Like an individual, what a nation sows, it also reaps. And America will soon reap the whirlwind a lesson for all the world to see.
NOT LONG ago, the United States of America was the unchallenged leader of the Western world. Respected by friend and foe alike, jealously admired by many, a rich, dynamic America for years set the pace and provided the model for world economic development. Militarily, a string of alliances worldwide, backed up by U.S. muscle, contained adversary forces. How times have changed! Today, America's traditional heavy industries, such as steel, are afflicted with low capacity, high unemployment and often, staggering losses. The United States is losing the race against the aggressive economies of East Asia. In matters of mutual defense, America's leaders almost plead in vain for NATO partner countries in Europe to continue to trust in Washington's faltering leadership, challenged as never before by the burgeoning military might and political leverage now exercised by the Soviet Union.
Cursed in City and Farm
At home, governmental leaders, despite efforts to correct years of economic mismanagement, confront the prospect of staggering federal deficits for years into the future. The nation's social security system flounders on the brink of insolvency, threatening the latter-years' livelihood of millions of people. The core of one big American city after another vanishes into a social vacuum of chronic unemployment, crime and drug addiction. Costly city-center renewal projects cannot mask the ugliness that all too often lurks just behind their glittering facades. In the countryside, bankruptcies soar as farmers, many owing hundreds of thousands of dollars each, are forced out of business, caught in the vice of rising costs, record production levels and plummeting prices. To those whose eyes are open, it's not a pretty picture. In fact, one is forced to ask why is America "cursed... in the city, and cursed... in the country" (Deut. 28:16, RAV)? Why has all this happened to a country that, less than two decades ago, thought that it could not only have its way in world affairs, but could embark upon what its leaders promised would be a "Great Society" at home? Yes, WHY?
America's Rise and Fall
Before we answer, let's look back at fairly recent history. By doing so, we can see just how far down the United States has fallen in the 38 years since the end of World War II. On August 6, 1945, an American B-29 Superfortress dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Imperial Japan's fate was sealed. In quick succession followed bomb No. 2 on Nagasaki (August 9), the Japanese offer of surrender (August 10), then the U.S. acceptance (August 14) and the formal surrender (September 2). America was catapulted into the position as the world's preeminent power. It remained so for nearly two decades even during the missile crisis of October 1962 despite the steady advance of the Soviet Union. But times were changing.
1964: "Watershed Year"
On August 5, 1964, 19 years after Hiroshima, almost to the day, the U.S. Congress overwhelmingly approved, at President Lyndon B. Johnson's request, the Tonkin Gulf Resolution. The resolution authorized the President to "take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression." Congress also approved the use of American military forces to come to the aid of allied states in Southeast Asia requesting assistance. Thus the way was paved for an ultimately disastrous military involvement on the part of the United States in Southeast Asia. The years 1964 to the present have witnessed the steady erosion in U.S. power and prestige. The year 1964 was also significant in other regards. It was a turning point for the United States in the United Nations, where the balance of power in the world body began to shift away from the U.S. led West. America's present ambassador to the United Nations, Jeane K. Kirkpatrick, took note of this power shift and the watershed year of 1964, as she called it in a speech she delivered before the Heritage Foundation Conference New York City, June 7, 1982: "Eighteen months is long enough for me to have observed at firsthand the relative powerlessness of the United States at the United Nations.... Today there are some 157 members of the United Nations . The big influx of the former colonies into the U.N. occurred alongside the beginning of the decline of U.S. influence. "Someone noted that 1964 was a watershed year. During that year 17 new nations were admitted to membership.... " The year 1964 was also a critical one for the United States on the home front as well.
In May, President Johnson proposed the building of a "Great Society." During the year a vast, far-reaching legislative program was enacted, greatly increasing the federal government's role in all aspects of life. This was the beginning of the expansive and expensive welfare state. Only four years earlier President John F. Kennedy had proclaimed in his inaugural address: "... ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." Now, the ethic was to be: the federal government, with tax dollars, will solve problems and right wrongs. The year of 1964 witnessed the passage of far-reaching civil rights legislation. Unfortunately, the way was also opened for nonracial causes such as gay rights, the "fem-lib" movement, the right of abortion on demand, even "kids' rights." In universities, students clamored for the right of "free speech." The fabric of society was being unraveled. Individuals began to think primarily in terms of their rights (licit or illicit) rather than responsibilities.
