MANHATTAN — There have been a number of videos interviewing people concerning their knowledge of historical and political information. This method of interviewing started with Jay Leno. It was then picked up by Sean Hannity, and later by several others. The results are both interesting and concerning.
Romans 15:4 states, “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” In context, Paul was talking about the books of the Old Testament. However, his principle could be applied to the writings of America’s Founding Fathers. A secular version of Romans 15:4 says that those who don’t know their history are bound to repeat its mistakes.
I have watched in the videos above as people on the street were unable to give the date of our nation’s founding. In another, most people interviewed could not state why we celebrate the 4th of July. In another one, folks were asked who the current vice president is. About half did not know. They were asked who the first president was. Nearly half did not know. Then they were asked who was president during the Civil War. One person said, “Kennedy.” Another said, “Washington.”
I said that this was both interesting and concerning. It is interesting, because it is a sad testimony on the state of our nation’s educational system. It is concerning, as well. If people do not know the Christian principles of America’s founding, if they do not even know who is in office right now, how are they going to vote intelligently?
Our Founding Fathers discussed many of our current issues in their writings. Yet, most are ignorant of these writings. For example, Benjamin Franklin wrote, “When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.” So, what have we been watching happen in Congress, especially since World War II? We have voted ourselves federal money to the point of reaching a $17 trillion debt!
In October of 1789, George Washington publicly prayed, “that we [Americans] may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions — to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually — to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed ...” So where is the separation of church and state that is being espoused by some? Do they not know that in the late 1700s the capital building was used for Sunday services that were attended by as many as 2,000 people? This took place most often during the presidency of Thomas Jefferson, who our education system teaches was a deist.
The apostle Paul also addressed the need to know what happened in the past. In 1 Corinthians 10:11 he states, “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” Again, this is a Scriptural principal that applies well today.
Our nation became mighty because the majority of its citizens were well educated and adhered to Biblical principles. Today, only 28 percent believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God. In addition, we demonstrated their educational experience. Might it not be good to return to the standards of the Bible and our Founding Fathers?
Frank F. Clark is the author of the column “Frankly Speaking.” His email address is email@example.com.