Guest essay by William Federer
Our civilization cannot survive… unless… permeated with the spirit of Christ.Woodrow Wilson
President William Howard Taft stated at a missionary conference in 1908:
No man can study the movement of modern civilization from an impartial standpoint, and not realize that Christianity and the spread of Christianity are the basis of hope of modern civilization in the growth of popular self-government.
The spirit of Christianity is pure democracy. It is equality of man before God—the equality of man before the law, which is, as I understand it, the most God-like manifestation that man has been able to make.
In 1923, in his last public address, titled “The Road Away from Revolution,” President Woodrow Wilson warned:
In these doubtful and anxious days, when all the world is at unrest… the road ahead seems darkened by shadows which portend dangers….
Ground for the universal unrest… is not to be found in superficial politics or in mere economic blunders.
It probably lies deep at the sources of the spiritual life of our time.
That supreme task, which is nothing less that the salvation of civilization, now faces democracy….
We call ours a Christian civilization, a Christian conception of justice….
Our civilization cannot survive materially unless it be redeemed spiritually. It can be saved only by becoming permeated with the spirit of Christ and being made free and happy by the practices which spring out of that spirit.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt stated October 6, 1935:
The 400th anniversary of the printing of the first English Bible is an event of great significance….
We trace not only a measurable increase in the cultural value and influence of this greatest of books, but a quickening in the widespread dissemination of those moral and spiritual precepts that have so greatly affected the progress of Christian civilization.
Franklin Roosevelt addressed the 8th Pan American Scientific Congress, Washington, D.C., May 10, 1940:
At the Pan American Conference at Buenos Aires… we discussed… that the Americans might have to become the guardian of Western culture, the protector of Christian civilization.
Franklin D. Roosevelt stated at the Dedication of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, September 2, 1940:
There is another enemy at home… that… mocks at ideals, sneers at sacrifice and pretends that the American people can live by bread alone.
If the spirit of God is not in us, and if we will not prepare to give all that we have and all that we are to preserve Christian civilization in our land, we shall go to destruction.
Franklin Roosevelt stated on Labor Day, September 1, 1941:
On this day—this American holiday—we are celebrating the rights of free laboring men and women.
The preservation of these rights is vitally important now, not only to us who enjoy them—but to the whole future of Christian civilization.
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill stated June 18, 1940:
The Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin.
Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization.
Churchill stated July 14, 1940:
We are not fighting for ourselves alone.
Here in this strong City of Refuge which enshrines the title-deeds of human progress and is of deep consequence to Christian civilization; here, girt about by the seas and oceans where the Navy reigns, shielded from above by the prowess and devotion of our airmen, we await undismayed the impending assault.
President Truman introduced Winston Churchill in Fulton, Missouri, March 5, 1946.
Except in the British Commonwealth and in the United States where Communism is in its infancy, the Communist parties or fifth columns constitute a growing challenge and peril to Christian civilization.
On V-J Day, August 14, 1945, President Harry S Truman stated at a News Conference announcing the end of World War II:
I have received this afternoon a message from the Japanese Government….
‘His Majesty the Emperor is prepared to authorize… all the forces under their control wherever located to cease active operations, to surrender arms.’
The next day, President Truman released a message in anticipation of the Jewish New Year:
I extend to all my fellow Americans of Jewish faith my hearty congratulations and best wishes for New Year’s Day.
The enemies of civilization who would have destroyed completely all freedom of religion have been defeated.
All faiths unite in thanksgiving to Almighty God on our victory over the forces of evil.
Let us now all join to create the kind of peace settlement which will keep alive freedom of religious belief all over the world, and prevent the recurrence of all this misery and destruction.
That is the most fitting memorial we can erect to those who have fought and suffered and labored and died in this struggle to preserve decency for mankind.
On August 16, 1945, Truman proclaimed a Day of Prayer:
The warlords of Japan… have surrendered unconditionally….
This is the end of the… schemes of dictators to enslave the peoples of the world, destroy their civilization, and institute a new era of darkness and degradation.
Our global victory has come from the courage… of free men and women united in determination to fight.
It has come from the massive strength of arms… created by peace-loving peoples who knew that unless they won, decency in the world would end.
It has come from millions of peaceful citizens… turned soldiers overnight—who showed a ruthless enemy that they were not afraid to fight.
It has come with the help of God, Who was with us in the early days of adversity and…. Who has now brought us to this glorious day of triumph.
Let us give thanks to Him and… dedicate ourselves to follow in His ways.
Another challenge to civilization was during the late 1800s.
President Grover Cleveland described December 2, 1895:
Occurrences in Turkey have continued to excite concern…
Massacres of Christians in Armenia and the development there and in other districts of a spirit of fanatic hostility to Christian influences naturally excited apprehension…
Serious loss and destruction of mission property have resulted from riotous conflicts and outrageous attacks.
Several of the most powerful European powers… have assumed a duty not only in behalf of their own citizens and in furtherance of their own interests, but as agents of the Christian world.
