Has There Ever Been a Time When We Were Not “On the Edge of Moral Collapse”?

Before the election, Billy Graham issued a statement this election was about saving our country from moral collapse.   Many believe the statement actually was written by his headline seeking son, Franklin.  Now, Franklin himself is saying almost the identical thing.

What an old and tired line it is.  I would guess it has been used to fill collection plates since the beginning of Christianity.  I’ve wondered is there was ever a time when stadiums were not filled to hear preachers with this message.

Preaching about sin has always been a cash cow the the faith.  It is also a reliable fall-back topic for preachers when they cannot come up with another topic for next Sunday.

Delivering the sin message is an art form.  For reasons I don’t clearly understand, the most compelling person to deliver a message about sin is not the community pillar and exemplary career preacher.  It is, instead, the preacher who fell into “sin” and was pulled out in a come-to-Jesus moment.

In the Presidential campaign, both sides did something similar, talked about an apocalyptic future if the other side won.  Those who opposed President Obama are still talking about it.  “Just ahead,” they say, “is an economic and moral collapse.”

Talking of tension or urgency is part of skillful manipulation of the public’s collective mind.  Politicians know this, but so do preachers like Franklin Graham.

The fact is we are not now, nor never have been, on the edge of moral collapse.

http://www.christianpost.com/news/franklin-graham-says-sin-sickened-america-must-repent-87521/

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About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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49 Responses to Has There Ever Been a Time When We Were Not “On the Edge of Moral Collapse”?

  1. buzz marick says:

    i wonder what the souls of sodom and gommorah would say about that?

  2. Avatar of Dustin White Dustin White says:

    Excellent post. I think some just like seeing the doom and gloom that supposedly lies ahead. There tends to also be the idea that sometime in the past, there existed a group of beautiful people who simply got everything right, when in truth, morals are objective, and by today’s standards, the past was full of horrible atrocities (and when I say today’s standards, I’m also thinking about the modern Christian standard).

  3. James says:

    What’s with your obsession with christianity anyway? You should change the name of your organization to RR atheists society and quit using subterfuge. Why don’t you use your “freethinking” skills and obsess about something else. I think that your becoming demented with age.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      James 12:25 “I think that you are becoming demented with age.”

      That, or it happened before I became old.

      Why do I write about Christianity? You might notice in the Directory of Area Voice under “Faith” are about a dozen or so bloggers promoting Christianity. I just thought one blogging about Freethinking would not hurt anything.

      • James says:

        Call it what it is then “Atheism”!

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          James 3:05 “Call it what it is then “Atheism”!

          Each blogger is his/her site administrator. I have a delete button. But, I hardly ever use it. Thus, you can call it a atheist site, call me whatever you want (“demented”) and it will appear here.

          I like the passion your posts have and hope you will continue to post.

  4. James says:

    Also, we’re not on on the edge of moral collapse. This country has already collapsed morally. Thanks, 60′s generation.

    • noblindersonme says:

      James I hope you read my ‘long winded ‘ speech. If you think the 60′s generation is the source of the problem you are sadly misinformed!
      We were NOT a totally moral nation before the turmoil of the 60′s.
      AND I AM NOT A 60′s CHILD WHO THINKS THAT ERA DID NOT MOVE THE “DECLINE” ALONG MORE QUICKLY . I am saying the times was just part of the path we were destined to take! Do you really think “Whites only water fountains ‘ were an example of a more moral times ??? The country obviously retreated from the moral abyss when we started to treat blacks as “human beings ‘ and there are other good examples of moral advancements also. Of course if you WANT to just ignore that according to your political agenda … … History is not a playtool. View it smartly . Accept the good with the bad and realize our free will has put us on the paths that brought us here. Just because you refuse to acknowledge the dark roads we once traveled does not mean they never existed!!!

      • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

        noblinder 1:59 Great observations. I think social change takes place, and what we consider moral standards changes. But, in the most important ways things have become better, not worse. More freedom from racial, gender and religious constraints bodes well for our country. There are some, not necessarily our posters here, who want all these reversed.

        • James says:

          Better in the most important ways is your opinion. Not mine. But then again you embrace the destruction of our country and the successful. Typical socialist envy.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            James “Better in the most important ways is your opinion. Not mine.”

            I dealing with facts. And, the facts I see are, in my opinion, are important ones. More equal opportunity for minorities and women has raised their incomes and social status. Total productivity of the economy has gone up, in part because of their contributions with their new freedoms. This productivity has increased our standard of living, including our health (though we have improvements yet to be made in health). Minorities and women have opportunities they did not have before the 60′s. I think these are important.

