The Problems We Face
Sixty-two percent of Americans still think our nation is headed in the wrong direction.
Since January 2009, Rasmussen Reports has been conducting a weekly poll asking Americans whether they think America is heading in the right direction, or not. During the week of May 21-27, 2012, the pollsters found that the large majority think we are not. Only one third of Americans think our country is on the right track.
When Rasmussen first started asking this question, the figures were roughly the same as now with 27 percent taking an optimistic view and 63 percent stating that they thought our nation was on the wrong track. During the spring and summer of 2009 the balance between these two views shifted and the “right track” percentages rose and then peaked at 40 percent. But by July 2009 people were right back to the same views they had six months earlier. Then, in the following months, the percentage of those who thought our nation is headed in the wrong direction exceeded the 60 percentile, and it has not dropped below that number since. In fact, in July and August of 2011 the “wrong direction” number hit 80 percent and for most of the fall in 2011 it hovered in the mid 70 percentile range.
Clearly the vast majority of Americans understand that our nation is facing serious problems. But how do we define them? What are the indicators that we are on the wrong track?
For some, the major indicator is the pain they are experiencing financially. One of the experts Truth in Action Ministries interviewed on this topic is Dawn Fotopulos, who is an associate professor of business at Kings College in New York City. She says that she sees the high number of people who have been out of work for an extended period of time and still cannot find jobs as evidence that the economy is still faltering. “The economy is in very tough straights right now,” says professor Fotopulos, and “we have stealth inflation all around us.”
In addition to teaching, Fotopulos founded Best Small Biz Help.com and she regularly writes articles targeted to helping small business owners. But these businesses, which should be the engine of new job creation, are now suffering from increased costs of doing business. When gas prices rise, “That increases the cost of doing business because now all your raw materials become very expensive,” she says. Other rising costs for small businesses include liability insurance, minimum wage, and payroll taxes. These costs will only be aggravated when the new health care mandates kick in. According to Fotopulos, “Government policy is becoming more invasive for small businesses.” For more of the Truth in Action interview with Dawn Fotopoulos, click here.
It’s not just the faltering economy that is causing Americans concern over the direction of our nation. Former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee says, “We’ve abandoned the Constitution on a number of fronts.” Governor Huckabee told Truth in Action Ministries, “There are a lot of ways in which we’ve let our government trample on our basic rights as Americans and it’s tragic. Sometimes we’ve done it in the name of security and protection and safety, but it’s still, unfortunately, a very bad idea.”
At the present time, says Huckabee, “we are in this cycle of almost perpetual corruption.” He says that too often “the people who give the money to the politicians to be elected are giving because they want something in return and what they want is favoritism from the tax code and special benefits for their clients.”
Speaking from his experience, the former governor says, “Every time the government makes a decision and wants to feel good about all the nice things it’s done, somebody is paying for it.” For more of the Truth in Action Interview with Governor Huckabee, click here.
But the problems we face are not just a faltering, stagnant economy and bloated, intrusive government. Dr. Peter Hammond of Frontline Fellowship says, “The America I see today is a far, far different America from that which I saw when I first started coming to the United States in the days of Ronald Reagan in the 1980’s. And I think you’ve lost a lot of liberties, you’ve lost a lot of direction."
Hammond is the head of Frontline Fellowship, which based in South Africa and seeks to teach and train African nationals to reach their own people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Speaking from his perspective as a non-American, Hammond says, “America in the 1980’s had such a strong vision of being a blessing to the world and advancing freedom and freeing the captive nations from Communism and America had a social conscience. That was the days of the Moral Majority and there were so many positive things going on in the 80’s. To come to America in the 1980’s was inspiring and exciting and a positive experience. To come to America today is deeply distressing.”
In America’s culture today, he says, “We are seeing hostility against Christianity promoted everywhere….We are even seeing elements of the Church involved in apostasy. There are whole denominations who are questioning whether the Devil exists, whether Hell exists, what is marriage—questioning the basic foundational building block of society, the family, as to what constitutes a marriage.”
Hammond concludes, “When we see things like this, we’ve got to know we need revival. We need reformation. We need to get back to the Bible. We need to take the great commission and the cultural mandate seriously.”
A Picture of Hope for the Future
In the face of the problems we face as a nation, Truth in Action Ministries has produced programs for the month of June that not only explain what’s at stake in our nation at this critical juncture, but they provide a picture of hope for the future. They show why TIAM is poised to be in the forefront of educating Christians by presenting biblical content and current stories that deal with today’s issues in a way that motivates audiences to transform their communities and surrounding culture for Christ.
As Rep. Todd Akin (MO-Dist. 2) stated in an interview with Truth in Action, “Dr. Kennedy understood how to connect the principles of Scripture with the practical applications of what keeps a nation free, the principles that America was founded on. That’s the reason why I continue to pray for the ongoing work of people engaged in carrying on that vision that Dr. Kennedy so ably established.”
“One of the great foundational truths that Jim Kennedy held, in fact it was like a furnace burning inside of him…was his understanding of the passage from Revelation that the kingdoms of this world are becoming the Kingdoms of God and of His Christ,” says Dr. Mike Milton, who served as an intern with Dr. Kennedy while he attended Knox Theological Seminary, which was founded by Dr. Kennedy in 1989. “He believed that Christ would be victorious, and so as he spoke into politics or education or he spoke into every area of life, he was recognizing the comprehensive nature of the Gospel that the very cosmos was under transformation.” Milton, says, “That brought boldness, confidence and optimism and it can do that for us as well.”
Attorney Dee Wampler, a long-time friend of the ministry, attended a Reclaiming America conference some years back and caught that vision of boldness and confidence and optimism. He encourages Christians to “get down on their knees and pray, and ask the Lord, “What would you have me do?”
“God created us all different,” says Wampler, “and he gave us different gift. You have to figure out what your gift is. Your gift may not be to give money or it may not be to be a public speaker, or it may not be to write a letter or a guest editorial, or it may not be to get involved in a particular charitable activity…. But we have a gift, we have something that we can do.”
John Rabe, who is the co-host of two of Truth in Action’s programs, Cross Examine and Truth That Transforms radio, agrees. “As Christians, apathy is not an option for us….The scripture talks about apathy as being sluggardliness. It talks about it as being sinful.” In Rabe’s view, “We need to care about our country. What happens in America affects the entire world. What we decide, what we are going to do with our government in 2012 won't only have repercussions in the country, it will have repercussions around the world. It will have repercussions for our children and for our grandchildren. So apathy is not an option for a Christian.” For more from John Rabe, click here.
Dr. Mike Milton, Chancellor and CEO of Reformed Theological Seminary, a “living legacy” of the ministry Dr. D. James Kennedy.
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