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How does a free society survive without a moral foundation?

Monday, July 28, 2014 - 9:16 am

What responsibility does a free society bear for assuring that its internal and long term survival remains a certainty?

If such a society is not to be so self-absorbed, then does it not always keep an eye to the future? And in doing so, doesn’t that mean the most important resources in need of protection and cultivation is its youth, preparing them to be tomorrow’s leaders?

Certainly this sounds cliched, does it not? But these days, the free society seems hell-bent in providing the adult American society freedoms to act out however it pleases without so much as a worrisome eye on the impact left on the young.

Can we state without blinking that this modern America can any longer be called a moral nation? And the impact on the young? Ask teachers, particularly those who work in large urban school districts, what level of profanity they hear coming from the mouths of even the youngest of our schoolchildren and that might give you an indication of the influences we must battle just to bring about the right frame of mind for a child to learn.

The Founding Fathers, who once upon a time were honored for their wisdom but who have more recently been referred to as “dead old white men,” made clear their thought during the Continental Congress of 1778: “Whereas true religion and good morals are the only solid foundations of public liberty and happiness, it is hereby earnestly recommended to the several States to take the most effectual measures for the encouragement thereof.”

Failure to follow up with such measures might ultimately lead as forewarned by Benjamin Franklin “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have need of masters.”

Pretty smart for a bunch of dead old white men, I’d say.

But then morals and virtues are linked closely to religion are they not, especially to those of the protestant flavor. Is it any wonder that as the public acceptance of traditional religions has waned under the onslaught from the ACLU and the politically correct, so too has youthful moral behavior?

What do we then hear in response to such concerns? “It’s the family’s responsibility for the moral upbringing of children.”

But Million Man marches and taxpayer monies have done little if anything to deflect the deterioration of the family brought on by the American welfare state created by Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. Throw in the impact felt by no-fault divorce as well as the new interpretations given to what an actual marriage is, and the future is uncertain in regard to what the standards for raising a child will be.

How can a family assure the moral upbringing of a child, when government removes the safeguards from immoral temptations? With states such as Colorado and Washington passing legislation to legalize marijuana and with the Obama administration refusing to press federal enforcement of existing drug laws, and with the general population surrendering their attitudes toward drug usage by giving in to the lies of the pro-drug interests, we have only begun to see the impact that adult usage will leave on the young. It will not be pretty.

Our children can experience every mundane, profane and pornographic message and depiction long before they have reached cerebral maturity thanks to a media that for all intents and purposes only has to police itself, which is like asking a jewel thief to camp overnight in a Zales store and promise not to touch. Thus we have children involved in cyberbullying, sexting and exposure to predators.

We can blame activist judges, special interests, atheists, academia, gutless politicians, and so on and so on. But for a nation teetering on the edge and as we have become enamored by Thomas Jefferson’s “separation of church and state” statement made in a private letter, we have surrendered what once was understood and behind the guise of personal freedom to diminish a national belief in something greater than one’s self. That there exists and establishes a code of civilized behavior that in turn supports each generation to behave in a way that keeps our way of life and our real freedoms strong.

There is also another quote attributed to Jefferson that has unfortunately gotten pushed aside in favor of his separation quote. Jefferson wrote: “Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that their liberties are the gift of God?”

So how does a free society survive without a moral foundation that is passed on from one generation to the next? What’s your answer?

Bob Rinearson is a resident of Fort Wayne.