Along with increased sexual activity, sexually transmitted disease rose from 400 per 100,000 before 1963 up to 904 per 100,000 in the next 12 years! At the time of this writing, it is estimated that half of the U.S. population lives with a sexually transmitted virus. We now know that sexually transmitted viruses cause cervical cancer.
In the public schools, SAT scores were slowly rising until 1963 with an average score of 980. This rate steadily declined over the 18 years after 1963 to a rate of 890 in 1980 and a slight rebound to 906 in 1985. A slight decrease in the rate of decline was seen in 1974-75 when there was an explosion of private religious schools. There were only about 1000 Christian schools in 1965, but between 1974 and 1984, they increased to over 32,000. On average, private school SAT scores are about 100 points higher than those in the public schools and continued to be about the same level as the public schools had been in 1963. Of the nation’s top academic scholars, three times as many come from private religious schools, which operate on a third of the funding as public schools.”
This change in the culture is the result of a change in attitudes about morality that was once part of Biblical teaching in the public schools. Silenced in the Schoolhouse documents the differences in attitudes about morality between those who are Biblically literate and have a Biblical world view and those who do not as follows:
“Christians who have a Biblical worldview are nine times more likely to avoid adult only material on the Internet, four times more likely to boycott objectionable companies or products, and four times more likely to pray for the President of the United States during the week than non-believers. They are also twice as likely not to view a movie with objectionable material and twice as likely to volunteer to help needy people.”
“Those with a Biblical worldview were 31 times less likely to accept cohabitation (2% versus 62%, respectively); 18 times less likely to endorse drunkenness (2% versus 36%); 15 times less likely to condone gay sex (2% versus 31%); 12 times less likely to accept profanity (3% versus 37%); and 11 times less likely to describe adultery as morally acceptable (4% versus 44%). In addition, less than one-half of one percent of those with a biblical worldview said voluntary exposure to pornography was morally acceptable (compared to 39% of other adults), and a similarly miniscule proportion endorsed abortion (compared to 46% of adults who lack a biblical worldview).”
“Among the more intriguing lifestyle differences were the lesser propensity for those with a biblical worldview to gamble (they were eight times less likely to buy lottery tickets and 17 times less likely to place bets); to get drunk (three times less likely); and to view pornography (two times less common). They were also twice as likely to have discussed spiritual matters with other people in the past month and twice as likely to have fasted for religious reasons during the preceding month. While one out of every eight adults who lack a biblical worldview had sexual relations with someone other than their spouse during the prior month, less than one out of every 100 individuals who have such a worldview had done so.”
When considering these numbers, America would certainly be a different place if the general public was Biblically literate and held a Biblical worldview. With this in mind, what does the Bible say about the righteousness of a nation? There are three main passages in the Bible that speak of this topic as follows:
(Proverbs 14:34 KJV) “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.”
(Isaiah 58:2 KJV) “Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.”
(Acts 10:34-35 KJV) “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: (35) But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.”
These three passages tell us several things about a righteous nation. First, in Proverbs 14:34 we are told that righteousness exalts a nation. According to Webster’s 1828 dictionary, for a nation to be exalted means that the nation is raised high; elevated in power, wealth, rank, or dignity; elevated in joy, confidence, success, victory, and pride; and elevated in estimation or praise, diction or sentiment.
Likewise in Proverbs 14:34 we are also told that sin is a reproach to any people. As our nation has abandoned our moral foundations, all of those things that were once exalted in America have declined. We have lost power, wealth, and rank. We have lost joy, confidence, success, and victory. Because of our loss of dignity, we have lost praise, estimation of success in the future, and world sentiment. These have resulted in the diction, or things that are being said about America, being more critical, pessimistic, and hostile. Simply stated, America has lost it reputation in the world as a beacon of freedom and righteousness.
Second, in Isaiah 58:2, we are told that a righteous nation seeks God daily. Seeking God daily means we delight in learning what God wants for us as a nation. Since a nation is the term for a group of individuals, seeking God daily means we as a people delight in continually becoming disciples, or students, of God’s Word on a daily basis.
Jesus stated this in John 8:31-32 (KJV) “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; (32) And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Jesus went on to say that He was the source of freedom that would deliver people from their bondage to sin (John 8:33-47). More specifically He mentioned in John 8:43 that people in bondage to sin could not understand what He was telling them because they “cannot hear my Word.”
In a nation that has abandoned the Word of God, people do not want to hear the Words of Jesus so they have no idea what He says about this issues of life and righteousness. This is at the core of why the nation is becoming unrighteous, the nation does not know his ways as stated in Isaiah 58:2. The nation has forsaken the ordinances of God, the ordinances of His justice, and do not take delight in approaching Him. Instead, the nation has done everything it can to silence God in the schoolhouse, the statehouse, and the White House in addition to the houses of the people.
It is only when catastrophe strikes the nation that we sing God Bless America and call out for His help, expecting that He will come to our rescue. Once those times pass we return to the vomit that is our culture and find ourselves wallowing in sin again (2 Peter 2:20-22).
Thirdly, in Acts 10:34 Peter speaks under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God’s nature when it comes to dealing with humanity as follows: “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: (35) But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.”