          • James says:

            Jon, has it really? Women are tired and depressed from having to work and not be home with their children. The men in this country have been feminized and are afraid to speak up about anything at all. The men have adopted an I don’t care anymore attitude because they’ve been marginalized by society. If you look at all those opportunities that people of color have how come so many never work anything more challenging than fast food service. Yeah, they’ve gone from ghetto (some of them) to apt.’s. You call these advancements? You can’t help anyone other than family. Others need to help themselves.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            James 5:59 “Women are tired and depresssed from having to work and not be home with their children.”

            I think it would be more accurate to say “Some women….” Some women would be tired and depressed staying home with children.

          • Henry says:

            Jon: “Total productivity of the economy has gone up, in part because of their contributions with their new freedoms.”

            Productivity probably does increase by introducing women into the workforce. Rosie-the-riveter’s contribution to our nation’s survival is well noted. That tradition has continued on past the ’40′s. Are women equal to men at the workplace? Sometimes. I have never been sold on women firefighters yet. That situation just doesn’t make sense. Neither does combat soldiers/marines. The politically correct crowd will say everyone has equal abilities. That theory is not based on the real world.

            The largest contribution to the recent increase in productivity is technology. Skilled labor is definitely not a contributor. Education is not a significant contributor (give me an eigth grader from 1895 Salina, Kansas instead of a current college graduate.)

          • James says:

            John. I work mostly with woman. Trust me it’s not some. It’s most.

      • James says:

        B.S. The 60′s generation and it’s ilk !@#$ up this country. Oh the same old tired “whites only” argument. Blah, Blah, Blah. Those people of color are a real success story aren’t they? The 60′s generation policies of giving them everything has really worked well for them hasn’t it? THE 60′s GENERATION ESTABLISHED THE COLLAPSE OF OUR MORAL SOCIETY. WE WERE NEVER IN A MORAL ABYSS IN MY OPINION UNTIL THE 60′S ERA SOCIAL JUSTICE POT SMOKING SOLDIER HATING SPOILED BRATS CAME ALONG.

        • Dustin White says:

          James- I think you are looking at history in a very narrow mindset. It was in the 50′s that we saw the rise of street gangs as well as motorcycle gangs, as well as the trouble that entailed. If you look at women from the 50′s, one will see that their was a rise in drug and alcohol abuse as women were sick of their status. Domestic abuse also flourished during that time and simply was ignored by most.

          Moving back to the 40′s we have the atrocities of World War II, where much human life was deemed to be inferior. This was not just in Germany, but in the United States where Japanese Americans were rounded up and put in interment camps. The Holocaust itself is a clear picture of the morality that many had at that time.

          Before that, we had gangs and the mob who pimped out women, ran illegal alcohol rings, and the like (Al Capone stands out). There was also the treatment of the Chinese, who we tried to deport from the country once they finished the manual labor we wanted them to do for extremely low wages. All one has to do is look at the anti-Chinese propaganda during that time to see the lack of morality that was involved.

          Even earlier, we had slavery, the raping and pillaging of the various Native American tribes for the sole purpose of stealing their land (it was genocide), the various form of religious intolerance that were fostered, as well as the witch scare that resulted in a number of innocent individuals being burned because of some intolerant and ignorant individuals.

          The 60′s were just a product of the decades that led up to that time. Pot smoking had been going on for centuries, and brats who hated soldiers was something that has been around since there first were soldiers.

          And in fact, if one actually looks at the statistics, and the tolerance levels, today we have a more moralistic society than about anytime before. Yes, African Americans may still suffer in some regards as do all minorities; however, to ignore the fact that they are much better off today than any other time in the United States past is simply willful ignorance.

          Also, just thought I would mention that not all Freethinkers are atheists. I’m a Freethinker as well as a theist. Making such over arching generalizations never really work.

          • James says:

            Dustin. ever see “gangs of new york.” Street gangs started a long time before the 1950′s and it didn’t start with motorcycle gangs. But I can see your version of history is very different from mine. Yours is that of guilt. Mine is that of success.

          • Dustin White says:

            James- The street gangs that are portrayed in the gangs of New York are different from the current street gangs. The rise of street gangs I was speaking about are the modern incarnation of such. However, you do point out something very good. Moral decay was already hear a long time ago with such actions as seen in the movie Gangs of New York.

        • Margaret Walsh says:

          James, maybe you would think differently if you put yourself in a woman’s, black, hispanic, native american or disabled shoes. Ok, got my hockey mask on as well as my Kevlar vest…..start tossing $h*) my way.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Margaret 9:48 “start tossing $h*) my way.”

