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America’s Greatness and the Threat We Must not Ignore

06/03/2012

We have allowed the mere reference to God, prayer, Jesus, the cross, and/or the like to be erased from mention in our public schools.   We have seen student after student punished for some expression of their faith.  For an art class project, a student turned in a drawing in which there was a cross and scripture reference.  The teacher gave this student a zero and two detention days.  Why?  The teacher’s reason was that the student’s artwork expressed religious beliefs.   A Christian club wanted an announcement made for their club during the morning announcements (a normal request for any school club), but were turned down.  Why?  Their announcement contained the word “prayer.”  A fifth grader was denied his request to perform in an after-school talent show.  Why was that?  The song he had chosen to play contained too many mentions of Jesus. [i]

Those who settled in this country, those who fought for our freedom, and those who wrote the document that is used to govern this great country, believed in the importance of religious education for society.  They agreed so much so that the very book the children used to learn to read was either the Bible or the New England Primer. From the earliest colonists right through until the early 20th century, the New England Primer was used to teach children their alphabet, vowels, consonants, and reading, and it was used in the public schools. The book was full of religious instruction, which was considered important, especially by those who formed the Constitution.  “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”[ii]  Read that one more time, and let John Adam’s words sink in for a moment or two.

As I look at these two periods of time in the life of our country, I see great men and women proposing that people need religious instruction and supporting the use of the New England Primer and the Bible in public schools versus a variety of public interest groups fighting to pull religious education out of the schools because of a separation of church and state issue.  Something is wrong with this picture when the founders of the country and the writers of the Constitution felt it was necessary, yet today we think we have to separate the two.  Our founding fathers only wanted to prevent a theocracy like they had in England.  They did not want the President to be able to force all the citizens into whatever religion was his personal favorite.  It has been to our detriment that we have allowed the proponents of the “separation of church and state” issue so much influence over our lives and especially the lives of our children.

I propose that it was the study of God’s words and the teaching of the Ten Commandments that upheld this country for so long.  I would also like to suggest that as we have pushed God out, we, as a people,  have lost our way, and we, as a country, have ceased to be great.

 Used in speeches by a great many presidents, and often attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville, possibly erroneously, the following statement makes a valid point nonetheless.

I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers – and it was not there . . .

I sought the greatness and genius of America in her fertile fields and boundless forests – and it was not there . . .

I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her rich mines and her vast world commerce – and it was not there . . .

I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution – and it was not there.

Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.[iii]

From → God and Country

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