The modern dilemma

by | April 16, 2018 6:33 am

The Right Stuff – By Donald Holman

Picking up the discussion where we left off last week, what have we done as a society to provide a foundation for our children and the future? Having inherited a largely law abiding, family-centered society, what have we done with it?

I was born in 1959, into the family of a very conservative Baptist minister, who believed the church should be the center of family activities. I remember in the 60s, hearing my father declare from the pulpit that in the not-too-distant future, churches would be forced to curtail and/or cancel meetings through the week, particularly Wednesday night “prayer meeting” services. Many in the congregation scoffed at such an idea. Yet, drive by most churches these days, on Wednesday or Sunday nights, and there is plenty of room in the parking lot for additional vehicles!

The church back in the day was the foundation for family and community life. Births were celebrated with christenings, deaths were mourned at the church, and marriages were performed and celebrated. Many of these activities are now held elsewhere.

The churches taught the basic morals of life, with the Ten Commandments leading the way. Fathers and mothers were exhorted to raise their children in the church with clear teachings of right and wrong. Pastors called out the evils of alcohol and gambling and lamented and condemned men and women divorcing and raising their children in the resulting poverty that so many times accompanied a broken home. Do we realize that the poverty rate for married black families is only 2.4 percent? Yet how many times does one hear about how raising children without an intact family causes poverty? No, no, we are told, it is racism that causes the problem?

In a society based on the universal truths of the Golden Rule, structured around the ideals of the Ten Commandments, life was far, far better for all classes of people. These days, when scripture is quoted at all, it is most often quoted by non-believers as a cudgel against the efforts of the people to curtail unwarranted payments to folks unwilling to work. Not unable, unwilling! How many times do these folks quote this scripture? 2 Thessalonians 3:10, “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” These days governmental “compassion” excuses the addicted, the lazy, etc., etc. from providing for themselves and their families. Governmental programs reward illegitimate births with government support, further encouraging and trapping folks in poverty.

There are so many teachings of the Bible and Christendom in general that are just common-sense ideals about how to build a society that respects and helps each other, respects the rights of the individual, and cares for and nourishes the children and the old folks. Much of the body of teachings are life histories of how folks and nations learned to live together in peace.

And personal responsibility. How rare is that phrase these days? I well remember my father telling me that if ditch digging was all I could do, then I should strive to dig the best ditch that I could. An honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. Don’t steal, and lie, and bear false witness against each other… The list of behaviors both prohibited and encouraged goes on and on… And wouldn’t we be better off if more kids were raised with these ideals?

These days, many kids are raised in a grey cloud, where morals and judgment are dependent on the situation, and there are no “universal truths.” The young are encouraged to envy and despise the wealthy and the merely well off, convinced that these folks made their fortunes through trickery or in some dishonest way. It just couldn’t be… that these folks got up earlier than others, stayed up later, and worked harder than those around them. Nope, must be some nefarious plot that only the “rich” know. These kinds of lies have a corrupting influence on the young.

Minority youths are taught that opportunities will not be available to them because of their race. They cannot get ahead because “society” is against them. Is there any doubt that this has a negative effect on their motivation? Add to that the drug culture, the rap lifestyle, and on and on…And they have a perfect excuse for the poverty that inevitably follows poor lifestyle choices. It’s the fault of “society,” and not their own bad choices that have caused their poverty. And in far too many cases, government does a poor job of providing the schooling that might enable them to rise above their circumstances and succeed. The inner cites of America, many of them run by Democrats for decades, are doing a terrible job of educating these young people. Yet they call Republicans uncaring?

For a society to hold together and succeed, we all need to understand and agree on the basic rules of the road. In times past, the church fulfilled that mission. With many Americans turning away from church, what will fill the vacuum in the lives of these people?

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