By Ron Wolfe

Recently I received an email from an educator at the University of Alabama. Her name is Joyce Minor and she is Director of Development and Alumni Relations. It struck a responsive cord with me and I want to share it with you.

She writes:"I grew up in rural America in the 50ís and 60ís. On any given day, you could walk through the high school parking lot and observe that half the vehicles parked there were trucks with windows rolled down and doors unlocked. Most of them carried, as standard equipment, an FFA sticker (Future Farmers of America for you city folks) and a gun rack with at least one gun, usually loaded. You could make the same observation at any of the four high school campuses in our county. Amazingly, I do not recall reading or hearing about mass shootings in any of those high schools. What has changed America is not the accessibility of guns, but the character of man.

On the wall in my parents home is a plaque awarded to my father in recognition of service for 27 years on the local school board. He told me that for years, a standard requirement on every teacherís contract was membership in a local church.

I remember when girls who got pregnant in high school were ashamed, when abortions were illegal, when the divorce rate was not 50% because couples stayed together for the kidís sake, when there were no x-rated movies, when milk cartons didnít having missing kids faces on them.

I remember when kids were taught respect for authority and accountability to God. I hear people say that the good old days werenít always so good, but please donít tell me you think these are better.

Recently I attended a high school football game that was covered by local and national news. The news coverage was not about football teams, but the defiance of a court order by one brave little Alabama town to preserve the right to pray before a football game. The more this country struggles to free itself from religion, the more we become entangled in the consequences.

If people are taught that they came from slime, the obvious questions and consequences follow: What is the purpose of my existence? (hopelessness), who made you the boss of me? (lawlessness), why are your rules good and mine bad? (relativism), what does it matter how I live if I came from slime and return to slime? (immorality and inhumanity).

I realize that in any given poll, the vast majority of Americans claim to believe in God. I claim to believe that running is good for me, but that does not make me a runner. The climbing abortion rate, murder rate, divorce rate, alcoholism and drug abuse rate, child and spousal abuse rate contradict this claim and proves once again that actions speak louder than words. It is an observable truth that the best time you will make on any American city freeway is on Sunday morning because there are no traffic jams getting to church.

For those who believe that separation of church and state is not enough, that the world would be better off with no church at all, ask your self this question. How many hospitals, universities, orphanages, homeless and abuse shelters have been founded by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) or the American Atheist Society? It is the inclusion of the word Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian, Christian and others in the name of so many of these institutions that proves by actions, not just words, who really cares for the suffering of mankind and desires to make the world better.

The question that people should ask is not "Why does God allow Tragedies"? Rather we must keep in mind that no nation, in the history of the world, has ever separated itself from God and evolved to a better society. Of course to answer this question, you would have to know history. Most people, it would seem, prefer People magazine.

This email reminds me of the special role the churches in SouthShore might play in placing emphasis on the important traditional values expressed. Perhaps the SouthShore churches of all denominations could come together to discuss and adopt a joint action plan. By placing emphasis on hopelessness, lawlessness, relativism, immorality and inhumanity, the churches can provide the leadership to make SouthShore a better place for all of us.Got any thoughts on the subject? If so, please drop me a line.

Send letters to: THE VOICE of SouthShore, P.O. Box 476, Ruskin, FL 33575-0476. Phone: 813-273-8976.


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