Their right to enforce such conduct of Turkish government as will refrain fanatical brutality, and if this fails their duty is to so interfere as to insure against such dreadful occurrences in Turkey as have lately shocked civilization.
On December 7, 1896, President Cleveland stated:
The disturbed condition in Asiatic Turkey… hideous and bloody… rage of mad bigotry and cruel fanaticism… shocking….
We have been afflicted by continued reports of the wanton destruction of homes and the bloody butchery of men, women, and children, made martyrs to their profession of Christian faith.
Outbreaks of blind fury which lead to murder and pillage in Turkey occur suddenly and without notice….
We have made claims against the Turkish Government for the pillage and destruction of missionary property at Harpoot and Marash during the uprisings at those places….
Armenian refugees having arrived at our ports, an order has lately been obtained from the Turkish Government permitting the wives and children of such refugees to join them here….
I do not believe that the present somber prospect in Turkey will be long permitted to offend the sight of Christendom.
It so mars the humane and enlightened civilization that belongs to the close of the nineteenth century that it seems hardly possible that the earnest demand of good people throughout the Christian world for its corrective treatment will remain unanswered.
President Theodore Roosevelt included in his book Fear God and Take Your Own Part (1916), his address to the American Sociological Congress:
The civilization of Europe, America and Australia exists today at all only because of the victories of civilized man over the enemies of civilization, because of victories stretching through the centuries from Charles Martel in the 8th century and those of John Sobieski in the 17th century.
During the thousand years that included the careers of the Frankish soldier and the Polish king, the Christians of Asia and Africa proved unable to wage successful war with the Moslem conquerors;
and in consequence Christianity practically vanished from the two continents; and today nobody can find in them any ‘social values’ whatever, in the sense in which we use the words, so far as the sphere of Mohammedan influences are concerned.
There are such ‘social values’ today in Europe, America and Australia only because during those thousand years the Christians of Europe possessed the warlike power to do what the Christians of Asia and Africa had failed to do-that is, to beat back the Moslem invader.
In his last public address, President Richard Nixon warned August 8, 1974:
In the Middle East, 100 million people in the Arab countries…. We must continue… so that… the cradle of civilization will not become its grave.
More recent challenges to civilization have come from leftist agitators demanding socialism-communism.
David Horowitz, a conservative author who had previously been a 1960s radical Marxist, wrote in the Jewish World Review, September 6, 2001:
The ‘social justice’ organizations… protesters are the Fifth Column vanguards envisaged by Weatherman, declaring war on the Empire and plotting to tear down its walls from within.
What is at stake?
Do you, as an individual, like having the choice of where to live, what career to pursue, who to marry, what religion to adhere to, or not, how to dress, what to eat, and what to think?
If you like making these choices for yourself, you like Western Civilization.
Western Civilization can be summed up in one word—individual.
You have a worth and an identity simply because you are made in the image of God.
All other social structures can be summed up in the word—group.
Your worth and identity are in relation to your acceptance by a group, a clan, a gang, a family, a clique, a brotherhood, a society, a community, a state, a company, a social network, a political party, etc.
If you conform and contribute to this group and the group praises you, you are worth more.
If you do not, or are considered a drain or a threat to the group, you are worth-less, and the group shames, fires, ostracizes, or kills you.
And like a pecking order, every group ends up having a party boss, a gang leader, a king.
In the Old Testament, God called ancient Israel out of the group—the Egyptian world—and set them apart.
In the New Testament, Jesus calls his followers out the world, to personally love Him more than being accepted by a group.
Believers are to shun peer-pressure and the fear of man, and leave the herd mentality, the mob mentality, the pack mentality, and instead, care only about being accepted in the sight of God.
This thought influenced America’s founders. President Reagan stated in 1961:
In this country of ours took place the greatest revolution that has ever taken place in the world’s history.
Every other revolution simply exchanged one set of rulers for another.
Here for the first time in all the thousands of years of man’s relation to man… the founding fathers established the idea that you and I had within ourselves the God-given right and ability to determine our own destiny.
Henry Cabot Lodge, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Committee, spoke against joining the League of Nation, August 12, 1919:
The United States is the world’s best hope….
Beware how you trifle with your marvelous inheritance; this great land of ordered liberty. For if we stumble and fall, freedom and civilization everywhere will go down in ruin.
In 1909, Theodore Roosevelt warned:
I believe that the next half century will determine if we will advance the cause of Christian civilization or revert to the horrors of brutal paganism….
The choice between the two is upon us.
From Bill Federer’s American Minute for August 15, 2019.
William J. Federer is accomplished historian, speaker and the author of the best-selling books Prayers and Presidents – Inspiring Faith from Leaders of the Past, America’s God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations, American Minute—Notable Events of American Significance, Three Secular Reasons Why America Should Be Under God, Treasury of Presidential Quotations, and What Every American Needs to Know About the Quran: A History of Islam & the United States.
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