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America's Culture War

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Senate's Silence Challenged

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

At a time in American history when droves of homosexuals are running quickly to courthouses to “tie the knot,” when judges cast God (“the Judge of all the earth”—Genesis 18:25) out of court, and when the much-watched Super Bowl halftime show is more like a scene out of an X-rated movie, those in America who still hold to a standard of morality are relieved to know that someone on Capitol Hill actually is willing to represent them. On Thursday, February 12, 2004, U.S. Senator Zell Miller (D-GA) delivered a twelve-minute speech that called for his fellow Senators to respond “meaningfully” to the moral decline of America. Senator Miller began his speech (which can be read in full by visiting his Web site at by describing the Old Testament prophet Amos, who warned Israel of God’s demand for moral purity. He then quoted Amos 8:11-12:

“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord God, “that I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord, but shall not find it.”

Senator Miller followed the reading of this Bible passage by asking, “Has anyone more accurately described the situation we face in America today? A famine of hearing the words of the Lord.”

The senator (from Young Harris, Georgia), also quoted renowned historian Arnold Toynbee, warning his colleagues in Washington: “Of the 22 civilizations that have appeared in history, 19 of them collapsed when they reached the moral state America is in today.” As proof that Toynbee’s statement was on the mark, even “before seeing the worst that was yet to come” (Toynbee died in 1975), Miller made mention of: (1) the sacred institution of marriage between a man and a woman being made a mockery; (2) God being removed from schools, courthouses, and city squares; (3) rap songs—from which he could not even quote in the Senate for fear the Sergeant of Arms would throw him out; and (4) a rock star wearing a cut-up U.S. flag during the Super Bowl while screaming about having “a bottle of scotch and watching lots of crotch.”

After mentioning his proposal for an amendment to the Constitution of the United States on marriage (S.J. Res. 26), and his proposed Liberties Restoration Act (S.1558), which would declare “religious liberty rights” in several ways (including being able to display the Ten Commandments in government buildings), Miller concluded, saying:

So, if I am asked why—with all the pressing problems this nation faces today—why am I pushing these social issues and taking the Senate’s valuable time? I will answer: Because, it is of the highest importance. Yes, there’s a deficit to be concerned about in this country, a deficit of decency.

So, as the sand empties through my hourglass at warp speed—and with my time running out in this Senate and on this earth, I feel compelled to speak out. For I truly believe that at times like this, silence is not golden. It is yellow (emp. added).

Admittedly, there are times to keep silent about various matters (James 1:19), but there also is “a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:7). Regarding the moral decline of our country, that time is now.


Miller, Zell (2004), “Floor Statement on ‘Deficit of Decency’ in America,” [On-line], URL:

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