Our Right to Require Belief
Graham says this sermon, preached 50 years ago, still has relevance
The kind of moral conduct American life has historically demanded has grown on a religious soil which recognizes the moral laws of God. The morality of justice, the claims of honesty, the regard for and respect of the rights of others have grown on Judeo-Christian soil.
For a generation we have been emphasizing material things. We have been "living it up," reaching for that extra status symbol, milking an affluent society for all we can get. Now we are discovering what Haggai, the prophet, wrote: "Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes,...Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it."
When a national leader turns to God in obvious sincerity, it has a tremendous effect on the whole nation. Think how Mr. Eisenhower thrilled us when he began his first Administration with what he called his "little prayer."
When Alexis de Tocqueville, the great French student of democracy, returned to France after a visit to American, he said to his peers, "Sirs, I went at your bidding. I ascended their mountains. I went down into their valleys. I visited their commercial markets and their emporiums of trade. I entered their legislative halls and their judicial courts. I searched everywhere in vain until I entered a church. It was there, sirs, as I listened to the soul-elevating and soul-equalizing gospel as it fell from sabbath to sabbath upon the waiting multitudes, that I learned why America is great and free."
Again and again the destiny of nations has been determined by acts of God. Yes, American political leaders owe it to our history, owe it to the people, owe it to a possible solution to the present crisis to have faith in God.
I'm not advocating that faith in God is necessary merely for the holding of public office. I believeevery American
should have faith in God. This should be a deep, personal faith. Christ said, "Ye must be born again." We all must have this transformingexperience if we are to enter God's kingdom and produce the type of society that our forefathers fought and prayed for. In a democracy, the office holder is only as strong as the people who support him.