Ever since Harry Truman was president in the 1940’s a day has been set aside each year as a National Day of Prayer. Presidents have traditionally hosted an annual ecumenical service marking the day in the East Room of the White House. President Obama abolished the service.
Atheist groups in our country had long objected to the National Day of Prayer. According to the Los Angeles Times, President Obama “has shown an unusual sensitivity toward atheists.” Our country, of course, has both believers and non-believers in God. Both have a constitutional right to believe as they do.
In recent decades there has been a consistent effort by secularists and atheists to push God out of the public square. They want God’s presence diminished in our national life. Many commentators believe that cultural power in America has already passed to the anti-Christian elite who rule the academy, Hollywood, and the arts. To the degree that this is true, secularism has become America’s state religion.
Today seventeen percent of Americans say they have no religion. Northern New England has passed the Pacific Northwest as the region with the highest percentage of persons who are unaffiliated with a church. As a share of the U.S. adult population, Christians declined from 86 percent in 1990 to 76 percent in 2008. This decline in religious affiliation is not restricted to Christians. Jews who describe themselves as practicing their faith fell from 3.1 million in 1990 to 2.7 million in 2008.
Every nation, every culture needs to be inspired by a body of morals to ultimately survive. Behind that body of morals must be a doctrine we call belief in a Supreme Being. What will ultimately be the result of the increasing rise of secularism in our country? For America’s greatness to continue a satisfactory answer to this question must be found. Former editor Meacham of Newsweek, in an article called “The End of Christian America,” pointed out that the following things have happened in our country since 1960:
- The U.S. illegitimacy rate has rocketed from 5 percent of all births to 42 percent.
- African American out-of-wedlock births have increased from 23 percent to 71 percent.
- Since Roe v. Wade well over 50 million abortions have been performed.
- Between 1960 and 1990, the teenage suicide rate tripled, then fell slightly, but is still the third leading cause of death of young adults and adolescents aged fifteen to twenty-four.
- Cheating in sports, scholastics, business, and marriage is pandemic.
- Violent crime has increased 550 percent, and prison population has increased 700 percent.
What our country desperately needs is a genuine spiritual awakening. This will not happen until our pulpits come aflame with the Word of God that calls for sincere repentance of sin and commitment to a holy life. This places a tremendous responsibility upon the shoulders of those whom God has called to preach His Word. A good text with which they might begin to call for spiritual renewal is found in 2 Chronicles 7:14 – “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”