Does it seem to you that lawbreakers of one kind or another seem to be having a field day in America? Have you wondered whatever happened to the rule of law?
Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #105 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.
If you are a certain age, you’d be forgiven for wondering, whatever happened to accountability, law and order, and blind justice?
You might even wonder what happened to Pres. George H. W. Bush’s call for a “kinder, gentler nation.”
And remember the words of John Winthrop in the year 1630, quoting from Matthew's Gospel (5:14) in which Jesus warns, "a city on a hill cannot be hid,"
Winthrop warned his fellow Puritans that their new community would be "as a city upon a hill the eyes of all people are upon us."
Two hundred fifty years later in 1980, Candidate Ronald Reagan said, “I have quoted John Winthrop's words more than once on the campaign trail this year—for I believe that Americans in 1980 are every bit as committed to that vision of a shining city on a hill, as were those long ago settlers...These visitors to that city on the Potomac do not come as white or black, red or yellow; they are not Jews or Christians; conservatives or liberals; or Democrats or Republicans. They are Americans awed by what has gone before, proud of what for them is still… a shining city on a hill.”
Or remember the words of Katharine Lee Bates’ poem later put to music to become an iconic patriotic hymn:
“O beautiful for patriot dream, That sees beyond the years, Thine alabaster cities gleam, Undimmed by human tears! America! America! God mend thine every flaw, Confirm thy soul in self-control, Thy liberty in law!” Quite a vision that does not seem to align with what we’re experiencing today.
More recently, what we see happening in America sadly falls short of these powerful ideals.
Following the tragic killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the country was subjected to urban riots that destroyed stores and neighborhoods, resulted in billions of dollars of destruction, and wrecked the economy and livelihood of many people living and working in cities across the country. Ostensibly, these riots – some commentators refused to call them riots, using only the word protests – were a cry for racial justice. And there were a few people and instances in which legitimate peaceful protest took place. But still, the arson, looting, vandalism ruined peoples livelihoods and properties, many of the minority owned. Lawlessness in the name of justice.
America has experienced both a crime wave and a violence wave. Looters, sometimes in broad daylight, break upscale retail store windows and doors in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, then run off with millions in goods in so-called “smash and grab” endeavors, many coordinated by gangs. But perpetrators face few consequences because “there is no political will to prosecute.” The “defund the police” movement has sapped some officers’ morale. “Decriminalization of low-level offenses in some states (like California) has created opportunities for criminals to manipulate the system.” Progressive district and prosecuting attorneys, mayors, even governors announced they do not intend to prosecute and thus do not hold perpetrators accountable.
“American citizens who try to defend themselves and their property from violent looters, arsonists and criminals are immediately labeled ‘white supremacists,’ ‘vigilantes’ or worse by the media.”
American cities are declining. People and businesses are departing in droves, especially in criminal-friendly states like California. Central downtowns in cities like Portland, Los Angeles, Seattle, Sacramento, New York, Austin, Washington, DC, and several more are turning into a sad mix of the very wealthy living above and the abject, abandoned, addicted, and abused living below, similar to what can be found in cities around the world located in countries without the social welfare programs or healthcare available in the United States.
Homelessness – with multiple root causes – now plague cities with makeshift shelters, tent cities lining sidewalks, tarps covering broken-down cars, and sleeping bags tucked in storefront doorways. Some say it is drug addiction, some blame mental illness, some argue homelessness is economic, others say it is lifestyle choices, some say these homeless tent cities within cities are hotbeds of crime, abuse, and general lack of safety for the neighborhoods affected, some contend many homeless should be in mental health or drug addiction facilities, or in jail.
Whatever it is, human feces and urine, drug syringes, filthy used condoms, beer and liquor containers, and fast-food waste are evident in America’s alabaster cities.
Altercations in public schools are increasing and increasingly violent. Yes, school shooters, the lone gunman, a genuine anarchic threat to free society and our children, but there’s more, violent outbreaks among students, the product of our toxic, divisive times and dysfunctional families that give these youth no support, no hope, nothing but angst, anger, and anomie. Teachers and staff are now regularly subjected to violence in schools.
What is the source of this violence? It’s the culture – students are coming of age in a society that rejects truth, disdains authority, argues for “fairness,” a euphemism for “everything must be the same,” a constant barrage of social media, political, and social inputs demeaning the nation’s history, its values, and its aspirations, and in its place, giving youth and an increase number of adults a demanding sense of envy, alienation, and surliness.
Brawls, random brawls involving adults are becoming commonplace on airplanes and at sporting venues.
A woman swore at the flight crew and threw a bottle on a recent flight after the attendant reportedly asked the woman to take her dog off her lap.
“A Disney World visitor took their frustration due to a ride’s technical problem out on a Cast Member, sending them to the hospital.”
A man became so violent on a Paris to Detroit flight he was put in restraints.
“A Dodgers fan got knocked unconscious during a brawl outside Dodger Stadium,” after a game with the Twins.
“Two Alabamians were suspended from a Tennessee park after a brawl, arrests at softball game.”
Tourists in national parks seem to now believe they should be permitted to do whatever they want to do, including place themselves at risk in the close proximity of large wild animals like bison, grizzly bears – yes, grizzly bears, with cubs no less. Or the tourists ignore park warnings not to deviate from established walking trails or not to put their hands into incredibly high temperature natural hot springs like those found at Yellowstone. Often, when these kinds of incidents occur, other tourists or park rangers are put at risk as well, attempting to assist or protect the tourist acting out their behaviors.
Many of these pictures with animals or on the edge of cliffs featuring precipitous hundred-foot drops are motivated by people wanting selfies or taking videos to post on Tik Tok or Instagram. “Hey, look at me. I am placing myself in extreme danger. This means I am, a) uninformed, b) brave, c) not smart, possess no common sense, and think the world revolves around me.”
Another example of lawlessness in America is sponsored by the United States government, or more precisely President Joe Biden. It is the near unrestricted immigration on the nation’s southern border.“The only White House strategy seems to be: Keep the flow going, fly migrants around the country to spread out the impact, trust the media not to report on it — and pretend nothing is really happening.”Some 66% of Americans disapprove of the Biden Administration’s exceptionally lenient southern border immigration policy that allows hundreds of thousands to enter the United States without benefit of legal process.
I have always been, and I remain, pro-immigrant. The U.S. is a nation of immigrants after all. But I am pro-immigrant via legal means along with a legal process toward citizenship, not come one, come all, including child traffickers, fentanyl drug pushers, and many others with criminal records.
Lawlessness is now not simply a matter of murders and sex crimes. Lawlessness is now prevalent in how some Americans believe they can behave.
During COVID, I did not like it when conservative county sheriffs announced they would not enforce legitimate state approved laws or executive orders from the progressive governor’s office. It did not matter that I agreed with their point of view about the new law or order. What mattered is that if anyone can do what’s right in his own eyes, then we have not law and order but anarchy and chaos.
This is not a recipe, in the words of the U.S. Constitution, for a more perfect Union, establishing Justice, ensuring domestic tranquility, providing for the common defense, promoting the general welfare, and securing the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.
Lawlessness is no longer the activity of the outlaw. It is what average Americans do when they don’t get their way.
Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com.
And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2023
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