Submitted by Mrs. Lee Thatcher
We’ve all heard that expression so many times, it almost sounds hollow- unless we’re old enough to actually remember “The Good Ole Days.” But what does it mean? Was life in the USA really better fifty or sixty years ago? Eighty years ago?
From a moral perspective, it could certainly be argued that we’ve left our best years behind us. Nearly half of all marriages end in divorce now, and even the time-honored tradition of marriage itself seems to be eroding. More couples live together without being married, and the very definition of marriage, which seems fairly obvious, one man and one woman, joined in Holy Matrimony- has been challenged and even overthrown in certain states.
Some might argue that the Supreme Court has overstepped its authority. How can nine non-elected officials presume to not only overthrow the will of the majority in the United States, but the Constitution they are sworn to uphold?
Despite our personal opinions of the matter, it is clear from any historical study, that the Framers of the Constitution of the United States were very much convinced that the role of religion in government was indispensable. Consider the quote from John Adams,
“Our constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.” Or from our first President, George Washington, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”
These are clearly not the quotes of men who believed in a “separation of church and state” as the twentieth-century Supreme Court has defined it. The phrase, “ A wall of separation between church and state,“ taken from a personal letter from Thomas Jefferson, written to the Danbury Baptist Convention in 1804, was suggesting that government keep it’s hands off the free exercise of religion. After all, it is true that established religion could create an atmosphere of tyranny. That is something the original founders of the country had experienced first-hand, and so recognized. However, this idea has been turned into something that was never intended. A government that does not promote one denomination over another, or create a state-run religion was the purpose of the First Amendment right to Freedom of Religion. Now, we have a government that seems bent on removing any concept of God from all aspects of public life. Can any of us say with certainty that this had not had a negative effect on the public schools and the country? I am sure that it has!
In the 1947 case, Everson v. Board of Education, The Supreme Court took the authority to redefine the Constitution, without approval from Congress, to define the wording of the Constitution based on that phrase in Jefferson’s personal letter to mean that not only should government not set up a national church, but that there should be a prohibition against any religious acts by the state governments or agents. Never mind that Ten Commandments are posted on the very walls of the Supreme Court in Washington, DC!
Anyone who keeps up with the news can see how the floodgate to absurdity was opened with that decision along with a few key others. We now have a situation where Nativity scenes no longer adorn the lawns of public buildings, at Christmas, and students are not permitted to pray before school football games, or to mention their faith in graduation speeches. It goes on and on. Judge Roy Moore was recently removed form office in Alabama for refusing to remove the Ten Commandments from his courtroom walls!
I was born in 1968. I don’t remember almost everything being closed on Sundays because people as a whole were enjoying their Sabbath rest. I don’t remember being shocked to hear about someone getting a divorce. I grew up in the seventies, in an enclave for the “hippy movement.” I grew up in an atmosphere heady with sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll. It’s not getting any better in our culture. We continue to reverence self and self-gratification at the expense of love and the common good, not to mention any common sense.
What can we do to keep our traditions and values alive? We can pass our histories down to the younger generation. Not just the stories of our glory days, but the values that made this nation great, and can continue to do so, if we wake up. We can teach our children and grandchildren what it means to live a life to serve others, to love each other and to honor our commitments. We can show them from an early age the value of hard work and sacrifice. We can give them our time, teaching that the things that are precious in this life are things that cannot be purchased. We can pray, even if it isn’t seen as politically correct any longer. We can support our political leaders who have a genuine respect for God and country.
What’s better about America today? Sure, there are some things. Technology has increased our life span to an average of 78. We have made profound advances in medical technology, flight and aeronautics, travel and industry, and of course, the advent of the computer age is on us with no end in sight. We are doubling our knowledge approximately every eight years. But what are we doing with it? What really matters to Americans as a people now? Depression and suicide are way up; the use of illegal and legal drugs has been on the increase for some time now. Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in teens in the USA. People around the world are hungry and poor, but we in America as a whole have every gadget and device under the sun and the best of cutting edge technology in our tennis racquets, eyeglasses and cars. Somehow, though, something seems to be missing…
So, when I hear about “The Good Ole Days,” I can appreciate the country song where the lyrics say, “ People really fell in love to stay/stuck beside each other, come what may/ Oh, Grandpa, tell me about the good old days.”
Let’s celebrate the good in our lives and families! Let’s honor those of our family and country who have worked hard and lived lives of virtue and honor. I encourage all younger readers to thank your parents and grandparents today. Honor their legacies. I thank our older readers today. I pray we will not squander your heritage.
Readers, how long have you been married? 30, 40, 50, 60 years or more? Share your stories and your photos with us! Tell us about the keys to a long and happy marriage, or the story of how you first met!
Submitted by Mrs. Lee Thatcher
Robertson, Pat. The Ten Offenses, Integrity Publishers, 2004.
Published in U S Legacies Magazine March 2004