by James C. Sherlock
America’s freedoms, guaranteed by its Bill of Rights and its three-branch government, have been the keys to America’s success since its founding. Individual freedoms, protected, unleashed the creativity of hundreds of millions of citizens to make America the most dominant nation in the history of the world.
Broadly common moral standards have sustained support for that government. As moral standards evolved, with new concepts of morality emerging from the churches, America’s constitution and laws changed with them.
America has defined evil within Judeo-Christian traditions. As other religions began to be represented in America, they brought with them many of the same understandings of right and wrong.
We have struck democratic agreements that are lasting because they have attained sufficiently balanced support. The violent rupture, the Civil War, was fought to extend freedom and succeeded in doing so.
Our laws have not always been just, but opposition to unjust laws generally began in the churches and attained majority approval. The great civil rights movement in the 1950’s and 60’s marched out of churches into history.
That is changing with the precipitous decline of traditional religion in American life. It has created a vacuum into which step extremists both left and right with new secular religions of their own designs.
They are not interested in compromise.