Columbine, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, hunt down some Republican Congressmen playing baseball, and now the Las Vegas massacre. All are instances of absolutely senseless violence. As I write this, the authorities are frantically searching for a motive for the Las Vegas shooter.

Why the hatred and violence? What has happened to America? What follows is the opinion of a Christian who admits to being fundamental in his faith and conservative in his values.
America has lost sight of its values. In the late 1940s, the Supreme Court issued the “Separation of Church and State” decision. On the surface that was not such a profound ruling. Many fundamental churches, including mine, have as part of their statement of faith a belief in separation of church and state.

That ruling, however, was used as the foundation to attack all religious influence on the public sphere. Schools rightfully went from being prevented from promoting school-sponsored prayer to wrongly preventing any prayer by any student.

What happened to the “free exercise thereof” clause in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution? Any display of a cross or nativity scene on public land has been targeted. The display of the Ten Commandments on public land has been denounced and attacked even though it is prominently displayed on the United States Supreme Court building.

There are well-funded non-profit groups whose entire mission is to attack any semblance of public religious exercise. These groups try to bully local government entities with threatened – and in some cases actual – lawsuits which they realize are too expensive for small local governments to fight.

Does the First Amendment really prohibit the public display of religious matters? The First Amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

A cross, a nativity scene, and the display of the Ten Commandments in no way reflects government making laws establishing a particular religion. They in no way prevent those who practice a different faith from exercising that faith.

What has been the effect of this attack on the Judeo/Christian ethic that has been the foundation of America’s value system for over two centuries?

Our school systems in the 1960s and 1970s succumbed to the pressure and decided to suspend any teaching of values. At a time when young folks were already rebelling against moral absolutes, our schools stopped teaching them.

Too many years went by with our youth not being exposed to the values that made America great until educators realized their tragic mistake. The education system tried to reintroduce “values” into education but without any moral foundation. Right and wrong or love and hate only have meaning when there is a moral foundation present.

We now have a significant population of folks who challenge every aspect of Judeo/Christian morality with their own humanistic sense of “if it feels good, then I can do it.”

The Bible, in its very first phrase states, “In the beginning God …” (Genesis 1:1a). This phrase becomes the basis for the validity of everything that follows in the Bible. If we cannot accept God as the basis of our moral values, then the dream and the reality of the Founders becomes mute: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness only become a reality when “… the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God entitle them …”

Hatred breeds violence. Hatred comes from a lack of respect for moral absolutes. America must return to its Judeo/Christian moral absolutes in order to combat the awful atrocities that we are experiencing.

Another View is a Maine Press Association award-winning column produced by a conservative group of fundamentalist thinkers.