America’s Founders understood something that most modern politicians do not understand. Liberty fourishes best where there is boundless faith and limited government. Liberty and governmental power do not mix. As power is centralized in Washington D.C., there occurs a corresponding loss of liberty throughout the heartland.
Socialism, on the other hand, requires a strong, centralized government to implement its policies Socialism and political power, therefore, go hand in hand. Wherever socialism is implemented, there is a corresponding loss of individual and religious liberties.
The Founders, Faith, and Freedom
America's Founders, their parents, and their grandparents had fled oppressive governments that sought to control their lives with tyrannical laws and regulations. They came to America with visions of individual and religious liberty. They were not looking for help from any government.
They were people of faith. Government for them was a nuisance and a pain. They agreed with Thomas Paine, who in his book, Common Sense, wrote, “Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.”
They issued the Declaration of Independence, not from a quest for political power, but from a deep desire to protect the liberties they had experienced in the New World. This would require a government with limited power for they knew from their study of both the Bible and human history that human nature cannot be trusted with power.
Their distrust of power is why they divided the powers of government into two legislative branches, an executive branch, and a judicial branch. It is why they implemented checks and balances to keep absolute power out of the hands of any person or group.
It is also why they instituted the 2nd Amendment--to give the citizens the right to defend themselves against a tyrannical, over-reaching government that might arise in the future. The Founders would agree with the adage of Sir John Dalberg-Acton, “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Socialism Loves and Needs Power
Socialism, on the other hand, requires a powerful, centralized government for its implementation. This in turn requires a ruling elite, like the old Soviet politburo, that controls every facet of society, spreads the wealth around, and enriches itself.
In socialism, which is rooted in Marxism, the God of the Bible is replaced by the god of the state. People no longer need God to help them deal with life; they now can look to the government to solve every problem and meet every need. Faith in God, therefore, is viewed as an enemy of the state.
This is why, during the 20th century, millions of Christians were imprisoned and put to death in socialist/communist regimes such as China, Cambodia, Cuba and the Soviet Union. This is why, alongside the rise of socialism/Marxism in modern America, there is a corresponding rise of hostility toward people of faith.
Have you noticed that the Democrat party seems to be moving further and further from any open identification with God and Christianity? This always happens as a people move from individual liberty to socialism. The god of socialism is a jealous god and will tolerate no rivals.
If you want to understand the passion of the new progressive wing of the Democrat party, this is it. They have visions of power. They have exchanged the God of the Bible for the god of power, which they envision being expressed through themselves in a powerful, centralized government.
A Revitalized Christianity is the Answer
The ultimate answer to the challenge of atheistic socialism in American today is not a political one, but a spiritual one. America must return to the vision of the Founders who saw liberty and faith as being joined together in an indissoluble bond. They did not believe one could flourish without the other.
That is why the First Continental Congress opened with an extended time of Bible reading and prayer. It is why George Washington insisted on taking the oath of office with his hand on a Bible. It is why he said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 137).
For this same reason John Adams wrote to his cousin, Zabdiel, a minister of the gospel, two weeks before the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, and said,
Statesmen, my dear sir, may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles, upon which Freedom can securely stand" (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 173.)
The Bible-believing Christian who takes his faith seriously is socialism’s worse nightmare. This is why we must pray for another Great Awakening across the land. This is why we must challenge the contemporary church to move beyond an entertainment culture and begin training people the to be salt and light and live out their faith in this culture.