The fate of America is directly tied to the morality of her citizens. The lessons our children need are those of character and integrity. Our founding fathers knew this. Benjamin Franklin Morris once stated that, “the chief security and glory of the United States of America has been, is now, and will be forever, the prevalence and domination of the Christian faith” (Richard Lee, The American Patriot’s Bible, 2009). The two key objects of the Christian faith are to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” and to “love your neighbor as yourself.” These commandments include all the character and integrity there is. America, not all of her individual citizens but her as a whole, must preserve this faith as the basis for her laws, institutions, and actions or she will fall.
And yet, are we teaching our children about character and integrity? Are our institutions? Well, let us take a look at some of our nation’s institutions: the Boy Scouts of America, our education system, and the National Art Gallery. These are not all inclusive, folks, not even close. They will, though, serve as a sampling of what is going on, what we are passing on to the next generation, across the country.
The Boy Scouts of America is considering filing for bankruptcy according to a 12 December article by Katy Ferek. The organization founded in 1910 and with core goals of teaching outdoor skills, character, and leadership claims the cause is due to the mounting cost of litigation for sexual-abuse cases dating back decades. It is interesting to note however that the Boy Scouts enrollment has dropped some 300,000 members in the last five years (Washington Times, 2018) at the same time leadership attempted to gain members by adopting “gender-neutral inclusivity” and allowing girls, homosexual scout leaders, and transgender members. Their membership purging has surely hurt revenue. Regardless, however, of if the cause for considering bankruptcy is paying for sexual misconduct lawsuits, or declining membership due to including transgender and homosexual members and leaders, it is immorality that has brought the scouts low. It is a failure to adhere to their original beliefs and objectives of teaching character, integrity, and leadership.
Tackling what is going on in the American education system is at once overwhelming and incredibly simple. Though there are dramatic issues within our institutions both higher and lower, they have much less than we try to pretend to do with money, quality of teacher, or poverty levels; those are merely symptoms of the larger problem. The larger problem is that more and more of our children come from broken families or families not made up of a father and a mother. The larger problem is that we not only allow, but insist upon superficial considerations such as skin color and financial background to weigh in on whether college students get financial aid going into colleges or universities, or whether they are even admitted in. The larger problem is that we give some students additional support and yet honor their grades the same as we do with students who do not receive that same additional support. In kindergarten all the way up through twelfth grade people read tests to certain students, write tests with extra accommodations such as bolded words and fewer answer choices, and give them extra time, and yet their GPA scale is the same as those without these “accommodations”. This substantially feeds into the nonsense of the “No Child Left Behind” mentality. We have diluted and inflated the grading system so much that our college students now even need lessons that it is “ok to fail”. Check out the recent article by Ms. Korn of the Wall Street Journal titled Failure 101. This would be unnecessary if we focused more on showing our children love based upon who they are and not what they can do. If we concentrated more on developing kids of character and integrity, and less on making sure no one felt bad because they were not making the same grades as everyone else, they would intrinsically know it was not only “ok to fail,” but that it was bound to happen from time to time. They would also realize that their worth was not wrapped up in being exactly the same as everyone else. To make matters worse we laud schools based upon what percentage of their students are minority, female, or “underprivileged”. There is no requirement for character, no reward for showing integrity or discipline in moral issues. So as a nation we encourage students based upon gender, skin color, race, or parent’s financial status, not on merit. We make little to no mention of integrity, courage, or character as a requirement for college or university enrollment or high school graduation. Then we balk at how far behind we are falling in the world. We look aghast upon the corruption of our business, military, and political leaders. Truly, what else should we expect?
Thirdly, the National Art Gallery is hiring a new head, Ms. Kaywin Feldman. As Mr. Roger Kimball notes in his latest piece The National Gallery of Identity Politics, Ms. Feldman’s ideas on what should be displayed have little to do with the quality of art or passing on American “civilization’s highest values.” Her concerns have much more to do with promoting base exhibitions on race, gender, and crime. In a recent piece for Apollo magazine, Ms. Feldmen notes that, “As long as the staff and trustees at American museums remain predominantly white, it will be difficult for museums to tackle the often painful but important contemporary issues that we must address.” Yet again we are being told that superficial traits, this time skin color, are a determining factor in whether a person can deal with crime, war, poverty, homelessness, broken families, pestilence, and tyranny. And yet again the problem is not a lack of the “correct” external qualities, but our country’s growing lack of internal qualities such as diligence, commitment, and courage.
In the end, folks, this is a very short list, a non-exhaustive list, but you cannot have “the home of the brave” without real courage and character. Not the kind of courage indicated by a person coming out of a closet, or breaking laws, but the kind of courage that has a high school student stand up to a bully, help the kid no one wants to talk to, or induces an eighteen year old to stand and get shot at by people who serve a religion that tells them to kill others of different belief in order to protect his friends and serve his country. Most importantly this character must come from somewhere? Where? Is it something just inherent, like an instinct? No, it must come from outside of the person. If it comes from their parents, then it must come from outside their parents. Eventually you must get to the point where it comes from God, God who requires a belief in His Son. And His Son who models, kindness, caring, and support for those weaker then ourselves. His Son who also models acknowledgement and adherence to the truth, and who tells us “to go and sin no more” not to go on the way we were and have a good time. His Son who models treating our neighbor as ourselves and love with all He has of His Father. Without this example infused into our laws and institutions, America will indeed fail. With this infused into our country’s soul we cannot help but succeed in the end. To quote Mr. William McGuffey, whose McGuffey Reader sold over 120 million copies between 1836 and 1960 (Richard Lee, The American Patriot’s Bible, 2009), “In a Christian country, the man is to be pitied, who, at this day, can honestly object to imbuing the minds of youth with the language and spirit of the Word of God.” The question is, folks, is America a Christian country, or is she not? She has been in the past, but does she still remain so? The answer predetermines our fate in history.
— JT Cope IV