The shift in American culture in my lifetime has been rapid and a bit unsettling. The apparent decline in moral and ethical standards is truly disheartening. It seems that evil is celebrated and righteousness is mocked on a regular basis. People of faith are ridiculed and the moral guidance of the Church is shunned and ignored. Where is the general knowledge among the people going to be derived? Will it only be emanated from atheistic institutions?
The irrelevance of faith in modern society can simply be described as sad. This is not just an American problem. Even in Catholic Ireland there is great joy and jubilation today because the backward ways of the Church have been overridden by popular vote. The shackles of restraint imposed by the Church have been removed. Sexual morality is determined by each individual and there is a complete disregard for any absolute Truth. Who would have ever dreamed that a Catholic country would completely turn its back on the Faith of our Fathers?
In American society we have seen the deterioration of moral values imposed upon us by the government itself. God has been systematically removed from our classrooms. Health classes have embraced sexual exploration as a mainstay of the curriculum. Organizations such as Planned Parenthood are invited and welcomed onto campus, but any organization holding fast to traditional values and morals is typically not welcome. There is an agenda being pursued and the success rate of dismantling the family unit through this process has been dramatic.
In a speech to the Virginia Convention in 1788, James Madison said, “I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.” Does anything come to mind when you read this? How about all of the federal regulations imposed upon the people through a multitude of agencies. These regulations are not passed by Congress. Moreover, they are frequently released quietly before a holiday weekend so there is little press coverage. It is a gradual and silent encroachment. James Madison knew what he was talking about back in 1788. It would behoove us to pay attention to his words of wisdom today.
As I reflect upon all of the Memorial Day celebrations that took place this past weekend, there is a significant question staying etched in my mind. Are we a virtuous nation? America has done a lot of good throughout the world. We have accomplished much both at home and abroad. Will we continue to be a nation of excellence? The moral decline has me gravely concerned about our future. John Adams said, “Liberty can no more exist without virtue and independence than the body can live and move without a soul.” Will virtue remain in our country?
I want to close by offering a word of gratitude to all of the teachers who strive to fulfill their calling well. There are a lot of good public school teachers striving to be a positive impact on society. Unfortunately, you have been handcuffed in many ways to teach the fullness of Truth. We have wandered far from God since the founding of our country. The educational system in America is now more concerned about providing transgender bathrooms than teaching eternal Truth. Is it a huge surprise to see society struggling as a result? Faith-filled individuals teaching in public schools under modern circumstances must surely face some difficulties and conflicts in conscience. I hope you are able to stay strong in your role. Even if you aren’t allowed to teach the faith, you can still be a witness to Jesus Christ. We need that witness.
Teachers in Catholic and other Christian schools need to be diligent. We need you to provide a solid academic education as well as exemplary faith formation. Please walk the talk. Be a model of Christian witness. Assist your students to grow in wisdom, grace, and holiness. Teach them the history of our great country. Let them know the role that faith played in the founding of this great nation. Equip them to stand against the gates of hell. Our religious liberty is essential and we can’t surrender it due to ignorance. Read the early documents of our country and be informed. Subsequently, pass that knowledge onto your students.
Woodrow Wilson gave a speech in New York on September 9, 1912 in which he stated, “Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of it. The history of liberty is the history of resistance. The history of liberty is a history of limitations of governmental power, not the increase of it.” Take some time to learn about the many federal regulations quietly set forth just before the holiday weekend. Liberty will only be secure if we are an informed citizenry.
Educators, enjoy the summer break. Come back in the fall with a renewed vigor to equip your students for the journey of life. May we realize the ideal of being "one nation under God."