Moral "Junk Food"
Also in 1964 a new word entered the popular lexicon Beatlemania! The word was coined to describe the hysterical response by U.S. youths to the music of four young instrumentalist-singers from England who made their first personal appearances in the United States. Almost tame by today's standards, the rock sound of the Beatles unleashed a whole new genre of music, ultimately leading to acid-rock, punk-rock and other variants. Popular culture was never to be the same again. For the majority of youths today, writes University of Chicago sociologist Allan Bloom, "Rock is all there is. There is now one culture for everyone, in music as in language. It is a music that moves the young powerfully and immediately. "The most powerful formative influence on children between 12 and 18," continues Dr. Bloom, "is not the school, not the church, not the home, but rock music and all that goes with it. It is not an elevating but a leveling influence.... This is the emotional nourishment they ingest in these precious years. It is the real junk food " (emphasis ours throughout). Perhaps it was significant that the late manager of the Beatles, Brian Epstein, recounting his experiences with the group, entitled his book A Cellarful of Noise.
Historic Court Decisions
America's retreat from the pinnacle of power and prestige accelerated during the 1970s. Looking back to that time, two most noteworthy events occurred almost back to back. On January 22, 1973, in the case of Roe v. Wade, the United States Supreme Court, by a 7-2 vote, legalized abortion nationwide. The court based its ruling on the concept of a "woman's right to privacy." Thus, this new right (which as described by others as a "woman's right to control her own body") followed logically in the stream of the nationwide "rights consciousness" begun in the mid' 60s. As a result of this and subsequent rulings, abortions zoomed upward. In 1980, a record 1.55 million legal abortions were performed in the United States, terminating about one of every four pregnancies. The 1980 figure was more than double the 774,000 legal abortions performed on demand in 1973, the first year of legalized abortions in the nation. Of course in some states and localities the figure is even higher. For example, in Florida, 31 percent, or nearly one of three pregnancies, now end in abortion. How ironical that some of the same class of people who profess the most concern about the outbreak of nuclear war, also countenance the war against the unborn in the womb! For in demonstrating against nuclear weapons policy, a phrase often heard from the protestors is, "We are doing this for the sake of our children, and for future generations." Last year, the editor in chief of The American Spectator, R. Emmett Tyrrell, took note of this. "Maybe... we in the West are not as fervid for human life as the demonstrators would have it," wrote Mr. Tyrrell in the April 20, 1982, issue of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. "Some rather gruesome practices have become the norm.... One and a half million abortions are now practiced annually. So what? In February  the newspapers carried pictures of men disposing of a mound of fetuses, possibly as many as 2,000, found in formaldehyde in California. Their presence there remains a mystery, but, though they were being hauled off like trash, they looked strikingly like babies to me."
January 27, 1973, only five days after the momentous Supreme Court abortion decision, the United States and North Vietnam reached accord on the Paris peace agreements. But there was to be no peace. The pact merely secured America's ungraceful exit. The Soviets and the Cubans shrewdly perceived U.S. timidity, commonly described as the "Vietnam Syndrome" meaning prophetically America's loss in the pride of its power (Lev. 26:19). Author Max Singer observed the effects of the "Vietnam Syndrome" development in the December 1982 issue of Commentary: "People around the world, friends and enemies, used to assume almost as a law of nature that, although the U.S. might make mistakes, we could not be defeated and would not let ourselves be humiliated or shown to be negligent or incapable of defending our interests or our word.... "But how many, even in our own country... are confident of this today?"
How God Views America!
