by Roger Wheelock, President, Greater Than I Ministries
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize that America has been turned on her head in the last 50 years.
I know this will date me, but I was a teen in the early ‘60’s and I can testify with the utmost assurance that America was undoubtedly still a Christian nation even then. Just take a look at the T.V. shows and movies that were being watched at that time. I grew up with Leave It to Beaver, Father Knows Best, Ozzie and Harriet, Bonanza, The Rifleman, etc. These were wholesome shows that presented healthy families with a respected father who worked hard, prayed and ate dinner with the family every night, while the mother was committed to raising and nurturing the children. I never heard a curse word on the big screen or the T.V. screen, and rarely did I hear one on the street. Why? Because we still considered it wrong to “allow any unclean words to proceed from our mouth”. Divorce was rare and only whispered about, as was teen pregnancy. Why again? Because sex outside of marriage was always considered to be wrong. Businesses were closed on Sunday — even grocery stores! The Christian church was honored and pastors were never presented in an unwholesome light.
That describes to a great degree the heart of the American culture from its inception nearly 400 years ago. Now, at this point I recognize that there are some (maybe many?) who, after reading the last paragraph, are ready to vomit, LOL, or simply read no further. To those of you in that boat I would ask one question: How’s it working out for us today?
The Effects of America Kicking Prayer Out of the Schools
NOTE: In 1962, America had among the highest literacy rates, the lowest teen pregnancy and suicide rates, the lowest divorce rates and the lowest abortion rates in the western world.
But in 1962, the Supreme Court banned a simple prayer that elementary school children had been reciting for generations: “Almighty God we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers, and our Country.” This court decision effectively removed God from the culture for all successive generations. Let’s look at the results after just 50 years.
Literacy Rates plummeted.
- America dropped from among the highest to 18th among industrial nations.1
- 42 million adult Americans cannot read. 50 million adult Americans are limited to a 4th or 5th grade reading level.2
- Since 1983, more than 10 million Americans reached the 12th grade without having learned to read at a basic level. ibid
- More than three out of four of those are on welfare. ibid
- 85% of unwed mothers and 68% of those arrested are illiterate. About three in five of America’s prison inmates are illiterate. ibid
- More than 20 percent of adults read at or below a fifth-grade level — far below the level needed to earn a living wage. ibid
- Approximately 50 percent of the nation’s unemployed youth age 16-21 are functionally illiterate, with virtually no prospects of obtaining good jobs. ibid
- 85% of all juvenile offenders have serious reading problems. ibid
- Teen Pregnancies skyrocketed.
- Nearly half (44.5 percent) of all children born to never-married mothers lived in poverty.3
- Suicides among youth 15-24 increased 160 percent from 1960 to 1990.4
- Some estimates place teen suicide attempts at nearly 2,000,000 per year — one every 15 seconds.
- In less than 30 years from 1962, America moved from the lowest ranking divorce rates to the highest among
- The number of Cohabitating Couples skyrocketed.
- “A child that is born out of wedlock is 30 times more likely to live in poverty than a child that was born in a
marriage and whose parents stayed married. “ 5
- In 1962, abortion was virtually non-existent. But in 2010, 1.3 Million babies were aborted.6
School “Problems” Radically Escalated
The Top School “Problems” Before the Ban on School Prayer (1992):
- Talking in Class
- Chewing gum
- Making Noise
- Running in the Halls
- Getting out of turn in line
- Wearing improper clothing
- Not putting paper in wastebaskets
Within 25 Years After the Ban on School Prayer:
- Rape Suicide
- Robbery Drug Abuse
- Assault Alcohol
- Burglary Gang Warfare
- Arson Pregnancies
- Bombings Abortions
I’m not saying America was perfect back then – not by any means; but we were an honorable nation that upheld the good and stood up against the bullies of the world. Our standard of living was the highest the world had ever seen. By 1960 we produced over half the world’s goods and services with only 5% of the world’s population! Every generation since our founding had exceeded the previous in opportunity and prosperity, and our prosperity affected the entire world by producing the blessings of harnessed electricity, affordable transportation, communication devices, medical cures, hospitals, charity organizations, agricultural advances, and much, much more. Americans by the thousands laid down their lives to protect other nations from tyranny without asking for anything in return. Americans have been known to be virtually the most creative, generous human beings in history. Every year, people of all nations line up at our gates hoping to be let in. Where else in the world has this happened in the history of civilization? WHY?
The Ingredients for Success
All the problems listed above can be attributed to the establishment and administration of a nation’s policies regarding Education and Law. Very simply, does the nation base its policies on Man’s “evolving” philosophies or upon the belief and submission to an Ultimate Lawgiver whose principles never change and are applied equally to all?
Prior to the 1900’s, America’s educational and legislative policies were firmly based upon the latter. That is why within 200 years of the signing of the United States Constitution, America blessed the world by producing innovations and advancements that can only be described as miraculous.
The Biblical worldview of education sprang to life with the development of the printing press and the simultaneous translation of the Bible into the language of the common people by Wycliffe, Luther, Tyndale, etc. For the first time in history, the common folk made it a priority to learn to read – and the Bible was their textbook. When Protestants began migrating to America in the 1600’s, a Biblical education for all was of the highest priority. Scripture calls for education to be centered around the home and the church (Deut. 6:7, 11:19). Never in scripture is the state called to be responsible to educate the young (there were no state-run schools to corrupt the moral waters of education until the mid-1800’s)!
Within 20 years of landing in Plymouth, the Pilgrims founded Harvard University. Of the first 98 universities in America, 96 were established by Christian denominations. For the first 250 years, the dominant textbook was the Bible, followed closely by Biblically-based spellers such as the New England Primer and the Blue-Back Speller by Noah Webster. At the time of the signing of the Constitution the literacy rate of America was 95%! America was the most literate nation the world had ever seen, and remained so until the state took over the schools by the 1900’s.
Up until the 1850’s the law schools in the U.S. based their philosophy upon the Bible as the absolute authority for all law, as the Declaration of Independence makes crystal clear when it states that all “Rights are given by the Creator” – not by man. The colonies were greatly influenced by Blackstone’s Commentaries, published in 1770, which were centered around the Ten Commandments as the absolute authority for all law. “They became required reading for most lawyers in the Colonies, and for many, they were the only reading. The Commentaries had a deep impact on the ideologies that were cited in support of the American Revolution, and ultimately, the United States Constitution” (Wikipedia). But in the mid-1800’s, Harvard abandoned Biblical Law and embraced evolutionary law, leading to the devolution of America’s standards of law and order. Without righteous law, chaos rules.
In order to re-establish Christianity as the dominant worldview once again in America, the key will be for families to take back the responsibility of educating our children from the government, and raise up a generation that leads the nation in academics AND character. We must make the pursuit of Godly virtue and obedience to the Bible’s eternal laws the highest traits sought after in our lives. We can do this! …We MUST do this!
Sources 1http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/pisa/pisa2015/; 22008 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP); 2009 U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics; The Education Portal: http://www.usd376.com/gs/staff/humphreysl/illiteracy.html 32010. Heritage.Org 4http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0779940.html 5National Center for Children in Poverty, Five Million Children, 29, Table 2 62010 CDC; http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/graphusabrate.html