Everyone has a worldview, a set of beliefs that guides his or her understanding of the realities of the world. As I have researched, read, processed, and most importantly, prayed about our country in the last few weeks, the thing that has crystallized in my thinking is that the changes in America are a direct result of a changing worldview.
Judeo-Christian principles prevailed from man’s arrival on the shores of this new land until my adulthood. This excerpt from Benjamin Franklin’s address to the Constitutional Conventional states it eloquently, “I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth–that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?”
The convention gave us a government that is subservient to We the People, the rule of law that superintends the individual, and, as a result, a nation of individuals free to pursue life in any way they choose as long as they do not violate the rights of others. Stipulating that there have been failures along the way, especially in the area of civil rights, these beliefs led to what is known as American ingenuity and the American Dream. Individuals free to compete, fail, take risks, suffer injury and succeed have made us who we are as Americans, and people from all over the world have flocked to our shores to get a chance to become Americans, too.
In 1962, the Supreme Court ruled in Engels v. Vitale that corporate prayer in school was unconsititutional. The following year in the infamous Madalyn Murray O’Hair case, Abington v. Schempp, the court added Bible-reading to the list of no-no’s. These two cases prevented school children from being allowed to practice their religion freely as guaranteed by the First Amendment. Not only were prayer and the Bible-reading removed from schools, but it was necessary to rewrite the history of our country and demonize American heroes to cleanse our culture of the influences of Christianity.
John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, said, “What one generation tolerates, the next generation embraces.” My generation dropped the ball. Why? I don’t know. We were involved in life, not realizing the changes that were occurring in our children’s schools, expecting that they were learning the same things that we had learned. We didn’t want to be accused of being “war mongers’, “racists”, and now “homophobes.” We were tolerant of others because that’s what our faith teaches. We knew that it was impossible to force our faith on someone else, because faith is a matter of the heart, between an individual and his God.
Now, right is viewed as wrong, and wrong, right. The lie has become the truth. Christians today are accused of being mean-spirited hate-mongers. Amazingly, if you really listen carefully, most of the accusations seem to come from mean-spirited hate-mongers.
Is it too late? I believe the answer is a resounding “No!” We have a chance to turn things around because some of us Baby Boomers remain who have experienced both sides of things. But, if we are to save the American Dream for succeeding generations, we must fearlessly pick up the ball now.