From Heresies, Horrors, & Holocausts -- to Hope
Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled, either by a power within them, or by a power without them; either by the word of God, or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible, or by the bayonet. – Rep. Robert C. Winthrop, Speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives (1849)
"I lament that (if we remove the Bible from schools) we waste so much time and money in punishing crimes and take so little pains to prevent them. ... For this Divine Book, above all others, favors that respect for just laws ... and virtues which constitute the soul of (our government)." -- Benjamin Rush, Signer of the Declaration of Independence
"All of the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice (and) crime ... proceed from them despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible." -- Noah Webster
It is naïve and presumptuous to believe there is a single, simple explanation for what happened in Newtown last week. However, one thing is certain: the causes behind this tragedy and others like it go well beyond the call for stricter gun controls. Unless we recognize that, and move to address those causes, we can expect more Newtowns ahead. They include the following:
Throughout history, man has turned his back on God to pursue his own path – with serious consequences. The Scopes Trial of 1925 mocked the idea that man was created by God in His image. In 1962, the Supreme Court held that public school teachers could no longer open class with prayer. In 1963, the Court also ruled against the reading of Scripture in public school classrooms. Later courts went on to ban displays of the Ten Commandments and other references to God. Therefore, with Him out of the way, who decides what is Right and what is Wrong?
In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled that laws protecting the lives of unborn babies interfered with the right of the mother to “privacy”, which allowed her to kill her own unborn child. Since that time, an estimated 54 million unborn babies have been legally murdered – some of them within moments of taking their first breath. So, if we can take a baby’s life before birth, why not a child’s life after birth? Have we destroyed our respect for the sanctity of life?
The poison of illicit sex and violence that spews out of Hollywood into our theaters, our living rooms, and our video games has deadened our sense of discernment between reality and fantasy, and between good and evil. Like drugs, it is addictive, progressive, and destructive, leaving a trail of ruined men, exploited women, broken homes, damaged children, disease, crime, and often violent death. Can we expect anyone to feed on this poison without being affected by it?
We are experiencing a moral meltdown in America. 22% of pregnancies are ending in abortion. 40% of the babies who do survive are born to single mothers. 50% of marriages are ending in divorce, and 33% of our children are being raised in single parent homes – most of them without the presence of a father. Is it any wonder that many of these children suffer from lower academic achievement and higher rates of abuse, sexual molestation, STDs, drug dependency, and crime?
Our response to all of this can be as simple or as complicated as we want to make it. Yes, we can pass as many laws as we like, but the problems will persist until we turn our hearts back to God and live in obedience to His Word. Jesus put it very simply when He said that the greatest of God’s commandments could be summed up as follows: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind, and your neighbor as yourself. This do, and you shall live.”
If we can do that, and teach our children to do so as well, perhaps we can prevent future tragedies like that of Newtown and yes, perhaps we can even be accused -- as were Jesus’ disciples -- of “having turned the world upside down!” May it be so.
Dean Welty (right) serves on the Board of Directors for the Virginia Christian Alliance and is Director of the Valley Family Forum, a network of families in the Shenandoah Valley that helps build Faith, Family, and Freedom in the culture and in the public square. He also hosts a weekly television program entitled "Valley Faith in Action".
Valley Faith in Action airs at 8:00 p.m. on Friday and at 8:30 p.m. Sunday on WAZT-TV, which is Comcast Cable Channel 13 in the Harrisonburg area. It will air again at Wednesday midnight. You can also access it and other recent programs by clicking HERE.
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