Russell and Duenes

Top 6: American Sins

with 12 comments

I have decided to write a new “segment” on the site.  I will be introducing my “Top 6” list.  Part of the hope is that you will comment about the information on the “Top 6” lists and we can go from there.  Here is my first edition.

Top 6: American Sins

 1. Slavery- Slavery is truly America’s first comprehensive and corporate sin.  It is the hereditary system of kidnapping, rape and murder.  Slavery has led to some of the worst institutions, organizations and policies in American History to include, at the very least: Southern Segregation, Lynching, Red-lining, Inner-City poverty, the inequality of wealth distribution, the modern drug epidemic, the Ku Klux Klan, The Black Muslim Movement, The White Brotherhood, The White Citizens Council, overcrowded prisons, the increase in fatherlessness, lack of education, gangs and a misogynistic youth culture.

2. Abortion- The calculated murdering of millions of defenseless humans is cause enough to make this list.

3. Native American Slaughter- From Columbus and Cortes to Andrew Jackson and George A. Custer, Native Americans were held in check by Imperialistic Diseases, Unfair wars, racism, ethnic cleansing, and all out slaughter.  Then the Government removed them from their homes and gave them barren land in Utah, Oklahoma and New Mexico.  A Trail of Tears indeed.

4. The Sexual Revolution- With the upsurge in the pornography business as it gains billions of dollars per year, the sexual exploitation of girls and women around the globe, sexual slavery, the homosexual agenda, HIV/AIDS, other sexually transmitted diseases, and the innocence lost among America’s youth can be traced back to the development of the sexual revolution.  From the Flapper generation to the Ecstasy Generation the sexual revolution has done nothing but kill and destroy marriages and lives.

5. Governmental Corruption-  When Richard Nixon resigned from his Presidential post in 1974, he said: “I hope that I will have hastened the start of the process of healing which is so desperately needed in America.”  Actually, Mr. Nixon, instead of healing America, you forged a modern legacy of corruption and distrust that has moved the posture of American Government into the sewage tanks of our deepest nightmares.  The corrupt pardon you received from Ford, the Iran-Contra Scandal, Lewinsky-gate, and Weapons of Mass Destruction are all part of your Presidential family tree.  There have been countless Congressmen, Judges and public officials who have lied, cheated and fornicated on top of your hopes for healing America.  (And, NO, I haven’t forgotten about the illegal and immoral deeds of our other Government heroes like Warren Harding, U.S. Grant, Schuyler Colfax, Andrew Johnson, John Calhoun, Andrew Jackson, James Garfield, Thomas Jefferson, George Wallace, Marion Berry, Scooter Libby, John Edwards, Grover Cleveland, Ben Franklin, Strom Thurmond, Ted Kennedy {too early?}, John Kennedy- did I mention Bossism?

6. Corporate Greed- The following are Statistical Excerpts from Ralph Nader’s Letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft, November 6, 2003:

-The total cost of white-collar crime in 1997 was $338 billion.

-Another estimate (by University of Cincinnati Criminal Justice Professor Francis T. Cullen) suggests that the annual cost of antitrust or trade violations are at least $250 billion.

-By comparison, the FBI estimated that in 2002, the nation’s total loss from robbery, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft and arson was less than $18 billion – less than a third of the estimated $60 billion Enron alone cost investors, pensioners and employees.

-In America, in 2008, 39.8 million people were in poverty, up from 37.3 million in 2007 — the second consecutive annual increase in the number of people in poverty.

-Almost half of the world- over 3 Billion people- live on less than $2.50 per day.



Written by Michael Duenes

September 24, 2009 at 1:26 am

12 Responses

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  1. Six is an interesting number. I agree with much of what you wrote.

    I would say “corporate greed” but by that I would mean a greed that most Americans share (corporate in that other sense). Or I might just say idolatry — of America, the American dream, homes, cars, sports teams, computers, and all the things by which we seek power, control of our lives, or at least distraction.

