Is America's Pagan Secularism Doomed? Yes, and Here's Why

Reagan to Spaso House
President Ronald Reagan waving to Moscow citizens while driving in his limousine from Moscow State University to Spaso House, where he addressed Soviet dissidents, May 31, 1988. (Photo courtesy of Reagan Presidential Library, Simi Valley, California)

Pagan secularism has dominated American Christianity for the last century. Though troubling, those who are enabled to see the world from God's perspective need not be troubled by the false religions that tread the earth's stage. Though in spring 1942 the Axis powers dominated nearly half of the globe, in three short years they would be utterly gone.

What should strike fear to this once Christian nation is that believers have abandoned the public square. Theology is divisive, but the sole way for secularists to dominate the culture is to expunge theology from the public square, forcing biblical influence over public policy safely behind the four walls of the church.1

America has lost its identity, as if stricken with amnesia derived from a head blow. An interesting study would be to suggest a date when secularism was birthed in America.

The fact is, the engine that birthed America was spiritual; winning the world for Christ was the driving force in the founding of America.

"Having undertaken for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith"2 and "... to reach the people within these shores with the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to raise up godly generations after us, and with these generations take the kingdom of God to all the earth."3

Secularism has ravaged the Founder's model.

As an example of how far off base spiritually we have become, the foreign policy of the Bush 41', Clinton 42', Bush 43', and Obama 44' administrations can be defined as, "Put a McDonald's and a Gap in every major Middle Eastern city, and terrorism will drown in a wave of Happy Meals."4

Juxtapose those presidents and their approach to President Ronald Reagan's muscular leadership of the free world from 1980-1988. President Reagan was convinced that the only way to defeat the Soviet anti-God ideology was with wisdom found Scripture. He kicked around, "Can one destroy an ideology with bombs, bullets and cruise missiles?" For decades the United States kept the Soviets at bay militarily without addressing Lenin's godless ideology. Reagan's conclusion: The one true God and Jesus Christ, His Son, are the only way to loose the souls trapped behind the Iron Curtain.

Dr. Paul Kengor, in his classic God and Ronald Reagan, A Spiritual Life, tells it best:

"Reagan perceived few things as more courageous than standing for God under persecution—particularly communist persecution. To Reagan, these men were spiritual heroes.

"[Following Reagan's radio address to the Soviet people] What was that? Soviet citizens must have been wondering. For possibly the first time ever on radio, the Russian people had just heard a politician discussing the souls—a concept Lenin himself had worked all of his life to deny and abolish. Even Reagan's signature signoff, 'God bless you,' must have bewildered many Soviet ears.

"TASS political observer Anatoly Krasikov throttled Reagan for his remarks on May 3. The president's 'hopelessly unrealistic appeals,' said Krasikov, 'provoke only an ironic smile in the USSR. It will be better if they (the U.S. president and Congress) take up problems of freedom of conscience at home.' Insinuating hypocrisy on Reagan's part, Krasikov said there were 'quite a few people' in the 'upper echelons' of American government who, 'while advertising their own piety, demonstrate by their whole way of life that faith for them is no more than a covering for extremely unevangelical doings.'

"'Thank you, and God bless you.' As the words left his lips and were translated into Russian, the hardened Kremlin atheists present visibly blanched. Gorbachev's translator said that Reagan's words rang like blasphemy to the Soviet officials present, and they reacted with wry expressions. 'The heretofore impregnable edifice of Communist atheism was being assaulted before their very eyes by (Reagan),' the translator recorded in his notes. For unregenerate Red atheists, it was a discomforting moment.

"Reagan's extemporaneous close to the Spaso House speech may have seemed a little awkward, even ill-fitting with the venue and the rest of the president's address. For Reagan, though, every word he spoke to the Soviet people was an opportunity to bring even a hint of religion to the spiritually starved nation. The particular event, he knew, was being broadcast on live television in the Soviet Union; with such an opportunity to reach millions with a spiritual message, it's hard to imagine Ronald Reagan making any other choice.

"Most Soviet citizens had never known anything but atheism. And yet it's surprising how warmly even nonbelievers seemed to greet Reagan's religious overtures. 'I'm not religious,' one Muscovite woman assured an interviewer, 'but i (sic) was delighted to hear (Reagan) end his speeches by saying 'God bless you.' We never heard it said before on television.'" 

In thinking about the situation confronting the nation of Israel during Isaiah's day, Old Testament scholar John Oswalt reminds us, "History is not out of control, nor in the hand of some demon who wishes to destroy Israel"—or America. The shocks that have come and are yet to come can be endured so long as we yet believe that it is God who is bringing us through the fire."

Pastors must re-establish prayer in our churches, and men and women of Issachar must re-engage the culture at the public square. We simply need a Gideon or Rahab to stand.


1 Peter J. Leithart, 1 & 2 Kings Commentary

2 The Mayflower Compact

3 Founder Robert Hunt, Jamestown, April 29, 1607

4 Leithart

David Lane is the founder of American Renewal Project.

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