On the day after President Obama’s reelection, the White House’s website received a petition asking the administration to allow Louisiana to secede from the Union. Since that time, more than 375,000 people from 47 states have signed petitions now on file.
The petition submitted from Texas claims that our state “maintains a balanced budget and is the 15th largest economy in the world,” making it “practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union.” More than 82,000 people have signed it. At least six organizations are currently promoting a Texas secession.
However, contrary to popular opinion in our state, neither Texas nor any other state has the legal right to secede from the Union. According to Justice Antonin Scalia, “If there was any constitutional issue resolved by the Civil War, it is that there is no right to secede. (Hence, in the Pledge of Allegiance, ‘one Nation, indivisible.’)” Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s press secretary states that while he “shares the frustrations many Americans have with our federal government,” he “believes in the greatness of our Union and nothing should be done to change it.”
What does the popularity of these secession drives say about us?
Clearly, some of those filing petitions are merely seeking publicity. Others want to sell products such as “Secede” bumper stickers. But some are undoubtedly sincere in their frustration with the federal government and its perceived encroachments on our liberties. Whether they would actually choose to forego the protections of the Union or not, they see these petitions as a way to register their dissatisfaction with our leaders and direction.
I view these secession drives as symptoms of an underlying, even more significant discontent. The further our country travels from biblical morality, the more dysfunctional our society becomes. When we secede from God’s word and authority, we reap the consequences of our prideful rebellion.
What is the way forward? The psalmist declared, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12). Are we a nation God can bless? “From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind” (v. 13). As he sees the immorality of our culture, is he pleased? “No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength” (v. 16). Does our nation trust in ourselves or in our Maker? “The eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love” (v. 18). How many of us fear God today?