    I’m not really with you on the sexual revolution. I agree that sex outside of marriage, pornography, and many more facets of the sexual revolution separate us from God. However, it’s important to see that in the context of people pushing back against religion and morality as a means of control rather than true worship of God. Americans may have needed to reject false religion and morality in order to realize their need for the real thing. (Hint: The greater sin may be the creation of a false religion under the guise of patriotism and evangelical Christianity.)

    Well, I feel like I’m saying too much now. Back to my lunch.


    September 24, 2009 at 3:46 am

    • Andy,
      I agree with you in totality on your broader definition of “corporate greed.”
      You say that “Americans may have needed to reject false religion and morality in order to realize their need for the real thing.” In the case of the sexual revolution the ends don’t justify the means. Was the era prior to the sexual revolution really that “religiously” egregious that it would take a sexual overhaul of the U.S. to change it? Would creating more sexual immorality really drive people to a more satisfying, real relationship with Christ? I don’t agree that what comes from the sexual revolution conforms to Scriptural teaching regarding sex, so I cannot justify it by saying that it may have brought about some more honest form of Christianity. That seems odd to me.



      September 24, 2009 at 5:34 am

  2. Regarding the post, I certainly agree with the list of six. I might not say it the same way or put it in that order, but those would be on my short list. As usual, I think I would give “black fatherless as a legacy of slavery” a lot more analysis. My colleague certainly has to account for the massive spike in illegitimate black births well AFTER both slavery and the civil rights movement. In other words, what we have is an increase in black rights and freedoms that also corresponds to an increase in black illegitimacy. One would think the opposite would be true. I think this problem is owing a lot more to paternalistic government programs directed at blacks than the legacy of slavery, though, as my colleague will no doubt point out, we wouldn’t have had the government programs without the slavery. Agreed.

    Under the Native American slaughter, I agree with all of them except “imperialistic disease.” To follow this line of argumentation would mean we’d have to condemn any form of mass migration. People migrate and bring diseases with them. There’s nothing immoral about that.

    I’d need to know what Nadar counts as “white collar crime.” Again, one must do more than simply cite “antitrust” or “trade violations.” Who’s doing the violating, and what is its nature? The whole “corporate greed” angle seems to have free-market capitalism in its crosshairs. The only trouble with this is, one must choose an alternative; and the alternatives are even worse. The real problem is greed and lust for power, and these twin killers will find their way into human affairs, no matter the arrangement. Is it better when the government wastes and squanders hundreds of billions of dollars than when the big, bad corporate slobs do it? Is government greed, which legally steals billions upon billions of dollars from people in unnecessary “taxes,” better than corporate greed? What would the over 3 billion in absolute poverty be living on if we did not have free market capitalistic societies? At least “corporate greed” can be found illegal and punished. Greed will always bring horrible, untold consequences, whether it be by corporations, non-profits, or government run organizations, but one must choose to build societies based on the best way to control and limit greed. I’d refer you to George Will’s excellent article on this: I’d probably tend to agree more with Andy on this point.

    Speaking of Andy, it doesn’t really surprise me that you took issue with the sexual revolution sin. You’re certainly right to point out the underlying idolatry that has led to our sexual immorality, but the American sexual revolution goes much deeper than people simply rebelling against a false, moralistic Christianity. It goes to the heart of rebellion against God, and sexual sin is one of the surest evidences of such rebellion. People not only rejected (rightly) a false Christianity, but they rejected the God of the Bible himself. The sexual revolution is a manifestation of the particularly western rebellion that says, “No one will tell me what to do!” Not only that, but it is rebellion against God’s good design in masculinity and femininity. People are pushing back against God, though once you downplay sin and rebellion, this is hard to see.



