I was born before TV. When television began to spread nationwide in the 1950’s, there were strict codes of conduct for the producers of television programs. Over the years since that time, those codes have eroded to the point that almost anything is allowed on television these days.
The contrast is stunning. When I was growing up, we watched wholesome programs like The Life of Riley, I Love Lucy, Gunsmoke, Dragnet and Father Knows Best. All of these programs taught basic Judeo-Christian moral values.
Today, the channels are flooded with morally depraved reality shows like The Bachelorette, with demented dramatic series like Revenge, with brutally lurid shows like Criminal Minds, with sex-laden situation comedies like Two and a Half Men, and with amoral programs like Californication. Can you imagine such a term? Now we’re getting programs that are constantly pushing the homosexual agenda.
Perhaps the best way to illustrate the stark contrast between the early years of TV and today is to compare two programs about families. The Nelson Family — Ozzie and Harriet — blessed American TV from 1952 to 1966. The Osbourne Family — Ozzy and Sharon — polluted the airways from 2002 to 2005. One featured the Nelson family who were loving and supportive of each other. The Osbournes focused on a totally dysfunctional family led by a man-child who lived in a drug haze while the rest of the members of the family were at each other’s throats, constantly fighting and cursing each other. The Nelson family showcased moral values. The Osbournes never heard of morality.
Vulgarity is also commonplace in our society today. This growing evil has even been recognized by the secular media. A cover of Time magazine from back in 1990 was titled, “Dirty Words: America’s Foul-mouthed Pop Culture.” That’s a pagan magazine. Way back in 1990 it was talking about how we were already completely polluted by filthy words.
I just want to give you an example of this. On June 24, 2014, an official celebration of the Los Angeles Kings winning the Stanley Cup was held. The mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, got up at the Staple Center before 18,000 people and made this statement: “There are two long standing rules for politicians, they say never ever be pictured with a drink in your hand, and never ever swear. Well, folks, this is a big f—ing day!” Then he held up a bottle of Bud Light. He said that before 18,000 people at that stadium and before 100,000’s on television including children! This was not some whisper overheard by reporters. It was a carefully planned thing on his part, and the audience roared, the players stood up, and he was given a standing ovation for such an obscenity on television. That is where we are today in this country.
Back in the 1980’s, Steve Allen was the host of The Tonight Show. He made this comment: “We have become a society where vulgarians are entertaining barbarians.”
Albert Mohler, the President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, recently commented on this problem with these insightful words:
“The collapse of the barrier between popular culture and decadence has released a toxic mudslide of vulgarity into the nation’s family rooms and just about everywhere else. There is almost no remote corner of this culture that is not marked by the toleration of vulgarity, or the outright celebration of depravity. We have now reached the point that obscene language or innuendo is playing in department stores in public venues. The living room has become the locker room. A culture afraid to repress sexuality in any way is a culture headed for destruction.”
The radical change in our society can perhaps best be illustrated by what has happened to our schools. I started the first grade in 1945 and I completed high school in 1956. So, I attended grade school from 1945-1956.
During that time, I was never once ever exposed to any drug. Today, kids are confronted with them at the elementary school level.
When I was a kid, we began each day in school with Bible readings and prayer. Every day we did this. We put on Easter programs. We put on Christmas plays. Our English reader consisted of Bible stories with a moral taught at the end.
When I graduated from high school in Waco, Texas in 1956, there were about 100 pickup trucks in the parking lot on any given day, and almost every one of them had gun racks that held a deer rifle, a shotgun, and a 22 rifle. Many of them had a gun or a pistol in the glove compartment. No one was concerned about anyone misusing any of those guns. We had been raised to respect and practice Judeo-Christian morals. But, today, we have guns in the hands of moral pygmies who are willing to shoot each other over a pair of tennis shoes.
The most dramatic way I can think of to illustrate how rapid the deterioration of society has become in America is to consider the results of a survey concerning public school discipline problems. The survey was conducted by the Fullerton California Police Department in conjunction with the California Department of Education. It was conducted in the mid-1940’s and then 40 years later the same survey was conducted in the mid-1980’s. Consider the differing results, and just sit there and weep. Here are the results:
- In the mid-’40s, the number one problem in the public schools was talking. In the mid-’80s, 40 years later, drug abuse.
- Chewing gum versus alcohol abuse.
- Making noise versus teen pregnancy.
- Running in the halls versus suicide.
- Getting out of turn in line versus rape.
- Wearing improper clothing versus robbery.
- Not putting paper in waste paper baskets versus assault.
That was published in Time magazine in February 1988. That is how our schools have deteriorated.
Jettisoning Our Christian Heritage
Here’s another way to illustrate how quickly our society has become secularized and paganized. This will just knock you out of your seats. Consider these remarks that were made to Time magazine in February 1954 by Earl Warren after he was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court by Eisenhower. This is what he told Time magazine:
“I believe no one can read the history of our country without realizing that the Good Book and the Spirit of the Savior have from the beginning been our guiding geniuses. Whether we look to the first charter of Virginia or the Charter of New England or the Charter of Massachusetts Bay or the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut — the same objective is present — a Christian land governed by Christian principles. I believe the entire Bill of Rights came into being because of the knowledge our forefathers had of the Bible and their belief in it. I like to believe we are living today in the spirit of the Christian religion. I like also to believe that as long as we do so, no great harm can come to our country.”
I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that if our current Chief Justice, John Roberts, were to make such a statement today, there would an immediate effort on the part of Congress to impeach him on the grounds that he had violated the so called “Separation of Church and State.”
There is no doubt that we have jettisoned our Christian heritage in favor of a society dominated by secularism and paganism. We are reaping the consequences as we witness the moral collapse of our society. I tell you, it’s hard to watch your nation dissolved before your eyes on your watch.
In the fifth part of my teaching on America’s spiritual crisis, we’ll look at how Christians have been persecuted so far in the United States.