I am not so naïve as to suggest that Government has moral integrity but I am bold enough to declare that our founding fathers believed it was a requirement for those who held office. Sadly, we have evolved as a political society to the point that it is assumed normal and expected that politics and politicians are corrupt. The image of politicians as corrupt reminds me of the story of a man walking through a cemetery and say a headstone that read: John Jones “A Lawyer and an honest man.” He turned to his companion and said, “I wonder who the other person is buried in this grave? It says a lawyer and an honest man.” It is a sad indictment that we do not demand moral integrity in our government and elected officials.
John Adams, one of those who signed the Declaration of Independence and the Second President said, “It is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue.” Samuel Adams declared, “Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty nor happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.” Fisher Ames, the framer of the First Amendment, said, “Our liberty depends on our education, our laws, and habits… it is founded on morals and religion, whose authority reigns in the heart, and on the influence, all these produce on public opinion before that opinion governs rulers.” Charles Carroll, signer of the Declaration of Independence said, “Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime & pure, and which denounce against the wicked eternal misery, and which insured to the good eternal happiness, are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.”
With those reflections alone we can readily realize that the founding fathers truly believed that Moral Integrity was not only good for the government it was essential. They expressed their belief that anyone not exhibiting the highest of moral integrity was immediately disqualified from holding office. It would seem that the general public agreed, unlike our modern condition. Men like Richard Henry Lee, a signer of the Declaration of Independence spoke prophetically, it would seem, saying, “It is certainly true that a popular government cannot flourish without virtue in the people.” Jedediah Morse, a patriot and “Father of American Geography” declared, “To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that degree of civil freedom and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoys…Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican forms of government and all blessings which flow from them must fall with them.” That would be considered HATE SPEECH by many today and totally inappropriate. Our founding fathers understood the value of moral integrity and believed only through people of moral character could the nation be led and preserved.
Benjamin Rush, another signer of the Declaration of Independence spoke on this matter saying, “The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this, there can be no virtue, and without virtue, there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.” Our first president and the father of the nation, George Washington, said, “The federal government…can never be in danger of degenerating into a monarchy, an oligarchy, an aristocracy, or any other despotic or oppressive form so long as there shall remain any virtue in the body of the people.” Daniel Webster took it even further saying, “If we and our posterity reject religious instruction and authority, violate the rules of eternal justice, trifle with the injunctions of morality, and recklessly destroy the political constitution which holds us together, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us that shall bury all our glory in profound obscurity.” I realize that I am using a lot of quotes and some tire of reading them but if you listen to what they were saying you realize they valued moral integrity and believe it indispensable for the republic. Their words convey a clear warning to America that if we reach a point where we reject the moral principles taught in the Bible and allow politics and politicians to become corrupt the republic will be lost. Is that not where we are today? Are we not living in a time where it is a joke to refer to an Honest Politician or to speak of a Moral Government?
James Wilson, a signer of the Constitution phrased it beautifully saying, “Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual assistants. Indeed, these two sciences run into each other. The divine law, as discovered by reason and the moral sense, forms an essential part of both.” Then Robert Winthrop, speaker of the House of Representatives said, “Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled either by a power within them or by a power without them; either by the Word of God or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible or by the bayonet.” William Penn pulled back the veil and exposed the danger saying, “Those people who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants.” That my fellow Americans is my fear that America’s political rejection of God will reach the logical conclusion of Tyrannical Rule.
I long for a return to those founding views and principles that demanded Moral Integrity in Government and in Elected Officials. I long for a return to the principles that established the nation and has kept our liberties intact for 240 years. Can we continue as the Free Republic our founders established and our Constitution demands? Only if we return to that which made us strong and has preserved us – Moral Integrity is a must not a wish for a Free America.
God bless you and God bless America!