I have often wondered how America has strayed so far from the founders’ vision of a nation composed of different people groups “endowed by their Creator” with the “unalienable rights” and privileges they envisioned.
How did we reach the stage where high-school valedictorians are forbidden to “thank God” in their addresses to classmates, the Ten Commandments can no longer be placed on display in many government buildings and statehouses, high-school football games, in many states, can no longer be opened with prayer and Americans are beginning to be plagued by faux racism, to name just a few instances?
I have an opinion on the origins of the matter. For those too young to remember the ’50s and ’60s, bear with an “old geezer” for a moment.
Some may recall the Brown v. Board of Education decision, which led to public school desegregation in 1954, signaling the beginning of the end of institutionalized segregation. Still others will remember that the “beat generation,” with its drug and free-sex-oriented bohemian counter-culture, was the “father” of the “hippie” movement. This hippie movement, which started in California, soon spread across the U.S. to Canada and even other parts of the world.
From among the “cognoscenti” (ages 15 to 25) sprang the flower children, but even those of us who are members of the “establishment” (30+ years old; remember, “over 30” could not be trusted) recall the “summer of love” (Woodstock, drugs, sex, and rock and roll).
Then there were the anti-Vietnam-war protests, draft card burnings, sit-ins and the birth of the “yippies” (the hippie’s political arm), and lest we forget, there were Timothy Leary’s famous LSD trips: “Turn on, tune in, drop out.”
So, what happened to those who came back from their “trips” and left their draft card ashes on the streets of San Francisco? Here we come to the genesis of our current crop of challenges: These dropouts from the traditional American value system nevertheless became a part of American society, and, according to a 1999 book called “Hippies from A to Z” by Skip Stone, their impact is still being felt in such areas as the push for sexual freedoms, the environmental and natural food movements, numerous humanitarian causes and religious, cultural and ethnic diversity.
The major problem for America in general is that the hippies (now leftists/ liberals) have taken their philosophy into three major arenas. The one they are clearly impacting – politics – and the two they now dominate – media and education.
This is the how and why we have strayed away from those “old fashioned ideas” that have made America the envy of the world. The liberal-dominated media (Lichter-Rothman) (radio, TV, print) on any given occasion “discovers hidden racism” and also continuously rails against the “old fashioned” conservative concept of individual responsibility. However, the real danger to our way of life, in my opinion, is the fact that today, schools and colleges are “educating” our children away from our Christian-oriented history.
Am I overstating the matter? In support of my position, let me quote from the early “Student Guidelines” of an American University: “Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life (John 17:3) and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning. And seeing the Lord only giveth wisdom, let everyone seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seek it of Him. (Proverbs 2:3). Every one shall so exercise himself in reading the Scriptures twice a day that he shall be ready to give such an account of his proficiency therein.”
Pretty clear and upfront I’d say, but how times have changed. Just try implementing that on that self-same college campus today. Oh, did I forget to mention the name of the school? It was Harvard University. Harvard? Yes, that Harvard.
So who are we? Who and what is America? Are the social mores and concepts being imposed on American society today out of step with the founders’ vision of our future? Perhaps one or two quotes from leaders, Supreme Court justices, signers of the Declaration of Independence and U.S. presidents will shed some light on the issue:
“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.” (John Adams, second president of the United States.)
“[C]an the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God?” (Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States).
“Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority of that law which is divine. … religion and law are twin sisters. … indeed these two sciences run into each other.” (James Wilson, signer of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution and original justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.
According to the founders’ vision of the land of the free and home of the brave, we have indeed strayed.
What happened to America? One would be hard pressed to find a more accurate assessment of our current position, and projection of the danger of proceeding further down this path, than the prophetic vision of Jedidiah Morse, sometimes called “The Father of American Geography”:
“To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that degree of civil freedom, and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoys. …”
“Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present form of government and all blessings which flow from them must fall with them.”