We're standing at a crossroads waiting for guidance
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In 1993, the Heritage Foundation And Empower America published a work by William Bennett entitled, "The Index of Leading Cultural Indicators."
The statistics were illustrated by means of graphs that spanned the years between 1960 and 1990. Social issues covered included abortion, teenage pregnancy, suicide, crime, child abuse and single parent families, to name a few. Since 1993, I suspect the charts are still climbing; I don't have an updated version. The point is, while we are talking about the debt crisis, we are ignoring an equal crisis in the American family.
Prime Minister David Cameron spoke recently of many English youth growing up not knowing right from wrong, without discipline or taking responsibility. In America today, especially in the inner cities, young people are growing up the same way. There is no leader among us who has had the fortitude to address these issues and say enough is enough. We are talking at length about financial issues, but social issues seem to be off the table.
More than any time in our history, we need a strong leader to take charge and make a difference - a leader who is not afraid to ask serious things of the people. The people will make the necessary sacrifices if the leader is fair and even handed. Winston Churchill took England through World War II with the promise of only blood, tears and sweat. The people believed in him and followed.
In the fifth century the gladiator games were going strong in Rome. One day, out of the crowd, a little monk name Telemachus stepped into the arena between the two gladiators and said three times, "In the name of Christ, forbear." Telemachus was subsequently killed by flying debris thrown by an angry crowd, enraged that someone would dare to interfere with their entertainment. Three days later, the Christian Emperor Honorius called an end to the games.
To add to the problem, many countries have seen a great decline in their spiritual life. Churches are empty and abandoned all over Europe. The recent riots in England testify to the lack of a moral base for those young people; they feel no need to follow the rules and restrain their youthful exuberance. Those teenagers who are rioting in the streets have brought the country to the brink of anarchy.
In 1863, in the middle of the civil war, Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation declaring a national day of fasting and prayer, "We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.
"Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!
"It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins and pray for clemency and forgiveness."
Lincoln had it right. In a time of turmoil and unrest, we do well to return to our spiritual roots.
The Family has always been America's greatest asset and strength. Any attack on it is an assault on the very foundation of our nation. History has proved through the centuries that wherever the people espouse the Christian faith, that country is more nearly at peace and prosperity than their neighbors. The answer is simple: The teachings of Jesus give people the direction and inner strength to live disciplined lives. Those teachings also provide wisdom and understanding for the leaders to structure a sound government. Our own country was founded on those principles and several of our founding fathers declared America to be a Christian nation.
The answer to our social problems does not lie so much in making new laws as in a strong leader calling the American people to account.
Strong Families of Victoria is ready to tackle the problem anew by means of seminars and teaching sessions in all areas of the city. We need new board members and new leadership. We need new, creative ideas on how to make a difference. If you share this concern, please contact me at 578-1210.
Raymond Smith is the president of Strong Families of Victoria.