The unctuous over-coverage of the tragedy at Columbine High School in
Littleton, Colo., demonstrates once again how the television “news”
media often behave like pimps, hustling to deliver sensationalism to a
salivating and patently voyeuristic society.
Many in the media are visibly eager to search out and exploit the
personal tragedies of anyone, including teenagers, to meet the demand of
the expanding audience of Americans who have become addicted to ogling
the private lives of other people.
I don’t think the average American spontaneously became obsessed with
every intimate detail of the Columbine High School saga. The media
cultivated and pumped up this national obsession, and then fed on their
own creation. They did not simply report what happened, they exploited
the tragedy, rolling and wallowing in it, under the guise of keeping the
The television news media is heels over head in the titillation
business, too self-absorbed to perceive the serious story inherent in
the high school tragedy.
The real story has to do with the breakdown of morality in America
and the consequences to our nation of that breakdown.
All the elements of that story are present in the words of President
John Adams, who delivered one of the most powerful and insightful
statements ever made about America: “We have no government armed with
power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality
and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious
people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
Adams makes the point that the only effective form of control in a
nation of free people is self-control. Constitutional laws are incapable
of channeling and controlling human behavior. The two boys who killed
their classmates, by one count, broke 19 laws in the process of
executing the massacre. The law is no match for evil.
More laws dealing with the manufacture and sale of inanimate objects
would not have stopped this tragedy, nor will they stop the next one.
There are no mechanical fixes to moral problems.
The only force capable of defeating this evil, aborting it at the
very moment of conception, is a deeply ingrained moral sense of right
But the culture within which we are all immersed does not refine our
moral senses. It breeds immorality and nourishes the worst that is
within us. Its pervasive voices and faces have become increasingly
brutish, vulgar, vile and violent. Our music, books, movies, sitcoms,
soap operas and video games pound out messages of mayhem and depravity,
the audience ever younger.
This decadent culture, enabled by a malicious corruption of the law,
the courts, and the Constitution itself, has invaded and overwhelmed the
church, the family and the school — the conscience-forming institutions
of our society.
While using the First Amendment to protect public obscenity,
pornography and flag-burning, the Supreme Court has upheld laws that are
openly hostile to religious speech and expression, particularly in
government schools, where prayer is prohibited, and God, by mandate, is
treated as a pariah.
What chance do parents have of prevailing with a view of right and
wrong when the entire culture works against them? What chance do parents
have when the government itself has systematically seized control of
children by asserting the right to feed them, baby-sit them, give them
condoms, arrange abortions for them, and decide where they go to school
and what they are taught — including attitudes and values that
undermine parental rights and religious convictions?
Government schools are a microcosm of our society. We have erected a
wall of separation of God from His children and cleared the way for an
unimpeded assault on the traditional standards of decency that stand
between degenerates and what they want to do and be.
The basic idea was to liberate the human spirit from the restraints
imposed upon freedom and choice by archaic rules, arbitrary standards of
conduct and the mean-spirited dictates of religion and its narrow-minded
But it hasn’t worked. We did not unleash our better angels; we
unleashed the beasts within us. Unbridled excesses have filled our
lives, not with joy, but with crime, disease and carnage. Eventually,
this may require heavy-handed government repression to restore order and
quell anarchy. It will be our undoing.
Will and Ariel Durant, in their classic book, “The Lessons of
History,” asked themselves this question: “Does history warrant the
conclusion that religion is necessary to morality — that a natural
ethic is too weak to withstand the savagery that lurks under
civilization and emerges in our dreams, crimes and wars?”
This was their answer: “There is no significant example in history,
before our time, of a society successfully maintaining moral life
without the aid of religion.”
We have declared God persona non grata at our peril.