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The Priority of Public Virtue

The leaders we elect in a democratic republic are merely the reflections of the corporate character and culture of the people. We can actually “see” the moral core of our nation by the type of people representing us. When the news is filled with stories of greed, corruption and immorality in the lives of our leaders, there’s good reason to believe the same behaviors are rampant in the citizenry.

Perhaps this is why we should be greatly alarmed over the current state of our nation. The Founding Fathers understood the necessary bond between liberty and virtue and feared for the future of our nation if this indissoluble bond was threatened by widespread perversion among the electorate.

James Madison warned of the threat of immorality and its impact upon the strength and vitality of our Constitution and our nation:

“Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks, no form of government, can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea. If there be sufficient virtue and intelligence in the community, it will be exercised in the selection of these men; so that we do not depend upon their virtue, or put confidence in our rulers, but in the people who are to choose them.”

Government is not responsible for the character of the people. This responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of the Church. Only Christ can transform human nature and only the Word of God can provide the guidelines for living a life of virtue and freedom. Let’s commit ourselves anew to both living the gospel and sharing the good news of Jesus wherever we go. The message is simple. There can be no liberty without virtue and nor virtue apart from Jesus!

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