Throughout generations, things change. For example, some of the social graces practically no longer exist, such as standing when a woman enters a room or a man removing headgear while inside. Just two small examples of change over the years.
During the recent Fourth of July celebrations, a thought came to mind – what would it be like to plop the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the framers of the Constitution into America today. Surely, they would be awed by the technology of our day. None of them would live long enough to see a telephone, let alone anything close to what we carry around with us today. They walked or used a beast of some sort for transport; we have trains, automobiles, planes (not to mention rocket ships to outer space). The farm machinery used by our founding fathers was the same as the farm equipment used by the Apostles. Today, some farm machinery is as large as a small house and drives itself, guided by satellites. It is a different world.
I wonder what they would think of the violence in our streets. According to the Criminal Justice Research Center, there were 1,077 homicides in the Colonies from 1630-1797, a period of 167 years. Because of the passing of time and the loss of records, I am sure there were a few more, but it is improbable the number would reach 2,000. In comparison, as of the end of June, there were 336 homicides in Chicago this year alone. From 2013-2020 the city of Chicago saw 4,127 homicides.
Some will protest my comparison of homicides in colonial days with modern times because of the advancement in weapon technology and population increase. My answer to that is that I am comparing almost two centuries to eight years. Some may say it is easier to kill someone today than it was 200-400 years ago. Murder weapons in the colonies consisted of muskets, tomahawks, knives, whips, axes, among other things. The bottom line is this – regardless of the weapon used, an individual has to have murder in their heart and a moral code that permits them to take a life. The moral code has changed within the hearts of many Americans since 1776.
The founding fathers were sinners like everyone else, but what would they think of the complete flip in the moral code?
If the creators of the nation could visit us today, would they stick their chests out saying, “Look at how far we have come!” or would they drop to their knees in tears, crying out, “Look at how much we have lost!”
Listen to the words of our founding fathers and what they thought of the nation they were creating.
“The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity.” – John Adams, Signer of the Declaration of Independence; judge; diplomat; one of two signers of the Bill of Rights; second President of the United States.
“In the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior. The Declaration of Independence laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity.” – John Quincy Adams, Sixth President of the United States; diplomat; Secretary of State; US Senator; US Representative.
“The great pillars of all government and of social life [are] virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor, my friend, and this alone, that renders us invincible.” – Patrick Henry, Revolutionary General; Legislator; “The voice of liberty”; Ratifier of the US Constitution; Governor of Virginia.
“Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation, to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” – John Jay, President of Congress; Diplomat: Author of the Federalist Papers; original Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court; Governor of New York.
The following three quotes are from Benjamin Rush, known as the “Father of public schools under the Constitution.” Read what he said about the Bible in schools.
“[T]he only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government is the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by means of the Bible.”
“The great enemy of the salvation of man, in my opinion, never invented a more effective means of limiting Christianity from the world than by persuading mankind that it was improper to read the Bible at schools.”
“The Bible, when not read in schools, is seldom read in any subsequent period of life… [T]he Bible… should be read in our schools in preference to all other books because it contains the greatest portion of that kind of knowledge which is calculated to produce private and public happiness.”
Lastly, John Adams said something that every American should ponder.
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
In our current moral state, can the Constitution govern us? If our morals continue to decline, how many years before our Constitution becomes inadequate?
* * * * *
As restrictions are lifting and houses of worship slowly reopen across much of the nation, the editors of the Baltimore Post-Examiner are continuing to invite an array of spiritual teachers to share insights from the ages along with words of comfort and encouragement. These timely messages are not exclusive to any particular faith walk and will be included in our ongoing Spirituality series.
Preacher Tim Johnson is Pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Indiana. His weekly column “Preacher’s Point” may be found at: www.preacherspoint.wordpress.com