- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 24, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Seventeen students and staffers are dead at a Florida high school, and now the country’s on fire, debating both merits and dangers of curbing Second Amendment rights in what’s become the predictable political and policy talk whenever tragedy strikes in this manner.

Guns are not the problem, though. Secularism is.

America’s roots are those of Christianity. Pilgrims, Puritans, Quakers — one common denominator of their pursuits in this country was religious freedom. Heck, even America’s schools were once training grounds for the good moral Christian. But now?

It’s all about separation of church and state — separation of God from politics, society and school. And sadly, we’re reaping what we’ve sown.

Our country’s mired in violence because our hearts have become darkened and cooled to godly principles, unconcerned with the value of life. Our youth, especially, are paying a steep price for this secularization of America.

Just look at how schools used to operate.

Schools during colonial and later days used to be places of learning both grammar and morals, mathematics and biblical virtues.

In the beginning, America’s Protestant Reformation emphasized that all should be able to read — all men, not just clergy, as well as all women and children — so that they might not have to rely on the Church to teach them the Bible.

Christianity the hiding ground for the ignorant? Hardly. Christianity fueled literacy. Protestant—minded Puritans embraced the need to read with especial zeal, linking inextricably the education of youth with Christianity.

For instance?

For instance: Puritan missionary John Eliot founded Roxbury Latin School in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1645 as a means of equipping the youth, both male and female, “for public service in church and commonwealth,” as the facility’s site still reads today.

“Modeled on the English grammar school,” RoxburyLatin.org states, “the School was dedicated to giving instructions in the classics and producing Christian citizens.”

In the early 1600s, a child’s first book in New England was called a hornbook, a board in the shape of a paddle upon which was written the Lord’s Prayer and the alphabet. Once children conquered that lesson, they moved on to the New England Primer, a text of grammar and vocabulary and moral lessons. Moral lessons as taught by God, via biblical readings, that is.

The list of early-America Christian influences goes on.

The first published book in this country? A book of hymns, the Bay Psalm Book.

The first universities established in America?

Harvard was founded in 1636 nearby Boston as a place of training for young men entering the ministry. Dartmouth College was initially opened by Congregational minister Eleazar Wheelock to teach Indians to become Christian missionaries.

The University of Pennsylvania, as its website states, was established by evangelist George Whitefield as a “Philadelphia charity school that would double as a house of worship for his followers.”

Brown, Rutgers, Princeton — all of these Ivy Leagues were products of America’s religious revival period, the Great Awakening, that took place in the eighteenth century.

By contrast, today’s schools? They’re secular to the core.

Prayer in the morning? Gone. Prayer before athletic events? The stuff of lawsuits and legal challenges. Bibles in the classroom? Keep ‘em in the desk — keep ‘em away from sight of the other students. Better yet, just leave ‘em at home; there’s no place for Bibles in the classroom. Christian-based valedictorian speeches by students? Careful — the American Civil Liberties Union is listening.

Heck, we don’t even celebrate Christmas or Easter any more in most public schools — it’s called Winter Break and Spring Break in the calendars approved for use by education department officials.

Now add to all this a secular political system with politicians afraid to pray; a secular-minded culture with parents and adults unwilling to discipline; a secular national belief system that rebels against any higher authority, any rules, any standards tied to moral teachings; a secular media that outright mocks and attacks all public shows of God — a secular society that, in essence, is OK with the slinging of the “F” word but not so much the “J” word, Jesus — and it’s no wonder the chaos that we’re reaping.

It’s no wonder kids are shooting and killing.

We’ve spent decades removing God from all and He’s finally stepped aside. But it’s not working; our country’s in chaos. Secularism isn’t working. So now it’s time to confess, repent and pray — and confess, repent and pray some more.

Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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