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By Dan Carlson
Prairie Ponderings 

I Found The Problem

 

February 9, 2022 | View PDF

I’m not optimistic about America’s future. It pains me to say that. But with $30 trillion in debt, gains made by China, a belligerent Russia, an incompetent government, complicit media and a rising generation of Americans more concerned about gender issues than any of the aforementioned challenges, you can see why I’m concerned.

Add to that increasingly open voices on both the political right and political left calling for the other side to be silenced, and it’s hard to see how we avoid bloodshed in the near future. With such a grim outlook, it’s natural to wonder how we got here.

While I don’t think America can ever have been called a Christian nation, it’s very difficult not to see we were a nation based on Judeo-Christian principles. When constructing the kind of nation we’d be, our founders were heavily influenced by writings of ancient Greeks and the Bible. This is a fact. Thomas Jefferson was particularly enamored by a system of government set up by Moses at the suggestion of Jethro, his father-in-law, to manage the Hebrews fleeing Egypt. And other founders often quoted scripture when appealing to the moral sensibilities of others, doing so with the understanding that, regardless of the belief level or faith of the hearer, there was a general consensus that the basic moral codes outlined in the Bible had both power and value.

In the end, the founders chose a representative republic based on free-market principles. They did so understanding that, though serious religious disagreements existed in the colonies, the wisdom of “Do unto others as you’d have them do to you” could actually work – for as long as the majority of people believed that. This is why John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

The Bible was the main textbook in American schools during the nation’s early decades. Students used it to learn to read, write, spell and speak well. School days began with prayer and Bible reading. When I entered elementary school in the mid-1960s, there were still public school teachers angry about the Bible and prayer being removed. Today, you can’t even find a Bible on the shelves of a public school library in many districts.

I read last week a study about American Bible reading habits. I was shocked to learn that, in 2020, only 9 percent of Americans read the Bible daily. I was horrified to read only 49 percent of those surveyed, nearly half the population, thought America is better off when Americans read the Bible. The other 51 percent said the written Word of God is either inconsequential or should be done away with entirely. How dare we ask God to bless America when half of us have no interest in what He says?

What we’re seeing in our nation today is what happens when its foundational moral code, that thing we all appealed to when determining what was right and wrong, is destroyed. But a nation must have a moral framework acceptable to its citizens to survive. If we don’t get back to ours, another will be selected based on precepts other than those found in scripture.

The Bible calls that idolatry. How do you think that will work out for us?

 

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