Godlessness to blame
As most were celebrating Valentine's Day on Feb. 14, an unspeakable evil was unleashed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Nineteen-year-old Nikolas Cruz arrived at the school where he had been expelled a year earlier. And just prior to students being dismissed for the day, he opened fire. When the shooting subsided, 17 were dead.
Most Americans want an answer as to why these kinds of massacres are increasing in both frequency and devastation. Predictably, some seek to politicize the tragedy by blaming “gun rights,” but that blame does not hold up under evidence. What the evidence shows is the clear connection between the decline in the influence of Judeo-Christian values in America and the plague of mass shootings. Let me explain.
Prior to the early 1960s, there had been no mass shootings in schools. Individual instances of murder and suicide in schools certainly occurred in American history, but no mass shootings until well after that time period.
The exponential rise in murder rates and mass shootings in America can be seen in statistics as distinctly rising from the 1960s to today.
Interestingly, the first national attempt to control guns was the National Firearms Act of 1934, which primarily put restrictions on fully automatic Thompson submachine guns (aka "Tommy Guns") used by gangs in Chicago.
The first true national gun control act was the 1968 Gun Control Act. Prior to that, all manner of guns were carried openly throughout much of America, including schools. Justice Scalia even wrote about carrying rifles on the subway in New York going to school in the late 1950s.
Since the 1960s, gun control legislation has tried to keep pace with the increasing gun violence to little success. Gun control is simply not the answer to the problem.
What can be seen by the evidence available is the increase in violence and mass murder corresponding to the diminished influence of Judeo-Christian values in both law and culture in America.
In the early 1960s, Bible reading and school prayer were removed from school. Prior to that, most schools provided that influence to the children under their charge, as in keeping with a long history of such influence upon American youth in school.
The first U.S. government establishment of public schooling in 1787 (Northwest Ordinance) justified public education with the following: "Religion, morality and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”
It was around this time that founding father John Adams made the following statement about the importance of religion in American life: "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
This idea was repeated by multiple other founding fathers.
In writing about America in the 1830s, Alexis de Tocqueville observed: "There is no other country on Earth in which the Christian religion retains greater sway over the souls of men than in America."
As English historian Paul Johnston wrote of America up to the middle of the 20th century: "America is a God Fearing nation, with all that implies," and he claimed this was the reason for American exceptionalism.
Unfortunately, America's traditional Christian values lost influence in law and culture particularly starting in the 1960s.
After stripping the Bible and prayer from schools, most states passed no-fault divorce legislation. This came at the time of federal government aid creating financial incentives for many families to dissolve. In 1973, abortion was declared a constitutional right, resulting in now around 60 million unborn casualties. Supreme Court rulings became more and more hostile to any intention or effect to further religious values.
Culture has moved away from Christian values as well.
A perfect example can be seen with two movies, one made just before the 1960s and one contemporary movie, both about the same subject.
The epic 1956 movie, "The Ten Commandments" starring Charlton Heston, was an inspiring and relatively accurate biblical account of the life of Moses. It honored the Bible, and biblical values. The 2014 movie of the same story, "Exodus," was a far more cynical account of Moses. Christian Bale, who played Moses, said this about that great biblical patriarch: "I think the man was likely schizophrenic and was one of the most barbaric individuals."
This attitude can be seen permeating Hollywood and other cultural influencers. Judeo-Christian values have been turned almost 180 degrees from the position held over 50 years ago and the effects are have been seen in places like Parkland, Florida.
It is time for a national soul-searching about our shared values, where those values are leading, and the effect of those values on our children. In Haggai 1:5, God admonishes his people to "consider your ways," and think about the consequences of them turning away from him.
It is time for America to heed that warning, before it's too late.