American culture and God

By Dale E Landrith Sr. | Mar 01, 2018

13. "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

14. "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."

Matthew 5:13-16, New King James Version of the Bible

Jesus Christ was teaching in the above passage that those who followed Him should be “salt” that preserved goodness in that which surrounded them and be “light” that would show the way of proper living to those around them. When the “salt” and “light” are taken away, what is left is spoiled and dark.

How important are the “salt” and “light” of which Jesus Christ spoke to our current American culture? Our country has been slowly and surely removing this “salt” and “light” from its culture for decades. Today we witness unprecedented violence and pure evil throughout our land. What happened? I believe that it started with children in the 1950s and continues with children today.

In 1947 the United States Supreme Court issued its “separation of church and state” decision. In itself there was nothing wrong with that decision. In my church we have a statement of separation of church and state, as we believe, as the Founding Fathers believed, that we do not want government dictating our religious beliefs. This is referred to as the "establishment clause" of the First Amendment to the Constitution. Subsequent decisions by the courts have eliminated prayer in schools, the reading of the Bible in schools, anything that resembles Christianity in the public sphere. The establishment clause has been used to severely curtail the “free exercise thereof” clause of that same constitutional amendment.

Christian values have been systematically removed from society in the decades since the church-and-state decision. We do not want the government (schools) to dictate that we must recite a Christian prayer, any more than we want any other religion’s prayer dictated. However, if a student decides that Christianity has been a major influence in their life, then why is it that they may not publicly state that in a graduation speech? That infringes upon “free exercise thereof.” Why is a sports team prevented from having a group prayer before or after a sporting event? That is an infringement upon “free exercise thereof.”

Not surprisingly, as time has passed, basic values themselves have been eliminated from the schools. Where do these basic values come from? Some would have you believe that they are just a normal product of humanity. Well, the values that are the normal product of human existence are what we are experiencing today. Educators realized fairly quickly that eliminating values from education was a disaster. Today we literally have generations that have not had the basic values instilled in them that originated in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Do not think that this is intended to suggest that all children, and those children who have turned into parents, are bad. There are parents who have worked hard to raise their children to be great citizens. However, in the absence of “salt” and “light,” a vacuum has developed in our culture where goodness and virtue are missing. Talk to a teacher and ask how many of their students are encouraged in the home with good values. Evil and violence have increased decade after decade since the 1950s.

I would not want to give the impression that Christians are a perfect segment of society. This is far from the truth. Many Christians have withdrawn their children and themselves from schools and institutions. In my view this has only served to worsen the problem. Very public “Christian evangelists” have displayed their own terrible moral decay. How to reintroduce “salt” and “light” into our American culture is a huge problem that I am not sure has a solution. I am sure that no pronunciation from any politician is going to solve it. It is going to have to come from a change in direction at the very basic level of our society, the family.

God, Himself, has just taken away some “salt” and “light” from this earth in the person of Billy Graham. It is attributed to Billy Graham, "America’s pastor" that he once said, “Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it; I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.”

Decades and decades of proclaiming Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and no scandals, no corruption, nothing that was self-serving, and a constant encouragement for everyday common folks to find peace for their souls. Television has shown innumerable film clips of his life. These clips invariably show a man proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ to those who would listen.

Perfection comes from practicing what the Bible teaches, it is not found in any man or woman, and Billy Graham would have been the first to admit this. However, we must try, and Christians should lead the way. We need people like Billy Graham who start at the family level.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Mar 02, 2018 16:02

I grew up with church and God and hearing and seeing Bill Graham preach. Such an enlightening experience. Hopefully the public will read this and remember their Christian upbringing and instill that into their grand and even great-grand children.

Mary "Mickey" (Brown) McKeever


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