Perhaps it is time to see how the God that Americans claim on their coinage to trust in, views their country. It is a lesson for the rest of the world to observe and heed! Only by discerning God's perspective will Americans be able to see why so many afflictions, within and without, are occurring to their nation that literally ruled the world 38 years ago. America, simply put, has lost its way and broken loose of its moral moorings. Drugged by years of humanistic psychological jargon, too many of its citizens no longer can see the moral connection between how they live and the success of the nation as a whole. In an essay in the December 1981 issue of Harper's magazine, famed Italian author Luigi Barzini wrote this in his article, "The Americans": "The United States is... a great nation, in many ways the greatest nation of all times.... Very few imitators have understood that the secret of the United States' tremendous success is not merely technology, know-how, the work ethic or greed. "It was a spiritual wind that drove the Americans irresistibly ahead. Behind their compulsion to improve man's lot was at first an all-pervading religiousness, later the sense of duty, the submission to a God-given code of personal behavior, the acceptance of a God-given task to accomplish and of all the necessary sacrifices. Few foreigners understand this, even today. The United States looks to them like the triumph of soulless materialism." These godly based ethics, noted Mr. Barzini, are now "feebler, discredited by intellectuals, corroded by the doubts of these impious times, but without them, or what is left of them, America would not be what it is."
The Bible as an "Icon"
Few Americans stop to pause and reflect on just how far down, morally speaking, America has skidded. The Bible, proclaimed Newsweek magazine' in its December 27, 1982 issue, "made America." Perhaps even more than the Constitution, noted this magazine, "the Bible is our founding document: the source of the powerful myth of the United States as a special, sacred nation, a people called by God to establish a model society, a beacon to the world." In America's youth, added the Newsweek authors, "Bible study was the core of public education and nearly every literate family not only owned a Bible but read it regularly and reverently." Our contemporary modern society would readily and in most cases cheerfully admit that this is no longer the case. The Bible, confirmed Newsweek, "has virtually disappeared from American education. It is rarely studied, even as literature, in public classrooms.... " In sum, said the editors of Newsweek, the Bible has joined the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution as an "American icon." Yes, an icon, an object of idolatrous veneration but rarely if ever consulted any longer for what its author the Creator God wrote inside its hallowed pages. It is highly significant that President Ronald Reagan, in early February, proclaimed 1983 as the "Year of the Bible." "Can we resolve to read, learn and try to heed the greatest message ever written God's Word in the Holy Bible?" the President asked in signing the proclamation. How many Americans will heed Mr. Reagan's request?
Ignoring the Bible's Injunctions
If Americans of recent years had still been reading the Bible, and believing the clear injunctions and warnings of its inspired writers, they would have known that deficit spending year after year is wrong, that abortion is murder the breaking of the Sixth Commandment that alcohol and drug abuse are "lusts of the flesh," not unexplainable "diseases," that pornography is clearly injurious to one's moral outlook despite what presidential commissions might report and that homosexuality is thoroughly condemned throughout the Bible. San Francisco, California, would not have become, as some say, a "walk-in closet"! President Reagan recently observed that "each year government bureaucracies spend billions on problems related to drugs and alcoholism and disease." "Has anyone stopped to consider," added the President, "that we might come closer to balancing the budget if all of us simply tried to live up to the Ten Commandments and the golden rule?" How then, does God view America today? Notice the first chapter of the book of Isaiah, verse 4 (RAV): "Alas, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a brood of evildoers, children who are corrupters!"
God's Somber Warning
God furthermore says of the nation, in verse 5, that "the whole head" meaning its governing apparatus "is sick" and that "the whole heart" referring to its national soul and morale" faints. " Of American society, God says, "From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores." Concerning America's low moral standing, God refers, with few exceptions, to its leaders and its citizens in very explicit terms, one not likely to please the proponents of gay rights. "You rulers of Sodom," God thunders, "you people of Gomorrah." God's instructions to America today are equally plain, beginning in verse 16: "Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, learn to do good . 'Come now, and let us reason together,' says the Lord, 'Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.... If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword.'" Yes, a divine punishment is coming unless America obediently turns to God and his ways! "For the mouth of the Lord has spoken."