SUMMARY: Recalls all the media coverage about the 25th anniversary of D-Day, and how much our nation has changed from those days, where faith on a nationwide scale was central to major undertakings, to now when acts of faith or other manifestations of religious beliefs are frowned upon. Sounds a call to continue to boldly speak out in defense of traditional marriage, chastity, and the sanctity of human life.___________________________________________________________________________
July 8, 1994
"Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity. Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.... And for us at home -- fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters and brothers of brave men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them -- help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice." - Franklin D. Roosevelt Address to the Nation June 6, 1944
Dear Friend: It is amazing to me how much of my writing I do while sitting on airplanes. This letter is no exception. My first thoughts about what I want to share with you came together recently as I returned to Washington from a day with Dr. James Dobson at Focus on the Family in Colorado. Spending time with Jim always raises my spirits. As most of you know, Dr. Dobson was instrumental starting the Family Research Council. Jim and I have been friends since the early 80's when more than once he came to my defense during my time in government. Even though FRC was relaunched as an independent force by Focus in 1992, we continue to work together for the advancement of our common cause. Most recently, we co-authored a new, revised edition of "Children at Risk".
You may be familiar with the first edition of the book, written in 1990. In it, Jim and I identified the anti-family trends occurring in our society and within government. We warned that our children were the ultimate victims of a culture losing its moral footing. Unfortunately, far too many of our predictions have come true during the last few years.
Like most Americans, Jim and I have felt an emotional tug on our hearts in recent months as America looked back on its history and the liberation of Europe. Recently, the air here has been as full of patriotic themes as the skies over France were of military aircraft 50 years ago when Allied paratroopers breached Hitler's "Atlantic wall." Media coverage of the events surrounding the landing of the Allied forces on the beaches of Normandy and the intense preparations for Operation Overlord has been at a near saturation-level.
Even though I am frequently critical of television, I believe the medium has been at its best during this past month of commemoration. The coverage has been particularly educational -- especially to those of us who, like Bill Clinton, were born after World War II. The ABC special, "Turning Point at Normandy: The Soldier's Story," anchored by Peter Jennings was excellent and helped many of us to better understand another time and another America. It passionately told of the liberation of France in the words of the survivors themselves. Their words, like those of our leaders here at home, were charged with religious faith. If there were no atheists in the foxholes of Europe, there were none in the safety of our American capital across the Atlantic either. FDR's fervent request on D-day for the nation to unite in prayer was mentioned again and again in media coverage of the anniversary.
Other details of our country's response to D-day are just as revealing as President Roosevelt's words quoted at the beginning of this letter: the tolling of church bells; all traffic coming to a halt in Columbus, Ohio, as citizens stood together and prayed for the safety and success of America's sons; a rare ringing of the Liberty Bell. That historic bell, by the way, bears an inscription from Leviticus 25:10, "Proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof."
Even to the most hardhearted viewer, the media coverage of D-day had to be a disturbing reminder of how much we've changed. For in the past, faith has always been at the heart of the American experiment. But today, that experiment stands in great jeopardy.
In 1781, after the British surrender at Yorktown, General Washington called for a thanksgiving service and told his troops to attend it with that "gratitude of heart" which the "astonishing" intervention of "Providence demands of us." On April 24, 1865, Speaker of the House Schuyler Colfax noted in a memorial address following Lincoln's death that the last Act of Congress the President signed was "one requiring that the motto, in which he sincerely believed, 'In God we trust,' should hereinafter be inscribed upon all our national coin."
A nation united in prayer, its blood spent to defend "our religion" and "our civilization," its treasure bearing the words "In God we trust" -- this was the nation that resisted and defeated the two great tyrannies of the 20th century: fascism and communism. Sadly, Jim and I agree, today we face an even more subtle, but no less threatening tyranny: the barbarian who lies in wait not at the gates, but in the human heart. This barbarian is another "ism" -- moral relativism and the loss of religious faith that fathers it.
Despite its rhetoric, moral relativism truly is an intolerant barbarian. It seeks to drive out any claim to truth, no matter how deeply rooted in the human experience. It is no small irony that, just a week before the D-day observances, the Supreme Court let stand a lower court ruling that bars the posting of the Ten Commandments in Georgia's Cobb County Courthouse. For over a generation, a panel depicting the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus had been displayed there.
