As I was talking with Jamie this morning, she shared with me that she had been invited to be a guest speaker at her son Zach’s public high school class on entrepreneurship. Once she got to his school, the teacher took her aside and nervously informed her that when she was invited to speak he hadn’t realized that the non-profit she represented was a Christian ministry. He made it clear that she needed to be careful not to mention the name ‘Jesus’ in the classroom, since being in a school setting they had to be considerate of all of the other religions that might be represented and to make sure not to offend anyone.
As Jamie shared this, my heart was overwhelmed with grief that our culture puts a premium on not offending people, and yet gives little or no thought to how often we offend God--both by our silence, as well as by our words and actions. I have come to realize that it is difficult---if not totally impossible—to not offend others. Even Jesus, who was perfect, ‘offended many’ (Matthew 13:57; John 6:66). The question we must ask is, ‘Are we offending God or man? And, if we are offending man, is it because of our sinful nature, or because we are aligning ourselves with God and His Word-- which can be offensive to those who don’t know Him?
I also was grieved because I believe that Zach’s teacher represents so many in our educational system and our society at large who seem blind to the correlation between the downward spiral of our culture and our nation choosing to turn its back on God. We think that creating laws to control the purchasing of guns is the answer to school shootings and ignore the reality that our problem is not that we need more laws on the books; we need to have hearts that love God and obey the laws that He has given to us to protect us in His Book, the bible. We in fact have created a culture where such violence is to be expected since we have removed teaching on God and His Word from our schools and other public institutions.
Our culture took a significant turn on the road toward the moral degradation we are experiencing today when the Supreme Court voted to remove prayer from schools in 1962; voted to remove Bible reading in 1963; and chose during that same decade to include the teaching of the theory of evolution in essence ‘as fact’ in every public school. The 10 commandments, including the command to not commit murder-- which used to adorn classrooms and were taught as the moral code for conduct—also became taboo in our schools and in our public square. Why? This was done under the guise of making sure schools adhered to the establishment clause of the 1st amendment, what’s usually referred to as ‘separation of church and state,’ a phrase most people don’t realize doesn’t even appear in the U. S. Constitution. Perhaps that ignorance is because the powers that be also determined that civic courses---formally a requirement for high school graduates-- are no longer necessary and the majority of high schools in our nation do not teach it.
Most students would be surprised to learn that for the first 355 years of our nation’s history—from 1607 to 1962-- children prayed and read the Bible in schools. They knew that a Biblically literate population would be a great asset to our nation and necessary to insure the moral fiber of the electorate. Just a few of the many quotes that support this assertion are:
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable.”
– George Washington
Let the children…be carefully instructed in the principles and obligations of the Christian religion. This is the most essential part of education.
– Benjamin Rush
Education is useless without the Bible. The Bible was America’s basic textbook in all fields. God’s Word, contained in the Bible, has furnished all necessary rules to direct our conduct.
– Noah Webster
“We have staked the whole future of our new nation, not upon the power of government; far from it. We have staked the future of all our political constitutions upon the capacity of each of ourselves to govern ourselves according to the moral principles of the Ten Commandments.”
– James Madison
“The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.”
– United States Congress 1782
“Cursed be all that learning that is contrary to the cross of Christ.”
– James Madison
It is essential that we know the truth that this nation was founded by Christians who knew that it was essential that future generations also would venerate the Word of God and look to Him for instruction and guidance. The woes we are experiencing in our schools and nation today are directly attributable to us turning our back on God and forsaking the truth, truth that our founding fathers knew was essential for the prosperity of this nation and its constituents. As I read the quotes above and consider the state of our nation today, the following scripture immediately comes to my mind that was given as a warning to the Church of Ephesus and I believe is so applicable to our nation today:
…But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Revelation 2:4-5
Questions to ponder: What is lost when people do not know there is a God? What is lost when the truth of God and His Word is no longer being taught in our public schools and His truth is no longer recognized in our public institutions? What is lost when the truth of God and His commands is no longer taught in our homes?
This is the first in a series entitled 'America: The Cause of Our Decline and a Clarion Call to Christians
Written by Julie Van Gorp