    September 24, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    • Let me address two issues for now. First, Imperialistic Disease. Many Natives were killed when Europeans gave Small Pox to them ON PURPOSE. In one instance, after the War with Metacom, Europeans gave “gifts” to the Native tribes of Small Pox blankets, knowing very well that the Natives would perish. This killed thousands of Natives. When Cortes came back to Central America in search for gold and found the Aztecs lying dead of Small Pox, he forged ahead knowing that the Aztecs were now frightened of him and saw him as a God bringing wrath upon them. In other words, he USED small pox as a control agent and then systematically destroyed Aztec life.
      Second, Fatherlessness. If Slavery hadn’t occurred and economic disadvantage was never a question for African-Americans and circumstances from the legacy of slavery were a mere imaginative thought, would African-Americans be more prone to fatherlessness than others. I’d be very careful with a “yes” answer to this.


      September 24, 2009 at 6:01 pm

      • Good historical insight into the disease question, which points up much of my historical ignorance.

        Regarding fatherlessness, I don’t question what you’ve said. What I question is the role of paternalistic governmental programs designed to reverse the effects of racism and slavery. They may have been well-intentioned, but that’s not enough. So you and I agree on the problem that blacks have faced. What we may not agree on is the result of the “interventions” that have been applied. In other words, there have been means to the end of the destruction of the black family. Racism and slavery were the foundation, but the problem has exploded. And so I would ask, what has been the means to the end of massive illegitimacy over the last 40 years? Not increased racism. Rather, increased governmental intervention. Importantly, we’ve seen white illegitimacy increase over this period as well, largely due, I would argue, to the intervention of the nanny state.



        September 24, 2009 at 7:37 pm

  3. Let me recast my thought about the sexual revolution. I’m not saying I would have done it that way, but I grew up as a Christian in a different time and place.

    Sometimes, I think people take a step backwards to get out of the dead end they’re stuck in. They know they need to change directions, so they try a different way. Living morally according to rules forced on (or conditioned upon) you will not work or lead to life, because you’re heart isn’t changed. You’re just living an illusion. You crave for something better, like the real thing (faith in God in Christ), but you may find yourself searching in the dark. Sometimes people don’t take a straight path, especially if the “shepherds” led them wrong.

    I guess you can call what they were doing rebellion against God. But, as Paul said to the Corinthians, why be surprised when people who don’t know God sin? In ranking a list of heinous sins, I think it’s appropriate to look particularly hard at those who profess to know God and what they did, rather than at those who clearly don’t or didn’t. Sadly, the youth who joined full on in the sexual revolution may not have known God in many cases because their parents passed on to them a legacy of rules and morality instead of true love and freedom in Christ. They were hungering for freedom and love, but the true freedom which they sought is not found in “free love” but in Christ.


    September 25, 2009 at 9:13 am

    • Good points, Andy. I think the people of God would be complicit in all of the sins listed. My colleague did not go into detail about abortion, but if he had, he would have noted that vast numbers of American women and men who give themselves to abortion would claim to have a Christian faith, and much of the church has failed to obey Proverbs 24:11-12 when it comes to abortion. Further, the church’s abandonment of marital commitment and faithfulness and her assent to the idolatry of radical, individual autonomy and pleasure has only helped the slaughter along. In fact, I would say that you could find the roots of all these sins in the areas where God’s people have failed to live in line with the gospel. No doubt I am a part of them without even knowing it right now.

      That said, I do not share your constant view that non-Christian people are always seeking something true and free and beautiful. They manifestly are not. Some are, but the Bible clearly tells us of the general state of mankind “according to the flesh” (i.e., apart from the indwelling Spirit of Christ), and it is not a state where people are seeking the truth but looking in the wrong places. It is a state where they are suppressing and exchanging the truth for wickedness, lies, and idols. This tension must be kept in mind. It is just as correct to say that many people bought into the sexual revolution because they simply wanted the freedom to do whatever feels good as it is to say they were looking for something genuine and real apart from moralistic religion.