A decade ago our highest Court explicitly ruled that the Ten Commandments could no longer be posted in public schools. In case after case the Court has insisted that the exposure of impressionable young minds to religious influence violates the First Amendment to the Constitution. Now, in the Cobb County case, that faulty reasoning has apparently been extended to adults as well.
Soon after the Supreme Court's disappointing action in Cobb County, President Clinton's outspoken Surgeon General, Joycelyn Elders, once again suggested in a magazine interview that the legalization of hard drugs might work. She described how the government could set up clinics to give addicts free or dollar-a-dose drugs. She asserted that this action would keep drug pushers away from our children. She also urged the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to admit homosexuals because, she said, "None of us is good enough, or knows enough, to make decisions about other people's sexual preference." During the same interview, Dr. Elders even advocated school programs to dispense condoms to children as young as eight.
This is the predictable march of moral relativism. Having discarded all respect for the permanent things, there is no sense of where common human decency demands that it stop. Communism ruled much of the world for 70 years. Fascism dominated Europe for less than two decades. But moral relativism has continued to carve a swath through the civilized world throughout this century, and it now stands at the zenith of its political power and influence. No nation is immune to that influence, and America seems particularly vulnerable to its temptation of "liberty" without virtue.
The free world's defeat of communism and fascism required real heroism, but the current battle against moral relativism requires nothing less from you and me. That is one big reason Dr. Dobson and I have updated and re-released "Children at Risk".
As time has passed, we've realized the need to turn the contents of our book into a battle plan and to make that plan available to as many concerned families as possible. We are grateful to our good friend, Bill Bennett, whose introduction succinctly outlines the major challenges facing our nation.
A new first chapter analyzes how our current leaders in government are undermining family values. The book also details society's accelerated decline under the Clinton Administration. Most importantly, this time we've supplemented our diagnosis with a treatment plan. Each chapter of "Children at Risk: What You Need to Know to Protect Your Family" concludes with recommendations on how we can slow down, and ultimately reverse, the tide of secular relativism.
Can it be done? Yes! I sincerely believe that a hunger for the permanent things is growing in our land. But to turn that hunger into action will require the kind of boldness in proclamation that Paul speaks of when he frets about a trumpet of "uncertain sound" (I Corinthians 14:8). Clear calls to action will have their price, but we must continue to speak plainly in defense of traditional marriage, chastity, and the sanctity of human life. Even though radical groups like People for the American Way will continue to denounce us, they must not and will not silence us.
As I write this, I am studying the results of a family issues survey FRC commissioned in May. We w ill be sharing the complete results of this survey with you and the media in the weeks ahead. But many of the preliminary results confirm the hunger for righteousness that I just mentioned:
* 63 percent of Americans believe that our country is moving in the wrong direction. * 65 percent somewhat or strongly oppose tax-funded abortion as part of health care reform. * 86 percent believe that television has contributed either a great deal or a little bit to the decline in values in American society.
So, yes, I honestly believe that America's course can be reversed.
But it will do us little good to identify the decline in our society that springs from outside influences, if we do not examine our own hearts and consciences first. The collapse of community is the inevitable result of the collapse of individual character. It does not happen the other way around. Each of the Ten Commandments is phrased as an injunction against the sinful behavior of individuals. Morality, honor, integrity... these are the things that must be restored.
Each of us can do more, if only by exhorting our friends, our relatives and our neighbors to act. It's my prayer that Children at Risk can play some small part in that effort, by encouraging families to utilize the growing resources provided by so many groups, including FRC, to help rebuild a nation of faith and families. If one million men and women of faith could be armed with the material in this book, I believe the cause of American renewal would take a gigantic step forward. Please consider ordering the new edition with Bill Bennett's introduction for yourself and for neighbors and friends. We need to know what is happening to our nation and what we can do about it.
As always, thank you for reading my letters. Your notes, phone calls, and, of course, your prayers and financial support continue to encourage us. I thank God every day for your friendship and generosity.
Sincerely, Gary L. Bauer President
P.S. We love summertime, but it is always a challenging time for FRC in meeting its expenses. This summer will be particularly tough because of the expensive battles we are engaged in to help stop socialized medicine, promote religious liberty and restrict abortion on demand. Any donation, however small, will help us to continue defending family values.
FRC Monthly Support Newsletter provided by courtest of Mark Conty.
Document prepared by permission, NJB Team
ICLnet file location: /pub/resources/text/frc: frc-msn.9406.html