By Kevin Craig (1980)
Most Christians would agree that the United States was and perhaps still is the greatest nation on earth. In terms of material prosperity and personal character, America’s history is rivalled only by Israel of old. Most Christians would also agree that economically our prosperity is dwindling, and morally our character is declining. The obvious questions are thus: “What made America strong,” and “What can we do to stop America’s downfall?” The two rival answers are found in our title: Education and Political Action.
All men fall somewhere on the scale between the Weak and the Strong; the Lazy and the Diligent; the Faithless and the Faithful. When a nation has more of the latter and less of the former, it will see the material blessings of God. Our Puritan forefathers were men of strong character, diligence, and Christian faith. The average Puritan farmer knew the Scriptures from end to end far better than most clergymen do today. As a result, businesses and families thrived.
The Puritans understood well that God did not restrict His Word to the church, but addressed every area of life. They developed godly character and applied it in their walk. And as any economist worth even his weight in Federal Reserve Notes will tell you, it takes a disposition of work and thrift to produce wealth, or capital. And it takes capital to build schools, hospitals, orphanages, and other institutions of dominion. It takes capital to build tools, factories, and highways that enable a man to exercise his calling and a nation to prosper.
In 1937, Roger Babson, in If Inflation Comes, wrote, “Only righteousness exalteth a nation today, as it did 3000 years ago. Hence, speaking strictly as a statistician, I say that the safest hedge against inflation is the development of character.” And this character comes about by understanding and applying the principles that govern home, business, and government, as found in God’s holy Word, the Bible.
The world around us, however, is increasingly hostile to the strength of character demanded by the Bible, and necessary if capitalization and prosperity are to occur. Whereas the Bible demands thrift, the foregoing of present pleasures to save for the next generation, modern advertising encourages us to spend it all now, on ourselves, telling us, “You deserve it today.” Whereas the Bible puts a constant emphasis on work and sacrificial labor for the kingdom of God, the television stands as a constant temptation for us to put our tools down and our feet up.
Instead of studying and meditating on the Scriptures, we are daily advised by our Eliphaz friends not to work so hard, to take some time off for “amusement.” (The word amusement, by the way, comes from two Greek words, a, meaning “not,” and muse, meaning “think.’ America is presently plagued by a host of amusing people.) As Rushdoony notes, “Education, television, the press, and all other media foster relativism and humanism; They promote the decapitalization of character. We have seen the progressive decline of public and private morality. We who stand for Biblical Christianity thus face a steadily more hostile world. We are everything which socialism and inflation hate most.” America’s greatness was thus a result of Christian character, and the application of God’s Word to more than just “the religious.”
A sound economy, healthy businesses, and godly homes are a product of a Puritan mentality. America’s decline is just as surely a product of the humanism that saturates our society. Men of decapitalized character cannot be expected to capitalize our culture. How do we defend ourselves, and how do we return to our former days of economic certainty?
As the 1980 elections come to their climax, many sincere but misguided Christians are putting their chips on Joe Candidate. “If only we can get a Republican Congress,” they say. “Then we can get back on the road to health.” But as Rushdoony notes, “Capitalization does not depend on winning elections, important as elections are. No election has yet really reversed decapitalization. The demand is for more welfare, more social security, more Medicare, and the like. For the past generation, no office-holder has done more than to slow down this process very slightly. An election does not produce character, which is the foundation of capitalization” (ibid.).
Elections, legislation, court action, and political activism are extremely important. The humanists around us are doing all that they can to destroy us and our future, and it is important — vitally important — that we thwart those bills in Congress, or Revenue Measures in the IRS, or challenges in court, simply to stay alive. But in the broader picture, the role of these activities becomes clear: they are strictly defensive measures. They allow. us to mark time; to defend ourselves without losing too much ground. But if we are to engage in nothing more than these defensive measures, the battle will end up in a stand-off. The church of Jesus Christ is to do more than merely tie the opposition.
We are told to attack the fortresses of Hell (II Cor. 10:4-6), and we are told that their defensive measures will not prevail against us (Matt. 16:18)! (Matt. 16:18 is usually misinterpreted. Gates seldom attack. They usually defend. War buffs are invited to correct us on this one. In this great war of values, character, and knowledge, we as Christians are to take captives. The wheat produces; the tares are uprooted (Matt. 13:24-30; Ps. 1:3-6). Victory is the Lord’s.
Our most potent weapon is, of course, Christian Education. It took generations to build up the capital that made America great. It took generations for the humanists to take over that which the Christians shamefully abandoned – the universities, the libraries, the hospitals, government, and business. And it will again take generations for Christians to take it all back and begin to build once again. And all of this will take men and women of strong character, willing to sacrifice in the present to see the future glorification of God, and having the faith to believe that the Church will be victorious.
All of these attributes come only with education of the young, and growth into maturity. It does not come in a day, or in an election. It takes sacrifice on the part of the generation now living to plan and work for the future. Only a grass-roots Christian School movement, consistent to the Scriptures, and dedicated to the future, can bring spiritual and material prosperity back to America. We need the sword of political action. But we’ll never see the New Jerusalem without the trowel of Christian Schools.
[The good news? It’s claimed now in 2021, that 6 million US school aged students are being home schooled. Ed.]