      September 25, 2009 at 3:20 pm

  4. Something I’ve been dwelling on about this is that Christians have grown into the habit of blaming the surrounding culture as their children go astray into sex, drugs, etc. One evidence is the increased separation (separate schooling is one example). It’s as if they’re saying that the culture is corrupting their kids, rather than asking a) why their kids are so susceptible, and b) why Christians are so much like the culture (thus not changing the culture). Jesus did not come to teach a moral system but to incarnate truth in himself and then inside his people. The real sin of false religion is that people who have it don’t know they’re missing the real thing.

    About your last point, I agree that left to ourselves and apart from Christ, we tend to choose poorly (to use the biblical metaphor, according to our flesh). Although I do often say that people are seeking God, I think I could turn that around and simply say God is calling and wooing people by his Spirit. Either way, I think people sense a hunger/calling toward true love, freedom, and rest but they are misguided (by temptation/fleshly thinking) into lesser loves, indulgence that leads to slavery rather than freedom, and laziness.

    All the same, I believe in their searching and the work of God’s Spirit calling them. I think this happened before Christ appeared (general revelation) and never stopped. Sure, if you watch video footage of Woodstock, you may have trouble seeing any genuine seeking after truth (although I might disagree). But there are plenty of other places you might visit and see love and higher moral behavior than what you’d see at a typical Baptist potluck (esp. considering that gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins). When I see people who seem to know God but don’t yet know Christ, I think they are on the same journey but in a different order. (At this point, the mysterious question of whether one can know Christ without specifically knowing the name may come up, but I don’t profess to have an answer to it.)

    BTW, I never asked, but I did wonder why you thought I’d take issue with the sexual revolution being in this list. You must have known I’m a pretty moral guy. I don’t often think of myself as someone who’d be associated that way. 😉


    September 26, 2009 at 6:20 am

    • The point about whether people are seeking God or not (of course God is seeking them) is to not go to either extreme. There is a sense in which people are seeking God before they know him, and in another sense, they are not. Both must be kept in mind. I thought you’d take issue with the sexual revolution not because you’re party to it, but because it tends to be a sin that conservatives, particularly theological conservatives, like to harp on, and you tend to set yourself off against such conservatives. That’s all.



      September 27, 2009 at 3:20 am

  5. I think you’re basically right about conservatives pining on sexual morals (which as a whole they fail to keep themselves), and a trend to push back theologically. I’m probably hooked into that trend, although this wasn’t a knee jerk reaction for me. After all, most of my life I’ve been on the moral and “theological conservative” side. I still think I’m conservative (in that I believe in revelation in Christ and, though secondarily, through the Bible), but relative to certain paradigms I suppose you could say I’m something else (liberal, progressive, from another planet). I think the solution to our lost moral compass is to really know the grace of God, not a return to strengthening the rules. I think the Pharisees represented the latter in their time, and Jesus represented the former. I imagine they thought all hell would break loose if Jesus continued to teach that way.


    September 27, 2009 at 7:33 am

    • What Christian wouldn’t agree that “the solution to our lost moral compass is really to know the grace of God?” But we like to set “the grace of God” off against “rules.” Once again, a false dichotomy. God says, “Fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” Can’t get a much clearer rule than that. Where graces comes in is not in the removal of the rule, but in divine power to see the rule as good and OBEY IT! What the church needs to recover is the much larger truth that grace is not simply pardon for sin but power to joyfully obey God. When this power is operating, then we will indeed “have God’s law, his rules, written on our hearts,” and thus, “his commandments, his rules, are not burdensome to us (1 John 4).” But I only know this because of the spiritual words revealed to me in the Bible, not some amorphous “revelation in Christ” which bypasses the Scriptures and goes straight to my mind, kind of like a mystical magic.



      September 27, 2009 at 5:33 pm

  6. If we know God, we will live according to his way. You and I read the same scripture. I agree that we will have God’s ways (his Law) written on our hearts. At that point, we no longer focus on following rules, but we live by the Spirit. Paul said this beautifully. Focusing on rules leads to breaking them (the Law becomes death).

    It is a mystical reality to have God’s way, formally known as a Law or rules, written on our hearts. Nicodemus surely had that impression.


    September 27, 2009 at 10:20 pm

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