The United States and Israel have much in common. Both countries began with a strong belief in God. Religious freedom drew colonists to the New World. School textbooks during the 20th century marginalized our Christian roots, but the facts cannot be denied.
Years after graduating from college with a major in history, I ran across an informative book, "The Light and the Glory," written by Peter Marshall and David Manuel. Marshall was the son of the famous evangelist by the same name.
In the first pages, the authors quote a translation from the memoirs of Christopher Columbus which was quite revealing: “It was the Lord who put into my mind the fact that it would be possible to sail from here to the Indies. … There is no question that the inspiration came from the Holy Spirit.” This was a different Columbus than I was taught.
"The Light and the Glory" is full of insights from original sources that show, in no uncertain terms, the Christian influence in the founding of our country. Later on, I would run across an excellent DVD produced by historian David Barton that reiterated the influence of Christianity on America and its Founding Fathers.
Not all leaders of our country in those early days were Christians, but even deists such as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson understood the importance of religion and the necessity of its moral teachings for the future of the republic.
The shift in our culture became more noticeable after World War II. The United States emerged from the Great War as the world leader with the soundest fiscal currency. We were truly a beacon of light and a shining example.
However, things started to sour as American foreign policy ventures backfired. The Vietnam War began a series of ill-advised military campaigns costing thousands in American lives and billions in dollars with little to show in return.
America’s youth launched the sexual revolution. Drug traffic dramatically increased. Morality suffered. Along the way a U.S. president and his brother were assassinated.
The Warren Court started reinterpreting the Constitution, making it more palatable to their vision of the United States. By removing God from the public square, the justices effectively removed time-honored restraints. All at once, it was illegal to offer even generic prayers at football games for the safety of the fans on their return home.
Then there was the infamous Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion and resulted in the death of countless millions. It is unfathomable to me that all this could take place as the result of five votes on the Supreme Court.
Despite the government’s overwhelming support of abortion, the majority of Americans remain opposed. A May 2012 Gallup Poll found 50 percent of respondents are pro-life while 41 percent are pro-choice.
There is a strong undercurrent of concern that all is not well across the land. Natural disasters, and man-made ones, appear to be on the rise. Optimism, a long-held American characteristic, is on the wane. Is God sending us a warning?
Next week, I will discuss Rabbi Jonathan Cahn’s remarkable new book, "The Harbinger: The Ancient Mystery That Holds America’s Future," that perhaps answers that question.
Laughlin is a Christian Libertarian. He is an economist, teacher, father, husband and most recently a grandfather. He has written a weekly column for The Tribune for 13 years. He and his wife Gina reside in Meadowlakes. To contact him, email email@example.com. He is an independent columnist, not a staff member, and his views do not necessarily reflect those of The Tribune or its parent company.