            I like that. :)

          • James says:

            Do you mean that I would think so that I blame everyone else for my problems instead of looking in the mirror at myself? That I would not take advantage of the countless opportunities for minorities offered in this country and blame whites for my failure? I’m tired of hearing the excuses. Get off your butts and get a job and have some moral fiber.

        • Avatar of Grandma Grandma says:

          Exactly. And the “Black Death” was caused by sin.

  5. Henry says:

    Jon: “The fact is we are not now, nor never have been, on the edge of moral collapse.”

    Not true. Moral collapse occurred in the garden. We have been collapsed ever since.

  6. noblindersonme says:

    Overheated rhetoric has become the norm and it is one of the blessing ,or curse?’ of drifting into an older age that we recognize this repetitive fear mongering so clearly.
    These are ‘always worst of times’ it seems when the analyzers of the country’s moral state take stock, and it always because ,it seems , of the lock that liberals have on our moral steering wheel.
    As I get more established into my middle 60′s, I get to reflect on another election where jobs , jobs , jobs was the issue that most Americans cared about , and all though it indeed was a great issue, frankly I can’t remember an election where ‘jobs’ was NOT
    the issue most preening candidates based their campaigns on.
    This manical obsession with the issue has set up some senarois such as what developed on the farms of Georgia last year. Farmers crops could not get harvested and farmers ( according to my farm journals) complained about the severe lack of workers even to the point of blaming Washington because of the myriad of immigration laws that made easy availibility of ‘immigrants’ so difficult! Am I the only person to see that if ‘jobs’ such as honest toil of picking vegetables in the Georgia sun are spurned by ordinary Americans , than this conservative (politically) mantra about Washington being the root of this evil is so much BS. It seems the average American does not want ‘those kind of jobs’! That is a mark of moral character the preachers of moral decay should focus on , which of course they don’t. And it ain’t because of the Romney whine that the 47% just don’t want to work! We don’t see the tea party or conservative suit side of the party flocking to take these menial jobs!
    To return to the original topic , I totally agree that this mantra about us being on the edge of moral collapse is nonesense ,and mostly so because the preachers of this always are focused on those who are to blame. It is true that far too much of the culture has become crude and vulgar . I agree with those who find this ‘morally theatening’ to our country’s health. I have absolutely have no problem with those pure of heart who want to complain about this . I do have a problem with those who act as if this ‘moral depravity’ was a sudden developement . I should not have to revisit the last political campaigns to illustrate all the ‘villians’ the republicans tried to blame with the moral decline . My biggest complaint lies with those who point to the’ ‘original sin’of American society when the Ten Commandments were kicked out of schools. All evil and moral depravity flourished since then! A claim I would agree to IF The Ten Commandments were also banned from all Christian churches since then also! Since our religious freedoms have NOT declined since then, I can only discern that the conservative right does not have the faith in all the unfettered OPEN doors we have to visit and worship at any church we so chose to do so.
    These moral whiners are kinda complaining that because the children of America are not forced to face the daily display of the Commandments in schools , then the free will we all have to see those commandments in any church we could choose, is NOT a concern or a source of our decline?
    We have a job problem but even though ‘jobs” are available ( picking veggies in Georgia) it is not our problem. Americans don’t want them! We have a morality problem but it is not our fault the average American does not want to go through any open door they are free to go through on Sunday !
    It is the liberal media’s fault yadda yadda , call me silly, but I thought a free society is what each Amercian values highest.
    Also , and I know I do get very long winded!, The mantra that the Ten Commandment’s banishment from our schools is the seed that all the weeds grew from , does not explain why many moral blessings unfolded AFTER the TC were removed. At the beginnings of the 60′s , blacks were denied even the most basic civil rights , the right to even go to schools with whites (to see those commandments) or to even drink at the same water fountains . Sewage was commonly dumped into our nation’s rivers ,our skies were darkened from smog, women were still treated like sex pots and when they became ” knocked up’ they were banished to go away for a few months to ‘visit their aunts’ while the guys who pollinated them faced no consequence! Yes that was the times when the TC were IN our schools! At the end of 70′s those moral sins were met with head on even though the TC were no longer in our schools to guide us!
    bottom line – is all of this a cause and effect argument we can grab onto and preach about . Not really . I don’t believe in these simple views of our history.
    Our free will is what defines our nation! And we should not use that free will to view history through a prism .

    • James says:

      Blah, Blah, Blah! Man you’re a whiner. Why would educated people go pick vegatables for minimum wage? If you’re willing to pay 10.00 for a tomatoe then I’m sure you’ll find plenty of workers. No, but you want cheap produce don’t you? Uneducated workers won’t do it because the 60′s generation welfare system that you and your ilk established lets them sit on their asses at home and watch cable TV.

