THE FOREFATHERS of this country wisely chose the path of separation of church and state, the state favoring no particular religious group. Bad experiences in the old world, which prompted so many originally to come here, were behind this. Along with this, they espoused the principle of religious freedom. This freedom of religion was not intended to be freedom from religion, but, the state being neutral, it gave each and everyone the opportunity to worship according to the sincere dictates of his own heart without fear of governmental suppression. However, at the same time, from a practical viewpoint, the state recognized bona fide religion as a vitally important factor in the well being and stability of human society, as well as in governing the nation.
 This can be seen at every turn. Prayers were (and are) offered at governmental gatherings. The Senate and military have a chaplaincy. The money issued by the government of this country, whether in the form of bills or coins, has the simple (but profound) imprint upon it, "IN GOD WE TRUST." The Bible is used as the book on which elected (and selected) governmental officials solemnly place their hand in being sworn into office, as well as in everyday use in the courts of the land. The influence of religion can readily be seen when we read the law books and statutes of the land. The law books of each state in their uncut, unabridged and unaltered form are very impressive (or were before the humanists got hold of them). One is quickly reminded of the Bible. Our forefathers looked upon laws and the government as the protector of the morals of its citizens. Their high regard for religion and the vital part it plays in society can be seen in tax exemptions and tax deductions involving churches and giving. Until recently this could be seen in such matters as reduced mailing rates for religious publications (classified as non-profit). Although the government took sides with no particular religion, actual bona fide religion was looked upon as very important, needed, and thus encouraged as a vital part of society.
 However, for many years now the ill winds of unfavorable change have been blowing across our land. Definitely, all is not well. Whether covertly or openly (perhaps first covertly and then blatantly open), secular humanism has been and is asserting its ungodly (and undesirable) influence upon society at every level, as they impact our nation trying to reverse the noble legacy coming from our forefathers. The high regard for religion and its influence upon society, along with favored treatment of religion, are on the wane. Government is no longer a protector of public morals. In some cases it is not even neutral, but is promoter of the delinquency of its citizens. The high court ruling of no prayer or Bible reading in the public schools, which implies that such is irrelevant to life, is but one of the milestones in this departure. While denying freedom of speech in reference to religion in the public schools, but at the same time allowing almost anything else, they have recklessly opened the floodgate for all kinds of repercussions. In the name of freedom of speech through magazines, movies, television and now the Internet, pornography, vulgarity and obscenity hits us in the face. Abortion, which heretofore had been legally regarded as criminal (murder), not only now is legal, but in the past has even been funded by the government for those who could not pay. Before they were "penknifed" by the radical "liberals," the law books universally looked upon the practice of homosexuality as a "crime against nature." Now same sex partners are getting employee benefits as husband and wife, and it only seems a matter of time until they will be given legal status as such. In the meantime the dreaded disease AIDS spreads. Gambling is still illegal in most states, but almost every state is in the gambling business "big time." This continues even though these headlines were read some time ago in the Dayton Daily News (Ohio): ‘GAMBLING ADDICTIONS ARE REPORTEDLY INCREASING," and "SOME COUNSELORS BLAMES STATE LOTTERY GAMES." In many places, the government has long been in the liquor business. Yes, government is contributing to the very delinquency of its citizens instead of being their guardian.
 With this disregard for the unofficial regard that has been for religion in the past, our society has been coming apart at the seams it seems. Perhaps this is just one of the symptoms of the larger problem of the godless and ungodly times in which we are living. In such a climate, the landmarks of honesty and old-fashioned morality are fast eroding. So many American homes are being shattered by divorce. And, alarmingly, people are not getting the message from AIDS, but are talking about practicing "safe sex" as they continue in their immorality and perversion. Of ancient Israel Hosea wrote, "For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind…" (Hosea 8:7). Proverbs 14:34 reads, "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people."
 It is rather ironical that America, which has such a rich tradition regarding religious expression and freedom of speech, legally has barred even nonsectarian prayer and Bible reading from the public schools, and Russia, who for the most of a century had been repressed by atheistic communism, now has welcomed the actual teaching of religion in their public schools. This is a fact, for we have been personally involved with those who have done this (as well as reading about it). How amazing.
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