Today I read an article about an incident in Florida where a disabled man was in a pond drowning and frantically crying for help while a group of teenagers not only watched and yelled obscenities at him but also videoed him drowning and not one offered to help him. The man did drown and the kids posted the video online. (Click here for the news story)
While the behavior of those teens is horrific, it is hardly shocking in this day and age. Similar stories of youths and young adults sinister behavior are a regular fixation on our news outlets. The regularity of such occurrences raises several questions. Questions such as why do these children and young adults not have any moral compass and what can be done about it?
Sitting back and reflecting on my 50+ years of life I consider the changes our society has gone through in that time, some good (civil rights, gender equality) and some bad (general loss of morality, intolerance of opposing ideals, and civility in general). Yet why have those changes occurred, more specifically what has given rise to these bad changes - changes that have given birth to hostility and hate?
Once we knew how to argue with each other then share a meal and enjoy each others company afterward. Once we held respect for life, for our elders and for authority. Once we were guided by high moral standards - even those who were not religious did as well. What has driven our country to the precipice implosion?
It is all too easy to point fingers at innovations of technology such as television, computers and the internet yet I believe the real culprit is much deeper, after all a TV and a computer are simply inanimate objects and can't do anything we as humans don't tell it to (at least until full on Artificial Intelligence becomes a reality - if it does).
No, I fully believe the cancer plaguing our society today is caused by the removal of religion from our secular landscape. Removing the ten commandments from schools, not allowing prayer in school and at school related events such as sporting events and graduations has removed the teaching and integration of moral values from our youth over the years. Those youths have in turn grown into adulthood and now hold positions of power in business and government from which they can influence decisions which are designed to remove God from our society all-together.
Not only has this crusade removed God from our schools but it has also encroached further into our society in a drive to obliterate God from our country. The Boy Scouts of America are routinely under fire and often forced into subjugation because the organizations core principles are to teach patriotism and morality (regardless of religion) to boys and young men. Other secular organizations also face similar assaults on their core principles.
This cancer of trying to remove God from society must end if our nation, indeed even our world, is to survive into another century. How do we stop it? It won't be easy and we who seek to instill a moral compass into the world must stand firm in resolution to oppose those who would remove our God from our halls of justice, our government, our schools and our public spaces.
Secondly, we must educate the fact that our nation was founded on Biblical principles beginning with the pilgrims who were seeking escape from religious persecution much as we are persecuted today, albeit in different ways. While all who accompanied the pilgrims may not have been religious (possibly the soldiers and sailors who stayed on in the new world) the great majority of the early settlers were. A hundred years later the leaders of the colonies gathered and drafted a document that clearly included a belief in God when they referenced God four times in the Declaration of Independence.
While a parent is ultimately responsible for instilling a child's moral values it is reasonable to assume many parents fail in that responsibility for a variety of reasons. While it should not be a school's mandate to instill moral values I would argue that simple things such as teaching the ten commandments and saying prayer in school would go far in improving our nations morality. Teaching that it is wrong to murder, steal, lust, bear false witness, respect your parents or to covet are all parts of the ten commandments that certainly can cross no religious lines or offend non-religious society.
In my opinion the answer is to have a constitutional amendment which allows specific teachings that may address issues of morality based on religion yet are not religious indoctrination. A pipe dream I'm sure, nevertheless our nation is doomed to annihilation unless we are proactive in restoring moral responsibility within our borders.