Steven Carter in his book, The Culture of Disbelief, notes the tendency to keep religion out of public discourse. “Separation of church and state” has been twisted from its original intent as a limitation on what government could do and is frequently used to limit what citizens can do. In the beginning of our nation, religious values were viewed as important to good government and a healthy society. In fact, James Madison, a framer of the Constitution, wrote:
We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to government ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.
Studies indicate that religion plays a role in the well-being of society.
- Churchgoers are more likely to be married, less likely to be divorced or single.
- Churchgoers are more likely to indicate high levels of satisfaction in marriage.
- Church attendance is the most important predictor of marital stability and happiness.
- The regular practice of religion helps poor people escape poverty. For example, regular church attendance is instrumental in helping young people escape the poverty of inner-city life.
- Religious belief and practice contribute substantially to the formation of personal morality and sound moral judgment.
- Regular religious practice generally protects people from a number of social problems, including suicide, drug abuse, out-of-wedlock births, crime, and divorce.
- The regular practice of religion also benefits mental health in less depression (a modern epidemic), more self-esteem, and greater family and marital happiness.
- In repairing damage caused by alcoholism, drug addiction, and marital breakdown, religious belief and practice are a major source of strength and recovery.
Regular practice of religion is good for personal physical health. It increases longevity, improves one’s chances of recovery from illness, and lessens the incidence of many killer diseases.*
Moral decadence leads to a society’s downfall. We need to be “salt” and “light” in our daily life and as citizens. Our country needs God-fearing leaders, who will have a positive moral influence, and that only happens when God-fearing people speak up. Our country needs a revival of moral values, and that only happens when we share the good news in our daily life. People’s salvation and society’s health depends on the proclamation of God’s word. The world may attempt to intimidate us, but we can’t afford silence.
*William D. Watkins, The New Absolutes, p. 233.