As we approach the July 4 anniversary celebration of our nation, I pen my annual politically oriented newsletter. I began this practice about 10 years ago when I seriously connected my faith to civil life as I witnessed the moral and ethical decline of American society and realized how that affected the nation’s civil life and especially the government, I felt compelled to speak out.

The state of our nation is not just a political or a secular issue because the United States of America has a religious foundation. Written into this nation’s Constitution is freedom of religion, Amendment I – “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; …”

Much is heard about the perverted “freedom from religion;” however, there is nothing but silence about “prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” and therein lies the crux of the problem. Moreover, please do not be deceived by the “freedom of worship” mantra. That is a deception from none other than the agents of the antichrist. God and therefore “religion” cannot be disassociated from America without undermining the constitution and the nation.

What follows is not something that I have not said before;most of it is being repeated for emphasis. I am concerned about the course, which the United States of America is following. That course, unfortunately, is away from God, away from the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that are endowed by the Creator, and toward atheistic socialism and communism.

The founding fathers of these United States understood the threat of absolute despotism – that which flows from an abusive, powerful and controlling government. They believed that the only just and lawful government is one that derives its authority from the people, as James Wilson insisted, in the people “all government ought to rest.”

It was their understanding that liberty and freedom are gifts from God, the Creator, and that government derives its power and authority from the Creator through the people. In that understanding, government has nothing of its own, all it possesses is derived from its citizens – the government can give nothing to the governed, it can only take from them or limit their unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In the United States, the people authorize the federal government to act for them in matters of national interest – making treaties, printing money, national defense, regulating commerce, etc. The people empower their government to act in their best interest for the common good.

The founders of these United States were God-fearing people. They believed that God created mankind and endowed them with unalienable rights – rights that cannot be taken away or transferred by any person or government. Contrary to what contemporary historians, revisionists as I call them, attempt to tell us; the founders were mostly Christians, not 100 percent but at least 97 percent, and they were knowledgeable of God’s Word contained in scripture – the Bible.

By and large the people who founded this nation were seeking religious freedom. Now, I will grant you that not all the people who came to this land were seeking religious freedom, some came for economic opportunity, and employers, kings, or queens to expand empires and to amass fortunes sent some. However, the preponderance of those who worked, suffered hardships and fought to establish this nation of these United States were for all practical intents and purposes Christians.

They believed in God and established a nation based upon His Word contained in scripture. They established a constitutional government based upon Christian principles, morals and ethics. They drafted the United States Constitution to protect the God-given rights of the people. They established a government of limited power and authority; believing that the greatest threat to freedom and liberty is a powerful central government. They knew all too well that power corrupts and ultimate power brings ultimate corruption – they fled Europe to escape the despotism of royalty and aristocracy.

Therefore, the founders established a nation, with a constitutional form of government based upon God’s Laws, the 10 Commandments and Christian principles. They recognized that all is given to the people from God and not from any worldly entity and they trusted that God would bless the nation. And God has blessed these United States through the past 238-plus years; but will He continue to bless this nation as it turns away from Him and rejects His Word?

As we remove God and Christian principles from our civic life and government, we chisel and chip away at the foundation of our constitution. Once the foundation of the constitution is destroyed, the constitution and our unalienable rights will crumble. When the constitution is lost we will, once again, suffer the despotism of dictators, aristocracy or royalty. The rich and the powerful of the 17th and 18th centuries still are the rich and powerful of the 21st century and desire to regain what they lost with the founding of the United States. In addition to them, we now have the threat of a socialist/communist government bureaucracy.

It is frightening to see just how far the United States has advanced down the road to communism and its eventual demise. Moreover, I am concerned by the apathy of American citizens who are willing to throw away their God-given rights and constitutional freedoms, and their gullibility to believe the socialist/communist propaganda. I cannot understand why so many Americans refuse to learn from history the truth about socialism/communism and refuse to believe that it is alive and thriving in the United States today under the titles of “progressivism” and “globalism.” The movement toward the globalization, assigning away American sovereignty, of every facet of this nation is the implementation of the communist plan eventual one-world government!

I have never accepted the premise that the communist threat to the West ended with the demise of the USSR. I do not believe that all or any of the loyal communists/socialists ceased to exist or adopted another form of economic/political ideology. We must always remember that socialists/communists are very patient, unswerving, cunning and deceitful; they will always distort and twist the truth, they are true “hypocrites.” Above all else, they stick to the plan – revise when necessary but always push forward to their ultimate end.

In addition, they frequently change terminology to make the plan more palatable to the people. The real leaders are only interested in their own advancement and the subjugation of all people under them. History attests to the fact that equality of the masses is a farce under a socialist/communist system; the overlords are a “privileged” class not subject to the “freedoms” or “economy” of the common people. The leaders are an incontestable elite; they are in fact the powerful wealthy tyrannical masters they purport to oppose. The eventual outcome is a dictatorship or oligarchy with two classes of people: the very wealthy or privileged party leaders, and the very poor or common people; there are no freedoms or opportunities for betterment of one’s condition, only a repressive government that controls its subjects under the guise of “protection and public safety.”

My opposition to progressivism or socialism/communism is rooted in theology – that God is the sole source of life and all that exists, which includes government; that humans were created in the image of God, which includes free will; that humans, because of evil and the consequences of sin, are by nature sinners and thus self-centered, turning away from God and in upon themselves; and, that God gave the Law to control humanity’s inclination to sin.

