I was born in 1962. In my lifetime, the United States has changed drastically.
Prior to my birth, Scripture reading and prayer were allowed in public schools. In 1962, however, school-sponsored prayers were ruled to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. A year later, Bible reading was outlawed. (Anyone remember Madyln Murray-O’Hare?)
In 1973, abortion became legal in the landmark Roe vs. Wade case.
When I was a small child, “blue laws” existed on Sundays. Local businesses, particularly restaurants, were not open in observance of the Sabbath. Gradually, church-goers stopped observing the Sabbath, which resulted in businesses being opened. Fortunately, alcohol is not sold in most Georgia counties to this day.
As a young minister, I recall efforts to keep “liquor by the drink” out of Henry County. Local churches and ministers formed an organization called “C.O.L.D.” (Citizens Opposed to Liquor by the Drink) Of course the effort failed, and as a result, there are scores of bars, liquor stores and restaurants which pour booze in the county. A vote on this same issue is coming to Upson County on May 20th.
In like manner, the Georgia Baptist Convention fought to keep the lottery out of the state almost thirty years ago. We all know the history of that outcome. Other gambling has been kept out, but little by little, the tide is turning.
I never thought that I would see the day in which same sex marriages would even be considered, much less approved of. And yet, there are 18 states (plus the District of Columbia) in which gay couples are allowed to marry.
I never expected marijuana to be legal either. But voters in Colorado and Washington state thought otherwise.
Where am I going with this?
To put it simply, the United States has never been a “Christian” nation. Although the phrase “separation of church and state” is not found in the U.S. Constitution (the words were written by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association to assure them of protection from government intrusion), the concept is firmly established in the First Amendment, as well as countless law interpretations over the last 200 years.
Prior to my birth, though, the United States was a more “godly” nation than it is now. The positive influence that the Christian faith once made upon society is no longer welcomed by a pluralistic, secular society. We are expected to keep our faith to ourselves and to our churches. Our convictions are now viewed as intolerant and judgmental.
The sad part is that those who claim to follow Jesus are no longer distinguished by the principles of God’s Word. There is one thing that we can do, however. We can love one another. (John 13:34-35) Love is what disciples should be known by.
Unfortunately, the sins of the nation cannot be ignored. God will still judge unrighteousness. Proverbs 14:34 states the following: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” As followers of Jesus, we should do these things with regard to America: Stand for the principles of the Bible, love people to saving faith in Jesus and pray for God to have mercy on a nation which has rejected Him and His Word.