Theodore Roosevelt – A Churchless Nation

In 1917, Theodore Roosevelt, 26th president of the United States, stated:

The most perfect machinery of government will not keep us as a nation from destruction if there is not within us a soul. No abounding material prosperity shall avail us our spiritual senses atrophy. The foes of our own household shall surely prevail against us unless there be in our people an inner life which finds its outward expression in a morality not very widely different from that preached by the seers and prophets of Judea when the grandeur that was Greece and the glory that was Rome still lay in the future.

In his Farewell Address to his countryman Washington said: “Morality is a necessary spring of popular government . . . 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.”

… {His words were] given expression when the European movement with which the American people were in most complete sympathy—the French Revolution—had endeavored to destroy the abuses of priestcraft and bigotry by abolishing not only Christianity but religion, … The result was a cynical disregard of morality and a carnival of cruelty and bigotry committed in the name of reason and liberty, which equaled anything ever done by Torquemada and the fanatics of the Inquisition in the name of religion and order. Washington wished his fellow countrymen to walk clear of such folly and iniquity. As in all cases where he dealt with continuing causes, his words are as well worth pondering now as when they were written….

In this actual world, a churchless community a community where men have abandoned and scoff at or ignore their Christian duties, is a community on the rapid downgrade. It is perfectly true that occasional individuals or families may have nothing to do with church or with religious practices and observances and yet maintain the highest standard of spirituality and of ethical obligation. But this does not affect the case in the world as it now is, any more than that exceptional men and women under exceptional conditions have disregarded the marriage tie without moral harm to themselves interferes with the larger fact that such disregard f at all common means the complete moral disintegration of the body politic.

In a day and age in which the church is a mockery, let’s pray for a time when we can return to this mindset in our nation. God has blessed us with a wonderful heritage in America, but do not use the heritage as your crutch for Christianity. We must now live in the present. We may dream of the former days, but let’s live for God to present in our day.

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