Unfortunately, we have rejected God’s teaching on this as well. We have abandoned the idea of measuring someone by the content of their character (1 Peter 1:13-19) and created special classes of people that are treated differently or given privileges not afforded to other people based purely on factors such as gender, sexual orientation, skin color, or a whole host of other factors. In an effort to “level the playing field” we have codified politically correct discrimination that grants special privileges, often under the guise of correcting discrimination that granted special privileges to other special groups in the past.
No longer do we follow Biblical teachings of avoiding all appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22; Proverbs 19:6; Proverbs 29:26), protecting those who are most vulnerable (Matthew 18:1-14; Proverbs 22:22-23; Isaiah 10:1-2; Malachi 3:8-9; ), or maintaining purity inside and outside the confines of marriage (1 Corinthians 6:15-20; Hebrews 13:4). We no longer seek righteousness, instead we seek anything but righteousness (Romans 3:10-19).
Pastor Joe Wright spoke about the nation’s abandonment of righteousness when he asked that God to examine our hearts, take note of our wickedness, and cleanse us of our sins while offering the opening prayer for a session of the Kansas House of Representatives in 1996. His prayer, quoted along with what God says in His Word about the same, is listed as follows:
“Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and seek your direction and guidance. We know your Word says, “Woe to those who call evil good,” but that’s exactly what we’ve done (Isaiah 5:20). We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and inverted our values (Proverbs 12:15; Proverbs 21:2; Isaiah 5:20-23; Jeremiah 4:22; Romans 12:21). We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of your Word and called it moral pluralism (Psalms 33:4; Psalms 119:160; John17:17; 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15). We have worshipped other gods and called it multiculturalism (Exodus 20:3; Psalms 96:4-5; Acts 15:19-20, 28-29; 1 Corinthians 10:14, 19-21; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18; Colossians 3:5-6). We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle (Leviticus 20:13; Romans 1:24-28, 32; 2 Peter 2:6-14; 2 Peter 2:17-18; Jude 1:7-8; Jude 1:17-20 ). We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery (Psalms 10:2; Proverbs 14:31; Mark 14:7; ). We have neglected the needy and called it self-preservation (Psalms 82:3-4; Proverbs 31:9; James 2:5-6). We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare (Proverbs 20:4; 2 Thessalonians 3:10; ). We have killed our unborn and called it choice (Jeremiah 22:3). We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable (Romans 12:21). We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building esteem (Proverbs 13:24; Luke 16:15; Philippians 2:3; Hebrews 12:6; Revelation 3:19). We have abused power and called it political savvy (1 Kings 3:9; Psalms 43:1; Isaiah 1:4; Hosea 12:7). We have coveted our neighbors’ possessions and called it ambition (Psalms 10:3; Luke 12:15; 1 Corinthians 5:9-11). We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression (Habakkuk 2:15-16; 1 Corinthians 15:33; Ephesians 4:29; Ephesians 5:11-12; James 3; 1 Timothy 2:9). We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment (Proverbs 1:8-9; Mark 7:9-13). Search us O God and know our hearts today; try us and see if there be some wicked way in us; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent here by the people of Kansas, and who have been ordained by you, to govern this great state. Grant them your wisdom to rule and may their decisions direct us to the center of your will. I ask it in the name of your son, the living savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.”
One would expect that Pastor Wright’s message would have been received with accolades and agreement. Although it was well received by most people, some legislators walked out and later criticized the prayer as being a “message of intolerance” that “reflects the extreme, radical views that continue to dominate the House Republican agenda since right wing extremists seized control of the House Republican Caucus last year.” Others claimed that the prayer “made everyone mad.” Sadly, those that were critical of the truth do not realize that one day if they continue in this way that God will show them what being mad is really about (Psalms 79).
Finally, if we want to answer the question whether or not America has become an unrighteous nation we must learn about righteousness. While we learned the things that a righteous nation does, what we have to know is what makes a nation righteous. According to Webster’s 1928 dictionary the word righteous is defined one who is just according to divine law. Also according to Webster’s, to be just, one must be innocent, blameless, or without guilt.
However, according to God’s Word,there is one requirement for righteousness:
(Genesis 15:6 KJV) “And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”
(Romans 3:22 KJV) “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:”
(Romans 4:3-5 KJV) “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. (4) Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. (5) But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
(Romans 10:4 KJV) “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”
(Romans 10:10-11 KJV) “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (11) For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”
(Galatians 3:6-7 KJV) “Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. (7) Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.”
It is clear that according to these verses, righteousness comes by faith; by believing what God said in His Word. So, to be seen as righteous in the eyes of the Lord, the nation must believe what God has said in his Word. Anything or anyone who puts their trust and belief in anything that contradicts the Word of God cannot be considered righteous, because of unbelief in what God has said. When we believe what God has said in His Word, He declares us righteous, just as he did Abraham. When we are declared righteous as the people of this nation, then the nation is declared righteous.
Likewise, because of our belief, God also declares us to be just. As those whom God has justified, we also live our lives by faith (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38) as a result of having a Biblical worldview as mentioned above. When this occurs, our behaviors reflect what is in our hearts (Matthew 12:35; Luke 6:45).
So, when asking the question has America become an unrighteous nation, the answer, based on the culture and attitudes of those who make up that nation, is yes, America has become an unrighteous nation. What can we do about it? The answer is humble ourselves and pray (2 Chronicles 7:14) and to seek the Lord and His righteousness (Zephaniah 2:3; Matthew 6:33) Then he will bless the nation, exalt her, and remember her sins no more.