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Scoot Blog: The United States of Hysteria - ban on prayer in schools

Is the ban on prayer in public schools really to blame for the lack of morals and civility in America today?  And was the fall of the Roman Empire really due to moral decline and the acceptance of homosexuality?

As a radio talk show host I regularly hear callers say, “The country started going to Hell when they took prayers out of schools!” And when the topic of homosexuality and same-sex marriages is discussed, without fail, I will hear callers say, “Look what happened to Rome when homosexuality was accepted!”

These theories are the result of people who have become part of the United States of Hysteria. Without actually understanding events that coincided with the ban on prayer in public schools and the fall of Rome, they have allowed themselves to become part of a general hysteria. Let’s set the record straight.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that government-endorsed prayer in public schools was unconstitutional on June 25, 1962. The ruling was 6-1. If you assess the changing political and cultural landscape in America in the 1960s you will come to understand that our country was going through many profound changes that would ultimately shape the world we live in today.

It’s important to look at America just before the Supreme Court ruling on school prayer and the years immediately following that landmark ruling to gain a more realistic view of our culture. The removal of prayer from public school would not have manifested instant change and many of the political and social forces that changed America were led by people who were no longer in school.

Here is a brief snapshot of the 1960s: In 1960, segregation was a major issue in America. At the lunch counter of a Woolworth’s in Greensboro, NC four black college students began a sit-in to protest segregation. They were not served, but were allowed to sit at the counter. Later that year, Woolworth’s began serving black customers. And in 1960, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a Federal Court ruling that Louisiana’s segregation laws were unconstitutional.

The Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union was ever-present in the minds of Americas and the threat that our nation could be destroyed with the push of a button bred deep-rooted insecurity throughout our society.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the birth control pill as the first form of oral contraception. This led to a heated debate between the Moral Right and a young generation. The Moral Right argued that the ‘pill’ would lead to promiscuous sex among young people since it removed the fear of pregnancy. There was voter support to ban the ‘pill’, which led to a U.S. Supreme Court decision that a ban on birth control pills was unconstitutional.

Senator John F. Kennedy became the youngest president (43) and the first Catholic president.

Indeed, America was experiencing many significant changes prior to the ban on prayer in public schools.
In 1961, the Vietnam War officially began. ‘Barbie’ got ‘Ken’ as a boyfriend and there were questions about ‘Ken’s ‘sexual orientation!

The Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 became a stand-off between the United States and the Soviet Union after the Russians placed nuclear missiles in Cuba, just 90 miles from the United States. President Kennedy stood up to the Soviets – they blinked and removed the missiles. America was again safe.

In 1963, the anti-establishment generation was born following the assassination of President Kennedy. Without their parents realizing it, an innocent, young generation was exposed to the news that the leader of the Establishment had been assassinated. Though subconscious, there was instant distrust in the Establishment. About four months after the assassination, The Beatles hit America with a new look and a new sound that defied the Establishment and became the music and fashion of a young generation predisposed to rebelling. The ‘British Invasion” followed and captured young America.

In the 1960s, Kennedy was assassinated, so were other prominent America leaders – Senator Robert Kennedy, who was a presidential candidate, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X.

In 1967, The Doors, representing a young generation in America, defied CBS censors while appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show when Jim Morrison sang the word “higher” from their #1 hit “Light My Fire.”

And Woodstock can be seen as a microcosm of a new rebellions young generation that was destined to change America.
The 1960s were defined by war, the threat of nuclear war, civil rights conflicts and the presence of a young generation that was dedicated to promoting anti-establishment sentiment. Considering the events that shaped the 60s, do you really think you can look back and blame the Supreme Court decision to ban prayer in public schools for the America we live in today? And by the way, the Supreme Court did not rule that students could not pray in school - the prayers could not be led by the school.

Can the fall of Rome really be blamed on a growing acceptance of homosexuality? That’s an argument citizens of the United States of Hysteria make whenever the conversation of same-sex marriage comes up.

Let’s set the record straight: The Roman Empire refers to the period of Ancient Roman history and civilization when Rome and its territories were ruled by Emperors. Here is a list of the major causes for the fall of the Roman Empire from historians.

·         Political corruption
·         Antagonism between the Senate and the Emperor – (Think about the current relationship between Congress and the President.)
·         Rapid expansion of the Empire
·         Constant wars and massive military spending
·         A long downturn in the economy
·         Unemployment of the working class
·         Slave labor – (Today’s illegal immigrant labor.)
·         Natural disasters
·         Decline in morality, ethics and values

Considering the many events that actually contributed to the Fall of the Roman Empire, how could any rational person reduce the cause to the growing acceptance of homosexuality? And it’s interesting to compare the forces and events shaping American today with the causes of the fall of the Roman Empire.

This will be a continuing series on the United States of Hysteria, inspired by the numerous occasions of misplaced blame on specific events I witness as a radio talk show host. Wouldn’t it be nice if the moral direction and lack of civility in America today could be blamed on something as benign as removing pray from public schools? And the idea that a growing acceptance of homosexuality in the Roman Empire led to its fall is completely nonsensical.

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Topics : Social Issues
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Locations : GreensboroLouisianaRome
People : Jim MorrisonJohn F. KennedyMartin Luther King , Jr.Robert Kennedy

12/12/2012 5:59PM
Scoot Blog: The United States of Hysteria – ban on prayer in schools
Please Enter Your Comments Below
12/12/2012 9:39PM
I think every Saints fan should send $1 to Vilma's lawyer to continue the case against RG.
I think every Saints fan should send $1 to Vilma's lawyer to continue the case against RG. A class action law suit by season ticket holders and all Saints fans against the NFL is a next step.
12/30/2012 8:12AM
Re: The United States of Hysteria - ban on prayer.
Monica: How often does a nation fall like a stone falling from a second story deck, as in straight down? Not very often. Most of the time it's like rolling down a hill and you note that you are starting to have problems and then you see you are further down the hill than you thought. My first question is were you around during the 60's? All you have really talked about here are some negative things. The economy was very strong then. Our politicians actually worked together towards a common goal of improving our society. We landed on the moon. There was a serious sense of unit contrary to what you said amongst most of us. The problem with stopping decay is to find something that will slow the process. Salt when the pioneers would pour this white stuff on meat would slow the process of decay. As a Christian the Bible says that we are like salt and light. If we invite God back in our schools there is the great potential of students hearing the civilizing nature of Christianity and begin to understand the true hope of our nation in the Savior. This salt then would slow the chance of someone going crazy. Chuck Colson introduced Bibles, prayer, and Bible study into the Texas prison system and repeat offenders were reduced into less than half. In other words a serious reduction in crime took place. Personally, I know that there is serious power in prayer. Please check out a facebook page Invite-God-Back-to-Our-Schools.
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