Many people have identified the 2012 election as a tipping point in America, a point after which we live in a different country. If this is true, it’s not because of one election. The election is simply the manifestation of 100 years of cultural drift.
National change always begins at the level of the culture (the cause) and eventually is manifest by changes in policies and institutions (the effect). The causative changes have been underway for 100 years as American culture has steadily shifted from a Judeo-Christian paradigm to a post-Christian framework. At the causative level the tipping point is invisible, but it no doubt came long ago. Now the effect has caught up with us.
Forty years ago, Francis Schaeffer was regarded as a prophet simply because he understood that as a society’s ideas shift, everything else in the society changes as well. Schaeffer accurately predicted where things would end up because he could see the causative shift. Now, after the 2012 election, it’s obvious that the shift has reached its natural conclusion. The policies and institutions are now being driven by the atheistic philosophy.
If America has passed the point of no return, that was simply manifested by the 2012 election. In that, 2012 in the US may prove to be the equivalent of 2004 in Europe.
In July 2003, the Convention on the Future of Europe (CFE) completed a draft of a constitution of the European Union. Traditional nations like Italy, Poland and Slovakia wanted the document to honor the role of God and Christianity in shaping European culture. Less religious states such as France, Spain, and the Netherlands disagreed, arguing that Europe was founded on secular principles. The latter group won the day: all language referencing God or Christianity was struck.
In the months between the completion of the draft and its ratification vote, Pope John Paul II made a tireless effort to restore the acknowledgement of the Christian roots of Europe. He wrote:
The Christian faith has shaped the culture of the continent and is inextricably bound up with its history, to the extent that Europe’s history would be incomprehensible without reference to the events which marked first the great period of evangelization and then the long centuries in which Christianity, despite the painful division between East and West, came to be the religion of the European peoples.
On October 29, 2004, delegates of the 25 member states signed the document. It was never ratified by the member states themselves. Nevertheless, the fact that a majority of delegates repudiated God and Christianity marked a turning point for Europe.
The 2012 DNC convention featured a similar debate. The Democratic party platform has always acknowledged God, and recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Both references were eliminated by the 2012 platform committee. When this change became public as the convention opened, the chair was forced to hold a floor vote to reinstate the shorn language. A majority of convention delegates opposed the religious wording, but the (surprised) chairman ignored the majority and the language was reinstated. Click the video below to see the remarkable drama.
This was a turning point for the Democratic Party. The ensuing presidential election likely marked the turning point for the nation.
Writing despondently of our passing “the point of no return,” writer, engineer, and entrepreneur, Bill Frezza, describes it this way:
After approaching it for decades, America has now hurtled past the dependency tipping point. We have scrapped the last vestiges of our constitutionally limited republic of strictly enumerated powers and replaced it with an unconstrained entitlement democracy neither better nor worse than any of the others whose failures have dotted the course of history—all over weighty issues such as who should pay for condoms.
Heeding the cry, Forward!, an electoral majority happily voted for itself unlimited benefits that will supposedly be paid for by a productive minority—even as the nation careens toward bankruptcy and said productive minority starts eyeing the exits. With demographic changes reinforcing a permanent ethnic tribalism that abjures the melting pot, the likelihood that our country will ever recover its founding values has vanished as thoroughly as our respect for the dead white men who pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to make our way of life possible.
President Obama won a strong Electoral College majority–332 to 206–but the popular vote revealed how closely the nation was divided: 50.6% of American voters re-elected the president.
Americans faced a choice between a constitutional republic vs. statism … between freedom vs. growing tyranny … between wealth creation vs. wealth redistribution … between delayed gratification vs. consumption … between self-sacrifice vs. narcissism. A majority of citizens chose the latter.
In the aftermath of the election I was in Asia for a pastor’s conference. Someone from the region asked me, “Now that the light of freedom in the United States has gone out, what will keep the darkness at bay?” Indeed the United States has chosen having stuff over freedom. What will this mean for the rest of the world?
Reason suggests we have passed the point of no return. Revelation and history tell us that God is Sovereign. He can and does act in the midst of a nation to alter the course of its trajectory.
– Darrow Miller
MikeDecember 6, 2012 - 4:38 pm
The question of whether or not the US has passed the tipping point or point of no return (whatever that means) is an interesting one to debate. I personally think we have passed this point but believe the main burden for why this occurred lays squarely at the feet of the “Church.” We have no right to whine and complain and gnash our teeth that things are the way they are, and knowing Darrow as I do I know this is not his thinking. We have no right to point fingers at the unbelieving world as though they are the reason we have come to this point. If people in the Church had been following the scriptural mandate to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and your neighbor as yourself” we would not be in our present situation.
DarrowDecember 10, 2012 - 7:37 am
Exactly Mike. Judgment is always laid at the feet of those of us who claim to be God’s people. This should come out in the next two blogs in our series. Mike, thanks for reading and for engaging with us.
Clark E. DahlDecember 7, 2012 - 10:06 am
I too believe that the 2012 elections were our last best opportunity to avoid disastrous economic consequences. While I agree that the shift from a Judeo/Christian ethic started long ago, the first big shift in government thinking occurred with the presidency of FDR. Following that LBJ’s so-called “War on Poverty” in the 1960’s really set the stage for government taking over every aspect of our lives. Just like the other war LBJ started he set the war on poverty on a course to lose as well. The coming economic disaster will play right into the hands of the statists who will use this disaster to grab even more power over the citizenry(never let a good crisis go to waste). While I am a short-term pessimist I am thankful for the knowledge of God’s power and His coming kingdom.
DarrowDecember 10, 2012 - 7:34 am
It is good to hear from you. I assume that you are the Clark Dahl I knew some 30 years ago in the International Hunger Corps days. Cannot imagine that there are two Clark Dahl’s. If you are, it is good to hear from you again.
Thanks for your comments. I agree with them. And I too am a long term optimist as you will see in the next two blogs.
Again, thanks for your comments,
Clark DahlDecember 10, 2012 - 7:56 am
Yes, Darrow, its me. I still enjoy reading your material, I always feel it is spot on. I pray God will continue to bless you and your work.
DarrowDecember 14, 2012 - 6:03 am
It is encouraging to be in touch with you again after all these years.