Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Inflation, Sound Currency, and the Law of God

“What do we find in this present-day America, in which the achievements of centuries are so rapidly being lost and in which that liberty which our fathers won at such cost is being thrown away recklessly by one mad generation? I think the really significant thing that we find is that America has turned away from God. In the political and social discussions of the day, God’s law has ceased to be regarded as a factor that deserves to be reckoned with at all. That is true in regard to the higher ranges of human life; it is also true in regard to that mammon in which our Lord said a man must be fruitful if he is to be faithful in higher things. We hear much about mammon today: We hear much about the currency; we hear much about the question whether what is euphemistically called a “managed currency” is or is not economically more advantageous than the gold standard. But the sad thing is that in all this discussion we hear little about simple honesty, which is the law of God. I can remember when I had a certain patriotic pride in the good faith of the United States government, in those bygone days when the phrase “sound as a dollar” had not yet become jest. The United States government, in its business dealings, seemed to me to be the very embodiment of integrity; I regarded it as almost inconceivable that it would repudiate its corporate obligations. Yet today it has done just that. Of course, there are times when a government or an individual must fail to meet obligations. That is when the government or the individual is bankrupt, when the government or the individual acknowledges the justice of the obligations but is under the necessity of pleading that they cannot be met. I am not saying, therefore, that when a country goes off the gold standard it is necessarily acting dishonestly. But it is not such an honest bankruptcy which we have in the United States at the present time. On the contrary, what we have is a very ruthless application of the devil’s principle that “might makes right.” Look at the United States gold certificate, if you can find one somewhere in a museum today without being put in jail for looking at it. Upon it the United States government promises to pay very specifically not in some other currency but in gold. It is a solemn obligation of the United States. It is a solemn contract—not of any individual, but of the United States government—a contract to the fulfillment of which the honor of the American people is pledged, a contract with the holder of the note. Today not only is that contract not fulfilled, but the holder of the contract is threatened with imprisonment unless he hands over to the defaulting party the contract itself.

I tell you, my friends, there are many things that are uncertain about the future, but of one thing we can be sure: A nation that tramples thus upon the law of God, that tramples upon the basic principles of integrity, is headed for destruction unless it repents in time… But the real reason why young men fall into crime is that the law of God is so generally disobeyed. When the government itself lends itself to a sort of glorified robbery, what can be expected from the impressionable youth of the day? If solemn contracts, public and private, are mere scraps of paper, if sheer power is everything, if that principle is operative in high places, who can wonder if it is put into operation also in individual lives? The real evil is the same in both cases. The real evil is the ruthless disregard of the law of God.” --- J. Gresham Machen, Education, Christianity, and the State pages 139-141

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