John Kennedy remains wildly popular. He was the nation's first Catholic President, in a nation established, predominately by Protestants fleeing the reach of a European state church. His Catholic roots provoked a deep concern in Protestant churches--would he defer to the Pope? Would he favor Catholicism in an inordinate way? It was soon clear; those concerns were not to be an issue. He was not the most devout follower of the Christian faith. The real danger he posed, not seen then, and still not fully recognized--was 'spirit.' The wild White House parties during his era are now legendary. He maintained a public persona while he pursued privately a level of coarse immorality that he and others knew would not be accepted if widely publicized. The press kept his secret--his private rendezvous, his multiple affairs. The insiders concealed the sordid side of his White House life. But he seeded something in the culture that is now wildly and widely growing--the acceptance of a decadent, two-timing, immoral life. He didn't invent it, but he proved--you can be President, essentially run the world, without a pure heart. Just keep the dirt under the rug.
The "swinging" private life of Kennedy's era and his immoral peers is now the new standard, and we have reached the point at which the culture has experienced a seismic moral shift, one in which "swinging" is the new normal, and straight, faithful-to-one's-spouse, a premarital virgin-status is abnormal. Now, for the unregenerate, the old duplicity is not necessary--it is the customary, expected, new norm, with some incredibly confusing rules about sexual harassment and gender fluidity. Now, the new duplicity is being forced on the conservatives who must keep their church-going, Christian beliefs, private, in order to retain their jobs and be accepted in the community. They are the new underground, silenced by the immoral majority, about faith and biblical values.
The spirit of JFK, and arguably, that of elites in his era, is now a mainstream movement, and he was a stealth participant. Nixon also behaved in duplicitous ways, identifying as a believer, but with a habit of coarse and vulgar private language now obvious from the White House tapes, and, with his clandestine cover-up that forced him from office. Proverbs 17:7, "Eloquent words are not appropriate on a fool's lips; how much worse are lies for a ruler."
Barack Hussein Obama represents, as did Bill Clinton, the new norm in different ways. Obama is superficially religious, nominally Christian, with a decided partiality toward Islam. Pluralism is a blender to religion, the belief that all faiths are essentially the same, all leading to the same place--if they lead anywhere at all, all expressions of man's attempt be "good" and "better himself," all references to the same "higher power" regardless of the name used, or the book referenced.
Religion, pluralism argues, is good--if no one takes it too seriously or assumes that their version is better than another. It is formula for unsalty salt, for faith values that are not Biblical values at all. Pluralism treats faith as a personal philosophy of life--to be tempered, controlled, regulated and reshaped by public policy for the good of all, but then so diluted, it is good for nothing.
The "spirit" of the Clinton era introduced an embrace of immorality that was breath-taking. Scandals, bribes, liaisons, affairs, kick-backs and masterful duplicity. The "spirit" of the Obama administration, at first pluralistic, has moved the nation to an anti-Christian posture, past the embrace of mere immorality, to the normalization of the gay agenda, and the Islamic proliferation, not only in terms of ideology, but to increased cultural and political strength, by the strategic access of Muslims to virtually every segment of Washington government. The goal has been, and is, the infiltration of huge numbers of Muslim immigrants for the purpose of altering the fundamental character of the nation.
Caution--this is not an immigrant issue, or a matter of political access and power, or yet, a radical view of gender rights--we are dealing with a "spirit" that has been introduced into the nation, by means of the highest office and offices, including, our own Supreme Court. Hilary Clinton's "what difference does it make?" attitude in the face of tragic America deaths, probably itself a cover-up, the perpetual dishonesty (emails) and decided bent to non-biblical values (radical feminism, abortion, pluralism)--is a 'spiritual' issue.
Donald Trump's narcissism drives his valueless, bottom-line pragmatism. He is the essence of the egocentric culture, sadly and naively unpolished, boldly brazen and thin skinned. Clinton and Obama are deeply principled--although their principles are informed by an extreme left of center ideology; Trump seems to have no guiding star--except the reflection of his image. Isaiah 1:23 warned before the fall of Israel, "Your rulers are rebels, friends of thieves. They all love graft and chase after bribes. They do not defend the rights of the fatherless, and the widow's case never comes before them."
We are being visited by the "spirit" of our kings. Our system is broken, having delivered to us horrible choices for national leaders, choices, in terms of the 'spirit' of the candidates, that leave us no alternative but to cry out to God for mercy--for His intervention. For His judgement, if necessary.
No nation has ever experienced a spiritual revival without a godly leader. God seems to have shut us up to Himself, with only one choice--prayer for a national spiritual awakening. There is wild card in Scripture when there are no godly leaders. It is simply this, "If my people, called by my name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will ..." (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Personal Note: It is not my intent to be political, here. I want to humbly offer the rumblings of my troubled heart. I am deeply concerned about where we are as a nation. Perhaps, this is an element you have not considered. I hope you will hear my heart. As someone has said, "Words are the tools we use to carry the cargo of our hearts," and sometimes, we use the wrong words. If I do, if the concept is not clear, forgive me. Wesley's first rule was, "Do no harm!" Augustine counseled, "You owe your conscience to God; and to one another you owe nothing but mutual love." Balancing conscience, and speaking love, is delicate and difficult.
Douglas Small is founder and president of Alive Ministries: PROJECT PRAY and he serves in conjunction with a number of other organizations. He is also the creator of the Praying Church Movement and the Prayer Trainer’s Network. However, all views expressed are his own and not the official position of any organization.
[Editor's Note: Dr. Douglas Small is also a member of the Board of Trustees at Holmes Bible College.]