In 1957, Leave It To Beaver premiered on CBS portraying the ideal family to 171 million Americans glued to 47 million televisions in 39 million homes. A few months later, American Bandstand, hosted by Dick Clark, goes national when it moved from Philadelphia to Los Angeles and Studio “B”. Dwight D. Eisenhower was President. The Pink Flamingo was created by Union Products worker, Don Featherstone. The Gyrating rocker, Elvis Presley, emerges as one of the world’s first rock stars. The most popular toys? Slinkys, Hula Hoops and Frisbees. The children’s book, “Cat in the Hat” is written by Theodore Geisel as Dr. Suess and Mr. Whipple begins selling us Squeezably Soft Charmin. Eveready markets the first AA alkaline batteries for use in portable transistor radios – cutting edge technology on both counts.
Prices were much different: The average car sold for $2749 while the average production worker made $82.32 per week. The cost of a first rate postage stamp was only 3 cents. The average cost of a new house was $12,200 while the cost of renting a like home was $90 a month. Gasoline was 24 cents a gallon. Bacon was 60 cents a pound. Eggs 28 cents a dozen.
A decade before my birth, 1957 was also the last year a child born in America was permitted to openly pray at the beginning of a school day in the nation’s public school system. On June 25, l962, 39 million students were forbidden to do what they and their predecessors had been doing since the founding of our nation. This has come at a tremendous price. The New York school children, which prompted the Engel vs. Vitale ruling, had simply prayed: “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence on Thee and beg Thy blessing over us, our parents, our teachers and our nation.” America has experienced radical decline in each of the four areas of the children’s prayer: youth, family, education, national life.
In a subsequent ruling, Abington Township School District v. Schempp, the Supreme Court of the United States declared school-sponsored Bible reading in public schools in the United States to be unconstitutional on June 17, 1963. This too, has been costly.
Today we face what seems to be a hopeless condition in America. Gross immorality has engulfed the land. Crime has taken over the streets. Sexual promiscuity and perversion fills every corner of society. Drunkenness and drug abuse is everywhere. God has been rejected by most of our citizens. How far the United States has drifted?
The only hope for turning this nation back to God is for those of us who claim the name of Christ to turn back to God. God said in 2 Chronicles 7:14. “If my people which are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, I will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Let’s start praying, seeking and turning today…