I attempt to awake each morning around 6:00 and get started on my days activities which include a quick visit to various websites on the internet that provide me with some of things that occurred during the night while I was asleep. I used to take the Fort Worth Star Telegram, but I found out that about 90% of what I read in the paper each morning I read the day or night previous on the internet. Most of the remaining 10% had to do with local advertisements, arrangements for marriages, auctions, and the local obituary page (which I seldom read anyway). By comparing the different websites I have come to learn that much of what comes over the media is slanted by reporters put their “spin” on the facts so as to influence the thinking of their audience. This is true with most of the main stream media. It seems rather obvious that the media, by in large, has been captured by the liberal element in our society and is being used as a tool for propaganda to advance their liberal ideology and agenda. But that is a topic for another article. I find it especially refreshing that there are at least a few organizations that still provide what FOX has come to call a “fair and balanced” approach to reporting the news; but even then, FOX falls prey to the temptation to put their own slant on things from time to time.
I have learned from experience that it is indeed true that “there is nothing new under the sun,” and today's news is a rehash of yesterday's news as well as a glimpse at what might very well happen tomorrow. In fact, you can take just about any item that makes the newspaper headlines, evening TV news, or the “world wide web” of news, change the names and places, and predict what will be in the next day's paper or television news report with remarkable accuracy. It has been a little more than thirteen years since we moved away from Harris county [home of Houston, Humble, Baytown, Sugarland, et al]. Each year, somewhere around January, Harris county would report the number of homicides for the previous year. In 1997, give or take a year [the memory is not what it used to be], Harris county issued a special nine month report on homicides for the simple reason that killings for that year had exceeded all previous year totals for twelve months. By late September homicides had exceeded 750, and it was predicted that before year's end they would surpass 900 [if I remember correctly, the year closed out with a record number of homicides, the number far exceeding the 900 count]. That means Harris county averaged more than two homicides PER DAY [or seventeen per week, and seventy five per month]. We left that part of the world in late 1999. Johnnie Ann and I would spend the next ten years living in beautiful East Texas where, generally speaking, life is much slower and folks seem a little more contented and easy going that they are in the big cities. Mt. Pleasant, Talco, and Clarksville (all within about a forty mile radius of one another) became “home” for the next ten years. The “local” news in small town U.S.A. is not necessarily what might be happening in those small towns. Newspapers are just as apt to report about things in Shreveport, Louisiana as Talco, Texas (in fact, seldom, if ever, did we read about something happening in Talco; but then, what do you expect from a town of only 500 population). I quickly learned that moving from the big city of Houston to a small town in East Texas was not an escape from the kind of news one reads about in the Houston Chronicle, Fort Worth Star Telegram, or Dallas Morning News. See if these headlines sound familiar: “Song blamed for shootings”; “DISD credit card theft”; “Doctors accused of intentionally killing terminal ill patients”; “Lottery firm under suspicion”; “Dallas Cowboy injured in freeway shooting”; “Congress deadlocked in budget battle”; “Three killed in night club incident”; “Abortion advocates file suit in local courthouse to protect mother’s rights.” Every one of those headlines are at least fifteen years old. Were I to pick up a copy of today’s Dallas Morning News, or Fort Worth Star Telegram, I could probably, without much effort, find news items with similar titles. Solomon was right: There is NOTHING new under the sun!
Now, what does all that have to do with God, man, salvation, the church, or life in general? It is this: a nation cannot long endure when its citizenry has become so immoral that the nation is characterized by that immorality rather than moral uprightness. The inspired writer put it this way: “Righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin is a reproach to any people” (Pro. 14:34). When this nation was founded it was the intention of our forefathers that this grand Republic maintain allegiance to God first and foremost. They did not envision a “secular” state where God is excluded from the laws and thinking of society. James Madison is credited with these words: “We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” The fact is, dear reader, that our nation is literally awash in immorality. The newspapers, television, radio and internet inundate us with the latest news of events that are current. We are updated on the killings, the latest rock start, politician, or sports hero who has “come out of the closet,” and lies and dishonesty of prominent politicians. Those are the “major stories” that are brought to our attention. But what of the hundreds, yea even thousands of “stories” that go untold. They are reflected in statistics regarding child abuse, broken homes, petty theft and embezzlement, dishonesty in the work place, cheating in the classroom, gang initiations, and white collar crime. And what more shall we say, for the time will fail us if we speak of Hollywood, TV programs, pornography, gambling, homosexuality, and political powers that want to remove God from every vestige of our daily life. Oh yes, our nation is awash in immorality. Tragically, we have become too blind to realize this undeniable truth.
It has been more than seventy years since McGuffey's Reader was a regular textbook in our public school system. William McGuffey was not just an educator; he was a man of integrity and moral uprightness. But he was a man of great wisdom. He once penned these words: “If you can induce a community to doubt the genuineness and authenticity of the Scriptures, to question the reality and obligations of religion; to hesitate, undeciding, whether there be any such thing as virtue or vice; whether there be an eternal state of retribution beyond the grave; or whether there be any such being as God; you have broken down the barriers of moral virtue, and hoisted the flood gates of immorality and crime. I need not say that when a people have once done this, they can no longer exist as a tranquil and happy people…Avarice, perjury, ambition, and revenge would walk through the land, and render it more like the dwelling of savage beasts than the tranquil abode of civilized and Christianized men” (William McGuffey, quoted in Power Lectures, The Parables of Jesus, page 320).
I fear that we are rapidly becoming this “dwelling of savage beasts.” Only history will tell. But the fact is, history is not on our side. General Douglas McArthur wrote: “History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline. There has been either a spiritual awakening to overcome the moral lapse, or a progressive deterioration leading to ultimate national disaster.” We stand at a cross roads in this decade. Shall we turn the tide, or shall we remain awash in immorality? Only time will tell.