An Ex-Pat Ruminates on American Decline

Barb Wire

I have now lived outside of America for as long as I have lived in it.

With five years in Europe and almost 27 in Australia, I have been able to look at America with a bit of perspective that those who never leave the country may not so readily obtain. And I see a lot which troubles me greatly about my home country.

During my lifespan there have been plenty of changes to this nation. Being back in the US right now for a few weeks, it becomes even more apparent how much things have changed, and often for the worse.

While there still are plenty of wonderful, friendly and terrific Americans, the cultural, political and religious decline is shocking to behold.

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Of course I lived through, and in small part contributed to, some of these negative changes. Before becoming a Christian I was very much a part of the cultural revolution of the late 60s and early 70s. I did my bit to foment revolution and cultural change, as I and my radical friends sought to take over the political and social institutions.

My conversion in August of 1971 put an end to my involvement in the cultural Marxist upheaval, but it certainly kept on going, even without me. For a look at how I left radical politics, drugs, eastern religions and the hippy culture, see my testimonial.

The decline in American life has been proceeding apace, and the past 6 years of Obama’s reign of terror by may well bring America to an inglorious end, barring some sort of miracle.

Repentance and revival is the last real hope for America.

But the way so much of the American church is today, this does not look very promising. However, the answer to America’s problems will have to be the stuff of another article. Here I just want to look at more of the evidence of American decline.

There would be many observers to draw upon here, but let me utilise a recent article by Dennis Prager entitled “America’s Accelerating Decay.” He basically takes the same viewpoint as I do, and he offers a helpful brief summary and overview of the sad state of America.

Dennis begins:

I write the following words in sadness: With few exceptions, every aspect of American life is in decline. We see it in the family, in education, in morality, in art. As one who loves America — not only because I am American, but even more so because I know (not believe, know) that the American experiment in forming a decent society has been the most successful in history — I write the following words in sadness: With few exceptions, every aspect of American life is in decline. “Decay” is the word.

This is what Prager says about the decline of the family:

Nearly half (48 percent) of American children are born to a mother who is not married. Forty-three percent of American children live without a father in the home. About 50 percent of Americans over 18 are married, compared with 72 percent in 1960. Americans are having so few children that the fertility rate fell to a record low 62.9 births per 1,000 women in 2013. And in an increasing number of states, there are now more deaths than births.

Related to this is the end of male and female:

Whatever one’s position on same-sex marriage, one must acknowledge that at the core of the argument for this redefinition of marriage is that gender doesn’t matter. Marriage is marriage and gender means nothing, the argument goes. So, too, whether children are raised by mother and father or two mothers or two fathers doesn’t matter. A father has nothing unique to offer a child that a mother can’t provide and vice versa.


Because — for the first time in recorded history — gender is regarded as meaningless. Indeed, increasingly gender doesn’t even exist; it’s merely a social construct imposed on children by parents and society based on the biological happenstance of their genitalia. When signing up for Facebook, one is offered nearly 60 options under “gender.”

In various high schools across the country, boys are elected homecoming queen. A woman was recently kicked out of Planet Fitness for objecting to a man in the women’s locker room. She was accused of intolerance because the man said he felt that he was a woman.

This can be traced to the end of right and wrong:

At least two generations of American young people have been taught that moral categories are nothing more than personal (or societal) preferences. Recently, an incredulous professor of philosophy wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times titled “Why Our Children Don’t Think There Are Moral Facts.” In it he noted, “Without fail, every value claim is labeled an opinion” (italics in original).

This extends to assessing the most glaring of evils. Since the Nazis thought killing Jews was right, there is no way to know for sure whether it was wrong; it’s the Nazis’ opinion against that of the Jews and anyone else who objects. I have heard this sentiment from American high-school students — including many Jewish ones — for 30 years.

And this of course is all due to the end of religion:

There are no moral truths because there is no longer a religious basis for morality. More than the Enlightenment, it was the Bible — especially the Hebrew Bible (which was one reason America’s Christians were different from most European Christians) that guided the Founders’ and other Americans’ values.

Not any more. Instead of being guided by a code higher than themselves, Americans are taught to rely on their feelings to determine how to behave. Instead of being given moral guidance, children are asked, “How do you feel about it?”

Prager is, of course, Jewish, while I am a Christian. We both share the Judeo-Christian worldview. So we have much in common. And both Testaments speak to the need of repentance and revival.

If America is to survive, it needs to change course radically – and soon.

And the only real hope of this happening is if God’s people humble themselves and repent, and God graciously sends revival. If not, we are toast.

There is nothing more vital, more crucial, more important that we can work for and pray for.

A quote attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville is well worth closing with here: “America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”


If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Bill Muehlenberg
Bill Muehlenberg, who was born in America, lives in Melbourne, Australia. He runs a web-based ministry of pro-faith, pro-family activism called CultureWatch: Bill is widely sought out by the media for comments on social issues, faith issues, and family issues, and has appeared on all the major television and radio news shows, current affairs shows, and debate programs. He is the author of In Defence of the Family; Strained Relations: The Challenge of Homosexuality, and several other books.

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