      • Dustin White says:

        Really? There are many educated individuals who run large scale farms. Farmers and manuel laborers are not undereducated. They simply have a different set of education.

        The fact that there are so many undereducated workers in the work force though show that your idea that the 60′s just produced people willing to do nothing and sponge off of the Welfare system is only based in fantasy. Real research would show that the situation is quite different.

        • James says:

          Do the research. It will show I’m right.

          • Dustin White says:

            I have done the research. That is why I stated what I did. All you have to do is look at the CSA farms. They are run by educated individuals who usually do most of the work. There are a few here in Fargo. Also, if one simply looks at the various community/technical colleges in the area, one will see that there are many programs for the labor force in one way or another. The fact that they are booming shows that there are many going into these fields, and that it is just uneducated individuals as you implied.

          • James says:

            CSA’s? Completely not the same thing. CSA’s cater to the liberal wanna feel good lke I’m doing something to make a difference even when I’m not crowd. No comparison to a real farm that has to hire it’s workers. Undereducated workers a fantasy? Show me the research to prove otherwise. You can’t.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            James 11:58 I see Dustin brought up the term “CSA”. Could you tell us what it means?

          • T says:

            CSA is community sponsored agriculture, a fast-growing and popular trend of late to eat locally. There are several CSA’s in eastern ND and western MN. Contrary to James’ assertions that CSA’s are no more than slacker hippy communes, the CSA that I belong to is a large, family-owned farm that produces food for hundreds of people in the area. I’ve been to this farm on several occasions (they not only send you food but you can go and pick your own) and have come to know the owner/operator. He is educated, hard-working (sun-up till sun-down during the growing season), and employs a group of people who are equally educated and hard-working. CSA’s are real farms (they even have tractors, if you can believe that), one of the big differences is they sell their food directly to the consumer instead of some multinational corporation. So between what I grow in my backyard garden and what I get from our CSA we eat well. If that makes me a liberal wanna feel good, then so be it. At least my belly and the bellies of my children are full of good natural, non-processed food.

          • Henry says:

            CSA=market garden. A new name for an old concept.

          • Dustin White says:

            James- CSA’s are farms. They do a lot of hard work, and are quite educated. They do the community a great service as they allow people to eat locally, and thus stop so much dependance on food that is mass produced and often detrimental to the areas in which they are grown. Plus, it often tastes better.

            And contrary to what you’ve said, as T also says, they do have hired (or sometimes volunteer) workers. They are also often quite educated, but have taken this field of work.

            As for showing you research, there really is no need. One most of my research is done through books. But more importantly, your attitude here shows that you aren’t interested in learning something new, but are so ingrained in your own view point that it really simply doesn’t make sense to try to prove anything to you. However, the fact does stand that there are many who are going to school for the agricultural business, and are attaining advanced degrees. So much so that there are large academic departments that are devoted to just this research. If only undereducated individuals were pursuing farming, there would be no such programs.

        • Stanta says:

          “There are many educated individuals who RUN large scale farms.”

          He wasn’t talking running a farm and getting compensated probably very well. But they don’t do all the manual labor on a farm.

          • Dustin White says:

            They may not do all of the manual labor, but many do quite a bit of that labor. Just because they don’t do all the labor, which is impossible on nearly any farm or ranch, doesn’t mean they are just sitting back and doing nothing.

        • Stanta says:

          Undereducated by a school system which gets more expensive every year.

      • noblindersonme says:

        Well there you go . Reread my post vs James’s and judge which one of us has a grip on reality and moral fiber.
        James ‘defends’ himself by asking ‘why would educated people take a minimimum wage job?’ . I said that to put the ball in your court. You ( and your ilk , and isn’t ‘your ilk’ such a stupid overused phrase) always are claiming that jobs are not being created , are not available ,’blah blah blah!! Yet I pointed out the contrary. Since you ridiculed that , a sensible person must conclude that you ( and your ilk!) have too much pride to take those menial jobs !! You are too ‘educated ‘ to stoop that low! You would rather have the teeming ,multiracial lesser peoples do that dirty work !!! blah blah blah!
        That in itself qualifies you as being guilty of so sins that MY Christian religion taught me were the basis of immorality- pridefulness , sloth , greed , jealousy , arrogance …well I hope you get the point , but I doubt you will.
        remember the point here is ‘are we ( again) on the verge of a moral collapse in this nation’? I say James is teetering closer than anyone else here.

  7. Stanta says:

    “I’ve wondered is there was ever a time when stadiums were not filled to hear preachers with this message.”

    Probably when they were full of people watching the Christians being fed to the lions.

  8. Henry says:

    Jon, my virus program doesn’t like this one page. It says you have a maliscious file on your site.

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