I also believe that power corrupts and ultimate power brings ultimate corruption. In addition, it is my opinion that socialism/communismin its many forms, contrary to its definition, is opposed to humanity’s free will and thus must be imposed upon people through government. Moreover, that socialism/communism supplants God with the government as the source of all that people possess – for Americans, the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness endowed by the Creator. Last, that what is given or granted by the government (the source) will be regulated, limited or taken away by the government.

Since the government is composed of sinful people, if left unchecked or limited by the people, it will concentrate power within itself to benefit itself at the expense of the governed – power corrupts. Now if the government, not God, is the source of all that the people possess and has ultimate power over the governed, the people are at the mercy of the government.

Socialism/communismis so dangerous to religious and political freedom because it replaces God with a government that is primarily concerned about the welfare of itself. Government can give nothing to the governed; it can only take from them or limit their God-given rights. The problem – sinners cannot have ultimate power because they will abuse it; therefore, the power of government must be dispersed into the hands of the governed – local municipalities, counties and states.

Moreover, atheistic socialism/communism knows the power of religion as an adversary, especially Christianity, and has been infiltrating the church to convert it to a comrade. I quote from The Communist Uprisings of 1926-27 in Indonesia: Key Documents (Ithaca, New York, Cornell University, 1960), page 17 –

” Although as a communist one is inwardly not religious – the statement continues – it is nevertheless of importance, and even vital for the expansion of communism that one should pretend to believe in the purity and sublimity of religion.” And from Masters of Deceit (New York, Holt, Rinehart and Winston Inc., 1958), page 324 – “the Party is today engaged in a systematic program to infiltrate American religious groups. ‘The Communist Party,’ said the National Committee in 1954, ‘declares that it seeks no conflict with any church or any American’s religious belief. On the contrary, we stretch out our hand in the fellowship of common struggle for our mutual goal of peace, democracy and security to all regardless of religious belief.’ Members are being told: ‘Join churches and become involved in church work.'”

In addition to the constitutional rights of the citizens, the strength of America resides in the free enterprise of the people to raise themselves up on the socioeconomic ladder. The people have been blessed with God-given rights and an opportunity to better themselves, the nation and the world. This gave the middle class the freedom to be both producers and consumers of goods and services and to raise the standard of living for American citizens to one desired by the rest of the world.

But now liberty, freedom and prosperity are crumbling and the future of the Republic looks bleak. The nation is headed down the path of socialism/communismat an ever-increasing rate and the possibility of reversing the direction seems hopeless. The bastion of American freedom and hope for the world is under attack from without and within. It is appalling that we the people have allowed so many enemies of the Republic to infiltrate the government, from the very top to the lowest level of civil servants.

The future of liberty for the people clings to the United States Constitution, its Christian principles and recognition of God as Creator and Lord, and its preservation and protection of the God given unalienable rights of the people. However, a dreadful number of those who were elected to uphold, defend, and protect the Constitution want to scrap it for something more progressive. Remember that socialist/communist peace, democracy and security is the equivalent of Pax Romana living under the thumb of tyranny.

With liberty and freedom come personal and civic responsibilities. We are not free to live excessive lives. We are not set at liberty to pursue selfish ends. Our independence should not make us infidels; as Paul puts it: “For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence.”

Liberty demands graciousness and freedom requires righteous behavior. Our nation must remember from whom its liberty and freedom are endowed – they come from our Creator God; however, we have denied the true source of our freedoms and blessings. And as we turn away from God, He will leave us alone. He will not force Himself upon us; but will allow us to wallow in the mire of our own sty. The societal dilemma of our nation today – with its lack of civility, deplorable public morals and ethics, and debased and perverted lifestyles and practices – can be attributed to its godlessness.

Alexander Fraser Tytler lived at the end of the 18th century, but his book “The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic” sends us a chilling warning today. Tytler found that ancient democracies declined under the selfishness of human hearts. He wrote: “The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence:

from bondage to spiritual faith;

from spiritual faith to great courage;

from courage to liberty;

from liberty to abundance;

from abundance to selfishness;

from selfishness to complacency;

from complacency to apathy;

from apathy to dependency;

from dependency back to bondage.”

I fear that this nation has moved from apathy to dependency and is heading into bondage. We have not only separated the church from the state but also separated God from our civil lives. We have replaced God and His gifts with government entitlements. This nation has abandoned its Judeo-Christian heritage for atheistic secular humanism and rejected the insights of its God-fearing founding fathers. We must always remember what Christ Jesus said, “So everyone who acknowledges Me before men, I also will acknowledge before My Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies Me before men, I also will deny before My Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 10:32-33

Therefore, as we celebrate our nation’s 238th year of independence from tyranny, let us pray for these United States of America.

Let us pray that freedom and liberty will resist the onslaught of attacks from evil and those who would destroy this nation.

Let us pray that the Republic will survive the attacks of those who would destroy the free enterprise system and enslave the people to socialism/communism.

Let us pray that the leaders would become statesmen rather than politicians.

Let us pray that this nation turns from the path of evil and destruction back to God.

Let us pray that God will be reinstituted into the civic life,and that God’s Laws will once again become the foundation of the nation’s laws.

Lastly, let us pray that the people of these United States will read the Bible, the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.

In closing, I challenge anyone who contends that this was a secular or atheistic nation at its founding to read the writings of the founding fathers of the United States and still make that claim.

Happy 4th of July and God bless the United States of America!

– Letscher is the pastor at Bethany Lutheran Church, 369 Broad St., Montoursville.